The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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 the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Food and Physiology
This module will cover the basics of the journey of food around the body. Students will 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. Students will be encouraged to explore how certain foods can impact the body, affecting our cognitive and physical health.
Food Materials and Ingredients
Food materials can be raw, or in the form of manufactured food products. During processing, the material properties of the food are altered; this directly affects the quality of the food product in terms of, for example, its colour, flavour and texture. This module introduces you to properties of these materials (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 to study for this module.
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.
Introduction to Nutrition
Nutrients are vital to humans and animals, but how do they work? In this module you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of nutrition, including macronutrients, energy metabolism, vitamins and minerals. Depending on your interest, you’ll be able to focus on human or animal nutrition. This means you can choose to look at the role of nutrition in human disease (including coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes), or learn about animal nutrition and what it means for food production. You’ll learn about nutrition through a mix of lectures, practical sessions and e-learning.
Contemporary 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 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.
Food Commodities and Primary Processing
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.
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.
Optional - there are no optional modules in year one
In this large module you will learn about the manufacturing of a wide range of industrially manufactured food products. You will follow the whole process from the ingredients used to the final packaged food, with an emphasis on key physical and chemical properties of food biomaterials before, during and after processing, and on the underpinning scientific principles that can be applied to a number of food manufacturing systems. You will have lectures, tutorials, group learning and practical sessions in our Food Processing Facility as well as in the laboratory.
Food Product Case Studies
Through problem-based learning (PBL) 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.
Food Safety and Legislation
Through weekly lectures and workshops, the aim of this module is to introduce you to the legislation relating to food and enable you to recognise the responsibilities (and liabilities) of those engaged in the production, manufacture and supply of food and related products. This includes the composition, labelling and advertising of food and food products sold for human consumption within the UK and the EU as well as the legislation that impacts on health attributes and claims for consumer products.
Sensory quality of food is the key attribute in food acceptability. It provides pleasure and also plays a key role in delivering nutritious food in a palatable way. Food quality can be measured using sensory methods as well as instrumental measures of attributes like taste, aroma and texture. The aim of this module is to review the senses and the sensory methods employed by research and industry to measure sensory properties and the consumers’ liking response.
Microbial Mechanisms of Foodborne Diseases
This module aims to provide a fundamental understanding of the microorganisms causing food-borne disease and 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 ACDP2 pathogens.
What are the main events of the immune response when the body is infected by intra and extracellular parasites, essential components of many diseases? In this module you’ll be introduced to the fundamental concepts behind cellular and molecular immunology. You’ll learn about the main characteristics and features of the innate and adaptive immune system, their functions and how they relate to each other. You’ll explore current immune-techniques, modern concepts of immune-deficiency and hypersensitivities, and contemporary topics in animal and human diseases.
The module will provide an introduction to viruses and their interactions with their hosts (bacteria, plants and animals including humans) as well as discussing the structure of viruses and their significance including pathogenesis and molecular biology. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Introduction to Business Operations
You’ll be given appreciation of the main elements and techniques of operations management, within a business context through a weekly 90 minute lecture and one hour seminar.
Nutrition Regulation, Physiology and Endocrinology
This module aims to develop your understanding of the principles of nutrition from dietary assessment and food analysis through to how the body utilises the diet’s nutrients in energetics throughout the human lifespan and in different pathological states. You will investigate the physiological systems that control homeostasis and metabolism as well as examining how the body regulates various physiological responses to food, regulating appetite and energy expenditure. You will have two lectures and workshops per week for this module.
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. Your research project will run throughout the final year. 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
You’ll be given an understanding of: the micro-organisms which are important in foods; the factors which control the development of the microflora of food products and the methods which can be used to isolate and identify bacteria from food products. You’ll spend one day per week in lectures studying for this module.
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.
You’ll be made aware of 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.
This module will expose you to research and developments in a number of areas of current academic interest within the Division of Food Sciences. 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 the Physiology of Perception
This module will expose final year students to basic chemistry, physics and physiology of food flavour perception from both a chemistry and sensory perspective. This includes: aroma perception, taste perception, texture perception and also the physiological and psychological factors contributing to perception. Factors affecting human variation in sensory perception will be discussed and explored. Content will be delivered through taught lectures and hands on practical’s and self-directed learning.
Optional (subject to timetabling)
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.
Physical Chemistry of Molecules
This module will develop your understanding of the basic physical chemistry behind the properties of biomolecules - properties which underpin their behaviour in vivo and their technology and some of the techniques used to characterise their size. You’ll spend six hours in lectures and have a four hour practical each week to study for this module.
Technology Entrepreneurship in Practice
This module introduces the process of commercialising for science and technology. Commercialisation deals with developing intellectual property within the science and technology domain to a point where it is ready to enter the market. This process is an increasingly important activity as government and business places importance on the wealth creation. You’ll have weekly lectures and two seminars.