Postgraduate study
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.
PGCert Sensory Science
3 years part-time
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£9,240 - Terms apply
International fees
£9,240 - Terms apply
Sutton Bonington Campus



PGCert Sensory Science is aimed primarily at individuals working in the food or related industries.The programme has been designed to meet a need for structured sensory science training in the UK food industry but is also relevant to those working within home, personal care and pharmaceuticals.

The course will provide you with comprehensive training in a variety of areas related to sensory science, including sensory techniques, statistical analysis, psychology, physiology and perception, and consumer studies. It is delivered in collaboration with Campden BRI. All modules can be taken as stand alone training courses.


Key facts

  • The Sensory Science Centre (in the school's food sciences group) is well known for its research and training in sensory science – it offers state of the art facilities and the only formal qualification in sensory science in the UK
  • Campden BRI, the UK’s largest food research association, supports the food industry through training, scientific services and research – the Sensory Group at Campden BRI has substantial experience in providing sensory services for industry
  • The School of Biosciences 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

Full course details

The University of Nottingham and Campden BRI offer five taught modules which are taught as ‘stand alone’ courses.They provide an easy way to strengthen or up-date your knowledge in a particular area.

Successful completion of all five, along with a research project, can lead to the award of PGCert Sensory Science.

A formal examination and/or a piece of coursework assess each module. The flexible nature of the course enables delegates to study on a part-time basis, typically two modules a year. Most delegates complete the course in 2-3 years.

Start date for the PGCert is recommended as September or February, although registration is possible at any time throughout the academic year.

Modules are supported through the University’s virtual learning environment which provides access to a wealth of electronic resources to facilitate learning. Delegates registered on the PGCert also have full access to the University’s extensive online and in house learning resources, information services and career services.



Core modules

Sensory Evaluation and Sensory Techniques

This module provides an introduction to sensory evaluation techniques, data analysis and panel selection. Many companies appreciate just how valuable sensory evaluation can be to their business. However, it is crucial that it is implemented with a thorough understanding of panel training methods and interpretation of results. Campden BRI’s team of sensory scientists draw on their own industrial experiences to demonstrate how sensory best practice is implemented in the workplace.

Sensory Evaluation - Statistical Methods and Interpretation

Delegates will gain a deeper understanding of the routine univariate and multivariate techniques used to analyse sensory data, but also the consequencesof making particular choices and hence develop confidence in the analysis and interpretation of sensory data. Through the use of lectures and a series of practical activities delegates gain hands on experience of data analysis and the sensory and statistical packages available. 

Advanced Sensory Science and Topical Techniques

The biological basis of sensory perception is covered including receptors, psychophysical laws, and associated sensory testing including, threshold measurement, d’ and R-index measures. Variation in sensory perception due to physiological factors such as genetics, age and gender will give delegates deeper understanding into factors underpinning sensory perception. Temporal measures e.g. TI, TDS, TCATA and rapid descriptive methods e.g. napping, flash profiling will give delegates insight into the relative merits of such methods. Understanding multimodal perception will bring together the concept of interactions between the senses.

Consumer Sensory Science

The course considers the impact of expectation and context before reviewing both qualitative, such as focus groups, and quantitative techniques. We reflect upon emotional response and the methods used to capture this before moving on to more advanced approaches such as conjoint analysis and a review of the techniques available in the preference mapping toolbox.

Food Flavour

This module introduces the fundamental science of food flavour through relevant scientific case examples and industrially relevant applications. Both analytical chemistry and flavourist style approaches are taken to explore how flavour and flavours can be generated, analysed, delivered and commercially exploited. The course is particularly relevant to developing scientists in the food, drink or flavour industry and to students who wish to broaden their experience and subsequently enter the food industry. The module covers understanding flavour compounds, measuring flavour, flavour release, and flavour formulation and applications.

Sensory Science Project

The sensory science project requires delegates to research and report on a practical project carried out to address a commercial or technical issue currently challenging their organisation. Delegates are supported by a tutor from University of Nottingham or Campden BRI. The practical element is usually carried out at your place of work.

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 Graduate School website at the University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

International and EU students

The International Office provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, scholarships, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.


Careers and professional development

Retailers and suppliers are increasingly looking to include consumer research and objective sensory tests in the product development process, as one crucial part in reducing the risks associated with existing and new product development activity.

The PGCert will equip you with the skills and experience necessary to competently conduct qualitative and quantitative consumer research and a variety of sensory evaluation methods, for companies within the food and related industries.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 100% 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 £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

A significant proportion of graduates from this programme are already employed within industry and find their career prospects are accelerated as a result of this qualification.  Others choose to continue to PhD degrees leading to postdoctoral research careers; and a proportion establish careers as Research Assistants/Experimental Officers in academic or research institutes or secure administrative/technical positions in the biological sciences.


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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Liz Dinneen
School of Biosciences
The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
LE12 5RD
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