What to expect…1 year Nutrition Science MSc at Karolinska Institutet

To those who have been accepted into the Nutrition science MSc, I say to you congratulations!!!!! You should all be so happy with your places and certainly feel a sense of achievement and pride. This blog intends to give a summary of the year ahead, I have written blogs about some of the courses, including the thesis, https://studentblogs.ki.se/author/callumregan/?_ga=2.117151238.1857362603.1630854846-1834239902.1596387511 and will now write about the others briefly, what to expect from this course and with future perspectives in mind.

The first two courses:

Diet and health – scientific basis, recommendations and sustainability (7,5 credits): this was in fact my favourite module except from the thesis and I felt it was a fantastic introduction to the Nutrition Science MSc. I really enjoyed the lectures in this course and found all the information to be relevant and important to the world and society.

Topics included:

  • Learning about the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012 (I would certainly advise on reading up on this, a comprehensive book with recommendations about all the macro and micronutrients as well as requirements for different age groups).
  • Understanding what compromises a healthy diet
  • Public health nutrition in a global perspective, including: malnutrition and the double burden of malnutrition, non-communicable diseases related to nutrition and global nutrition targets set out by the WHO. This was one of my favourite topics, it certainly put nutrition into perspective in terms of its importance related to health and disease
  • Sustainable food systems and the sources of green house gas emissions
  • Judging the evidence- be prepared to start learning how to judge what you read in terms of validity and accuracy, this is an important skill in any occupation

Diet and health – genetic and molecular mechanisms (7,5 credits): this course linked diet to genetics and the underlying molecular mechanisms that carry out various functions. I enjoyed this course, however felt that more informative information on the subject could have been provided, hopefully this will be included for the new students. I have come from a cell biology background and find it fascinating how nutrition and genetics intertwine. This course contained multiple workshops on relevant topics such as: from DNA to disease, genomics and genome studies and endocrine disruptors. Also one task which I found very enjoyable was writing an essay on your own topic, linking nutrients or a nutrient to a particular disease and writing about the molecular mechanisms involved. I wrote mine on “the use of folic acid supplementation on neural tube defects and cardiovascular disease prevention and molecular mechanisms of action”. This allowed me to write in a way that I already knew how to do but this time in the context of folic acid- a synthetic form of vitamin B9; which plays an important role in DNA synthesis and cell replication.

I won’t talk about the other courses, as I already have in my previous blogs https://studentblogs.ki.se/author/callumregan/?_ga=2.192450602.1857362603.1630854846-1834239902.1596387511. Now I will enlighten you on what is in store for this particular MSc from my personal experience.

What is ahead, and what to do?

  • Take notes! Make sure you visit the stationary shop and purchase all the goodies you need for your studies. It helps me a lot to make notes to aid my learning and to understand concepts more. Keep notes and materials organised and make use of the printers at KI to print papers out.
  • There will be a lot of group work, so make sure to contribute and work with as many people as you can. It can be comfortable to just group with those you know or those who are from the same country as you. But what an opportunity this is to know people from all over the world and learn from each other.
  • There are multiple assignments for each course so be prepared to juggle some tasks at the same time, saying this, this one course a month routine really worked for me and I found it a pleasant way to learn.
  • If you are prepared and ACTUALLY study on study days then you can have WEEKENDS OFF. I love my weekends and did not feel too stressed at any moment to work so much extra on the weekends (I think I worked on one weekend in the whole year). So pop into campus earlier than your lecture if you fancy, the library is a nice place for a pre 9am read.
  • Try and attend to classes as much as you can, even if they are not mandatory. You can learn something from any class and it may be useful for your future.
  • Read extra. This MSc is quite independent, many articles and reading materials are provided but that extra reading can really help to understand more and for your own sake to learn more!
  • All this with the stress of moving to a new place can be a lot!! Finding where to buy things, how to travel around and meeting new people, so take deep breaths and take it step by step.
  • Have fun!! It is not all studying, seminars, presentations, essays and statistics (hit me up if you want statistics help, I have a great book from my Undergraduate studies which always helps me!). Have fun with your classmates and do nice things together e.g. playing some ping pong on campus, having lunch together, a spot of padel and maybe even a cheeky drink :).

I can almost guarantee you that this year will go by quickly, so embrace it as much as you can, it’s not every year that you get to come together from all over the world and learn together in the amazing city of Stockholm.

The future… eeeeeek

I am constantly worrying about the future, so don’t worry if you are too, we are all in the same boat. Try not to panic and stress about “what comes next”, and take everything at your own pace, doing things when you are ready, not when somebody else tells you. By learning the different topics, you can see what interests you and therefore what you may want to do in the future. When you are considering your thesis topic, it is good to have this in mind and try to work with a group that are friendly and have an interest in your work and the potential that it can have.

I am currently working temporarily at the place where I did my thesis (The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH) which is amazing and a joy. Nevertheless, at some point I will most likely need to seek full time work, which can be hard as a non-native Swede, despite the vast amount of English that is spoken in this country. This can also be something to bare in mind, do you consider a future here? If so, learning the language will help massively, if not of course learning the language can just be fun. I did find it hard to learn the language at the same time as my studies and didn’t learn the language for the whole year, so don’t feel disappointed if you find yourself in this situation, do as you feel comfortable. Despite this, various jobs in Sweden are available in English!!

Perhaps my next blog will be about future perspectives as someone who has just been through a Nutrition Science MSc, before my time as a KI blogger is up. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this blog and if you want to ask me any questions, email me at- callum.morison.regan@stud.ki.se or callum.regan@gih.se.

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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