Food Science BSc


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:D610
Qualification:BSc Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Food Science
UCAS code
UCAS code
Food Science | BSc Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
two science-based subjects at A level (chemistry preferred; other science subject can be biology, maths or physics). Also considered are applied science, economics, food technology, geography and psychology.  
Citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and leisure studies not accepted. We may also consider ABC depending on predicted grades in specific subjects.
IB score
32-30 (including specified grades in science subjects and English language) 
Course location
Sutton Bonington Campus 
Course places


This course is accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology and it equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to tackle the challenge of producing and manufacturing food for a growing global population.
Read full overview

Food science sits at the interface of a number of core scientific disciplines. Our degree course opens up a wide range of rewarding and challenging career opportunities; it equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to tackle the challenge of producing and manufacturing food for a growing global population.

As well as formal lectures there are talks from industrialists, laboratory classes, a product development team challenge, small scale food manufacture in our purpose-built food processing facility, problem-based learning through real-life case studies and tours of food manufacturing sites.

You can take an optional placement in industry between years two and three of your degree programme - read our student blogs:

Professional Recognition

This course is accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST).

Nottingham students can join the IFST as an Associate member. In Year two students can choose to enter an examination for IFST Certificate in Sensory Evaluation: Intermediate level. Graduates will be able to apply for membership of various other professional bodies and societies such as the Association for Nutrition; European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST); Royal Society of Chemistry; Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).


Year one 

In the first year you will learn about the science that explains the chemical and physical properties of food materials. Concepts explained in lectures come alive in practical classes and in the food processing facility, where you will make a range of food products and dishes and explore the reasons for the dramatic changes that occur during processing and cooking. You will also find out about the global food supply chain, ie where commodity crops are grown and how they are
transported around the world. At the end of Year one you will visit a number of food manufacturing sites as part of a field trip; this is not only educational, but it helps to nurture good relationships with peers and staff.

Year two

Building on year one, you will manufacture food products and develop your critical thinking skills, supported by small group tutorials and lectures. You will gain a detailed understanding of process engineering and of the role of certain hydrocolloids and macromolecules in determining the physical properties of certain food products.

In small teams you will actively work together to solve food product-related problems as presented in industry based scenarios. A module in sensory evaluation provides you with the skills and protocols to test consumer acceptance of new products. You will learn how to prevent food spoilage and to identify potentially toxic microorganisms.

Year three

In the final year you will carry out a unique research project supervised by one of our academics.

In addition to your project, you will study the operation of food factories and develop a new product in the food processing facility as part of a
small group, then present your product (ready to eat or drink) to your peers and to representatives from industry; a prize is awarded to the best team. 

You will also be supported in developing your own career plans and gaining the associate skills required to succeed in your chosen graduate pathway.

Industry Placement year

This optional year in industry as a paid employee takes place between years two and three of your degree. It gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in a real-world environment, which will significantly improve your employment prospects.

Our reputation ensures that we maintain good contacts with food companies ranging from multinationals to local manufacturers. For example you could be working for a multinational food manufacturer like Unilever, Kraft or GSK or a leading retailer such as Sainsbury’s, M&S and Tesco. Read more.

See student blogs

Year in Computer Science

You can combine this degree with a fourth extra year (year three) spent in the University's School of Computer Science. This additional year will provide you with training in software development and computing skills relevant to your final year research project and to your future career.

You will be able to transfer into this programme from your BSc course (subject to progression criteria). 

Study Abroad options

Combining Food Science with a Certificate in European Studies offers the opportunity to study abroad at one of our Erasmus+ partner universities in France, Germany or Spain for an extra year. You can transfer to this four year route in your first semester of study, subject to language competency.

Students can also apply to the University-wide exchange programme and spend a semester studying abroad at one of our world-leading partner universities in a variety of overseas locations including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and China. 

Read more


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB-BBB, including two science-based subjects at A level (chemistry preferred; other science subject can be biology, maths or physics). Also considered are applied science, economics, food technology, geography and psychology. Citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and leisure studies not accepted. We may also consider ABC depending on predicted grades in specific subjects.

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see alternative qualifications page

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for this course

Flexible admissions policy

We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.

