Sensory Science MRes

Sensory Science MRes MRes Sensory Science
As the only masters course in sensory science in the UK, this programme equips you with the skills and experience to significantly enhance your employability within a research environment or in industry.

Fact file

MRes Sensory Science
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
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
Sutton Bonington
Other requirements



The intensive, modular nature of the part-time route also makes it easily accessible if you are currently working in the food and allied industries.  

In addition to course fees, both full-time and part-time options require industrial support and sponsorship for completion of your research project. Please provide details of industrial support and sponsorship along with a project proposal with your application.

This course aims to: 

  • provide a sound theoretical background that underpins the multidisciplinary field of sensory science 
  • develop ability to critically evaluate published scientific papers
  • teach students to plan experimental sensory programmes and report and interpret sensory data 
  • immerse students within a research environment thereby developing the skills necessary to undertake independent research.

The award of MRes requires 180 credits in total for completion. The course is divided into a taught element, followed by a research project to be carried out either within the University's own Sensory Science Centre (full-time route) or within industry (part-time route). In each case funding for the research project needs to be provided by an industrial sponsor. 

Compulsory taught modules

Sensory Evaluation and Sensory Techniques

A review of the senses and an introduction to sensory evaluation techniques used in the industry together with basic statistical tests used to analyse sensory data. Both discrimination and descriptive tests are covered together with insights into approaches for panel recruitment training and performance (taken either autumn or spring semesters).

Advanced Sensory Science and Topical Techniques

Biological basis of sensory receptors, psychophysical laws and sensory testing, threshold measurement, d’ and Rindex measures. Temporal measures e.g. TI and TDS. Rapid descriptive methods e.g napping, flash profiling. Understanding multimodal perception.

Optional taught modules

20 credits required:

Sensory Evaluation – Statistical Methods and Interpretation

Univariate and multivariate and interpretation statistics including ANOVA and updated content. Principal Component Analysis.

Food Flavour

This is a one week intensive course in the Easter Holidays.

  • The biochemical origin of flavours
  • The key chemical pathways for thermal flavour generation (Maillard, caramelisation)
  • The release of flavours from foods during eating
  • The interaction of flavours with the sensors in the mouth and nose, flavour legislation, flavour analysis, flavour formulation

Consumer Sensory Science

Or you can select modules from the University's Graduate School training programme.

Research Project

Your project will be carried out in the Unversity's own  Sensory Science Centre at Sutton Bonington Campus (full time students) or your own place of work (part-time students).  

Course venue

The school is based on the Sutton Bonington Campus, which is 20km south of Nottingham. The campus has its own accommodation, sports centre, social amenities and state-of the art teaching and research facilities dedicated to the study of biosciences. The campus is also the location of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. Altogether there are over 2,000 students on campus, undergraduate and postgraduate, from over 30 countries.

Sutton Bonington is an easy bus or car journey to University Park Campus and Nottingham City, with free bus service connections between campuses. Two other major UK cities, Derby and Leicester are nearby. East Midlands International Airport is 7km away, plus there are fast rail links to London close by.

Key facts

  • The course is co-ordinated by the Sensory Science Centre, within the school's food sciences group - the highest rated University Food Sciences Research Group in the UK, based at the Sutton Bonington Campus. 
  • 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


The Sensory Science Centre has state of the art facilities, including a suite of 10 booths designed to ISO Standards (ISO8589:1988), with controlled temperature, lighting and ventilation.

A second room provides a flexible evaluation space with 10 further booths and a discussion area. Two additional booths provide the ability to link with additional instrumentation such as physiological recording equipment such as Electromyography. All booths are connected by a Local Area network operating Fizz Software. Compusense Cloud software, delivered through the use of mobile technology, allows flexible data capture options.

The spacious custom designed kitchen provides a controlled production and preparation area for samples and the lounge area creates a comfortable environment for panellists to relax between sessions. Our training room provides ideal facilities for panel briefing, training and profiling sessions.

The food sciences division contains modern equipment for the analysis of food flavour and 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 flavour laboratory has a range of instrumentation for chemical analysis including GCMS, LCMS, odour port and API-MS (MSNose™). The MSNose™ enables in breath volatiles to be monitored during eating. Coupled with sensory data this has enabled us to gain important insights between the relationship between volatile stimuli and flavour perception.

The new Food Processing Facilitiy provides access to a range of pilot industrial and research equipment. The International Centre for Brewing Science is equipped with a state of the art pilot scale brewery.

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. A collaboration with colleagues at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) has enabled us to gain a deeper understanding, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), of how the brain processes signals from sensory stimuli. Investigation of fundamental principles of sensory science has resulted in major links with industrial partners. 


Research support

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. 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.

The Graduate School operates from the main campus of the University, in a dedicated and well equipped centre to provide central coordination, 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 Students' Union 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

See information on how to fund your course, including our step-by-step guide.



Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 100% of postgraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £65,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.


Career prospects and employability

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.


Related courses and downloads

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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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