Clinical Nutrition

Andero Kalju

2 January

Application system opens

15 March

Application deadline

30 April

Admission results

2 September

Academic year starts
Level of study
Study language
Duration and credits
2 years , 120 ECTS
Form of study
Regular study
Student places
Tuition fee
5,000 EUR/year
Tuition waivers
There are no tuition waivers
  • The University of Tartu belongs to the top 350 universities in the world (see Rankings and Surveys).
  • After completing the master's degree in Clinical Nutrition, you will become a specialist who can effectively combine clinical and basic scientific knowledge to create nutritional plans and optimise patient care.
  • Anyone with a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in any health-related field and good English is eligible. Previous experience may be clinical, laboratory, public health or purely scientific.
  • This programme is the only one of its kind in the European Union.


The master's programme in Clinical Nutrition is being held on-site in Tartu. The curriculum provides a broad knowledge of biochemistry, physiology, and metabolism, which underpins clinical provision. The study format includes lectures, seminars and practical work. 

In the first year, you will get a good overview of almost all aspects of clinical nutrition, but the emphasis is on hospital practice with adult patients. We include the principles and methods of scientific research and discussion of medical ethics.

The main activity of the second year is a master's research project. This can be done in Tartu, in the student's hometown or another academic centre. There is also an internship where the student works in a recognised nutrition centre to gain practical experience related to their career. This can also be done either in Estonia or abroad.

The founder and lead lecturer of the programme is Professor Alastair Forbes, who previously established a clinical nutrition course at UCL, London.

Learning outcomes

After completing the programme, you:

  • know the basics of nutrient biochemistry, physiology and metabolism; 
  • can assess the clinical nutritional needs of patients;
  • know the principles of metabolic regulation of stress and insulin resistance.
  • know the principles of surgical stress reduction and nutrition management in perioperative and critical care patients;
  • understand the nutritional problems of patients with malignant tumours and the special nutritional problems of the diseased organism;
  • understand abnormal fluid balances and know the effects of alcohol on nutrition and health in case of illness;
  • understand the metabolic effects of head injuries and burns;
  • understand the nutritional modifications of diseases affecting the liver, kidneys, brain and respiratory tract
  • can devise a suitable diet and dietary recommendations for obesity, diabetes, anorexia nervosa and food allergies;
  • are orientated in the peculiarities of artificial feeding at home;
  • can use basic statistical and medical research tools to plan nutrition;
  • master the methods of critical analysis and interpretation of literature and the skills of writing and presenting scientific papers.

Further information

Programme highlights in video

Course and module details

This programme structure is the latest one confirmed by the university. Next year's modules will be updated by 15 April. Significant changes to the programme will be announced in advance on this website. Check the Study Information System for the latest updates.

The university has modern, state-of-the-art facilities in various buildings in Tartu. Most of the courses take place on the medical campus, about 2 km from the city centre, in the Tartu University Hospital or the Biomeedikum research and education building. Occasionally there will be lectures and seminars in the more historic university buildings in the city centre.

Lecture rooms are fully equipped with modern technology, and the research laboratories meet the highest standards. Students can use the library of the University of Tartu and a wide range of electronic resources.

The teaching faculty represents a full range of clinical specialities as well as mainstream nutrition, and to complement this, and we are inviting a number of leading international experts, which will help students to form affiliations with some of Europe's best nutrition centres.

Students will be encouraged to participate in the Lifelong Learning Program of the European Nutrition Society (ESPEN). Thanks to this programme, it is possible to establish links with other graduate students, not only in Europe but all over the world.

University of Tartu Biomeedikum (also Biomedicum)

The University of Tartu Faculty of Medicine has been the springboard for Estonian doctors and medical researchers since the alma mater's founding in 1632. 

The Biomeedikum (also known as Biomedicum) is the academic building for preclinical subjects of the faculty. 

Tartu University Hospital

Tartu University Hospital is the largest health care provider in Estonia. High quality tertiary medical care is offered in nearly all specialities. At the same time, Tartu University Hospital is the only institution to perform organ transplantations in Estonia. 

Tartu University Hospital is the only academic hospital in Estonia. It plays a major role in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies of medical fields. As the leading teaching hospital, all the staff is trained to supervise students and residents from the Faculty of Medicine and nursing students and colleagues from other hospitals.


Biomedicum tour

Malnutrition and the increasing problems associated with obesity indicate a growing clinical need for relevantly educated professionals. Completing the master's degree will provide the necessary knowledge and skills to develop clinical nutrition in hospitals, family practices, nursing homes, sports medicine, public health, and the food industry. There is currently a great need for academically certified specialists in much of Europe. Fulfilling the Clinical Nutrition master's programme should be career-enhancing.