Notes for applicants 

Our modular courses are flexible and offer the opportunity to combine your main studies with modules in other subject areas (please note that all modules are subject to change).



Typical year one modules


The Biosciences and Global Food Security
How can you use science to help improve global food security? This module introduces you to the issues of global food security and the complexity existing in different parts of our food generation system. Looking across the food supply chain, you’ll cover the evolution of crops, crop and animal production, and the food industry. Importantly, you’ll also look at sustainable nutrition because food security isn’t just about supply – it’s important that people are getting the right kind of food. You’ll learn about these issues through a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions. You’ll also develop professional skills to work safely in laboratory situations.  
Biochemistry – The Building Blocks of Life
Have you ever wondered how some crops can resist diseases? This module provides you with the fundamentals for understanding biochemical processes in living organisms. You’ll be introduced to the basic structure, properties and functions of the four key biological macromolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. You’ll also look at the metabolic pathways occurring in cells, such as respiration, photosynthesis and the biosynthetic pathways for the key macromolecules. In addition to lectures, you’ll have practical laboratory sessions to learn how to use key biochemical techniques for the separation and analysis of macromolecules and measurement of the metabolic process.
Foundation Science 
A solid understanding of mathematics, physics and chemistry is essential for a scientist. This module will provide you with the foundation knowledge of mathematics and statistics, physics and chemistry needed for your future studies. It compensates for potential gaps in understanding resulting from different prior education. The mathematics and statistics element includes powers and logs, differentiation, significance and regression. The physics element includes energy and heat, light and the electromagnetic spectrum, attenuation/absorption, and radioactivity. The chemistry element includes elements and periodic table; atomic structure and bonding; intermolecular attractions, chemical equilibrium; acids and bases, oxidation and reduction; rates of reaction; and basic organic chemistry, isomerism, and rings. You’ll have lectures from experts in these fields and use computer-aided learning practicals to apply what you’ve learnt.
Introduction to Nutrition
Nutrients are vital to humans and animals, but how do they work? In this module you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of nutrition, including macronutrients, energy metabolism, vitamins and minerals. Depending on your interest, you’ll be able to focus on human or animal nutrition. This means you can choose to look at the role of nutrition in human disease (including coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes), or learn about animal nutrition and what it means for food production. You’ll learn about nutrition through a mix of lectures, practical sessions and e-learning.
Academic Development and Employability
This module aims to enhance your academic and professional development via small group work within tutor groups. You’ll become equipped in areas such as essay-writing, presentational skills (oral and written), critical interpretation of published materials, and other generic skills that should benefit you in other modules throughout your degree. You’ll have a one hour lecture and 45 minute tutorial each week to study for this module.
Food Materials and Ingredients
Food materials can be raw, or in the form of manufactured food products. During processing, the material properties of the food are altered; this directly affects the quality of the food product in terms of, for example, its colour, flavour and texture. This module introduces you to properties of these materials (raw and processed), with a particular focus on the chemical and physical nature of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. You’ll have a weekly four hour lecture supported by three hours of practicals each week.
Contemporary Agricultural Systems 
Modern agriculture is a dynamic, fast-paced and high-tech industry. In this module, you’ll explore practical agricultural systems used by commercial UK farms. Designed for students with a farm or non-farming background, you’ll get to understand the fundamental concepts of agricultural systems within the context of contemporary markets, policy and research. Exact topics covered in the module will vary according to the issues affecting the agricultural industry in any one year, but examples include: dairy production, arable production, soils, agri-environmental interactions, labour and machinery management and farm business systems. You’ll have lectures from academics currently researching these fields and will visit the University Farm and external farms to see what you’ve learnt in practice.
Microbial Physiology
Through four hours of lectures each week, you’ll be given basic knowledge of bacterial cell structures and growth and reveal the mechanisms that allow bacteria to respond to their environment. You’ll also be taught how to handle data commonly used in microbiological experimentation and be given training in the basic practical methods required for all microbiological laboratory work through a three hour practical each week.


