MSc Nutrition for Global Health (pre-course info)

General welcome

I am delighted to welcome you to LSHTM and to the MSc Nutrition for Global Health. On behalf of all LSHTM’s nutrition group staff, I look forward to working with you, and hope that you have a stimulating and productive year. I’m certain this will be the start of a long and successful career!

This is a really exciting time to be starting a career in nutrition. The big question facing us today is how we nourish the world’s population in a sustainable, equitable and just way. The Nutrition Group at LSHTM brings together a group of interdisciplinary scientists. Here, with our collaborations worldwide and with our LSHTM-MRC Gambia unit, we undertake cutting-edge research to inform actions to accelerate reduction in all forms of malnutrition sustainably and equitably.  Our research spans from epigenetics to epidemiology; and through individuals, households, communities and planetary boundaries. As specialists in global (public) health nutrition, a considerable amount still needs to be done. Together we need to continue working hard to ensure that nutrition remains a top priority in years to come. Some key steps towards this include:

- Nutrition continues to feature strongly in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2 is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”)

- The “Scaling up Nutrition” (SUN) movement: this continues to grow and expand its global network.

- The “Sustainable & Healthy Food Systems” (SHEFS) programme: aiming to provide novel, interdisciplinary evidence to define future food systems policies that deliver nutritious and healthy foods in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner. 

- Actions and interventions described in the Global Nutrition Report

- United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) continues to provides an open platform for UN agencies.

- Emergency Nutrition Network shares nutrition knowledge and experiences from across the globe through the Field Exchange publication.    

- School Meals Coalition is an initiative for providing school meals across 80 countries.

- Public Health England are striving to promote wellbeing and prevent ill health in the workforce.

As you start to prepare  to join us at LSHTM, please take time to review the information on this page. Do especially note that it is important to complete the essential pre-MSc reading list below before you arrive in September. Things move very fast once you arrive and the better your pre-MSc preparations are, the more you'll get out of the programme. This is important for all but is absolutely critical for those of you who are not from a nutrition/health undergraduate background. Having a mixed class from many professional backgrounds is one of the best things about our programme – but since there is a large amount to cover over the year we don’t have time to go over basic concepts.. Focus especially on basic nutrition preparation (e.g. the online courses on Macronutrients/Overnutrition, and Micronutrients/Malnutrition).

I look forward to meeting you in September, and in the meantime please email me if you have any questions about the programme.

Dr Hilary Davies-Kershaw, Programme Director

Welcome Week

Welcome Week timetable

Welcome Week will help you adjust to student life and study at LSHTM as we; as making life-long friends. Activities include:

- School-wide talks and events as well as MSc Nutrition for Global Health-specific sessions
- Opportunities to meet your fellow students and staff from the Nutrition Group
- Advice about your choice of modules (which you have to make early on)
- Meeting the Programme Director Dr Hilary Davies-Kershaw to discuss your aims and aspirations for the MSc

To ensure a smooth start, please note the following:

If you are arriving late for any reason, please email the MSc programme administrator at, cc programme director


When you arrive at LSHTM, your Programme Director will invite you to participate in a Pentacell, an activity that strengthens the School community, increases our wellbeing and forwards our goal of improving global health. The idea is deceptively simple – five students meet weekly for five weeks and listen to each other’s ideas and perspectives. It’s not compulsory but is strongly recommended by our School's Director, Liam Smeeth, Programme Directors, Student Support Services and former students.

Feedback from previous students:

“It was nice to be able to connect with people on my programme that I wouldn't necessarily have spoken to otherwise and it was a good way to make friends at the beginning.”

“Our Pentacell group chose not always to follow the exact guidelines for each session, and instead focused more on getting to know members of our programme better. I enjoyed the Pentacell experience we had, as it helped develop interpersonal relationships with those on my programme.”

“It gave me an opportunity to meet people on my programme. It also helped me develop interpersonal skills.” 