Admission requirements for Clinical Nutrition


  • bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification (must be obtained by the end of July) either 
    - in a healthcare discipline such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dietetics, public health, psychology, pathology, physiotherapy or dentistry 
    - in a nutrition or food related field, including nutrition, food science, agriculture and veterinary medicine  
    - in a relevant biological subject such as biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, human biology
    - in physical education and sports

Please see our country-specific document requirements.

NB! Citizens of the Russian Federation who, under the legislation of the Republic of Estonia, cannot apply for a long-stay visa or residence permit to study or do not have a valid legal basis to stay in the Republic of Estonia until the end of the curriculum’s standard period of study are not eligible to apply to the University of Tartu in the 2024/2025 academic year.

According to the current legislation, citizens of Belarus can apply for Estonian long-term visa or temporary residence permit for studies and are therefore eligible to apply to the University of Tartu.


Applications are evaluated based on


  • the score of the motivation letter (yields 50% of the final score)

  • the admission interview (yields 50% of the final score)

The motivation letter should be no more than 500 words and should include:
• clear evidence of the applicant’s interests in clinical nutrition;
• prior experience in clinical nutrition (if appropriate);
• a description of the expected effects of completing the degree programme on the applicant’s future professional practice and career plans;
• the applicant’s views on the relevance of research to clinical practice and on improving the integration between academia and patient-facing services.
• an outline of the candidate’s current ideas about a research topic to be focussed on during the master's studies*
*Any research topic described in the motivational statement is not binding and may change during the study programme

Evaluation criteria:
• a good fit between the applicant’s goals and the programme (50 points)
• analytical and argumentation skills (30 points)
• fluency and accuracy of written English (20 points)

Grading scheme:
• each member of the panel evaluates each candidate’s motivational statement on the basis of the three criteria.
• each criterion is evaluated with a maximum score of 100 points
• the overall grade is the average of the panel’s scores
• the maximum score for interview is 100 points and the result is positive only if the applicant gains 51 points or more.


Only the candidates who receive at least 51 points from the motivation letter, will be invited to the online interview (conducted via Zoom). Interviews will take place between 8 and 12 April 2024, appointments will be fixed with each applicant separately. 

The purpose of the entrance interview is to determine the candidate’s:
• motivation to study in the chosen field and ability to self-analyze;
• motivation to learn independently – including online learning and masters’ thesis;
• critical thinking, reasoning and analysis skills;
• understanding of the nature of teamwork and readiness for teamwork;
• self-expression skills and English language skills.

The structure of the entrance interview:
• introduction of the interviewee and members of the interview panel (1-2 min);
• questions from the members of the panel to establish the motivation, abilities and readiness of the candidate for the challenges of the degree course (8-9 min);

• motivation to study in the chosen field and the ability to self-analyze (30 points);
• motivation to learn independently – including online learning and masters’ thesis (30 points)
• critical thinking, reasoning and analysis skills (10 points)
• understanding of the nature of teamwork and readiness for teamwork (10 points)
• self-expression skills and English language skills (20 points).

For both assignments the maximum score is 100 points and the minimum positive score 51 points. Only candidates who receive at least 51 points from the motivation letter will be invited to the online interview. After the interview, the final admission score is calculated. The application will be considered for admission if a total score of 66 points or higher is achieved. For further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score see here


How to apply


The following information applies to international students and Estonian students who graduated abroad:

The application system opens on 2 January and closes on 15 March. The following documents must be submitted electronically via DreamApply by 15 March:

  1. online application
  2. motivation letter
  3. official certified copy of the bachelor's diploma or its equivalent and Diploma Supplement (transcript) in the original language (must include description of the grading scale).
    NB! Applicants graduating in the upcoming spring/summer and having their diploma and final transcript issued later than the application deadline should electronically submit their most recent official transcript by the application deadline. The transcript should be supplemented by an official statement from the issuing institution indicating current enrollment and expected graduation date. Admitted candidates are required to post certified copies of their graduation documents as soon as these have been issued (must reach us no later than by the end of July).
  4. official translation of the bachelor’s diploma and Diploma Supplement (transcript) into English, translation certified
  5. proof of English language proficiency
  6. copy of the passport page stating the applicant’s personal particulars
  7. confirmation/receipt of application fee payment (if applicable). All international applicants are required to pay the application fee EUR 100, unless they have completed the previous study level in Estonia. An application will only be processed after the fee has been received by the UT.

Submitted applications can not be edited. It is only possible to upload new documents (e.g. graduation certificates). Applicants will receive feedback and notifications through the DreamApply system to their e-mail. Incomplete applications or those submitted by e-mail will not be considered for admission.

