Postgraduate study
This part-time distance learning course is designed for individuals in the brewing and allied industries who would like to improve their understanding of the scientific principles and practice of the brewing process.
PGCert Brewing: Principles and Practice (E Learning) January Start
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£2,745 - Terms apply
International fees
£8,010 - Terms apply
Sutton Bonington Campus



The course would also be highly suitable for those aspiring to a career as a practical brewer. 

It has been specifically designed for part-time distance learning so that you can acquire and practise skills in your work environment. Modules are delivered by a combination of interactive e-learning and intensive advanced residential courses. 

The course is taught by staff from the School of Biosciences with expertise in brewing and related sciences, together with invited contributions from specialist brewing practitioners; all are internationally renowned leaders within their field. 

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

Key facts

  • 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
  • The School of Biosciences is one of the largest and strongest schools of its kind in the UK
  • The school is ranked the no. 1 research environment in the UK for agriculture, veterinary and food science in the Research Excellence Framework 2014; 97% of our work in the Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science was judged to be of international quality
  • A purpose-built dedicated Brewing and Bioenergy Building opened on campus in 2011
  • The Sutton Bonington Campus is a self-contained, 16-hectare site in the beautiful countryside of South Nottinghamshire and it offers a number of dedicated facilities applicable to this course

Full course details

The course is delivered on a part-time basis over three semesters, taking approximately 16 months (and 60 credits) to complete.

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 Postgraduate Certificate over an 18 month period (September start). However, the rate at which you progress through the course is flexible, according to preference and circumstances.

You will study five core modules, designed to follow a logical process order through the brewery.   

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.

Course delivery

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 (based on 20 credits of module study) 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 covers the following aspects of the raw materials used in brewing:


  • Structure and biochemistry of the barley grain
  • Botany and agronomy of malting barleys/ varietal evaluation
  • Barley genomics and breeding programmes to enhance malting quality

Malting science and practice:

  • Outline of the malting process: intake, storage and dressing, steeping, germination, kilning, de-culming and blending

Malting biochemistry (key enzymes and enzymic modification/ biochemical changes occurring during germination; molecular regulation of barley germination)

  • Characteristics and production of the main classes of malts used in brewing
  • Flavour generation via the Maillard Reaction during kilning/ roasting
  • The 'Virtual Malt Analysis Lab': video clips and animations covering the key malt quality parameters and associated analyses; typical values of key parameters
  • Malt specification; quality assurance; Maltings HACCP/safety aspects

Hops (cultivation, varieties, processing and forms used in brewing, specifications and analysis, introductory hop chemistry)

Water quality (sources of water, water treatment, significance of ionic composition)

Adjuncts (purpose and overview, Mash Tun adjuncts, Copper adjuncts) and other topics related to raw materials as deemed appropriate

Brewhouse Processes

This module is integral to the ‘brewing process’ course component and covers the scientific principles and technology of processes employed in the brewhouse:

  • Milling of malt
  • Wort Production (mashing)
  • Process control: principal mashing methods and mash schedules; influence and control of mash pH; mashing biochemistry (e.g. starch conversion, proteolsis, glucans/ arabinoxylans and mash viscosity)
  • Mash separation; theory, technologies and equipment design; wort boiling
  • Rationale behind process and technologies employed; process control
  • Formation of colour and flavour (Maillard chemistry and polyphenolics; reductones)
  • Evaporation/volatile stripping
  • Protein denaturation and trub formation (protein-polyphenol interactions) pH drop and mechanisms involved Wort oxidation & redox state Hop (product) addition in the boil
  • Hot wort clarification; the whirlpool Wort cooling (cold break) and aeration Wort quality
  • Aspects of brewhouse design, utilisation (capacity planning) and energy conservation and other topics related to the generation of wort for fermentation as deemed appropriate

Brewery Yeast Management

This module considers brewing yeast management in relation to brewery fermentations. Students 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
  • Other topics related to brewing yeast fermentation as deemed appropriate.

Fermentation and Yeast Handling

This module considers brewing fermentations and the importance of yeast within the process. Students are 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

This module considers biological and chemical processes that contribute to the maturation of beer once fermentation is complete. Students are 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
  • and other topics related to maturation of beer as deemed appropriate

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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

UK/EU students

The University's Graduate School provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

International and EU students

We provide information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, scholarships, external sources of funding and working during your studies.


Careers and professional development

This course is aimed at individuals working in the brewing industry and is particularly suitable for those aspiring to a career as a practical brewer. 

You may also find this course relevant if you are working or wish to pursue a career in brewing process and production or you are a recent graduate.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94% of postgraduates 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 £24,495 with the highest being £37,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers** and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career. 

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

** The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research.


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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School of Biosciences
The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
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