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 – which I’m certain will be the start of a long and successful career!

This is a really exciting time to be starting a career in nutrition. Following on from the UN Millennium Development Goals, nutrition continues to feature strongly in the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 2 is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”). As specialists in global (public) health nutrition, we have lots to do towards that and need to continue working hard to ensure that nutrition remains a top priority in years to come. Some key steps towards that include:

- The “Scaling up Nutrition” (SUN) movement: this continues to grow and expand its global network.
- The “No Wasted Lives” campaign: recently launched, calling on governments and others to accelerate action for children with acute malnutrition.
- 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

I know that you will be keen to start preparing to join us at LSHTM, so please take some time to review the information on this page. Do especially note that it is essential to arrive in September having already prepared for your year with the pre-MSc reading list. 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’s lots to cover over the year we don’t have time to go over basic concepts and you must arrive prepared. 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 Marko Kerac, Programme Director

Welcome Week

Welcome Week Timetable

Welcome Week will help you adjust to student life and study at LSHTM. Activities include:

- School-wide talks and events as well as MSc-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 very early on)
- Meeting the Programme Director Dr Marko Kerac 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

Information for new half-time students

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

We refer to this method of study 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 half-time students can struggle, especially those doing the MSc alongside busy work, family or other commitments. To succeed on the MSc, you need to do lots of reading/private study: the time and intensity of this should not be underestimated. It’s important to work steadily and not fall behind.

Term 1

The first term for full-time students involves Fundamental Public Health Nutrition, Basic Epidemiology and Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health. All half-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, you must do some private 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

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 private study but this varies from module to module. Full-time students take four modules in Term 2 and one in Term 3. As a half-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 choices during Term 1, so you can discuss with me and your personal tutor when you start. Summer exams are always around mid-June in Year 2.

Summer project

Full-time students work on their research projects from June (just after exams) until the deadline in early September. Half-time students must submit their dissertation 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 half-time students start early and use this extra time for their projects; others just 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 half-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 half-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 limited nutrition background: Nutrition and Metabolism, 2nd edn, Susan A. Lanham-New (Editor), Ian A. Macdonald (Editor), Helen M. Roche (Editor)

For those with limited statistics background: Statistics at Square One, 11th edn, Campbell & Swinscow

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.
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.


Nutrition for Developing Countries, 3rd edn
Savage-King D, Burgess A, Quinn VJ, Osei AK. 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 and Minerals
- Proteins
Alison Courses
- Diploma in Human Nutrition
- Introduction to Human Nutrition
- Human Nutrition - Understanding Macronutrient Metabolism
- Human Nutrition - Introduction to Micronutrients


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
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 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.

Programme handbook

MSc Nutrition for Global Health Handbook 2020-21 (pdf)
MSc Nutrition for Global Health Handbook 2021-22 (coming soon)

Page last updated September 2021