Course overview

Food production management is an exciting and challenging course, combining the food sciences with management skills. It equips science and engineering graduates for a career in food production or technical management in the food industry. You will acquire the knowledge associated with food processing, quality assurance and new product development. It also develops essential management techniques including supply chain planning and quality management.

Factory visits, case studies and guest speakers from industry will give you plenty of industry exposure throughout the year. Tackle the real-life industry problems in our problem-based learning module. The briefs from industry will be used for a new product development project. You will do the practical in our Food Processing Facility which hosts a wide range of commercial scale food production and testing equipment.

There is an opportunity to complete your research project in collaboration with the food industry. Projects can be factory, laboratory or literature based. Some students will have the opportunity to complete their project at the industry partner's facilities. 

Why choose this course?

Combined skills

Study food sciences and business to lead to technical and managerial careers

Strong industry links

Learn through industrial placements, factory and food event visits and guest lectures from leaders in the food industry

Talent development

Advance your career in the food and drink sector with our dedicated workshops and training sessions

Specialist facilities

Use our food processing facility, food flavour laboratory, sensory sciences centre, biomaterials laboratory and technologically enhanced teaching laboratory

Research focussed

We're tackling the most important research topics and breakthroughs across interdisciplinary areas like food sciences, sustainability, digitalisation and health and nutrition 

Support programme

Covering careers, academic study skills and social events. You can also access help from our support and wellbeing service.

Course content

This course is divided into two parts:

  • 120 credits of taught modules in the autumn and spring semesters
  • 60 credits research project in the summer

For a masters, a total of 180 credits is required. A diploma is awarded if you choose to take only the taught element worth 120 credits.

In the autumn semester and spring semester, you will normally study 60 credits of food sciences modules and 60 credits of management modules. However, there are some optional modules to take into account your background and interests.

The research project involves collaboration with the food industry, either at the University or working within a company. The project will provide an insight into the scientific principles of food production processes or the application of modern management techniques to food manufacture.


Core modules

Postgraduate Research Project 60 credits

You can carry out the project on campus or as part of an industrial placement. Placements in industry will be subject to meeting academic requirements. If you are completing your project in industry you will have an industrial supervisor who will determine the topic. You will design the study; and gain familiarity with previously published literature, together with the methods/techniques. You will use data collection and appropriate quantitative analysis in preparation for the report and poster presentation.

Factory Design and Operations for Food Production 20 credits

This is a year-long module. You will learn the theory in autumn semester and do the new product development project in spring semester.

In autumn semester you will learn:

  • Manufacturing Principles e.g. factory design/layout, location, HACCP, Hygiene, cleaning
  • Business Operations e.g. food Law, labelling, brands, entrepreneurship, auditing, specifications
  • Industry Case Study: single industry case study focussing on how various manufacturing principles and business operations are implemented in the brewing industry

In spring semester you will be working in a team to carry out a new product development project:

  • Turn the industrial brief into the real product
  • Manage raw material selection, processing development, marketing research, microbiological testing ensuring the product is safe for consumption and consumer testing to see if consumers would purchase. Packaging materials will also be designed
  • Make this all a reality in the space of approximately eight weeks and finish by presenting at our showcase event
Core Skills and Technologies of Food Manufacture 30 credits

This module prepares you with the skills necessary for competent working within the food industry. It therefore equips graduates with a wide range of skills necessary to seek employment as masters graduate in this sector. The module covers:

  • Food composition, including physical and chemical properties of key components used in food production, and also functionality of each ingredient to create the final product. Understanding the principle of food preservation and hygiene requirements within food factory.
  • Food processing includes the role of water in the food factory and thermal processing; pasteurisation, sterilisation, heat flow and unit operation required to transform the materials to a food product as well as the effect of these operations on each ingredient.
  • Food analysis including the quality of the final product in terms of safety, quality measurements and sensory evaluation. Measuring the key components of food, e.g. protein, salt and sugar. Appropriate use of data and statistics for quality management. You could also could get the Foundation Certificate in Sensory Science of IFST (Institute of Food Science and Technology).
  • Develop reporting skills includes design the experiment, do the practical and analyse the data. Knowledge can be demonstrated by poster, viva & writing a report.
Food Manufacturing Case Studies 10 credits

This is a problem-based learning module. Learning results from the process of working towards the understanding and resolution a problem. You will develop skills in diagnosing and solving challenges relating to the manufacture, distribution, and storage of food products.

