The IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition is a postgraduate program. It assumes a good basic knowledge of human nutrition and metabolism, and some understanding of sport and exercise. Successful applicants will normally have an undergraduate degree in dietetics, nutrition, biological sciences, medicine, or a related subject area. Other qualifications may be recognised. All applications are reviewed by an Admissions Tutor, who is supported by members of the Academic Advisory Board.
The language of instruction is English, and students whose native language is not English, or whose first degree was not undertaken in English, should provide evidence of competence in English, eg TOEFL at 500 or above,IELTS at 6 or above, GCSE or equivalent in English language.
The IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition is awarded by the International Olympic Committee (www.olympic.org), as part of the program of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission. The Diploma program operates under the Academic oversight of an international Academic Advisory Board. The members of this Advisory Board, who are all recognised as experts in the field, advise on all aspects of the academic standards of the IOC Diploma, including suitability of applicants, quality assurance of course content, and the moderation of student assessment. More details about the Board Members can be found on the IOC Diploma program website.
The IOC cannot award degrees, but the content and level of the Diploma program are set to be equivalent to about two thirds of the content of a typical University MSc Degree program. Several Universities have reviewed the program content and have agreed to give prior learning credits to students who wish to convert the IOC Diploma to an MSc Degree. You can find full details here: http://www.sportsoracle.com/ioc/diploma-msc-conversion. Several other leading Universities are in the process of recognising the program for this purpose.
Faculty for the IOC Diploma program include research scientists, University teachers and athlete support personnel. All are recognised as world leaders in their fields and all have extensive practical experience. Faculty are selected not only for their expertise but also for their ability to present information in a clear and accessible way.
The goal of the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition is to make available an academic program to help the development of professionals who can support athletes by providing sound information about nutrition. The program has the benefit of input from an international group of experts in sports nutrition and has a faculty beyond the reach of any single academic institution. The aim of the program is to work in harmony with academic institutions and professional bodies of nutrition and dietetics so that this opportunity can complement existing frameworks and help with the development of new opportunities in sports nutrition.
The terms “certify” and “accredit” have different meanings in different countries. In some countries, professional organisations have been formed to guide the training and practice of sports nutritionists and sports dietitians. These bodies often recognise courses that may be used by their members to gain or enhance their professional knowledge. Other bodies recognise individuals who have undertaken certain types of training or experience to reach a desired level of competency. Where these structures exist, we may be able to approach these professional organisations to see how the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition can be used to complement or enhance the existing programs. We may also be able to work with any organisations or groups that exist to promote the practice of sports nutrition.
The workload for the whole Diploma program has a nominal teaching and learning load of 1200 hours, spread over the two years of study. This corresponds to about two thirds of the workload normally required for completion of a University MSc program. However, the time it takes to go through the e-lectures, to read the set literature, and to prepare assignments etc will vary greatly between individuals. It is obvious that some people can achieve a satisfactory performance with a considerably smaller investment of time, but others may need to – or may choose to – invest more. Although there are some key dates by which assignments must be submitted throughout the program, students have considerable flexibility as to how they choose to distribute the workload over the year.
There are 10 modules for each year of study, with each module lasting one month, so the program runs from February-November each year. There are four assignments each year. The nature of these assignments varies, and includes Poster Presentations, Abstracts writing, Critique of a scientific paper, Practical Communication Exercises and Research Paper Analyses. Assignments are submitted in electronic format by uploading them via the student area of the website. Feedback is delivered by email and by posting of materials on the website.
There is one exam each year. This is made available online to students, who then have 24 hours to complete and return it. The exam is held in November.
Students who fail to achieve a satisfactory performance will have an opportunity to resit the exam and/or assignments.
Lectures consist of computer-based presentations by leading international experts and consist of a slide presentation with associated video and audio track. Lecture material is supplemented by a program of directed study, including review papers, original research publications, textbooks and athlete-oriented guidebooks. Additional materials are posted on the program website.