“Very pleasant experience especially for me as an international student who moved to the UK for the 1st time.”

Information for new part-time/split-study students

You have opted to do your MSc on a part-time/split study basis, over two years, and this information is intended to clarify some key matters surrounding that. There are lots of advantages of part-time study but also some associated challenges. By being aware and planning ahead you’ll get much more from your MSc in Nutrition for Global Health.

This method of study can also be referred to as as “half-time” because you really do need to allow half of each term-time week for study. This is a common area where some part-time students can struggle, especially those doing the MSc alongside busy work, family or other commitments. To succeed in the MSc, it is important that you complete the recommended reading as well as make time for independent study.It is an intensive MSc and therefore It’s critical to work steadily and not fall behind.

Term 1 - Part-time

The first term for full-time students involves Fundamental Public Health Nutrition, Basic Epidemiology and Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health. All part-time students must study Fundamental Public Health Nutrition in Year 1 and do Basic Epidemiology and Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health in Year 2. This creates a potential challenge because many Term 2 and 3 modules assume a basic understanding of epidemiology and statistics. Hence, if you’re completely new to these, we recommend that you do some independent study (e.g. using LSHTM distance learning materials and/or materials on the reading list). We will discuss this more in the orientation period, and you should also discuss with your personal tutor.

Terms 2 and 3 - Part-time

All modules are designed on a "five half-weeks” basis. One module runs from Monday to Wednesday lunchtime; the other from Wednesday afternoon to Friday. Sometimes the Wednesday half-day is timetabled for independent study but this varies from module to module. Full-time students take four modules in Term 2 and one in Term 3. As a part-time student, you have some flexibility about what you take and when. But we recommend that you take the two compulsory modules (Maternal and Child Nutrition and Nutrition-Related Chronic Disease) plus one other in the Year 1; then a final two elective modules in Year 2. You make your module choices during Term 1, so you can discuss this with me and your personal tutor when you start. The assessments for Term 1 modules are at the start of Term 2 and the Summer exam is always around mid-June in Year 2.

Term 1 - Split-study

The first term for full-time students involves Fundamental Public Health Nutrition, Basic Epidemiology and Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health. All spllit-time students must study Fundamental Public Health Nutrition , Basic Epidemiology and Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health in Year 1. The assessments for Term 1 modules are at the start of Term 2

Terms 2 and 3 - Split-study

All modules are designed on a "five half-weeks” basis. One module runs from Monday to Wednesday lunchtime; the other from Wednesday afternoon to Friday. Sometimes the Wednesday half-day is timetabled for independent study but this varies from module to module. Full-time students take four modules in Term 2 and one in Term 3 and Split-time students take four modules in Term 2 and one in Term 3 in Year 2. Split-time students make module choices during Term 1 in Year 1 or 2, so you can discuss this with me and your personal tutor when you start. The Summer exam is always around mid-June in Year 2.

Summer project - Part-time and split-study

Full-time students should start thinking about their Summer project in Term1 and preparing for their project in Term 2. They then work exclusively on their research projects from June (just after exams) until the deadline in early September. Part-time and split-time students should start thinking and preparing for their project in Year 2 , but can start work on it any time, including in Year 1. There is hence scope and time for some really interesting project work. Some part-time students start early and use this extra time for their projects; others do the project with their Year 2 peers from June to September. This is your choice, as best fits with your work/other commitments.


You make twice as many friends from your two (rather than one) years at LSHTM! It’s a small professional world in global nutrition and one of the best things about working in the field is that friends and colleagues you’ll meet at LSHTM are with you for life. With this in mind, remember that because part-time and split-time students are in a distinct minority (only one or two per year), some feel they have less opportunity to 'bond' with the rest of the class; hence make every effort to join our group socials!

