Triangle

Course overview

This pioneering, interdisciplinary postgraduate diploma programme has been developed for individuals working in the brewing industry, providing a key pathway for continuing professional development.

The course is intended to advance your understanding of the scientific principles of the brewing process and to develop and demonstrate a cross-process multi-disciplinary approach to optimising brewery unit operations and improving beer quality.

You will develop skills enabling you to:

  • apply technical knowledge to improve process efficiency
  • develop an innovative approach to achieving product quality
  • prepare for a senior role in the brewing industry

The programme has been specifically designed for part-time distance learning so you can acquire and practice skills in your work environment.

Our postgraduate courses were developed with the support of the EPSRC and the BBRSC Modular Training for Industry Scheme.

Key facts

  • This Brewing Science PGDip is the first of its kind in England. It is delivered to brewers and malters globally by expert staff within the School of Biosciences, through state-of-the-art e-learning technology. 
  • Practical parts of this course are delivered in purpose built brewing facilities, including the AB InBev 10hL Research Pilot Brewery. 
  • The UK Midlands region has strong historic links to brewing and our campus is situated just a short drive away from the famous brewing centre of Burton-upon-Trent.

Why choose this course?

Expert teaching

Learn from experienced brewers and leading academic researchers in the field 

Practical skills

Learn how to design and brew beers and develop practical research skills 

Study part-time

Fit your studies around your other commitments 

Course content

The course is delivered on a part-time basis over two to three years to fit around your work commitments. The PGDip requires 120 credits for completion, consisting of 9 taught modules which are listed below.

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 PGDip over a three-year period. However, the course can be studied over a shorter two year period on request, in which case students need to ensure they have sufficient time allocated to study around their employment. 

All part-time brewing science taught modules consist of an e-learning component (studied remotely via distance learning) followed by a week in residence course held at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus during the spring term. Typically, a formal assessment (usually a written exam) is taken on completion of the residential course. 

Modules

Brewing Raw Materials and Wort Production 20 credits

This module focuses on the raw materials, practice and processes used to manufacture wort in a modern brewery. It develops understanding of the key quality factors of the principal raw materials and how these impact on the quality of wort produced in the brewing process. You will develop knowledge and specialist skills related to the unit operations used in wort production. Learn about how the technologies are controlled to meet the operational objectives of a modern brewhouse such as:

  • production schedule
  • wort strength and fermentability specified for a brand
  • meeting environmental targets through minimising inputs of energy and water.
Beer Finishing and Packaging 20 credits

This module teaches the biological, chemical and engineering processes that are involved in transforming fermented beer into a wide range of finished beers, as well as the principles and practice of packaging beers in small-pack and large-pack formats. Key topics include:

  • flavour maturation and allied industrial practices
  • beer stabilisation to prevent non-biological hazes
  • beer filtration, carbonation, packaging and pasteurisation

You will learn theoretical and legal aspects of packaging, together with consideration of the design and operation of modern high speed packaging lines.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 07 July 2022.
Brewery Yeast Management 10 credits

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 10 credits

This module considers brewing fermentations and the importance of yeast within the process. It considers:

  • pitching and yeast quality
  • fermentation and flavour metabolism
  • fermentation systems and operations
  • yeast flocculation, cropping and storage

Operational practice and challenges as well as potential innovative technologies are discussed.

Brewery Operations and Beer Design 20 credits

This module covers topics related to brewery operations at industrial and craft level. You will develop an understanding of brewery design and layout, and the engineering principles involved in selection of equipment and construction materials. You will learn how to operate a brewery in compliance with relevant legal requirements (UK). A further key objective of this module is to train you to be proficient in beer design. The necessary skills and calculations are taught and then assessed through an innovative beer design project which is conducted in small teams.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 07 July 2022.
Beer Analysis and Quality Management 10 credits

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?

Brewing Microbiology 10 credits

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
  • HACCP
Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis 10 credits

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

Sensory analysis:

  • 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
Sustainable Beer Production 10 credits

The sustainability of production is a critical topic for any brewer. This module will examine resource usage in brewing, with a focus on key performance indicators such as specific energy and water usage. The use of life cycle analysis (LCA), carbon foot printing and water foot printing as tools to achieve a more sustainable process will be discussed.  There is also a focus on brewing co-product streams (e.g. effluent, recovered beer, spent grain, spent yeast, trub, cleaning-in-place residues and kieselguhr) and how these can be reduced and/or treated to minimise their impact on the environment.

Other topics include the utilisation of solid waste (spent grains, yeast and hops) to produce co-products and approaches to reduce packaging, which represents a significant part of the carbon footprint of beer.   

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 07 July 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Webinars
  • eLearning
  • Videos
  • Tutorials
  • Practical classes
  • Field trips

The majority 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
  • live lecture webinars which you can join or access in recorded form
  • 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
  • each year in the spring term, part-time students have a week in residence course held at the University of Nottingham. This provides the opportunity to participate in pilot plant and laboratory practical classes, industrial visits and tutorials relevant to the modules they have studied remotely throughout the year. These courses take place in the International Centre for Brewing Science at our Sutton Bonington campus.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Presentation
  • Essay
  • Poster presentation

Contact time and study hours

Each 10 credits of taught module comprises an overall study time of 100 hours (inclusive of e-learning, self-directed study, coursework and revision time, as well as the week in residence course on campus). When studying by distance learning through term times, typical weekly study hours are 8-9 hours, which consists of e-learning, video lectures and live webinars or tutorials.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

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

Career progression

80.7% of postgraduates from the School of Biosciences secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £23,333.*

* Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" My expertise is in malting science and technology, and flavour development and stability. I look at the sensory impacts of raw materials and process on the finished beer quality. I lead a team of researchers working on these areas. I sit on the board of examiners for the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and am a member of the European Brewing Science Group. We advise the Brewers of Europe on scientific aspects of importance to the industry. "
Professor David Cook, School of Biosciences

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 07 July 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.