You will work for two weeks to tackle real-life industry problems. You will solve these technical problems by producing corrective and preventative actions. To do so you must have a fundamental understanding of food material science, food safety, food quality, and legislation, which comes from applying knowledge learnt in other modules.

You will gather relevant information, synthesise an argument, and disseminate a solution. You will be directed to appropriate literature and sources of information necessary for the successful completion of the task in the time available. You will present your findings through oral presentations and written report appropriate for company directors. It will develop the skills of teamwork and problem solving, and also help you really understand how you want to develop your career.

Quality Management and Quality Techniques for Industry 20 credits

There are two main divisions of the material:

  • Quality Management: a historical introduction to the development of quality management thinking and the need for quality, definitions, ideas and concepts of quality. You will be introduced to quality gurus such as Deming, Juran, Crosby and Taguchi. You will cover variation and quality improvement and problem-solving tools such as Kaizen, Six Sigma, Culture Change for Total Quality Management (TQM). You will also study business excellence awards (MBNQA, EFQM), quality management systems (ISO 9000), auditing and certification. Quality economics, quality performance measures, benchmarking and supply chain quality will also be covered.


  • Quality techniques covers topics such as process capability, variation risk management, loss functions and capability assessment. We will cover PCIs, non-normality and the Six Sigma approaches. You will look at statistical process control charts such as Shewhart charts for attributes and variables, and acceptance sampling for attributes and variables. Advanced quality planning, quality data management, Taguchi statistical robust design and total preventative maintenance will also be covered. 
Supply Chain Planning and Management 20 credits

The module takes a dual approach covering both the business processes and the quantitative models and techniques necessary for supply chain planning and management. It is divided into three major parts.

  1. Supply chain concepts and definitions:
    • Fundamental planning and control concepts for supply chain and operations planning: classification of operational and supply systems
    • Inventory - forms, functions, decisions, models
    • Capacity - definitions and planning
  2. Forecasting for supply chain and production management:
    • Planning, scheduling and control approaches: aggregate planning, hierarchical planning and control
    • MRP-based planning and control
    • JIT principles, kanban systems
    • Theory of Constraints (TOC)
    • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems
  3. Supply chain collaboration:
    • Planning and control across the supply chain
    • The bullwhip effect
    • Supply chain collaboration approaches – continuous replenishment
    • Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI)
    • Collaborative Planning Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR)

Optional modules

Managing Projects 10 credits

The module introduces fundamental concepts in project management. You will learn:

  • Definitions and classifications of projects.
  • Objectives in project management - time, costs, quality.
  • Resources and resource management. Critical Path Methods and resource scheduling.
  • Performance measurement and costs.
  • Project lifecycles. Project teams and leadership in project management.
  • Managing risk in projects. Analysis of project successes and failures. Project management software.
The Global Food Industry 10 credits

This module covers a series of business and legal topics that are directly relevant to those working in the global food industry. In particular, those trading ingredients and finished products on a management level. The topics cover:

  • Leadership and management in a food industry
  • Food economics and business
  • The global food markets
  • Innovation management in the food industry
  • Business finance
  • Dealing with a food crisis
  • Risk management
  • Import and export food
  • Developing a sustainable commercial supply chain for a proprietary food ingredient
  • Food waste management
  • Digital Technology and Food Manufacturing
Food Flavour 10 credits

This module is one-week intensive course. It provides an in-depth study of flavour generation by biochemical and chemical means, how flavour is delivered to the sensors and perceived by humans and how flavour can be analysed both instrumentally and sensorially. The module covers:

  • The biochemical origin of flavours
  • The key chemical pathways for thermal flavour generation
  • The release of flavours from foods during eating
  • The interaction of flavours with the sensors in the mouth and nose
  • Flavour legislation
  • Flavour analysis and flavour formulation
E-Business 10 credits

The E-Business module is aimed at future managers and business people who want to know how information and communications technologies (ICTs) can help them to be successful in their careers by understanding how companies use these technologies.

