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Diet choices are now the top cause of death and disability globally. Not only is our diet causing ill health, it is a major factor contributing to climate destruction. A global shift to a predominantly plant-based diet is deemed necessary to preserve both human and planetary health. But what is a healthy plant-based diet? How can it be achieved? What are the benefits? All these questions will be answered in this short course, designed for those interested in improving their knowledge and expertise in the field of plant-based nutrition. The course is designed for health professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, dieticians, nutritionists, physiotherapists) who would like to incorporate evidence-based nutrition into routine clinical practice. The course is a facilitated self-paced short course to be completed within 8 weeks. There are 6 modules, each requiring at least 6 hours of personal study to complete.

What is the content of the course?

The course will start by discussing the main dietary determinants of disease, disability and death, focussing on data from the United Kingdom and comparing with international data sets. It will discuss different types of nutrition studies and common dietary patterns. The course will review the role of nutrition in promoting optimal health and wellbeing. Key components of a healthy plant-based diet will be covered, including nutrients of abundance and those that are notable for their relative absence. There will then be an in-depth review of the scientific literature supporting the role of plant-based nutrition in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. This will include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, dementia, obesity, bone health, women's health and gastrointestinal disorders. In the final week, comparisons will be made with other popular diet patterns, such as 'low-carb' and 'Paleo' diets, and national and international nutrition guidelines will be reviewed with analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. The connection between our diet choices and the impact on the environment will be explored and a model of sustainable farming will be presented.

The content has been created by 17 plant-based health professionals and experts from the UK. Many have been plant-based themselves for several years and use plant-based nutrition in their clinical practice as part of an overall approach to lifestyle medicine. 


This course has been accredited for 30 CPD hours by the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM) and can be counted towards Maintenance of Certification for the diploma in lifestyle medicine by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. On completion of the course, participants will be issued a certificate of completion from the University. Please note that the certificate itself is not a formal qualification. The course is open to those in and outside the UK.



Distance learning only.

Learning and teaching

This is a fully online, 8-week, distance learning course, facilitated and taught by Dr Shireen Kassam. It will require approximately 6 hours of study per week, but this will vary based on your prior knowledge of the subject. The course consists of a combination of written material, pre-recorded lectures, quizzes to test learning and a weekly compulsory written discussion on a controversial topic. The course can be worked through in your own time and will be available for 8-weeks. There are 2 optional Q&A sessions on this course held via Teams.

This distance-learning course is delivered via Canvas. Due to government regulations, Instructure (Canvas) prohibits the unauthorised use of its products and services in specific countries and regions. We need to make these restrictions clear to individuals considering this course. Please see the guidance as documented by Canvas.

Which countries are restricted from using Canvas?

This course requires access to the following:

  • Windows XP SP3 and newer
  • Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
  • Linux - chrome OS
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 2GHz processor
  • Minimum of 512kbps (basic DSL)

JavaScript must be enabled in your browser.

  • Chrome 19
  • Safari 5
  • Firefox 12


This course far exceeded my expectations. As a plant-based dietitian, I was keen to learn more about the health benefits of such a diet, but I did not expect to learn such an incredible amount of in-depth, evidence-based information. The course is extremely well thought out, the lectures are fantastic and the online support from the tutors invaluable. You will need to dedicate quite a bit of time but the more you put in the more you will benefit. I thoroughly recommend this course.

Lisa Simon RD


The University of Winchester has set the standard for nutrition education with their excellent online course, "Plant-based Nutrition; A Sustainable Diet For Optimal Health.” This is a 6-week banquet of practical, evidence-based, nutrition information, presented by knowledgeable, clinically-experienced teachers, to be consumed and savoured at your own pace. If you are a health professional who understands the importance of our diet in creating either health or disease - or someone who just wants to learn more about the science of plant-based eating - this course is where to start.

Michael Klaper, M.D.
Director, Moving Medicine Forward
and Plant-based Telemedicine
West Palm Beach, Florida


I am extremely grateful to Dr Shireen Kassam for putting together an excellent, insightful, informative, scientific and fact-based course on plant-based nutrition. It was well organised and supported - thank you

Ruby Sandhu, Lawyer


It is no exaggeration to describe this course as life-changing for me professionally, and personally, I have learned so much that will help me optimize my own vegan diet, and that of my plant-based journeying family. As a GP, I now feel I have the knowledge base around plant-based nutrition and the confidence to intervene with sound advice in many of the chronic health problems I see on a daily basis. Every doctor working in Primary Care or specialties should complete this course.

Dr Sarah Benn, NHS GP practicing in Birmingham


Run by the Faculty of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Winchester, this is the only University-based course of its kind in the UK. It is aimed at and designed for health professionals. Those who are not health professionals can enrol but they should be aware that the course assumes knowledge of medical terminology and a basic understanding of common chronic diseases. A good command of the English Language is required, both written and oral. If you are not a health professional, a background in science at University/degree level is desirable if not essential to get the most out of the course.

Course enquiries and applications

The course will repeat every academic term. The 2023/2024 academic year start dates are:

  • 3 October 2023
  • 16 January 2024
  • 19 March 2024
  • 21 May 2024

Book now

For general enquiries please contact the department administrator For academic/course content enquires please contact Shireen Kassam

Module Topics

Modules Credits

Module 1
  1. Dietary determinants of disease and disability and the burden of malnutrition
  2. Types of nutrition studies - strengths and weaknesses
  3. Healthy dietary patterns and dietary assessment tools
  4. Metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates
Module 2
  1. Components of a whole food plant-based diet
  2. How to ensure a whole food plant-based diet is nutritionally complete
  3. Plant-based diets for pregnancy and children
  4. General overview of the benefits of a plant-based diet for health
  5. Plant-based diets for the prevention and treatment of diabetes


Module 3
  1. The role of plant-based diets in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease
  2. Plant-based diets in chronic renal failure
  3. The role of plant-based diets in preventing and treating obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Module 4
  1. The role of plant-based diets for cancer prevention, recurrence and survival
  2. The role of plant-based diets for prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases
  3. The impact of diet on mental health and well-being and impact of plant-based diets
  4. How to facilitate behaviour change through coaching
Module 5
  1. The role of diet and exercise in maintaining musculoskeletal health and preventing osteoporosis
  2. The impact of diet and nutrition on Women's health, including endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, menstrual disorders and menopause
  3. The role of diet and lifestyle in preventing dementia and frailty
Module 6
  1. A review of UK and international dietary guidelines - strengths and weaknesses
  2. Popular diet patterns, including 'Paleo' and 'low-carb'
  3. Plant-based diets for athletes
  4. The impact of diet on environmental health and sustainable farming for a plant-based world

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Progression from one level of the programme to the next is subject to meeting the University’s academic regulations.

Course Tuition Fees and Additional Costs

The normal fee is £350
You will receive joining instructions via email within 10 days of the start date.

For information about staff and student discounts please contact the department administrator

Total Cost | £350

Key course details

8 weeks
Distance Learning only