Thesis experience: Opinions from the 2020/21 Nutrition science class

The end is near, and soon the Nutrition class and I will be finished with our thesis and successfully attained a Master’s in Nutrition science from Karolinska Institutet (KI) (hopefully…). In this blog I will share some experiences of current Nutrition science Master’s students on their thesis projects’ and how this journey has gone for them. Before that I shall briefly talk to you about how mine and my colleagues has developed.

To pick up from where I left in my last blog, we were composing healthy eating and diet diversity scores for all the participants in our study. Now we have scores for all of them and have completed all the data analyses that we set out to do. For your information our study found higher diet diversity to be associated with better health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for all participants, those with higher educated parents compared to lower has higher scores for healthy eating and diet diversity, no association was found between healthy eating and HRQoL and girls had higher scores for healthy eating and diet diversity but not for HRQoL compared to boys. We have worked through our written sections one-by one and have now had 5 drafts of the whole shebang, gaining great and valuable feedback from our supervisors along the way. One more review and feedback session next week before submission!! But enough about me, how has the thesis been for my fellow classmates…

What thesis topics have there been?

Topics include:

  • Dietary patterns in school-age and asthma in young adulthood
  • Policy to shape responsible food behavior
  • Users perceptions about eHealth services promoting physical activity and healthy diets.
  • Eating behaviour in patients with Anorexia Nervosa compared to controls
  • Dietary intake and glycemic markers in Stockholm adults with type 1 diabetes: cross-sectional analysis using baseline parameters from the DANCE-study
  • Diagnostic algorithm for Anorexia Nervosa
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
  • Associations between physical activity intensities with body composition and physical fitness in 9.5 year old children
  • Nutrients induced RNA reprogramming in human monocytes.
  • Healthy eating and diet diversity and associations to mental health in adolescence
  • Relationship between diet and depressive symptoms during pregnancy, with a focus on potential influences from the gut microbiome

In addition to myself, 50% of the students who responded to my form stated that the were working in pairs for the thesis. Thus to those future students, this could be a good idea for you; allowing you to improve or maintain your team working skills. It will also give you a chance to combine your ideas, creativity and knowledge together to produce a great piece of work!

What types of study designs were used?

Study designs included:

  • Cohort
  • Cross-sectional analysis
  • In-vitro experimental study
  • Observational case-control
  • Systematic review

Which research groups/institutions did students work with?

  • GIH- The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences
  • DANCE group for dietary intake and glycemic markers in Stockholm adults with type 1 diabetes
  • Health promoting science at Sophiahemmet in Stockholm
  • Mandometer clinics
  • CTMR- Centre for Translational Microbiome Research, KI
  • IMM- Institute of Environmental Medicine, KI

What difficulties did some fellow students face?

  • “None”-Athena
  • “Motivation, especially when working from home”- AJ
  • “Difficulties in recruitment due to covid-19”- Rahima
  • “Hard to communicate online due to covid-19”- Cassie
  • “Statistical analysis was a hard task, but guidance was provided”- Mayar
  • “I was supposed to help with some data collection at preschools but due to covid-19 I could not participate”- Annelie
  • “Nope! I have a great thesis partner 😉 and research group and it’s all worked so smoothly!!”- Hedda (my partner in crime…!)
  • “Nope, just a heavy workload but that was expected…”- Alexandra

What have the students really enjoyed about the thesis?

  • “I have really enjoyed the process from the initial idea to the finish and to be a part of each step”- Ulrika
  • “The social aspect of it. For collecting data we had to go around campus asking students to participate by filling questionnaires which was fun :)”- Mayar
  • “My supervisor is amazing and he has given us so much time, advise and guidance through the whole process with a lot of patience and enthusiasm. I also really enjoyed writing in pairs cause it gives you the chance to have interesting discussions and lots of support and encouragement”- Paulina
  • “The independence”- Julia
  • “Discovering a new topic that might not have been taught during a class”- AJ
  • “That I’ve learned so much about the topic I’ve been working on!”- Hedda
  • “Yes I totally enjoyed (and suffered)”- Cassie

Would students do things differently next time??

  • “Hmm I don’t think so!”- Hedda
  • “Don’t stress at the beginning of the project, there’s plenty of time”- Julia
  • “I would have just chosen to start recruiting patients way before (but that’s just cause of covid-19 and how it complicates things)”- Paulina
  • “Hopefully more practical tasks”- Annelie
  • “Start sooner!”- AJ

Additionally some of the work conducted by these students will be published into articles (hopefully ours too), which is a fantastic accomplishment and one that could help the careers of these students! Moreover some of the students mentioned included myself and my partner have been able to acquire part-time work within the research groups asociated to the thesis. Therefore it is important to pick a topic that you are interested in but also choose a research group that are considering publication and that may be able to present possible job opportunities!

To sum up- the thesis project is a 4.5 month project and therefore it is important to choose your topic and research group wisely. I actually applied for 3 different thesis projects before deciding on which one to go for, and I am very happy with my decisions. So don’t rush into making a decision, apply early and to multiple projects that take your interest and then hopefully you will be in the position to weigh up your options and make a suitable choice.

Also I like not to rush the work and so having good time management skills is valuable to finish the work on time and have plenty of opportunities to re-read your work and make edits. Furthermore this is a fun project and a great learning experience, so I hope to those future student that you too enjoy it and have a great journey! After the submission of the thesis, the only task left is presenting it to the class, which due to covid-19 will unfortunately be online. I may however write a blog about this assignment, so keep your eyes peeled!!!

As always, you can contact me and ask questions at-

Thanks for reading, and thanks to the current MSc Nutrition science students for their fabulous responses!!!

Callum Regan- Nutrition Science

Callum Regan- Nutrition Science

I am from Scotland and have come to Stockholm to study Nutrition Science MSc at Karolinska. I am a blogger for this course and am interested in many areas of Nutrition including ways to reduce childhood obesity and improve adolescent mental health. I love to travel, meet new people, play sport, keep healthy, watch films and listen to jazz music. I also enjoy trying food from around the World and am always searching for the best food out there!


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