ERN1010 – Introduction to Clinical Nutrition

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course is divided into four blocks: nutritional biology, diet and food science, clinical nutrition and community nutrition.

Introduction to clinical nutrition provides you with the general knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for subsequent courses in the study programme. On completion of the course, you should have basic knowledge of nutritional biology, food, diet research, clinical nutrition and community nutrition. You should understand what is involved in the systematic planning, implementation and evaluation of nutrition-related measures.

You should have gained experience in planning, implementing and reporting experimental trials. You will also have your first contact with patients and start mastering the relationship between medical professional and patient. In addition, you will gain knowledge about the use of appropriate tools to chart nutritional status and assess the risk of malnutrition in a patient.

Learning outcome


On completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • explain the general principles of energy conversion in the human body
  • explain the main features of structure and metabolism of macronutrients
  • know the main functions of the main micronutrients
  • describe methods for measuring diet at individual and population Levels
  • describe the main findings of the national dietary surveys
  • explain the national dietary guidelines from 2011 and quote the 13 main recommendations
  • describe the Norwegian nutritional recommendations
  • describe the main division into food groups used in Norway and describe the foods as sources of energy, macronutrients and micronutrients
  • explain the structure and content of food tables; state which factors contribute to variation in the nutritional content of different foods and why; and reproduce the methods used to create a food table
  • describe the areas of work and responsibility of clinical nutritionists in health institutions
  • explain the basic principles of the Nutrition Care Process
  • describe different screening tools to assess the risk of malnutrition in patients
  • provide an account of the main factors that affect the patient's food intake and relevant ways of increasing energy and protein intake
  • describe the role of the diet in the treatment of coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity
  • describe food production and distribution of food at health institutions
  • describe community nutrition with an emphasis on health promotion
  • explain simple, fundamental factors that affect what people eat
  • explain what planning models are and how they are used in evidence-based preventive nutrition work
  • describe the fundamental relationships between social inequalities in diet and health and global nutrition


On completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • recognise sources of nutrients in diets
  • evaluate food choices in relation to dietary guidelines and nutritional recommendations
  • use food tables
  • use the Diet Planner to register and analyse diets
  • design an experimental trial to investigate a simple nutritional hypothesis
  • conduct a laboratory test and communicate the results both verbally and in a laboratory report
  • conduct a clinical dialogue using the BIO model
  • be aware of legislation and be able to identify ethical and methodological issues related to the design of trials in nutrition Research
  • design and conduct a simple human trial and laboratory trial and communicate the results both verbally and in a laboratory report
  • identify different forms of malnutrition and use a screening tool to assess nutritional risk in elderly patients
  • perform a simple nutritional assessment on patients
  • plan and nutritionally calculate a gluten-free diet using the diet planner
  • provide nutritional treatment to patients with coeliac disease and malnutrition
  • provide dietary advice to prevent lifestyle diseases

General competencies

You will be able to:

  • understand the basic principles of nutrition
  • have an academic basis for learning in later semesters
  • understand the principles of evidence-based nutrition practice
  • start applying scientific literature on nutrition
  • reflect on ethical issues related to nutrition


This course is reserved exclusively for students taking the five-year master's degree in clinical nutrition.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

You must meet the admission requirements for the master's programme in clinical nutrition.
The Faculty may require a programme student who has been absent from the programme for more than two consecutive years to repeat previously approved mandatory teaching and/or previously passed examinations before being allowed to resume his/her studies.


The teaching consists of lectures, group teaching, lab work, seminars and supervised practice.
Mandatory teaching – Attendance requirements

  • One week of practical laboratory work, presentation of results
  • A one-week eating trial and presentation and discussion of results
  • Review and presentation of case studies / articles
  • Literature seminar / group discussion on community nutrition
  • Small group teaching in clinical nutrition
  • Supervised practical training
  • Three-day practice placement in a hospital Kitchen
  • Four-day practice placement in a nursing home ward
  • One-day observation in clinical practice in a hospital

Mandatory teaching will not be approved if you have more than 20% absence. Students who are absent from 20–30% of the mandatory teaching must submit a comprehensive, written compensation assignment. Students who are absent from more than 30% of the mandatory teaching lose the right to sit the examination and must repeat the semester regardless of the reason for the absence.

Written assignments / tests that must be approved before the examination

  •  Four written assignments and a test in food science
  •  Two written reports on clinical nutrition
  •  One laboratory report

Occupational health and safety – individual online courses

There is mandatory safety training during the first semester for all students starting the programme in or after autumn 2016. These courses must be completed by 1st of  September:

Access to teaching




Five-hour digital examination.

• Digital examinations at the Faculty of Medicine

Before you can take the examination, you must have had the mandatory teaching including practice approved.
A student who fails an examination one semester cannot normally progress in the programme until the examination has been passed. A student who is sitting a new or deferred examination may nevertheless continue to attend courses until the examination results are announced, or, as applicable, until the result of an appeal has been announced, but must discontinue the semester if the final result is a "fail".

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed. A calculator will be provided by the Section for Student Affairs.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to sit the examination in this course up to three times. Students who do not turn up for an examination and do not have a legitimate reason for their absence ("legitimate absence") cannot take the deferred examination. They will be moved down a year group. Withdrawal during an examination counts as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Students who need an adapted examination due to illness, disability, birth or breastfeeding can apply for adaptation. Students who are due to give birth within three weeks after the date of the examination and who apply with a document confirming their due date are given more time for the examination. A medical certificate or other valid documentation must be submitted with the application.
Application deadlines:

• 1st of September for the autumn semester
• 1st of February for the spring semester

Applications should be sent to


The course will be evaluated by the students half way through the semester and at the end of the semester.

Facts about this course




Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language