Optional modules - there are no optional modules in year one


Typical year two modules


Manufacture of Food
In this module you will learn about the manufacturing of a wide range of industrially manufactured food products. You will follow the whole process from the ingredients used to the final packaged food, with an emphasis on key physical and chemical properties of food biomaterials before, during and after processing, and on the underpinning scientific principles that can be applied to a number of food manufacturing systems. You will have lectures, tutorials, group learning and practical sessions in our Food Processing Facility as well as in the laboratory.
Food Product Case Studies
Through problem-based learning (PBL) you will develop skills in diagnosing and solving challenges relating to the manufacture, distribution and/or storage of food products. You’ll have a three hour session each week to study for this module.
Food Safety and Legislation 
Through weekly lectures and workshops, the aim of this module is to introduce you to the legislation relating to food and enable you to recognise the responsibilities (and liabilities) of those engaged in the production, manufacture and supply of food and related products. This includes the composition, labelling and advertising of food and food products sold for human consumption within the UK and the EU as well as the legislation that impacts on health attributes and claims for consumer products.
Sensory Evaluation
Sensory quality of food is the key attribute in food acceptability. It provides pleasure and also plays a key role in delivering nutritious food in a palatable way. Food quality can be measured using sensory methods as well as instrumental measures of attributes like taste, aroma and texture. The aim of this module is to review the senses and the sensory methods employed by research and industry to measure sensory properties and the consumers’ liking response.
Microbial Mechanisms of Foodborne Diseases 
This module aims to provide a fundamental understanding of the microorganisms causing food-borne disease and the mechanisms by which they do this and their routes of transmission. In laboratory practicals you will learn a number of core practical methods needed for the safe handling, culture, isolation, enumeration and identification of a range of ACDP2 pathogens. 



Principles of Immunology
What are the main events of the immune response when the body is infected by intra and extracellular parasites, essential components of many diseases? In this module you’ll be introduced to the fundamental concepts behind cellular and molecular immunology. You’ll learn about the main characteristics and features of the innate and adaptive immune system, their functions and how they relate to each other. You’ll explore current immune-techniques, modern concepts of immune-deficiency and hypersensitivities, and contemporary topics in animal and human diseases. 
The module will provide an introduction to viruses and their interactions with their hosts (bacteria, plants and animals including humans) as well as discussing the structure of viruses and their significance including pathogenesis and molecular biology. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Introduction to Business Operations
You’ll be given appreciation of the main elements and techniques of operations management, within a business context through a weekly 90 minute lecture and one hour seminar.
Nutrition Regulation, Physiology and Endocrinology
This module aims to develop your understanding of the principles of nutrition from dietary assessment and food analysis through to how the body utilises the diet’s nutrients in energetics throughout the human lifespan and in different pathological states. You will investigate the physiological systems that control homeostasis and metabolism as well as examining how the body regulates various physiological responses to food, regulating appetite and energy expenditure. You will have two lectures and workshops per week for this module. 



Typical year three modules


Research Project

This module will provide you with an opportunity to use your initiative and knowledge to undertake an original research project under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff. Your research project will run throughout the final year. This project encourages critical thinking and involves independent research in a supportive environment under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff.

You will design the study, gain familiarity with the techniques, undertake data collection, debate ethical issues and where appropriate safety procedures relevant to the topic. You’ll undertake appropriate quantitative analysis and prepare a report of approximately 5000 words.

Recent research projects include: 

  • Waste tomato seed as a source of tocopherol (vitamin E)-rich natural emulsions
  • Comparison between Turkish Delight and hard gummy sweets
  • Particle stabilised emulsions 
  • Flavour perception of standard and organic orange juice

Read BURN the Biosciences Undergraduate Research at Nottingham web pages to find out more about undergraduate research projects. BURN is a freely accessible e-journal which showcases final-year research projects undertaken by biosciences students. 