In summary, there are lots of advantages to balance the challenges of part-time and split-time study and nothing that can't be overcome with a little forward planning and organisation. No immediate action is required from you concerning the points mentioned above, but it is important for you to make sure that you understand the key issues so as make informed choices and make the most out of your MSc. We’ll discuss more during welcome week, and you’ll also all get a personal tutor with whom to discuss. I wish you every success!

Reading list

Many students on the MSc Nutrition for Global Health will already have formal nutrition training or qualifications e.g. nutrition, dietetics, medical/nursing or similar undergraduate degrees. Others will be from non-nutrition and sometimes even from non-science backgrounds. This variety of prior experiences and perspectives is critical to the long-term success and progress of global (public) health nutrition as a profession.

We're delighted that all of you are joining and are excited about what you'll be able to do in the long-term, however the flip side of this strength is the short-term challenge that you're all starting your professional journeys at very different places. To ensure that you get the most from your time at LSHTM it is therefore important that you come as prepared as possible.

We very strongly recommend that you review the below essential readings and online learning. We certainly don't expect you to 'learn the textbook' but do ask for some advance preparation. This will ensure everyone has an overview of key nutritional topics and shares some common core understandings regarding nutrition e.g. what's a micronutrient, macronutrient, protein etc. Having these basic 'building blocks' will:

- benefit you short term - Term 1 will be a far less daunting learning curve (it is already steep enough for those with lots of prior knowledge and experience)
- benefit the class - we can move through the wide topic coverage and have far better and more productive debates and discussion if all are up-to-speed with the basic issues
- benefit you and the people/populations you'll one day be working with long-term - you'll get far more from the MSc if you arrive prepared

You may find it helpful but you are not obliged to buy any books. Many are available through local libraries and are also in the LSHTM library when you arrive. It's previous students who have urged us to make clearer and stronger suggestions for pre-MSc reading, which we've done. However, if you prefer another book/reference which covers similar material in a different way, that's fine.

Essential readings for those with a limited nutrition background

Lanham-New SA, Mcdonald IA and Roche HM (editors). 2010. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2nd edition. Nutrition Society. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.

  • Chapter 1: Core Concepts of Nutrition
  • Chapter 3: Integration of Metabolism 1: Energy
  • Chapter 4: Integration of Metabolism 2: Protein and Amino Acids
  • Chapter 5: Integration of Metabolism 3: Macronutrients


Geissler C and Powers H. (2017). Human Nutrition, 13th Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford

  • Part 1
    • Chapter 1: Food and Nutrient patterns
  • Part 2:
    • Chapter 6: Energy balance and body weight regulation
    • Chapter 7: Carbohydrate metabolism
    • Chapter 8: Fat metabolism
    • Chapter 9: Protein metabolism and requirements
  • Part 3: Micronutrient function-all chapters

Essential reading for those with limited statistics background

Campbell MJ and Swinscow TDV (2009) Statistics at Square One11th edn.BMJ Books:

Essential online learning for those with limited nutrition background

Khan Academy Crash Course Biology
For those with limited science/biology background (e.g. no science A level). N.B. you can skip the animal-only videos

Unit 5: Macromolecules will be helpful.
Course: AP®︎/College Biology > Unit 1

Lesson 4: Properties, structure, and function of biological macromolecules
This online course is an excellent resource, but it does require a few hours per week over 8 weeks. We suggest that you use this alongside the lectures in Term 1:

Nutrition and Health Part 1: Macronutrients and Overnutrition
8 weeks @ 6-8 hours per week
Topics: broad view into the field of  nutrition; composition of foods; basic chemistry of macronutrients fat, carbohydrate and protein; how macronutrients are absorbed, stored, metabolized and how they may impact health; how to better weigh and interpret the information overload about nutrition and health
Nutrition and Health Part 2: Micronutrients and Malnutrition
7 weeks @ 6-8 hours per week
Topics: basic chemistry of vitamins and minerals; food composition; the role of vitamins and minerals in the body; the impact of malnutrition on global disease burden; nutritional strategies to improve nutritional status and combat malnutrition

For those with limited statistics background:

Khan Academy Probability & Statistics
Focus on independent and dependent events; descriptive statistics; and statistical studies. Others will help but will be covered in the MSc. More basic maths is also available on the same site if needed.

