Triangle

Course overview

With the global population predicted to hit nine billion people by 2050, we need to find ways to make better use of the resources we have to grow and produce nutritious, healthy foods.

What is food science?

  • Designing and engineering innovative food​
  • Enhancing texture, taste and nutrition​
  • Developing sustainable ingredients and processes​
  • Making food safe and affordable

What you'll study

We'll teach you the science behind the food we eat. You'll learn how to create sustainable, nutritious, safe food. You could work for global food companies, or run your own business. This applied science degree can lead to jobs in research, operations and management.

You'll investigate the sensory, physical and chemical properties of foods. Applying this knowledge to explore food innovation and develop new products. You'll look at consumer trends, new technology and the latest food research.

Read about our research in Future Food.

Facilities

You'll use our specialist facilities to apply your learning.

  • Food processing facility - learn about different technologies and engineering
  • Quality control lab - use equipment to assess product and process quality
  • Teaching lab - learn about the role of microbiology in food safety and production
  • Flavour lab - use our world class lab to understand flavour chemistry
  • Sensory science centre - test consumer preferences and use techniques to understand how we perceive flavour

Developing new foods

In year three you'll apply your knowledge to develop a new food product. Working as teams, you'll use the food processing facility to create the finished product. From idea generation through to the final packaged product, you'll get a hands-on experience of what it takes to bring a food or drink product to market. You'll present to your peers and guests from the food industry.

Industry placements

You can add a year in industry. The school placements team give specialist support and help to find the right placement for you. We work with global food manufacturers PepsiCo or Mars, food retailers including M&S, and smaller local food companies like Cropwell Bishop Creamery and Sensory Dimensions.

Food science at Nottingham

Meet our staff, watch our module spotlights and see what it's like to study with us by watching our student vlogs. Find out more.

Why choose this course?

  • Students choose to study with us because of our facilities and industry expertise
  • Ranked 3rd in the Guardian University Guide 2022 for agriculture, forestry and food
  • Develop a new food product to enter into Ecotrophelia, a European food innovation student competition. Our teams have won gold in 2018 and 2020 in UK finals to then represent the country in Europe
  • Accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology. This means you'll be a professional food scientist when you graduate

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBC in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextal admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A levels to include one science (chemistry, biology, maths or physics) and one science-related subject.

IB score 28; 5,5 in two science subjects at Higher Level in Clearing for home students

A levels

BBC in Clearing for home students, including one science (chemistry, biology, maths or physics) and one science-related subject such as applied science, food technology, economics, geography, statistics and psychology.

Plus GCSE Maths, 5 or above and English 4 or above.

Alternative qualifications

BTEC Level 3 DDD in a relevant science subject such as applied science. We do not accept health and social care or sports and exercise science.

Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits overall with at least 45 credits at level 3 of which 30 are at distinction level. This must include a significant number of science modules.

We accept the WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition as the equivalent of one science-related A-level but would require a distinction grading.

Foundation progression options

Science with Foundation Year

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our science foundation programme.

There is a course for UK students and one for EU/international students.

Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through the University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem-based learning
  • Field trips
  • Computer labs

How you will be assessed

We use a range of assessment methods, including exams, essays, verbal presentations and practicals. You will receive a copy of our marking criteria which provides guidance on how we will assess your work. Your work will be marked on time and you will receive regular feedback.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained in your second and third years of study.

You must pass each year to progress. This typically means that you will need to achieve marks of at least 40% in each module. Full details on our marking criteria and structure will be provided at your induction.

To study abroad as part of your degree, you must meet minimum academic requirements in year one.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Group project
  • Lab reports
  • Oral exam
  • Poster presentation
  • Research project
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

In your first year, you will take 120 credits in core modules. As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. You will spend around half of your time in lectures, seminars and practicals. The remaining time will be independent study. Core modules are typically taught by professors, associate professors and assistant professors. PhD students may support teaching on some modules.