The Microflora of Foods
You’ll be given an understanding of: the micro-organisms which are important in foods; the factors which control the development of the microflora of food products and the methods which can be used to isolate and identify bacteria from food products. You’ll spend one day per week in lectures studying for this module.
Personal and Professional Development for Food Scientists
This module provides specific training and learning opportunities to develop a range of key skills and competencies that improve employability prospects for you, and your performance once in work. These include, positive behaviours e.g. taking responsibility, being proactive, and integrity on discharging roles as well as key employability skills e.g working as part of a team, developing leadership capability, exercising influence, networking.
Food Factory Operations
You’ll be made aware of a range of operations used in food manufacturing and emphasis will be placed on the hygienic and legal requirements for the production of foods. When working in a food factory, you should have sufficient understanding to contribute, at managerial level, to a production team and be able to contribute to the development of novel food products under factory time scales and limitations. You’ll have a four hour lecture and four hour practical each week to study for this module.
Trends in Food Research
This module will expose you to research and developments in a number of areas of current academic interest within the Division of Food Sciences. This could include: flavour and sensory science; properties of biopolymers; sustainable nutrition; salt reduction; engineering new food structures. Factors that initiate shape and direct this research will be discussed and explored.


Applied Bioethics 1: Animals, Biotechnology and Society 
Animal-human interactions raise some prominent ethical issues. In this module, you’ll examine the ethical dimensions concerning animal agriculture, modern biotechnologies and research in the biosciences, in relation to both humans and non-human species. You’ll learn about the ethical frameworks used to analyse specific dilemmas raised by the human use of animals. Using specific animal and biotechnology case studies, you’ll interpret the main ethical theories and principles and apply them to the case studies to inform professional decision-making. You’ll have a mix of lectures and seminars to explore these concepts.
Physical Chemistry of Molecules
This module will develop your understanding of the basic physical chemistry behind the properties of biomolecules - properties which underpin their behaviour in vivo and their technology and some of the techniques used to characterise their size. You’ll spend six hours in lectures and have a four hour practical each week to study for this module.
Exploring Perspectives in Entrepreneurship
This module aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the concept of entrepreneurship and what entrepreneurial activity involves in practice. It introduces theoretical perspectives like economic theories, sociological approaches, and psychological approaches. You’ll understand what shapes the practice of entrepreneurship in different settings (eg social entrepreneurship or family business) and what is due to contextual influences (eg entrepreneurship in the media and the influence of gender). There are eleven one-hour lectures and three seminars.
Technology Entrepreneurship in Business 
This module introduces the process of commercialising for science and technology. Commercialisation deals with developing intellectual property within the science and technology domain to a point where it is ready to enter the market. This process is an increasingly important activity as Government and business places importance on the wealth creation. You’ll have weekly lectures and two seminars.
Applied Bioethics 2: Sustainable Food Production, Biotechnology and the Environment
Building on Applied Bioethics 1, you’ll investigate widely accepted ethical principles and apply your insights to contemporary ethical issues in agricultural, food and environmental sciences. You’ll explore the ethical dimensions of prominent issues raised by the agricultural practices (including the use of biotechnology and GM crops) designed to meet the nutritional needs of the global population. You’ll also learn about how ethical theory can inform professional choices and public policies related to food production and environmental management. You’ll have a mix of lectures, tutorials and team-based exercises to develop a sound understanding of ethical principles.
Rapid Methods in Microbial analysis
This module will enable you to understand where new methods can replace traditional techniques of microbial detection and recording. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and have a three hour practical each week to study for this module.
Microbial Fermentation
This module commences with a review of microbial fermentation, including beer, cheese, yoghurt, meat and single-cell protein production, as well as sewage treatment. The underlying principles of microbial fermentation will be discussed, in addition to specific examples which will be examined in depth. From this basic knowledge the problems of microbial contamination and spoilage of the finished product will be analysed. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and have a four hour practical each week to study for this module.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



The food and drink industry is Europe's largest manufacturing industry – employing half a million people in the UK alone.

A wide range of career options exist for our food science graduates  including:

  • Product or process technologist, specification technologist (manufacturing or retail) 
  • Sensory scientist
  • Innovation technologist
  • Quality assurance technologist
  • Research and development
  • Commercial and manufacturing options
  • Raw materials buyer or operations improvement
  • Food-related careers eg journalism, food aid coordination and policy making (in government agencies with responsibility for food standards, labelling laws or environmental health)

You may also wish to consider options in postgraduate study. 

Additional transferable skills include: communication, analysing and presenting data, leading teams and working to deadlines.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 91% of first-degree graduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,257 with the highest being £28,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.

Home students*

There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.

To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.  

Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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