Attendance at the annual meeting is optional, and it can take place anywhere in the world. To date these meetings have taken place in Chicago, USA (in 2006), in Adelaide, Australia (in 2007), in Guangzhou, China (in 2008), and in Oslo Norway (2009): since 2010 the annual meeting has been held in Newcastle, UK. The Chicago workshop was held in conjunction with the Chicago Marathon Medical Conference, the Adelaide workshop in conjunction with the Sports Medicine Australia annual conference, and the Guangzhou workshop in association with the 2008 Pre-Olympic Scientific and Medical Congress. The Oslo meeting in 2009 was held in conjunction with ECSS. The 2010 and 2011 meetings were held in conjunction with the ISSSMC in Newcastle, UK, and subsequent meetings have been held in conjunction with the ISENC in Newcastle, UK.
On completion of the course, you will have a Diploma in Sports Nutrition to add to your other qualifications. You would not be a dietician unless you already have a dietetics qualification.
In many countries, including the UK, anyone can call themselves a sports advisor or a sports nutritionist. Unlike the term “Dietitian”, the profession of Nutrition, including Sports Nutrition, is not protected in any way. You will see many people in the media and in the health and fitness professions calling themselves Nutritionists, even though they have no qualifications. The regulations vary to some extent from country to country, and, in the UK at least, there are some moves to regulate the profession. There is a Nutrition Register and a Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register https://www.bda.uk.com/senr-sport-and-exercise-nutrition-register.html registration is open only to those with appropriate qualifications and experience. The IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition will contribute to the portfolio required for SENr registration.
In a wider sense, the content of the program has been designed to cover the key areas of sports nutrition, including both the underlying science and the issues encountered in working with athletes. The curriculum should give you a sound basis for professional practice, but there is no substitute for experience, and you should also seek to gain practical experience of working with your intended target group.
Employers will look at your whole portfolio of qualifications and experience in deciding whether you are the best candidate for the job. It would be up to any potential employer as to whether they take you on to work with athletes. If you plan to be self-employed, you also need to consider whether you can get professional indemnity insurance and clients. Our students are all graduates, so have other qualifications and skills, which will again contribute to their overall portfolio. Several sports nutrition posts have identified the IOC Diploma as a preferred qualification.
There is more than one type of registration and there is no single paper qualification that allows SENr registration. You should look at the various types of registration on their website at http://www.senr.org.uk/. The IOC Diploma will certainly contribute towards meeting the requirements for registration.
No, the IOC Diploma is not accredited with the DAA as it is not a dietetics course and it is not taught in Australia. However, the IOC Diploma is recognised by Sports Dietitians Australia as a significant activity on its Career Development Pathway.
The IOC has made available a small amount of funding to support students who have difficulty in meeting the full costs of the program. These funds are available through the Olympic Solidarity program: applications must be made through your National Olympic Committee. This is intended primarily to support students from developing countries or others who are financially disadvantaged. Anyone intending to apply for support should do so at the time of their application for admission to the program.
PINES members (https://pinesnutrition.org/) are eligible to apply for financial support to cover part of the tuition fee. See the PINES website for further information. Some organisations have negotiated a discounted Tuition Fee for their members. Members of the BDA (British Dietetic Association), SDA (Sports Dietitians Australia), SHPN (Sports and Human Performance Nutrition), DCSNN (Dietitians of Canada Sports Nutrition Network), and FMND (the Mexican Sports Nutrition Federation) are eligible for a 10% discount on the Tuition Fee.
All resources needed for completion of the program are provided without further financial commitment. This includes not only the online lectures but also a portfolio of reading material that includes full online access to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and online access to core textbooks.
Attendance at the annual meeting is optional. For those who choose to attend, the registration fee for the International Sport and Exercise Nutrition Conference (ISENC) held in Newcastle each December will be paid as part of the tuition fee, but students will be responsible for their own travel and subsistence costs (the conference will provide lunches and an evening meal on one day).
Attendance in person at the Graduation Ceremony in Lausanne is optional. Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs. Certificates will be posted to those who choose to graduate in absentia.
Yes, fees can be paid in 1,2 or 4 instalments for each year of study.