Course Title: Nutritional Physiology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Nutritional Physiology

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 

Course Coordinator: Dr. Julia Low

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5032

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora West Campus

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment and during open discussion sessions

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory enabling course requiring no formal prerequisites.

An understanding of biology and chemistry is desirable.

Course Description

This course examines the physiology pertinent to the study of human nutrition and health. The macro- and micronutrient content of the core food groups will be discussed in relation to energy contributions and requirements. Specifically, this course will provide students with an understanding of: gastrointestinal system anatomy; physiological and chemical mechanisms that control the digestion of carbohydrates, lipids and protein; nutrient absorption; human nutrient requirements and energy balance; metabolism for energy use in the body; and vitamins and minerals involved in normal cell functioning.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the program learning outcomes for the following programs:

BP350 Bachelor of Science

  • PLO1: Apply an interdisciplinary knowledge of scientific theories, principles, concepts, and practices in the environmental sciences.  
  • PLO2: Analyse and critically examine scientific evidence using methods, technical skills, tools and emerging technologies in a range of scientific activities. 
  • PLO4: Communicate, report and reflect on scientific findings, to diverse audiences utilising a variety of formats employing integrity and culturally safe practices.  


BP199 Bachelor of Food Technology and Nutrition

BP289 Bachelor of Food Technology and Nutrition/ Bachelor of Business

  • PLO1: Apply a broad and coherent knowledge of scientific theories, principles, concepts and practices relevant to the fields of food technology and nutrition.
  • PLO2: Analyse and critically examine scientific evidence with reflection of the role, relevance and significance of food technology and nutrition in society.
  • PLO4: Critically evaluate and communicate concepts and practices relevant to the fields of food technology and nutrition to diverse audiences utilising contemporary and traditional formats employing professional integrity and culturally safe practices.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Differentiate between macronutrients and micronutrients.
  2. Explore the relative energy contribution to the body from carbohydrates, lipids and protein, as well as the key factors influencing energy balance.
  3. Explain the structure of the gastrointestinal tract and its functions, including the digestion, absorption and transport of macronutrients.
  4. Understand the transformation and interactions of nutrients within key metabolic processes, including glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and energy transport chain.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the role of micronutrients in normal cellular processes.
  6. Demonstrate ability to communicate complex information to the public through working effectively within a team assignment.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in a range of online and face-to-face learning activities such as lectorials, workshops, project work, class discussion, individual and group activities. These activities will be blended throughout the course. The syllabus of the course will be discussed during workshops. Students are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in their learning, asking questions of their lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required. There are numerous sources available through the RMIT library, and through links and material specific to this course that is available through RMIT Student Website. A variety of assessments ranging from individual to group-based activities relating to the topics will be covered. Delivery may be face to face, online or a mix of both.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through RMIT Student Website.

Recommended text is:

Whitney, E., Rolfes, SR., Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D., and Walsh, A. (2019 4th edition) “Understanding Nutrition” (Australia & NZ).    Cengage Learning Australia (E-book available on RMIT Library)

Additional useful and updated journal references will be recommended in class.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the RMIT Student Website.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Team-Based Assignment (Storyboard)
Weighting: 10% oral presentation & 20% storyboard
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Assessment Task 2: Online Knowledge Check (Individual)
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Assessment Task 3: In-class Interactive Final Assessment (Individual)
Weighting: 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Assessment Task 4: Individual Assignment
Weighting: 30%
This assessment task supports CLO 2


Details of the workshop activities and other assessment tasks will be explained during the live lectorials, and detailed instructions will be posted on the Canvas course site.

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or 'Equitable Learning Services’ if you would like to find out more.