The course is delivered on a part-time basis over two to four years to fit around your work commitments. The MSc requires 180 credits for completion, consisting of 10 taught modules (120 credits) and a brewing research project (60 credits). The PGDip Brewing Science shares the same taught component as the MSc but does not include a project module.
For brewers in full-time employment, we recommend that the course is studied at the rate of 40 credits per year, with completion of the MSc over a three-year period. However, the rate at which you progress through the course is flexible, according to preference and circumstances.
All taught modules consist of an e-learning component (studied via distance learning), followed by an intensive residential course held at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus.
For the MSc, you will undertake your brewing research project over the summer period towards the end of the course. This is your opportunity to undertake an innovative problem-solving project, which has been specifically designed to draw on the skills and experience you have gained during the taught modules.
75% of course materials are delivered by distance learning, designed to be studied part-time and to fit around your work. The latest innovations in web-based learning are used to ensure an interactive feel to the course and promote deeper learning of the scientific principles of brewing, these innovations include:
- e-lectures, featuring streamed video presentations by brewing science academics on key subjects; the slide presentation and a written transcript of the lecture can also be downloaded
- structured learning through a combination of virtual directed reading, self tests of understanding, animations and video footage of processes and a virtual library
- group work and directed discussion events via dedicated chat rooms
- one week per semester is spent at an intensive residential course held at the University of Nottingham. This provides the opportunity to develop theories and practice through traditional face-to face teaching techniques such as lectures, seminars, workshops, laboratory practicals, industrial visits and tutorials. Typically, a formal assessment (usually a written exam) is taken on completion of the residential course
Raw Materials for Brewing
This module provides an understanding of the significance and quality parameters of the key raw ingredients used in brewing and of the underlying science and technology. Links between raw material and product quality factors will be considered. The collaborative group project will develop teamworking, communication and ultimately presentation skills at the assessment event.
Develop an understanding of the science underpinning the processes utilised in the production of wort from raw materials. To consider the key constituents of wort which impact upon beer quality and the influential processing parameters involved. The module forms a part of the ‘brewing process’ component of the MSc in Brewing Science and links directly into the raw materials, fermentation and flavour development modules whilst also forming a core knowledge base for students studying the cross-disciplinary parts of the course in subsequent years.
Brewery Yeast Management
This module considers brewing yeast management in relation to brewery fermentations. You are introduced to scientific principles and their relevance to industrial practices:
- Brewing taxonomy
- Brewing yeast cell biology
- Brewing yeast genetics
- Brewing yeast biochemistry
- Brewing yeast replication and growth
- Yeast culture maintenance and supply
- Methods of analysis (genetic, biochemical and physiological)
- Brewing yeast propagation and pitching
Fermentation and yeast handling
This module considers brewing fermentations and the importance of yeast within the process. You will be introduced to scientific principles and their relevance to industrial practices:
- Brewing yeast biochemistry
- Brewing yeast propagation and pitching
- Fermentation (biochemistry, technologies and process control)
- Brewing yeast flocculation and sedimentation
- Brewing yeast crop recovery, storage, acid washing and recycling
- Recovery and disposal of spent yeast
- Other topics related to malting as deemed appropriate.
Beer Maturation and Filtration
This module considers biological and chemical processes that contribute to the maturation of beer once fermentation is complete. You will be introduced to scientific principles and relevance to industrial practice of
- Maturation: flavour and aroma changes. Techniques to achieve product specification
- Formation of non-biological hazes and stabilisation against non-biological haze
- Carbonation: carbon dioxide addition, saturation and recovery
- Clarification and filtration. Removal of yeast and beer recovery, beer filtration
- Specialised beer treatments: low-alcohol, alcohol-free, ice beers, diet beers, bottle conditioning
This module considers the occurrence, frequency and biology of non-brewing microorganisms that are associated with spoilage during the brewing process or the final product. The impact of microorganisms on process and beer will also be considered. You will be introduced to:
- Spoilage microorganisms associated with the brewing process and final beer product
- Sampling, detection and identification of brewery microorganisms
- Disinfection of brewery yeast
- Cleaning- in – place (CIP) operations
- The principles and practice of brewery hygiene
Beer Analysis and Quality Management
Development of the key chemical & physical properties of beer which determine its’ quality & the analytical techniques which are used to measure them. When & where in the process should measurements be taken using a Brewery Analysis Plan and how are these measurements integrated into the necessary Brewery Quality Systems?
This module will provide you, if new to brewing, with the necessary practical skills to enable you to brew and pack beer. It will be largely practically based using the nano and AB InBev micro-brewery facilities, but also supplemented with appropriate lectures, tutorials and visits to external commercial breweries. The module will culminate in an assessed group exercise, the object of which will be the production of a batch of packaged beer of style and recipe chosen by each team.
Brewery Waste Management and Environmental Issues
This module considers water effluents, waste treatments and disposal and conversion of waste streams into valuable co-products. You will be introduced to scientific principles and relevance to industrial practice of:
- Sources of water, forms of treatment and the characterization of waste water, Life Cycle Analysis principle and application
- Carbon footprint
- The disposal of brewery effluents
- Biotechnology and bioconversions
- Disposal and potential uses of spent grains
- Disposal and potential uses of spent yeast
- Reduction in energy consumption in the brewery and other topics related to maturation of beer as deemed.
Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis
Flavour quality across the brewing process, examining the key materials, processes & quality parameters which influence beer flavor from grain to glass. Develops understanding of multisensory flavor perception & theoretical aspects of the sensory evaluation of beer.
Beer flavour development:
- Key components of beer flavour (volatile / non-volatile flavour components & balance; sweetness-bitterness balance; chloride-sulfate ratio; trigeminal effects: temperature/ carbonation; mouthfeel (e.g. beer foam, viscosity) influence of pH; multisensory considerations). Interactions between the senses.
- Range of beer styles and their flavour characteristics.
- Development & control of key beer flavour characters or off-notes throughout the brewing process.
- Trouble-shooting flavour defects in beer
- Flavour stability / staling of beer during storage: oxidation/ maturation. To include methods for monitoring beer staling; current theories of beer flavour stability; separate contributions of materials & process to flavour stability; potential markers for beer staling
- Theory of sensory analysis, designing and running sensory trials
- Facilities and recruitment of assessors
- Introduction to main sensory methodologies (e.g. discrimination testing/ quantitative methods/ descriptive/ profiling, threshold determination/ hedonic tests)
- Beer flavour wheel/ QDA of beer
- Ethical considerations/ consumer testing and behaviour.
- Experimental design and analysis of sensory data; ANOVA
Brewing Research Project (full-time)
You will be required to carry out a practical project in brewing science which involves the application of contemporary concepts, theories and methodologies relevant to a selected topic. Content will be agreed with the course supervisor (and where appropriate industrial supervisor) appointed to the project to ensure that the academic content is suitable for a postgraduate course. Ideally the project will be carried out as a placement in industry to address a real situation; however, where this is not feasible or dependent upon the requirements of the research project, a laboratory-based project may be undertaken. Although an individual responsibility, the project will usually involve working with others and may be part of a team project (e.g. developing, brewing and marketing a new beer brand in collaboration with a local brewer).
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
This course is aimed at individuals working in the brewing industry and will prepare you for employment at a senior level within the industry.
Our graduates would typically follow a career in:
- process, production and technical governance
- hypothesis-led problem solving and innovation in brewing
- future middle to senior brewery management
You will also be ideally placed to continue your research to PhD level, for example, and to pursue an academic career in the field of brewing science.
Average starting salary and career progression
100% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £28,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £65,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.