module specification

NF7038 - Public Health and Epidemiology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Public Health and Epidemiology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
158 hours Guided independent study
42 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50% 45 Report (2500 words)
Coursework 25% 45 Poster (750 words)
Coursework 25% 45 Oral presentation (15 minutes)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

 This module aims to develop knowledge and skills of nutritional epidemiology and its application to public health nutrition. Students will learn the theory and application of public health and will understand the process of undertaking a public health nutrition strategy.

  1. Report which will be a business case apply for funding to implement a public health project (2500 words) (50%);
  2. An evaluative poster of the public health nutrition component of placement 3 (750 words)  (25%) ; this will be due when students return from placement during the exam period of the Autumn semester of the students’ second year.
  3. This will be accompanied by the third component, an oral presentation (25%) of the poster (for 20 minutes). 

Notes:  Restricted to PGDip/MSc Dietetics & Nutrition

Prior learning requirements

Postgraduate entry requirements apply

Module aims

 The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Specifically it aims to introduce the concepts and principles used in public health and epidemiology, develop the student’s understanding of contemporary and controversial issues in public health. In addition students will appreciate the ethical implications involved in the application of nutritional information for public health and gain a clear understanding of factors affecting food choice throughout the lifecycle and across socioeconomic divide.


  •  Principles of epidemiology and the application to public health dietetic practice
  •  Identifying the requirements for public health at a population level.
  •  Methods of optimising nutritional status at a population level.
  • The interaction of diet, socio-economic, genetic and political influences on health and disease.
  • Public health policies and practices and strategies in UK and overseas.
  • Food choice across the lifecycle
  • Study of the UK diet in relation to socio-demographic factors such as age, religion, ethnicity, socio economic class
  • Needs assessment of communities and populations
  • Use of demographic, epidemiological anthropometric and nutrition survey data in developing and evaluating PH strategies.
  • Planning and implementation of appropriate health promotion initiatives
  • Financial planning in the NHS - commissioning contracting and tendering
  • Business planning in the NHS
  • Partner in local, regional and national structures
  • Local regional and national policies
  • Developing local strategies
  • Commissioning a patient led NHS
  • Choosing Health

Learning and teaching

Knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be acquired via interactive lectures (22 hours), group tutorials (12 hours) and in class oral presentations (8Hours) which are mandatory.  In addition students will be required to spend up to 158 hours in private study, preparation and self-directed reading.  Students will be instructed in the appropriate use of learning resources and assisted with suitable directed reading material.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate methodologies used in nutritional epidemiology and interpret and evaluate epidemiological data in relation to nutrition and health.
  2. Critically evaluate current health, education and social services strategies, systems and policies in the provision of healthcare at local, regional and national level and how this relates to the public health model.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to integrate underlying nutritional, lifestyle and genetic factors with the aetiology of chronic disease and the public health response
  4. Critically evaluate public health strategies to reduce the incidence of nutritionally-related diseases 
  5. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of how to undertake a needs assessment, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate a public health strategy
  6. Critically evaluate business and financial planning in the public sector.
  7. Evaluate NHS commissioning processes, tendering and contracting policies and how these link to quality,  standards, audit and clinical governance.
  8. Illustrate understanding of the requirements by the Health and Care Professions Council.
  9. Demonstrate an ability to practise within the ethical and legal boundaries of the dietetic profession

Assessment strategy

The first assessment is a report which will be a business case apply for funding to implement a public health project (2500 words);
An evaluative poster of the public health nutrition component of placement 3 (750 words) ; This will be due when students return from placement during the exam period of the Autumn semester of the students’ second year.
This will be accompanied by the third component, an oral presentation (25%) of the poster (for 20 minutes).
This module forms an essential part of preparation for placement 3. Students must obtain at least 50% to pass this module. In addition students must usually obtain at least 45% in each component of assessment within this module. A mark of between 45% and 49% may be compensated by other components

Component Marks Learning Outcomes
Report (2500 words) 50% 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Poster  (750 words) 25% 3,4, 8 and 9
Oral Presentation (20 minutes) 25% 3,4, 8 and 9

Coursework feedback will be available for collection from the departmental office two weeks following the publication of the results on Evision.


Belsky et al., 2006. Effects of Sure Start local programmes on children and families: early findings from a quasi-experimental, cross sectional study. BMJ, 16th June.
D’Souza et al. Food support programmes for low income and socially disadvantaged child-bearing women in developed countries. NICE. 2006
Edelman, C., & Mandle, C. (2010). Health promotion throughout the Life Span. (7th Ed) Missouri. USA:. Mosby Press.
Ewles, L., Simnett, I. (2004). Promoting Health: a Practical Guide. London. UK:Bailliere Tindall.
Germov J and Williams L (2004) A sociology of food and nutrition: the social appetite.  South Melbourne, Vic. ; New York : Oxford University Press
Gibney, M. J., Margetts, B. M., Kearney, J. M.,  & Arab, L. (Eds.) (2004). Public Health Nutrition. Oxford. UK:Blackwell Publishing.
Hodnett E and Roberts I . Home based social support for the socially disadvantaged mother (Cochrane Review) The Cochrane Library. Oxford. 1996
Hughes, R. (2010). Practical Public Health Nutrition. Chichester. UK: John Wiley &Sons. [CORE]
Lang, T., Barling, D. & Caraher, M. (2009). Food Policy: Integrating Health, Environment and Society, Oxford. UK: Oxford University Press.
Lawrence, M., & Worsley, T. (Eds.) (2007). Public Health Nutrition from Principles to Practice. Oxford. UK: Oxford University Press. [CORE]
Lloyd, C., Handley, S., Douglas, J., Earle, S, & Spurr, S. (2007). Policy and Practice in Promoting Public Health. London. UK: Open University & Sage Publications.
Margetts, B. and Nelson, M. (1997). Design Concepts in Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
McKenzie, J.F., Neiger, B. L., & Thackeray, R. (2009). Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs. San Francisco.USA: Benjamin Cummings. [CORE]
Willett, W. (1998). Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed.  Oxford University Press, Oxford