Year in industry

We have excellent links with companies, and can help to find the best placement for you. Often a placement year can help you to secure to a graduate job.

Our students have been on placement with:

  • Marks and Spencer
  • Campden BRI
  • Warburtons
  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts
  • Nestle China

The industry placement takes place between years two and three of your degree. You can apply during year two of your degree, subject to meeting minimum academic requirements.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Food sciences overview

Learn about how food scientists are crucial to the future of the food industry. Find out where a degree in food sciences could take you.

Modules

We'll teach you about food chemistry and global sourcing, developing a scientific understanding of food.

Introduction to Genetics and Biochemistry

This module is designed to give you a broad foundation in cells - the functional units of life. You will learn:

  • how cells operate on a molecular level. The structure, metabolism, and properties of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids will be examined in relation to their function and regulation.
  • the major metabolic pathways in the cell responsible for energy production and biosynthesis of cellular components, including the major pathways of carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism
  • how procaryotic (bacteria) and eukaryotic (animal and plants) cells are built, replicate, pass on genetic information and control gene expression and translation
  • the fundamental principles underpinning life, from the disciplines of cell biology, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology
Sustainable Agriculture, food and Nutrition

A key theme running through the module will be sustainability – why is it important and how can it be achieved? Key aspects of agricultural production will be introduced, for both UK and global agricultural systems.

You will learn about:

  • all aspects of the food supply chain
  • factors that influence how we grow and process our food commodities, including how cultural, financial, psychological and social factors affect dietary choice and the supply chain.

You will have a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of:

  • nutrition, including micro and macronutrients
  • nutritional composition of food ingredients

Your learning will be supported through practical sessions and visits to our University Farm. 

Fundamentals in Food Science and Nutrition

This module will introduce you to the key concepts in the field of nutrition and food Sciences, including:

  • constituents that make up food and its ingredients
  • their functional properties
  • the physiological impact of diet and nutrition on your body
  • dietary guidance and recommendations
  • analytical techniques to measure dietary and body composition
Introductory Physiology

What major physiology systems are essential for life in animals and humans? In this module, you will learn about:

  • the body’s principle physiological systems including the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, renal, and digestive systems.
  • the structure and function of the major organs including the function of individual cell types.

Through weekly lectures, topics covered will refer to genes, proteins and membranes, the transport of molecules across membranes, nerve signalling and biorhythms.

Essential study skills

This module is intended to enhance your transition into university and guide you through the academic expectations of your degree. This module includes three generic sessions on ‘study skills and plagiarism’, ‘study opportunities’ and ‘career and personal development’, and a series of small group tutorials with your academic tutor to develop core skills such as finding crucial information, oral presentation, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations, and essay writing skills relevant to biosciences.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 18 August 2022.

Gain a detailed understanding of process engineering. You will follow the whole process from the ingredients used to the final packaged food. 

You'll develop skills in sensory evaluation to understand how to test consumer acceptance of new products.

You'll study technical, scientific and engineering concepts in food spoilage, food preservation and food quality, with team-based activities.

Core modules

Agri-Business Enterprise and Innovation

Innovation and enterprise are key drivers of agri-business success and growth. You’ll explore a range of topics including:

  • knowledge transfer and exchange
  • intellectual property surrounding new innovations
  • planning issues for businesses and technologies supporting sustainable intensification projects.

You’ll examine the issues surrounding green energy, taxation, inheritance and business succession. 

Processing and Sensory Evaluation of Food

Be introduced to the key ingredient transformations and manufacturing steps required to safely produce food microstructures such as bread, yoghurt, and chocolate.