Other readings & resources

These are alternative texts and sources which can complement, enrich and supplement the above essential materials.


Free Associations from Boston University

Feed by Table Debates

The New Humanitarian podcast.


Savage-King D, Burgess A, Quinn VJ, Osei AK. 2015. Nutrition for Developing Countries, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press:Oxford. Oxford Medical Publications
Earlier edition also available from education charity TALC
Nutrition (Made Incredibly Easy UK Edtn)
Martyn K. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Chapters 1-9 are essential (Introduction to Nutrition; Nutrition Assessment). Others will be an advantage to have read. A basic but very approachable introduction.
Open University Nutrition Courses
Vitamins, Minerals and Protein

Alison Courses
- Diploma in Human Nutrition
- Introduction to Human Nutrition
- Human Nutrition - Understanding Macronutrient Metabolism
- Human Nutrition - Introduction to Micronutrients


Rowntree D. Statistics without tears: A primer for non-mathematicians. Penguin books

Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics (5th edn) Salkind NJ (2013)
Epidemiology for the Uninitiated (5th edn) Coggon, Barker DJ, Rose G. BMJ books (2003)
Good introduction to epidemiology based on a classic series of BMJ articles which you can access here

Lancet Maternal and Child Nutrition series - 2021

1) Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries

2) Evidence-based interventions for improvement of maternal and child nutrition: what can be done and at what cost?

3) Nutrition-sensitive interventions and programmes: how can they help to accelerate progress in improving maternal and child nutrition?

4) The politics of reducing malnutrition: building commitment and accelerating progress

Public Health CrashCourse

In 10 episodes, Vanessa Hill teaches you about Public Health! By the end of this series, learners will understand:

  • What is public health, and how is it different from medicine?
  • Who is involved in public health?
  • What are some of the biological, environmental, and social determinants of health?
  • What is epidemiology?
  • What are some different kind of healthcare systems and how do they work?
  • How are public policy and public health related?
  • What could the future of public health look like?

A brief explanation of the Sustainable Development Goals

How to read a paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine (5th edn) Greenhalgh T. BMJ books (2014)
Good introduction to evidence-based medicine based on a classic series of BMJ articles which you can access here

Module choices

We’ll discuss more during Welcome Week, but do spend some time before arrival thinking about what you want to get out of the MSc: skills you want to develop; knowledge you want to obtain; what you might want to do after the MSc. With all these in mind, do already start considering which of the optional modules you might want to take, checking the module specifications for full details.

Computer skills

Most assessed work on the MSc must be typed. Many students bring a laptop but this is not vital – there are good computer facilities at LSHTM, and we offer computer skills training during the first term. Being comfortable and competent at IT will put you in a strong position to do well on the programme so if you are not already, some prior IT practice/training before you start would really help. Software applications at LSHTM include Microsoft Office and the more prior experience you have with Word and Excel especially, the easier you’ll find things.

Information for returning part-time/split-study students

Welcome Week

Do come to the sessions. Though you’ll already know how LSHTM ‘works’, it’s a great way to meet and get to know the new students. They’ll also really value and appreciate all the tips and advice from you!


You’ll likely know which modules you are doing and the timetable. Do discuss any issues arising with your personal tutor and/or relevant module organiser. For Term 2 (and maybe Term 3), there’s still a chance to change your mind if you want to do different modules to the ones you selected last year.

Summer project

Start planning early. One of the benefits of being part-time is that your face-to-face teaching timetable is less intense than for full-time students. Do use this time to start planning your project: do a scoping lit search, discuss with your personal tutors or with your friends and colleagues who have just completed their projects.

Page last updated September 2023