BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapies (Nutritional Health)

Posted by: Maff


Last week I finally started studying for a bachelor's degree, 10 years after I would have done so if I hadn't been ill.

I am happy to report that I have now moved past feeling anger towards my situation and instead am glad my life has turned out the way it has thus far. I now have a new purpose in life that started with the founding of The Environmental Illness Resource and now continues

as I start studying for a BSc (Hons) in Complementary Therapies (Nutritional Health).


I chose this course as nutritional interventions have been behind many positive changes in my condition as I have experimented with various treatments. Doing research for both personal reasons and for this website have also brought to my attention a multitude of nutritional deficiencies and nutrition related issues that are present in environmental illnesses. I truly believe that nutritional therapy, while not being a magic bullet cure for these conditions, should certainly be a major part of any succesful treatment program.

I must add that I would not have been able to start this course right now if it wasn't for the fact that I am able to do it in distance learning form. The course is run jointly by the University of Greenwich, London, and a specilist nutrition college The UK College for Nutrition and Health (BCNH) which is also based in London. The course is aimed at older students who wish to be qualified at the degree level to better serve their clients and is offered in full-time, part-time and distance learning forms. This is increasingly common at UK universities and while distance learning is often looked down upon, these courses are taught by the same academic staff as attendance courses and are accredited by the same education bodies.

The particular degree I will receive (hopefully!) is accredited by the Nutrition Therapy Council (NTC) and will enable me to practice as a nutritional therapist here in the UK with full insurance cover etc.

I am very much looking forward to my studies and hope they will enable me to improve both my own health and that of others in the future. As I like to remind people throughout the site, when it comes to environmental illnesses, our best hope for improving our health is educating ourselves through whatever means possible!





About: Matthew Hogg ("Maff")
Diagnosed with M.E./chronic fatigue syndrome aged only 11 years old and subsequently associated illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Despite his own struggles he has constantly sought to educate and support others suffering from such "invisible illnesses" through his website, The Environmental Illness Resource. He fully recovered from MCS using his own approach and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutritional Health.



Comments (16)Add Comment
written by Saffron, November 13, 2007
Hi there Matthew, would you mind me asking why you chose this course over other BSc.'s such as straight Nutrition or Nutrition and Dietetics? I'm just wondering as I've been looking at the course you are doing myself and am struggling to see the difference between the 3 courses! Maybe as you are now on the course, you may be able to help? I'm interested in becoming a nutritionist/dietition, in a private capacity, assisting clients with their diets for sports/health/weight loss issues but wonder which course might be most suitable. Thanks everso and good luck with your studies!
Saffy smilies/smiley.gif
written by Matthew Hogg, November 13, 2007
Hi Saffy,

Basically a nutrition degree would be the way to go if you want to become a dietician, work as a nutritionist in the food industry, or continue working in nutrition in an academic role. The degree in nutritional therapy at BCNH allows you to register with the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) and work as a 'nutritional therapist'.

The distinction between a dietician and a nutritional therapist is that the former is concerned only with dietary advice and the latter offers dietary advice but also uses nutritional supplements where there is evidence of a functional deficiency in the client or research evidence that a particular nutrient or combination of nutrients is beneficial in the client's condition.

The BCNH course strongly emphasizes that the work of a nutritional therapist should be backed up by strong science. As such we are being taught to search medical databases and reference any health claims we make for specific nutrients in our assignments.

Which course would be best for you really depends on what you want to do after you graduate. As someone who has suffered from CFS/ME and environmental illness for 16 years and made great progress using both diet and nutritional supplements I know I have chosen the right course for me. I plan to open a clinic specializing in helping others with these conditions once I've graduated.

I don't think you could go wrong with the BCNH course. If you want to open a private clinic specialzing in sports and weight loss, this is an area where nutritional supplements can be very useful. Also with weight loss, a nutritional therapist would be more likely to look for the root causes for a person being overweight such as hypoglycemia/insulin resistance and undiagnosed thyroid issues. Dieticians tend to work in hospital environments providing one-size fits all dietary advice based on current official guidelines for specific conditions such as diabetes. Nutritional therapists tend to treat each client individually.

Hope that helps smilies/wink.gif
written by winnie, April 17, 2008
hi just read your blog. it has helped me to figure out a way to pursue what i wanted to do. thanks a million. i am a diabetic and i wish to open a clinic to help people who are clueless about nutrition and are suffering. by next year i think i should be able to enroll for the same course. thank you so much.
written by Matthew Hogg, April 17, 2008
Hi Winnie,

Great to hear the blog helped you out. I'm almost at the end of the first year of studies now and have to say it is an excellent course. The quality of study materials and lecturers is excellent and I find I am getting a good grounding in the biological sciences and research methods/interpretation needed to offer reliable nutritional advice to future clients.

I wish you all the best with your own health and that of people you will undoubtedly help in the future. If you'd like to know more about the course from myself and other current students please get in touch smilies/smiley.gif

written by Zoe, September 18, 2008
I am trying to find a distance learning Bsc in Nutrition. I did try BCNH but they have said I need to do a foundation 10 month science course which I cannot do due to working. Does anybody know where I could do this. I am doing a Nutritional Advisor Diploma but need to get a degree as I really want to be a Nutritionist.
written by Matthew Hogg, September 19, 2008
Hi Zoe,

I didn't have to do the foundation course as I was lucky to have the right A-Levels. I've had a look on the BCNH website just now however and it seems you can do the science foundation course via distance learning as well. Have a look at It states:

"BCNH SFC course is 10 months in length and is offered on an attendance basis as well as by distance learning."

