Postgraduate study
This part-time distance learning programme has been developed for individuals working in the brewing industry, providing a key pathway for continuing professional development.
PGDip Brewing Science
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
September and January
UK/EU fees
£5,490 - Terms apply
International fees
£15,210 - Terms apply
Sutton Bonington Campus



This pioneering, interdisciplinary postgraduate 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 practise 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

  • 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 PGDip Brewing Science is the first of its kind in England and is delivered to brewers and maltsters globally via state-of-the-art e-learning technology by staff in the School of Biosciences with expertise in brewing and related sciences
  • 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 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 PGDip Brewing Science is delivered on a part-time basis over two to four years to fit around your work commitments. The course requires 120 credits for completion, consisting of 10 taught modules.  

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 diploma 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.

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

We also offer MSc Brewing Science, which shares the same taught component as the PGDip but includes a research project module.



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 & Agronomy of malting barleys/ varietal evaluation.
  • Barley genomics & breeding programmes to enhance malting quality.

Malting Science & Practice:

  • Outline of the malting process: Intake, storage & dressing/ Steeping/ Germination/ Kilning/ de-culming/ blending.

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

  • Characteristics & 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 & control of mash pH; mashing biochemistry (e.g. starch conversion, proteolsis, glucans/ arabinoxylans & mash viscosity) · Mash separation; theory, technologies & equipment design · Wort boiling Rationale behind process & technologies employed; process control Formation of colour and flavour (Maillard chemistry & polyphenolics; reductones) Evaporation/volatile stripping Protein denaturation & trub formation (protein-polyphenol interactions) pH drop & mechanisms involved Wort oxidation & redox state Hop (product) addition in the boil. Hot wort clarification; the whirlpool Wort cooling (cold break) & aeration Wort quality Aspects of Brewhouse design, utilisation (capacity planning) & 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.

Brewery Waste Management and Environmental Issues

This module considers water effluents, waste treatments and disposal and conversion of waste streams into valuable co-products. Students are 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.

Brewing Microbiology

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. Students are 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
  • Other topics related to brewing microbiology as deemed appropriate

Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis

Flavor 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 flavor (volatile / non-volatile flavor 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 flavor characteristics.
  • Development & control of key beer flavor characters or off-notes throughout the brewing process.
  • Trouble-shooting flavor defects in beer
  • Flavor stability / staling of beer during storage: oxidation/ maturation. To include methods for monitoring beer staling; current theories of beer flavor stability; separate contributions of materials & process to flavor stability; potential markers for beer staling

Sensory analysis:

  • Theory of sensory analysis/ designing & running sensory trials
  • Facilities & recruitment of assessors
  • Introduction to main sensory methodologies (e.g. discrimination testing/ quantitative methods/ descriptive/ profiling, threshold determination/ hedonic tests)
  • Beer flavor wheel/ QDA of beer
  • Ethical considerations/ consumer testing and behavior.
  • Experimental design & analysis of sensory data; ANOVA

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 (Brewery Analysis Plan) & how are these measurements integrated into the necessary Quality Systems? INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS Basic principles of instrumental analysis Separation science: chromatography theory & applications (particularly HPLC/GC) Standard methods of beer analysis (chemical & physical): e.g. Ethanol (ABV, SG, OG, etc.); Beer colour & flavor attributes; Bitterness (IBU); VDK; DMS; acidity; bulk composition (protein/ carbohydrate/ minerals) dissolved gases (CO2/O2); foam stability/ head retention; viscosity measurement; polyphenols; Experimental design & data analysis The Normal distribution and associated statistics Method development, inter-laboratory trials and accreditation Output specifications, tolerance & monitoring. QUALITY: Definitions of beer quality. Formulation of beer & process specifications & how these may be used to monitor & assess product & process quality. Brewery Quality Systems; QC versus QA. HACCP. Accreditation of quality systems. Asset management. Cross-process themes that impact on beer quality, e.g: Oxygen & product quality. Managing colloidal stability (cross-referenced to D24BS5). The impact of raw materials & the brewing process on beer flavor (cross-referenced to D24BS9).

Packaging of Beer

This module covers the essential elements of packaging beers and other related alcoholic beverages. The module includes theoretical and legal aspects of packaging together with consideration of the design and operation of modern high speed packaging lines. Specific units are:

  • Design and operation of bright beer tanks; maintain bright beer specifications including carbonation, clarity, flavour and microbiological status.
  • Assuring the microbiological stability of packaged beer using aseptic filtration, flash pasteurization and tunnel pasteurization. 
  • Achieving specifications of packaged beers including legal aspects of packaging and labeling. 
  • Packaging beers into large-pack containers including cask and keg.
  • Packaging beers in small-pack containers including glass, PET and can
  • Secondary and tertiary packaging used for beers and related alcoholic beverages.
  • The design and operation of modern high-speed packaging lines suitable for beers and other related alcoholic beverages. A consideration of the measurement of packaging line efficiency and the impact of production planning will be included. Warehouse design and operation and primary and secondary distribution systems used in brewing.
  • Beer dispense and cellar management

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 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 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

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 undergraduates 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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The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
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