Dietetics is a discipline committed to the maintenance and improvement of health through good nutrition. It is based on biological science, physical health science, the human sciences, communication sience and management science. Dieticians specialise in human nutrition. They provide advice on the nutrition of healthy and ill individuals in the public and private sector by using appropriate standards of nutritional care.

Dieticians are also responsible for managing food service systems. This is done by providing optimal quality standards for feeding groups, such as the elderly, students, children and hospital patients. Dieticians are involved in developing new food products that have been specifically designed to meet the needs of consumers. They give important input when nutritional products are formulated to enhance the nutritional status of target groups in the community.

Dieticians participate in research to identify the causes and optimal treatment of nutrition-related problems. They plan and implement nutrition programmes and policy developments as part of community development – using the nutrition message to empower and uplift all South Africans. Dieticians provide nutrition education to communities prone to diseases of nutritional excess or shortage, and they have to have extensive knowledge of a community’s nutritional status. Dieticians make a difference regarding the planning of special diets for athletes who participate at both the recreational and professional levels.

Description of the programme
The BDietetics degree is a four-year, full-time structured and integrated programme that includes both theory and practical training. An outcomes-based and problem-oriented healthcare team approach in a clinical and a community environment is followed. The programme broadly comprises the following three areas of specialisation within the scope of practice:
Clinical dietetics (medical nutrition therapy) focuses on the nutrition of individuals, either preventative in terms of lifestyle-related diseases, or therapeutic in the treatment of a disease. For example, a person with diabetes will have a specific diet that will be designed and monitored by the dietician.
Community-based dietetics is aimed at educating and training communities or groups of people on how to improve their health through nutrition. A good example of this is where communities are trained in respect of the types of food they would need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Should they not have access to those foods, they are trained in how to acquire the necessary nutrition, for example, by growing the right types of vegetables.
The management of large-scale food service units, where the nutritional needs of clients or patients are taken into consideration when planning normal and therapeutic diets of a high quality. The effective delivery of this professional service requires scientific knowledge of the following:
  • Foods and nutrients
  • The nutritional needs of ill and healthy people
  • The biochemical and physiological foundations of nutrition
  • The role of nutrition in the cause, progress and management of diseases
  • Nutrition education and counselling

For more information, please consult the Faculty webpage.

  • Disclaimer: This publication contains information about regulations and programmes of the University of Pretoria. Amendments to or updating of the information may be effected from time to time without prior notification. The accuracy, correctness or validity of the information contained here is therefore not guaranteed by the University at any given time and is always subject to verification. The user is kindly requested to verify the correctness of the information with the University at all times. Failure to do so will not give rise to any claim or action of any nature against the University by any party whatsoever.

Career Opportunities


Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 31/07/2020
  • Non-SA – 31/07/2020

Admission Requirements

  • The following persons will be considered for admission: a candidate who is in possession of a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required National Senior Certificate (NSC) with university endorsement; a candidate who is a graduate from another tertiary institution or has been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution; a candidate who is a graduate of another Faculty at the University of Pretoria; and a candidate who is currently studying at a university.
  • Admission to Health Sciences programmes is subject to a selection process.
  • Grade 11 final examination results will be used for the conditional selection of prospective students.
  • For selection purposes, the sum of the results in six subjects, including English, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is calculated.
  • Life Orientation is excluded in the calculation of the Admission Point Score (APS).
  • Candidates should note that their conditional admission will be revoked if their APS drops by more than two points in their final school examination results.
  • PLEASE NOTE that compliance with the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to any programme in this Faculty.
  • Selection queries may be directed to click here
  • A student who is made an offer but does not accept it cannot defer the offer and must reapply to be considered in the following year.

Transferring students (university experience)

  • The applications of students who are studying towards a tertiary qualification or have obtained a tertiary qualification must meet the following requirements regarding school subjects and performance levels: They must be in possession of an NSC for degree studies/full exemption certificate and must have attained a performance level of 5 (or 50% HG if completed prior to 2009) for Mathematics and Physical Sciences (or Life Sciences, if required).
  • If the subjects were not passed in Grade 12, the equivalent subjects (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) must be completed at the tertiary level. University students do not have to submit any non-academic performance record or CV. In their case selection is based on the results attained in the qualification(s) previously completed, ie they will be considered on the basis of their results achieved in higher education.
  • The completion of only a three-year diploma or certificate is not considered as university experience, but will be considered in the school-leaver category and admission will be based on the applicant’s Grade 12 results.

Qualifications from countries other than South Africa

  • A limited number of places are made available to citizens from countries other than South Africa, with those from SADC countries being given preference. Permanent residents of RSA are not categorised as foreign students. Applications from citizens from countries other than South Africa may also be considered if they are:
  • citizens or permanent residents of countries which have relevant government to government agreements with South Africa
  • asylum seekers or refugees

University of Pretoria website click here  

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language


Physical Sciences



AS Level


AS Level


AS Level








*  Cambridge A level candidates who obtained at least a D in the required subjects, will be considered for admission. Students in the Cambridge system must offer both Physics AND Chemistry with performance at the level specified for NSC Physical Sciences in the table above.

*  International Baccalaureate (IB) HL candidates who obtained at least a 4 in the required subjects, will be considered for admission. Students in the IB system must offer both Physics AND Chemistry with performance at the level specified for NSC Physical Sciences in the table above.

Selection Process

  • Fifty (50) first-year students are selected annually.
  • Conditional selection is based on the final Grade 11 results.
  • Candidates must also comply with the minimum admission requirements provided.
  • Candidates are required to maintain their Grade 11 averages (in terms of which they were conditionally selected) in the final school examination and ensure that the APS does not drop by more than two points.
  • First- choice applicants are considered.

Duration of study

4 years, full-time.

Faculty Notes

As an international role-player focusing on healthcare in Africa,  the vision of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria is to maintain health standards through quality education, research and community service. Since its inception, it has grown to be one of the largest health training institutions in the country and boasts an undergraduate and postgraduate student corps of over 6 000.

Students who join this Faculty will be part of a new generation of health professionals. The Faculty’s training is outcomes-based and problem-orientated – a unique way of looking at patients and their health.

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