You'll explore how we measure sensory properties and consumer liking of a food product, providing you with an opportunity to gain a Foundation level Certificate in Sensory Science from the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

You’ll study:

  • the senses and their role in assessing the sensory properties of products
  • sensory evaluation, including panel selection, training and sensory protocols, sensory data analysis and consumer methods for the evaluation of products
  • the role of ingredients and processing steps in creating food products
  • how the food industry ensures final product quality

Students also have the option to sit the Institute of Food Science and Technology Sensory examination leading to a Foundation Certificate in Sensory Science, for which the course is accredited. Following on from the sensory evaluation of food, the manufacture of food products is addressed from three major perspectives in this module: material functionality, manufacturing process and quality of the final product. Material functionality includes the physiochemical properties of the material as well as the functionality of each ingredient in creating the final food product microstructure. Manufacturing process includes the unit operations required to transform the materials to a food product as well as the effect of these operations on each ingredient. Quality of the final product to include quality control measurement, an appreciation for the safety of the food product and sensorial properties.

Food Safety, Preservation and Legislation

This module considers food safety and food quality. It covers the full spectrum of potential foodborne illness, mechanisms and techniques of food preservation. You'll cover the legislation and regulatory environment for the production of commercially viable foods. Specific areas include: 

  • Potential foodborne illness and spoilage microorganisms found in the food chain

  • Nutritional aspects of food preservation

  • Product shelf life and techniques and methods that target extended shelf life

  • Theory and practice of major food preservation techniques

Food - Technical Team Challenges

Through problem-based learning you will develop skills in diagnosing and solving challenges relating to the manufacture, distribution and/or storage of food products. Most of the scenarios are sourced from real-life industry problems. You’ll have a full day session each week to study for this module.

Microbial Mechanisms of Foodborne Disease

This module provides a fundamental understanding of the microorganisms causing food-borne disease. You'll learn about the mechanisms by which they do this and their routes of transmission.

In laboratory practicals you will learn a number of core practical methods needed for the safe handling, culture, isolation, enumeration and identification of a range of level 2 pathogens.These are biological agents that can cause disease including Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria and Salmonella. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

In the final year you will carry out a unique research project supervised by one of our academics.

You'll deepen your understanding of microbial methods and the use of data. 

You'll study food flavour, looking at aroma perception, taste perception, texture perception. You will use this knowledge to develop a new product to present to your peers and industry.

Core modules

The Microbial Isolation and Identification Methods

You’ll gain an understanding of:

  • micro-organisms which are important in foods
  • factors which control the development of the microflora of food products
  • methods which can be used to isolate and identify bacteria from food products

You’ll study over the year in both lectures and practicals.

Personal and Professional Development for Food Scientists

What are you going to do after your degree? Options include:

  • Technical roles
  • Research and development
  • New product development
  • Further study
  • Specialised areas, such as flavour or sensory science or legislation

Through a range of workshops you will gain an awareness of what opportunities exist, identify your strengths and interests and practice how to manage your transition into your next steps.

The module has opportunities to engage with industry guests, alumni and your peers to support you in making good decisions about your future career.

Trends in Food and Nutrition Research

Gain exciting insights into our current research and how it is shaping current and future food formulations and processes. Seminar topics include:

  • flavour and sensory science
  • properties of biopolymers
  • sustainable nutrition
  • salt reduction
  • engineering new food structures

From these seminars you will identify an area of study that interests you the most for your final year research project. Through discussions with the academic you will create a title for your research project, which you will undertake in your final semester on your course.

Food Flavour and Advanced Sensory Science

Flavour plays an important role in our enjoyment of food, consumption experience, repeat purchase and health and wellbeing. It can be measured by both scientific instruments and sensory panels. But what are the differences between the two, and how can we use them to solve current challenges in the food industry?

In this module, you will study:

  • the chemistry, physics and physiology of food flavour
  • advanced methods to measure sensory and consumer perceptions of food
  • factors that affect our sensory perception and food choice, like genetics
  • a range of analytical techniques (APCI-MS, GC-MS, GC-O and HPLC-MS) for flavour analysis
  • dynamic flavour release and its role in eliciting flavour perception

You will respond to a current food industry challenge and apply the advanced knowledge you have gained from this module to design and present a realistic scientific solution to a technical brief.