Guide to submitting an electronic application on DreamApply.

NB: The University of Tartu has no official partnerships with agents or educational representatives. We strongly recommend applying directly to the university without the help of unauthorised third-party entities. Should you use such a service, please ensure that your application's contact information is your personal details (your e-mail, phone number, etc.).

The evaluation of applications will be made based on the electronic copies added to DreamApply. A general ranking list will be formed based on the electronically submitted applications and admission results (including offers) will be announced to all applicants personally via DreamApply by April 30 at the latest. Admitted candidates are expected to accept or decline the offer in DreamApply in 7 days. If the decision is not communicated to UT via DreamApply by the stipulated deadline, UT reserves the right to withdraw the admission offer.

NB! It is not possible to postpone the beginning of studies to the next academic year.

Terms and conditions of the admission offer

Admission offers are conditional. This means that there are conditions in the offer which the applicant needs to fulfil in order to be admitted (e.g. sending application documents by post; obtaining the required level of education). If the conditions are not met, UT has the right to withdraw the offer. Also, UT reserves the right to withdraw or amend any offer or revoke the matriculation of a student, if it becomes evident that the application contains fraudulent information, the qualification does not provide access to the chosen study programme or the student is found to have omitted key information from the application. Should such circumstances occur, UT will not be liable for any material or immaterial loss which the student may suffer as a result.

Once the admission results have been announced, all admitted students are required to send the application documents by post to: Student Admissions, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-133, Tartu 50090, ESTONIA.

The documents are expected to be mailed only by those receiving the admission offer (unless instructed otherwise by the admissions staff). The documents must reach the university within 3 weeks from the announcement of the offer. If the application documents do not reach us by the deadline, the university has the right to withdraw the admission offer. Applicants will be informed when their documents have arrived.

Requirements for educational documents

All copies of educational documents (diplomas and Diploma Supplements/transcripts) must be officially certified. By certified we mean that the copies should bear an original signature and seal of the authority certifying that these are true copies of the original document(s). The copies can be certified either 1) by an authorised official of the issuing institution, or 2) by a notary, or 3) with an Apostille attached. NB! Country-specific requirements may also specify the way documents from certain countries must be certified.

Please note that UT does not accept simple copies made on the basis of already certified copies (primary copies are needed).

All admitted students are required to present their original qualification certificates upon arrival (unless these were sent directly from the issuing institution).

Paying the tuition fee (applicable to those receiving a fee-based study place offer)

  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are required to pay the fee for the first semester once they arrive in Tartu (by 20 September at the latest after signing the fee contract, please read more here).
  • Admitted students from other countries are required to pre-pay half of the first semester's tuition fee. The invoice along with the pre-payment deadline and payment details will be sent to applicants via DreamApply after they have accepted the admissions offer and the University has received the hard copies of the application documents. Second part of the fee is due on 20 September. NB! The official admission letter (necessary for visa application) will only be issued once the University of Tartu has received the pre-payment.
  • NB! Once you have been offered a fee-based study place, be aware that it will not be changed into a fee waiver study place. By transferring the pre-payment to the university, you confirm that you have informed yourself about the process of the visa and temporary residence permit application and you are able to arrive in Estonia by the start of the academic year. If you have any questions please contact

The official admission letter will be sent to admitted students electronically via DreamApply only after the admissions office has received and reviewed hard copies of the application documents, and received the tuition fee pre-payment (if a pre-payment was required, please see step 3 for more details).

NB! The electronic admission letter is also sufficient for non-EU students for applying for visa at an Estonian embassy.

Once the admission letter is issued, accepted students may proceed further with arranging their arrival. All non-EU students should first consult information on the process of visa and temporary residence permit application to be sure, as where and when the relevant documents need to be applied. Note that housing at the UT dormitories can be applied during a limited period of time, unless specified otherwise on the website.

NB! Admitted students who are not citizens of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland need to make sure they obtain the Estonian long-term visa on time in order to be able to participate in the orientation programme for international students held in the last week of August. They are also required to visit the Admissions Office in person to complete their arrival registration by September 2, 2024, at the latest. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of their admission decision and visa.

 For housing alternatives please find further information on Tartu Welcome Centre website.  
Travel information can be found here.

Based upon common queries, the most important information has been summarised into a pre-arrival information website UT Getting Started.

Estonian applicants should apply via National Admission Information Systems (SAIS). Further information in Estonian is available here.

Tuition fee and scholarships

Practical info for new students

Why study at the University of Tartu?

Ask about the programme and admission
Alastair Forbes
Institute of Clinical Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Visiting Professor
L. Puusepa 8-L6027
+372 731 8627

Student Admissions

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