As for other courses. When I was looking last year I found a handful of comparable degree courses but they were all at London universities and none were offered as entirely distance learning.
written by Bryony, September 22, 2008
Hi Zoe

Try Thames Valley University...
They offer a distance learning BSc degree in Nutrition.
They basically took over a college started by Dr Lawrence Plaskett and converted it to a degree.
Here is the link:
It is quite a good course and will be accredited by the Nutritional Therapy Council ( this is important to check before embarking on any Nutritional course)
Also have a look at the BANT website for info on various courses.

Bryony *

written by Matthew Hogg, September 22, 2008

Great points from Bryony. I didn't realise Thames Valley did a distance learning degree.

Just wanted to add a few links that should be useful. Two that Bryony mentioned:


And this site is a useful resource for careers in nutrition:

Nutri People -


written by Therese Karlsson, March 30, 2010
Hi Maff, I am not sure if your blog is active any longer since there has been no activity for a while. I am looking into studying nutritional therapy this coming September and wondering how you know look upon BCNH after more than half way through. I applied to University of Westminster for their Nutritional Therapy course and went for open day and interview. It seems very good, but the lectures are all day time and I found this BSc at BCNH that do weekends, seems perfect to me. If you have a moment, please write a few lines.
Many thanks,
written by Matthew Hogg, March 30, 2010
Hi Therese,

We're still alive and kicking here at The Environmental Illness Resource - just nobody has commented on this blog post for a while smilies/wink.gif

I am currently writing my dissertation so things are a bit crazy at the moment. The first thing I should tell you is that because the course is aimed at slightly older students (with jobs, families etc) and very few have been able to cope with the workload, BCNH now enrolls ALL students on the diploma course only. I believe students now do only one (maybe two) modules at the University of Greenwich each year and if they want to earn the degree would need to top up after the four year period of the diploma course.

Being ill I have found the course extremely demanding but equally rewarding. The standard of lecturers, course materials and overall education provided by BCNH is exceptional and I would recommend the college to anyone wishing to pursue a career in Nutritional Therapy. The course is certainly not for the feint-hearted however as the workload and standards expected are high. I believe half of the students originally enrolled in my year have dropped out along the way...purely because they couldn't cope rather than any failing of the college.

For people who intend to study full-time and want a degree then the University of Westminster may be a good option - otherwise I would highly recommend BCNH as you can attend weekend lectures or do much of the course distance learning. After graduating with the diploma you could then complete further University of Greenwich modules to obtain a BSc while having already begun to practice as a Nutritional Therapist.

I hope this helps somewhat. Good luck whichever course you choose.

written by belle, May 07, 2010
Hi, I am also very interested to have a degree in Nutrition. However, I am concerned about the cost. I thought it's too expensive to study at BCNH. Is there any university or website you might suggest that is of good quality and affordable at the same time? Thanks much.
written by Matthew Hogg, May 10, 2010
Hi Belle,

Yes the cost is certainly a huge consideration and means you need to be very serious about pursuing a career as a Nutritional Therapist if you are planning on commencing an accredited degree course. The BCNH/University of Greenwich degree course will have cost me £15,000+ by the time I graduate and qualify for clinical practice. Other similar degree courses are available from the likes of the University of Westminster which may be marginally cheaper - but perhaps not as flexible in learning options.

You also need to consider the difference between a degree in nutrition and one which leads to qualification as a Nutritional Therapist. Although the content overlaps the courses are quite different. See
written by Steve, June 24, 2010
Dear All,

I've stubbled upon you forum and have been reading it with interest as I had been seriously considering a return to University via distance learning to study Phytotherapy (Herbalism). Someone please kindly correct me if I'm wrong; but I see Nutritional Therapy as an opportunity which can encompass not just Herbalism but nutritional aspects from Auyerveda and conventional dogma.

Presently, the only offering I can find is Thames Valley Unversitie's Ba(Hons) Nutritional Therapy.
written by Matthew Hogg, June 26, 2010
Hi Steve,

I have just completed the final essay of my BSc in Nutritional Health from BCNH/University of Greenwich and will graduate in the autumn while at the same time starting the year of clinical training required to register as a Nutritional Therapist, get fully insured etc. Unfortunately BCNH has decided to drop its degree option as most students are mature students and doing a full-time degree on top of full-time jobs and in many cases having families to take care of has just proven impossible for many. However, there is the option to top up to a BSc degree by doing the required modules including dissertation at the University of Greenwich via distance learning following completion of the BCNH diploma in Nutritional Therapy (also distance learning).

You do seem a little confused about what Nutritional Therapy entails however. It is basically a science-based nutrition discipline based on the principals of functional medicine as developed by The Institute for Functional Medicine in the US, rather than conventional medical philosophy on which traditional nutrition degrees are based. Although NTs may recommend herbs, herbalism is not a part of NT courses as such and Ayurveda doesn't feature either. Of course once qualified as an NT you can adopt aspects of these other disciplines and even gain qualifications in them to expand the scope of your practice.

I would certainly recommend you do a degree level NT course if you want to go down this route professionally. Degrees provide you with academic skills that you need to be truly effective e.g. ability to interpret medical research accurately.

To learn more about what Nutritional Therapy is see these websites:

Nutritional Therapy Council

British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy
written by Ayla, January 11, 2012
Hi Maff

Having read the above with great interest I must first congratulate you on getting through the degree. Can I ask you how you did?

Thank you for making this information available, its exactly what I've been looking for.
written by Matthew Hogg, January 11, 2012
Hi Ayla,

Don't mention it, happy to share the information with everyone.

Thank you for the congratulations! I graduated with first class honours for the degree and received a diploma in nutritional therapy from BCNH.

Write comment