Applied Human Nutrition (AHN) Major
Research has demonstrated the powerful effects of food on the lives of individuals and populations. Food choice can dramatically influence overall health and well-being and prevent the development of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. The AHN major embraces the biological, clinical and social aspects of human nutrition. You will have the unique opportunity to examine nutrition from multiple perspectives including preventative and therapeutic aspects.
Within the AHN major, you may choose to do an area of emphasis in dietetics (accredited program recognized by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice, and making you eligible to compete for post-graduate dietetics training) OR an optional minor.
Vision, Mission and Objectives
Vision: To be world leaders in applied human nutrition education and research.
Mission: To provide applied nutrition expertise to address current and emerging issues through independent and collaborative education and research efforts.
In fulfillment of our mission, our objectives are to:
1. Develop new knowledge regarding:
1a. the biological, behavioural, social and environmental bases of nutritional health and disease.
1b. the assessment and evaluation of nutritional health and needs of individuals, groups, and populations.
1c. the effectiveness of nutrition intervention strategies at the individual, group, and population levels.
1d. effective methods and strategies to engage and educate undergraduate and graduate students.
2. Foster student engagement and competence in clinical nutrition, nutritional assessment, critical appraisal of nutrition research, nutrition services management, nutrition communication, and community and public health nutrition.
For students enrolled in the Area of Emphasis in Dietetics, a professional education program, a further objective is to:
3. Support student achievement of the education-related Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice (ICDEP, www.pdep.ca).
The Learning Approach
From the behavioural foundation of our eating habits to the physiological role of nutrients in our bodies, this major will give you a thorough understanding of all aspects of human nutrition. Lectures lay out the theoretical groundwork. Labs allow you to apply your knowledge and scientifically test these theories. Seminar courses and other electives support the social science component of the curriculum and allow for small group discussions to explore topics of interest, and critically evaluate the scientific literature, global trends and nutrition policy. You may also take a field placement course in nutrition education (an opportunity to apply learning in different community settings), or an applied clinical skills course (interacting with simulated patients in a mock clinical setting). Opportunities to conduct an undergraduate honours thesis or to take a research internship course are also available.
Our goal is to ensure that you are at the centre of your learning. You will learn to:
- Provide food and nutrition services in health care, community, and industry settings
- Translate science to help people and communities meet food and nutrition needs across the lifespan
- Apply evidence from multiple fields to the delivery of nutrition care
AHN Major with Area of Emphasis in Dietetics
Dietetics is a regulated health profession, similar to nursing, speech pathology, physiotherapy, etc. Health care professionals who work in dietetics are registered dietitians (RD). To become an RD in Ontario, you must successfully:
- Complete a four-year accredited undergraduate program in applied nutrition. The AHN major with area of emphasis in dietetics is an accredited program recognized by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice
- Complete an accredited dietetic training program following graduation from the AHN major with area of emphasis in dietetics. You can choose to apply for an accredited dietetic training program in your fourth year in the AHN major with area of emphasis in dietetics. A list of the accredited dietetic training programs can be found on the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) website.
- Pass the Canadian Dietetics Registration Examination, which you will take after you complete your dietetic internship/combined Masters practicum.
- Once you have completed these three steps, you become eligible for registration with the College of Dietitians of Ontario, the dietetics regulatory body for Ontario.
Where Do Registered Dietitians Work?
- Family health teams
- Community health centres
- Long-term care
- Food and pharmaceutical industries
- Private practice
- Diabetes education centres
- Public health
Interested? For more information about the AHN major with area of emphasis in dietetics, check out the 2nd Edition AHN Student Handbook - 2020.
AHN Major with Optional Minor
This core degree in applied nutrition provides the opportunity for you to take a minor in a complementary discipline such as:
- International Development
- Family and child studies
For more information about the AHN program, please consult the AHN Student Handbook. If you are interested in a career as a registered dietitian, see AHN major with area of emphasis in dietetics.
Potential Career Opportunities with a Degree in AHN (*some of the following require additional schooling/training)
- Foodservice management
- International nutrition
- Health promotion/coaching
- Food and pharmaceutical industries
- Culinary technologist
- Quality Assurance Inspector
Interested in Nutrition Research?
If you love learning about nutrition or want to explore nutrition from a research perspective, consider taking the research internship course (FRHD*3500), or doing an undergraduate honours thesis (NUTR*4810 and NUTR*4910). Either of these experiences can help you figure out whether graduate school (MSc, PhD) is right for you.