Food Sciences PhD/MPhil/MRes

PhD/MPhil/MRes Food Sciences
The school has five academic-led research groups, covering a range of research areas.

Fact file

PhD/MPhil/MRes Food Sciences
PhD: 3–4 years full-time, MPhil: 2 years full-time, MRes: 1 year full-time; part-time options available
Entry requirements
PhD/MPhil/MRes: 2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters; other qualifications may also be accepted
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Please contact the school
Sutton Bonington Campus
Food Sciences
Other requirements



Our research

 The school's major research interests are:

  • brewing science
  • flavour science
  • food microbiology and safety
  • food structure
  • BBSRC National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics

The Division of Food Sciences carries out research in:

  • flavour release from foods
  • lipid oxidation
  • the application of a materials science approach to the processing (particularly extrusion) and storage stability of low-water content foods
  • food rheology and its application to hydrocolloid gels
  • characterisation of macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies using hydrodynamic techniques
  • molecular enzymology
  • food microbiology and molecular genetics studies of food-borne bacterial and viral pathogens
  • brewing yeast genetics and fermentation performance
  • malting science

The normal duration of a PhD is either 36 or 48 months; MPhil is normally 24 months.



The campus is well equipped for research ranging from genomics, proteomics and metabolomics to field scale trials to study environmental factors on the growth of crop plants. There is an automatic weather station, field sites for micrometeorology and laboratories with facilities for gas chromatography, atomic absorption analysis, and a major suite for flavour chemistry. There are extensive growth room and glass house facilities that provide a range of controlled environments to study crop growth and development and the production and analysis of transgenic plants. The campus also houses the Nottingham Arabidopsis Stock Centre, (the European Centre for Arabidopsis genetic resources).

The Tropical Crops Research Unit has a suite of controlled-environment glasshouses in which conditions such as temperature, atmospheric moisture and carbon dioxide concentration can be controlled by a central computer whilst crop stands are able to grow in a natural soil.

There are extensive, modern, well equipped laboratories containing a wide range of analytical equipment, stable isotope mass spectrometers, radioisotope suites, tissue culture rooms, and molecular biology equipment. Research in biotechnology is supported by a capillary DNA sequencer and genomics, and proteomics equipment, for plant, animal and microbial investigations. In addition, an animal metabolism unit is used for studies on cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry as well as laboratory animals. 

Research is also conducted into the nutritional quality of plant and animal products for man. The new £7.5m purpose-designed Plant Sciences building houses state-of-the- art genomics equipment and controlled environment facilities to study the growth and development of plants. The Food Sciences Building contains modern equipment for the physio-chemical analysis of food and food structure, including mass spectrometry, high speed preparative and analytical ultra centrifuges, instruments for studying X-ray and light scattering, NMR and an extensive array of rheological techniques.

The Food Microbiology laboratories are fully equipped to carry out modern molecular and microbial techniques and include proteomic equipment and an ACGM Category 3 laboratory available to the School for genetic manipulation work. Specialised imaging equipment, including a photon video imaging system, is used in the development of novel approaches to microbiological research. Investigation of fundamental principles of food structure, flavour chemistry and safety has resulted in major links with industrial partners. 

Facilities for animal physiology include laboratory animal accommodation, a surgery, and a suite of rooms with provision for physiological studies including work with radioisotopes. 

The National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics, based within the Food Sciences Building, contains some of the best facilities for analytical ultracentrifugation in Europe. A business arm of the National Centre and also sensory evaluation facilities are located in a separate building. 

Sutton Bonington Campus has its own hall of residence, sports centre and social amenities, student guild and wide range of clubs and societies. 

IT facilities

We have an Information Services Learning Resource Centre (ISCRA) comprising a suite of Computer Resource Areas, which is open 24-hours per day via the University smart card. 

Research support

The school believes that formal training and guidance are critical components of the postgraduate experience and have developed procedures to ensure that both specific and generic training are available and that postgraduates avail themselves of these opportunities. Specific (project related) training is provided by the supervisors and other staff within the school. Students can expect to have frequent contact with their supervisors, often on a weekly or even daily basis, and there is a formal requirement for at least 10 recorded meeting per year.

The Graduate School has prime responsibility for the delivery of the generic skills training and has a dedicated training team who provide a comprehensive generic research training programme comprising over 80 different courses. These courses include IT training, presentation skills, intellectual property rights, business studies, career management, research skills and techniques, the research environment and management and courses for students involved in teaching and demonstrating. Courses for students in their final year include writing their thesis and preparing for the viva and CV writing and interview skills. These courses are all designed to enhance the professional and personal skills of the student. Students select which courses to incorporate into their training plans following discussion of their training needs with relevant staff.

The Graduate School operates from the main campus of the University, in a dedicated and well equipped centre or ‘hub’ to provide central co-ordination, communication and leadership of Postgraduate training. However, there is a dedicated postgraduate centre on the Sutton Bonington campus, where the School of Bioscience is located. 

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. The Postgraduate Students' Association (PGSA) are a particularly important source of support. 


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.

Fees and funding

UK/EU students

The University Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research, these are, the Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas21 funding. The Graduate School also holds a list of other sources of funding. Studentship opportunities are also available.

International students

International students (outside the European Union) are advised to apply early (October – February) in the academic year to ensure consideration for available scholarships (ORS, International Office). However, as competition for international scholarships is very fierce students are advised also to seek out scholarship opportunities from within their own countries, or agencies such as the World Bank, British Council or ACU.

International students should contact their nearest British Council Office or embassy for advice on financial assistance.

DFID Awards are available for international applicants from developing countries. See the Association of Commonwealth Universities Web pages International applicants for information on DFID awards.

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the school page for additional opportunities

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 97% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation.* 

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2014/15.

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.


Get in touch

+44 (0)115 951 6134

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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Carolyn Newton
School of Biosciences
The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
LE12 5RD

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