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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.

Why choose this course?

  • Students choose to study with us because of our facilities and industry expertise
  • Ranked 2nd in the Guardian University Guide 2021 for agriculture, forestry and food
  • Develop a new food product to enter into Ecotrophelia, a European food innovation student competition. Our 2020 teams have just won gold and bronze in the UK finals.
  • 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 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAB-ABB including two science subjects from chemistry, biology, maths and physics, or one science and one science-related subject
IB score 34-32 (including 5 in two science-based subjects at Higher Level)

A levels

AAB-ABB including:

two science subjects from chemistry, biology, maths and physics

or

one science and one science-related subject such as applied science, food technology, economics, geography, statistics and psychology

GCSEs

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. Must contain a significant number of science modules.

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.

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

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.

Study abroad

We offer designated support to guide through the entire process of studying abroad:

  • study in Australia, Canada or the USA. We'll help you apply to spend a semester of your second year at one of our highly ranked international partner universities
  • the university offers a wide range of summer schools worldwide

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.

Food sciences facilities

Take a tour of our food sciences lab facilities, our sensory science centre and the food processing hall. You'll see the specialist equipment we have and how you would use this on our food sciences courses.

Modules

We'll teach you about food chemistry and physiology, to develop your scientific understanding of food. 

Food microbiology and nutrition will teach you about food safety and the relationship between food and health.

At the end of the year, you'll see your learning put into practice. We visit different food companies.

Food Materials and Ingredients

During processing, the material properties of the food are altered; this directly affects the quality of the food product in terms of its colour, flavour and texture. You'll be introduced to the properties of food materials both raw and processed, with a particular focus on the chemical and physical nature of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. You’ll have a weekly four hour lecture supported by three hours of practicals each week.

Introduction to Nutrition

Nutrients are vital to human and animal health, but how do they work? In this module, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of nutrition. Depending on your interests, you can study human or animal nutrition, or both. Understand how the food we eat influences our health. Explore how the food eaten by animals impacts on food production and the global food system.

You’ll study:

  • micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals
  • macronutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates and fats
  • metabolism, and how nutrients give us energy
  • the influence of nutrition in diseases such as cancer and diabetes
Food and Physiology

Learn how our body reacts when it first senses the presence of food, and how hormones are activated in response to hunger and food consumption. The microbiome and gut health will be covered, both in the healthy state and when undesirable reactions occur, leading to disease. You will explore how certain foods can impact the body, affecting our cognitive and physical health.

International Food Commodities

What is food quality and how can it be defined for each commodity? How does it develop then deteriorate? What methods (chemical, physical or biochemical) can be employed to control quality and slow down deterioration? In this module you will learn about the properties of major food commodities including cereals, fruit, coffee, herbs and spices, sugar, fish and milk. You will examine the strategies employed to store and/or prepare material for food manufacturing and transport and learn about the global food supply chain. You will have lectures and small group work.

Biochemistry -The Building Blocks of Life

Have you ever wondered how some crops can resist diseases? This module provides you with the fundamentals for understanding biochemical processes in living organisms. You’ll be introduced to the basic structure, properties and functions of the four key biological macromolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. You’ll also look at the metabolic pathways occurring in cells, such as respiration, photosynthesis and the biosynthetic pathways for the key macromolecules. In addition to lectures, you’ll have practical laboratory sessions to learn how to use key biochemical techniques for the separation and analysis of macromolecules and measurement of the metabolic process.

Bacterial Physiology

The major aim of this course is to provide you with the basic knowledge of bacterial cell structures and growth and to reveal the mechanisms that allow bacteria to respond to their environment.  Students will also be taught how to handle data commonly used in microbiological experimentation and be given training in the basic practical methods required for all microbiological and food microbiological laboratory work. You will have weekly lectures and practicals.

Biosciences Tutorials and Foundation Science

The tutorials component of this module is intended to enhance your transition into university and guide you through the academic expectations of your degrees. This part of the module is spread throughout the year and 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 generic 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 Foundation Science content has three elements: chemistry, maths and statistics and physics. The chemistry element will include: elements and periodic table; atomic structure and bonding; intermolecular attractions, chemical equilibrium; acids and bases, oxidation and reduction; rates of reaction; basic organic chemistry, isomerism, and rings.  The Maths and Stats element will include: calculations, algebra, functions and relationships, powers, logarithms, descriptive statistics, significance, regression and presenting data. The Physics element will include: units and dimensions; power, energy and heat; light and the electromagnetic spectrum; attenuation/absorption; and radioactivity.

There is also an IT element, which interfaces with generic IT training for undergraduates provided within the University.

Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Modern agriculture is a dynamic, fast-paced and high-tech industry. In this module, you’ll explore practical agricultural systems used by commercial UK farms. Designed for students with a farm or non-farming background, you’ll get to understand the fundamental concepts of agricultural systems within the context of contemporary markets, policy and research. Exact topics covered in the module will vary according to the issues affecting the agricultural industry in any one year, but examples include: dairy production, arable production, soils, agri-environmental interactions, labour and machinery management and farm business systems. You’ll have lectures from academics currently researching these fields and will visit the University Farm and external farms to see what you’ve learnt in practice.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

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.

Core modules

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.

Processing and Sensory Evaluation of Food

Processing and Sensory Evaluation of Food will cover the manufacture and sensory evaluation of a range of food products. Sensory evaluation of food will cover the senses and their role in assessing the sensory properties of products,  panel selection, training and sensory protocols,  sensory data analysis and sensory and consumer methods for the sensory evaluation of products. 

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 course considers food safety and food quality aspects to encompass 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 ubiquitous 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

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. 

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. 

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

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. Using this knowledge to develop a new product to present to your peers and industry.

Core modules

Industrial Food Manufacture and Product Development

You’ll study a range of operations used in food manufacturing and emphasis will be placed on the hygienic and legal requirements for the production of foods. When working in a food factory, you should have sufficient understanding to contribute, at managerial level, to a production team and be able to contribute to the development of novel food products under factory time scales and limitations. You’ll have a four hour lecture and four hour practical each week to study for this module. 

Trends in Food and Nutrition Research

You'll gain an insight of research interests within the Division of Food Nutrition and Dietetics. 

This could include:

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

Factors that initiate shape and direct this research will be discussed and explored.

Food Flavour and Advanced Sensory Science

This module will introduce the chemistry, physics and physiology of food flavour. Advanced sensory methods such as temporal and rapid techniques will be explored, along with advanced understanding of sensory perception through multisensory interaction and factors affecting human variation in sensory response. Advanced analytical techniques (APCI-MS, GC-MS, GC-O and HPLC-MS) will be introduced and how these tools can be used to explain flavour chemistry, dynamic flavour release and its role in eliciting flavour perception. Content will be delivered through blended learning, E-lectures, real time Q&A, taught lectures, self-directed learning and workshops and tutorials.

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.

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

Personal and Professional Development for Food Scientists

This module provides specific training and learning opportunities to develop a range of key skills and competencies that improve employability prospects for you, and your performance once in work. These include, positive behaviours e.g. taking responsibility, being proactive, and integrity on discharging roles as well as key employability skills e.g working as part of a team, developing leadership capability, exercising influence, networking. 

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

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

£25,000*
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 starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

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/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

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 food science careers, have a look at the toolkit we developed with the IFST. 

Average starting salary and career progression

89.5% of undergraduates from the School of Biosciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £23,831.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.