Aims of the module:

  • To familiarise the strategic management issues and technology developments associated with e-business
  • To provide a solid strategic business view of the uses of web technologies and information systems
  • To help understand how and why e-businesses are successful or not, i.e. what makes them 'tick'
Service Operations Management 10 credits

The module covers:

  • the role of operations management in services
  • comparative analysis of similarities and dissimilarities and manufacturing and service operations
  • unique features of services
  • the development and delivery of a service package
  • design of service operations
  • strategies for balancing capacity and demand
  • strategies for structuring and managing queues in services
  • understanding and managing customer expectations and perceptions in services and their implications on quality of service provision
  • tools and techniques for service quality management
  • strategies for creating, developing and expanding services nationally and globally
  • the role of ICT in enhancing strategic and operational efficiencies of services
  • service supply chain management

The ideas and concepts will be illustrated and delivered through examples and case studies.

Managing Contemporary Operations: Fundamentals and Challenges 10 credits

This module provides a general introduction to the management of operations. This includes an introduction to the core concepts and theory within operations management with many examples of good practice. These examples take the form of short videos in class, a number of cases, and visits to three different operations. Students will be working in teams for assessed coursework, with a final exam.

Core concepts and theory include:

  • The transformation module, and an introduction to competitive priorities, and structural/infrastructural requirements
  • Operations for products and services, and how they differ
  • Understanding processes; Little's Law
  • Introduction to lean theory 
  • Introduction to quality and services management
  • Introduction to supply chain management 
  • Challenges in contemporary operations management

This material will be developed and expanded on in modules covering more specialist areas.

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 18 April 2024.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • eLearning

Although lectures and practical classes still play an important role as the course progresses, your learning experience is enhanced by placing greater reliance on self-directed study, written dissertations and research project work.

How you will be assessed

  • Written exam
  • Lab reports
  • Presentation
  • Essay
  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Viva voce
  • Poster presentation

Modules are assessed using a variety of individual assessment types which are weighted to calculate your final mark for each module. Typically all taught modules have some coursework in addition to a final exam.

You will need an average mark of 50% to pass the MSc overall. You will be given a copy of our marking criteria when you start the course and will receive regular feedback from your tutors.

Contact time and study hours

The number of formal contact hours varies depending on the optional modules you are studying. As a guide, in the autumn and spring semesters you will typically spend around 25 hours per week in classes.

You will work on your research project between June and September, either based at the University or via an industry placement. You would be supervised for 3 hours per week, on average.

Teaching is provided by teaching fellows, assistant professors, associate professors and professors. Technical staff, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers provide additional support in small group and practical classes.

There will be around 30 students on this course. Depending on your modules, you may study with around 50 other students.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.


Undergraduate degree2:2 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a natural or applied science discipline or in an engineering discipline such as chemical, agricultural or food engineering.


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

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,850
International £30,200

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).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

If you do an industry placement, you may need to consider the travel and living costs associated with this.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.


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


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

Initial roles our students have gone on to do include:

  • Materials technologist
  • Specifications or systems technologist
  • New product development
  • Food processing technologist
  • Quality control or analysis technologist
  • Sensory technologist
  • Laboratory technologist
  • Retail technologist

Some of our students have gone to do graduate schemes in the food industry, while some have gone on to further study at PhD level. 

Here are some examples of roles our alumni have secured in the industry within 5 years of graduation:

  • Quality Manager, Greencore, UK
  • Technical Manager, AB World Food Ltd
  • Senior Scientist, Mondelēz International
  • Senior Sensory Scientist, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Scientific Officer and Policy Advisor, DEFRA, UK
  • Scientist, Research and Development, Unilever, China

Career progression

94.1% of postgraduate taught students from the School of Biosciences secured graduate level employment or further graduate level study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £32,173*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Guardian Outcomes % is derived using the Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate taught degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK. 

You will complete a three month research project, supervised by a member of academic staff. The research project involves collaboration with the food industry, either at the University or working within a company.

Previous students have completed placements with local food companies, e.g. FreshCut and Sensory Dimensions as well as Nestle in China (for Chinese students).

Our dedicated Placements Team work on a one-to-one basis with you to help and prepare you for the industry placement, if applicable.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" The University of Nottingham has great expertise in food science, and the course setting of Food Production Management really interests me. Beyond the science, I have also learnt the business skills needed in my career, e.g. supply chain and quality management. I now work at Nestle as an associate chocolate product specialist, innovating new products, recipes and technologies. "
Yanni Yang, Food Production Management MSc graduate 2020

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This content was last updated on Thursday 18 April 2024. 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.