Experimental Nutrition Physiology

Course content

Introduction to and practical use of methods of measuring/assessing nutritional status including methods of measuring energy metabolism, body composition, biochemical parameters, and nutrient intake. Introduction to study design and dissemination including study planning, protocol writing, report writing, and oral data presentation. Introduction to statistical methods used in evaluating nutritional status.


MSc Programme in Human Nutrition
Kandidatuddannelsen i klinisk ernæring

Learning outcome


  • To understand the principles behind study design and different scientific methods used in nutritional research.
  • To understand the role of different factors that influence the validity of an experiment and the parameters that describes the quality of analyses.
  • To understand the basic principles of Good Clinical Practice and data management in a research project.
  • To understand the principles behind the methods used in research to assess energy requirements and energy expenditure, and discuss their pros and cons.
  • To understand the principles behind the methods used in research to assess dietary food intake, and discuss their pros and cons.
  • To understand the principles behind the methods used in research for anthropometric measurements, and discuss their pros and cons.
  • To understand the role of biological and laboratory factors in assessment of micronutrient status and reflect on the use of appropriate biological materials, as well as discuss the pros and cons of different biomarkers as methods for evaluation of nutrient intake and status in a research set-up.
  • To understand the principles behind basic statistical methods used for data analyses.



  • Be able to use, and critically evaluate, all the mentioned methods used for nutritional study design.
  • Be able to perform basic statistical analyses and critically evaluate biological data.
  • Be able to design, perform, document and present own methodological study used for determination of energy and nutritional status.



  • To evaluate and critically judge scientific results.
  • To work in a proactive manner to assure own learning outcome.
  • To work both independently and in a group.

The course includes two main teaching frameworks: group work sessions and practical exercises. Both are performed in groups of 3-4 students (same group throughout the course).

The course flow is mimicking a research study flow: how to get from idea to dissemination. The students will be designing their own study (within the framework of the methods available), writing a protocol, planning it, carrying it out, collecting and analysing data, write a report, and present the results at a conference.

In the practical exercises, measurements are obtained by the students themselves and include anthropometric measurements, samples of blood, assessment of appetite sensations, measurements of safety parameters, and respiratory gasses from the students. Based on the learning outcomes, the students are to design and perform in groups their own experiment. This part of the work will result in a scientifically written protocol and report, to be orally presented during a conference. The students are expected to act as opponents for other groups, but the course responsible teacher will do the final judgment of the report and oral presentation with Q&A session.

Basic course literature will be announced at study start on the course’s Absalon page.

The students are required to define their own literature (peer reviewed scientific papers) based on choice of subject in the experimental work.


Course in nutrition physiology is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

During the course both extensive written teacher-based feedback and mandatory structural group-based peer feedback (using a rubric model) will be given on the written report as a part of the iterative process of the report. Furthermore, the students will have the opportunity to have one group supervision session. Following the oral exam, the students will receive individual oral feedback together with the grade.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Portfolio exam with oral examination.
Evaluation is based on the portfolio and the oral presentation session.
The portfolio consists of the protocol with supporting material, meeting protocols, communication transcripts, supervision notes, peer feedback (rubric model), and the scientific report.
The oral presentation session is carried out in groups and consists of 1) A presentation of the report 2) Questions from the opponent group 3) Examination by the censor, and 4) Opponent task for one other group.
Each student must participate actively in the presentation session in order to pass the course. Presentation and examination is carried out in plenum.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 10
  • Practical exercises
  • 50
  • Preparation
  • 150
  • English
  • 210