Industrial Food Manufacture and Product Development

Innovation is crucial within food science. It involves translating scientific, engineering, and technological insights into nutritious, sustainable, and commercially viable foods. This module combines lectures from world-leading internal and external experts, with a practical project, where you will work in a group to create a new food product. 

In this module you will study: 

  • food factory operations and engineering   
  • new product development, brands and consumer trends
  • packaging, unit operations, process and quality control 
  • microbiological testing, HACCP and compliance
  • intellectual property and entrepreneurship

You'll then work with an industry partner to develop a new food product. Using our Food Processing Facility you'll explore all areas of product formulation, manufacture, quality control, microbiological safety analysis, sensory and consumer assessments.

The module culminates with our New Product Development Showcase, where you can present your work to external visitors, industry partners and members of the broader university community. 

Microbial Fermentation

This module commences with a review of microbial fermentation, including beer, cheese, yoghurt, meat and single-cell protein production, as well as sewage treatment. The underlying principles of microbial fermentation will be discussed, in addition to specific examples which will be examined in depth. From this basic knowledge the problems of microbial contamination and spoilage of the finished product will be analysed. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and have a four hour practical each week to study for this module.

Food Science Research Project

This module will provide you with an opportunity to use your initiative and knowledge to undertake an original research project under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff. This project encourages critical thinking and involves independent research in a supportive environment under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff.

You will design the study, gain familiarity with the techniques, undertake data collection, debate ethical issues and where appropriate safety procedures relevant to the topic. You’ll undertake appropriate quantitative analysis and prepare a report of approximately 5000 words.

Recent research projects include: 

  • waste tomato seed as a source of tocopherol (vitamin E)-rich natural emulsions

  • comparison between Turkish Delight and hard gummy sweets

  • particle stabilised emulsions 

  • flavour perception of standard and organic orange juice

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You can choose to add this optional additional year when you start your degree. It takes place between your second and third years. You’ll learn how to bring together the latest developments from across science disciplines. This is increasingly important to help solve some of the biggest challenges we face. Module topics will cover:

  • programming
  • software Development
  • modelling
  • databases
  • problem Solving
  • image Processing

You'll study at our Jubilee Campus, taught by experts from the School of Computer Science. If you choose this option, your degree certificate will change to ‘…with a Year in Computer Science'.

The SB Food Society run a range of events throughout the year from weekly bake off viewings to an annual cake crawl, and popular trips out to the winter BBC Good Food Show and Cadbury's World.

The Student Co-operative runs a shop on campus for students, staff and local residents. The shop aims is to provide quality, tasty and ethically-sourced food at student-friendly prices. 

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£26,500*
Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

If you do a work placement, you need to consider the travel and living costs associated with this.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

The food and drink industry is Europe's largest manufacturing industry – employing half a million people in the UK alone. A wide range of career options exist for our food science graduates including:

  • Product, process or retail technologist
  • Sensory scientist
  • Innovation, research and development roles
  • Quality assurance technologist
  • Commercial roles such as buyers
  • Manufacturing and operations roles
  • Food journalism
  • Food aid coordination and policy making in government agencies

You may also wish to consider options in postgraduate study.

For more information on career opportunities for food sciences graduates, see the publication we developed at Nottingham. This is now available on the IFST website.

Graduate destinations include:

  • Raw Materials Scientist at Mars
  • Development Manager at Delifrance
  • Quality Assurance Manager at MedLane
  • R&D Manager at Costa Coffee
  • Category Technician at M&S

Average starting salary and career progression

85.3% of undergraduates from the School of Biosciences secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £24,418.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Institute of Food Science and Technology

This course is accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST).

University of Nottingham students can join the IFST as an Associate member. In year two students can choose to enter an examination for IFST Certificate in Sensory Evaluation: Intermediate level.

Upon graduation you will be able to apply for membership of various other professional bodies and societies such as the Association for Nutrition; European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST); Royal Society of Chemistry; Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).

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Important information

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.