Food Science MSc - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MSc Food Science

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGDip Food Science
PGCert Food Science

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PCA61004 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Other internal and / or external reference points

IFST accreditation requirements: These key requirements are: ¿ That for the BSc programme 50% of the content must be food related. ¿ That students joining the programme/course have sound underpinning knowledge in subjects directly pertinent to the degree programme. ¿ That the programme/course provide graduates with a sufficient breadth of topics to enable them to competently evaluate the safety and quality of food and sufficient depth to enable them to identify appropriate strategies for its implementation, maintenance and/or improvement. ¿ That the programme/course provides opportunities for the development of a range of current and appropriate practical skills linked, in particular, to food science and food technology. ¿ That the programme/course contains a significant research project in which the student undertakes detailed study of a topic requiring critical investigation of an issue. ¿ That the programme/course progressively develops a student¿s ability to work as an individual, as part of a team and effectively use a range of transferable skills. ¿ That the programme/course includes an (optional) work-based placement, which complements the theory and practical elements of the programme/course and the point above. ¿ That the programme/course is subject to effective review by established procedures at both departmental and institutional level and is it subject to external review whether routinely or at periodic intervals. ¿ That there is sufficient infrastructure to support effective teaching and learning. i.e. students ideally should have access to appropriate physical resources (e.g. laboratories, pilot plant facilities, sensory evaluation units, library and other information facilities, IT facilities)

Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - School of Biosciences

Programme Leader

BROWN Jonathan (Biosciences)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To give students the opportunity to gain a fundamental understanding of the principles of food, nutritional and microbial sciences, and take a critical and scholarly approach to relevant theory, practice, literature and latest research findings on the importance of food science in society and enabling future employment in food science and related fields in government, research or industry in the UK and globally.
  • To examine the way in which contagious diseases spread, in particular food-borne disease, and how this can be controlled and to examine the gastrointestinal system and explore the different diseases that occur in humans and animals and the potential treatments.
  • To develop a deep appreciation of the transformations that occur in foods during processing, their impact upon the food components and their relationship to health.
  • To provide an understanding of the translation of nutrition science into population health, policies and guidelines and to develop an understanding of the importance of food and water security in the provision of good quality food
  • To evaluate the potential, efficacy and scope of traditional, novel and emerging food processing methods in the production of safe, wholesome and nutritious foods and to explore the fundamental aspects involved in the creation and development of a new food product with a focus on sustainable foods.
  • To provide the appropriate environment, including on a digital level, to develop an understanding of research methodology in the area for Food and Nutritional Sciences and to design, undertake, communicate and defend an original research project in Food Science.
  • To meet with the required programme standards of the Institute of Food Science and Technology

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Understand the main principles of contemporary food science, its application and its relevance to industry KT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Appreciate the chemistry and biochemistry of foodstuffs and the scientific basis of food spoilage, preventative strategies, and food processes, and to be able to apply this understanding to solve current food science related problems including food security and sustainability KCT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Develop an in depth understanding of the effects of food processing on food safety and quality and its relevance to contemporary issues globally and in the food industry. KCT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Understand the importance of nutrients and non-nutrients in foods, current principles of nutrition and the various challenges being faced globally. KC PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Understand in great depth the functional units of the gut, their dysfunction in disease and the importance of food components in gut health KCPT PGDip, MSc
Understand the main principles of public health in relation to foods, diet and nutrition, both nationally and internationally to be able to plan and critically evaluate health promotion activities related to nutrition and those that have a more food focussed angle KCT PGDip, MSc
Appreciate food borne disease and the role of the food chain and other transmission vectors KCP PGDip, MSc
Find and critically evaluate scientific research literature and other appropriate digital resources CT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Critically evaluate research design and the methods commonly used in food and nutrition research, demonstrate competence in commonly used research methodology to design plan and execute food and nutrition research. KCT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Use acquired knowledge and appropriate skills and expertise to make professional judgements CP PGDip, MSc
Design relevant experiments to test hypotheses. Gather, statistically analyse and interpret qualitative and quantitative data CPT PGDip, MSc
Demonstrate competence in commonly used food and nutritional science methodology CT PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Plan and execute an investigation/experiment, act autonomously with appropriate resilience and demonstrate originality KCPT MSc
Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral, written and visual (including digital) means CT PGCert, PGDip, MSc

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Master's Degree programme is studied full-time over one academic year, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) N
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

This programme is aligned to the University of Surrey¿s Five Pillars of Curriculum Design and design, namely (in alphabetical order) Digital Capabilities, Employability, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Resourcefulness & Resilience, and Sustainability. Specifically, these pillars are covered in this programme in the following ways:

Digital Capabilities: During the programme students must learn to navigate and utilise the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Surrey ¿ also known as SurreyLearn. This is an excellent and contemporary VLE system which provides students with much of the supporting material they need for the programme. Other digital resources and online databases are also used (e.g. Phenol Explorer) to aid in their learning on specific topics and to undertake research. Some further specialized digital tools/software, such as those used to determine the composition of foods and related dietary intakes, are also employed. Statistical computer packages are utilised to analyse the relevant data from these data bases. In this way the students build their skills to assess food composition and this feeds into how it can impact upon nutrient availability/intakes with a view to evaluating the data still further. Students are also encouraged to use current media such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Teams, Zoom, and utilising on-line file sharing for team working. Appropriate use of digital media and communication platforms is increasingly important for the modern Nutritional and Food Scientist and through appropriate use, but also some discussion of these media, students gain an awareness of their roles, responsibilities, limitations, and misuse which can have wider impact (e.g., to digital well-being)

Employability: The MSc programme in Food Science is an accredited programme with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), as such, the programme is designed to equip students with the relevant requirements of a Nutritional and Food Scientist. During the MSc students are encouraged to become Student Associate Members of the IFST and upon completion of their degree programme graduates can become official members of the IFST. The programme provides several opportunities throughout the degree to be exposed to Employability Events such as the IFST supported University of Surrey Student & Graduate presentation event (usually held every October), the IFST LaunchPad event (usually held every November) and the opportunities provided by frequently run Food Matters events. Throughout the course students are taught by, and exposed to, a variety of internal and external speakers which highlight to students the variety of specific roles food scientists and nutritionists have in the Food industry/Research Institutes and Government / non-Government organisations. Assessments but also tasks undertaken across modules in the programme are chosen to prepare students with knowledge and skills that are likely to need as contemporary Nutritional and Food Scientists. Fundamental to this programme is that students evaluate and appraise evidence from the scientific literature but elsewhere too and use this in the development of new food products and advancing food science and nutrition research.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The MSc degree programme in Food Science is normally quite international in terms of the entry cohort and so many different nations and backgrounds are represented within the programme. This is made good use of in terms of the variety of different perspectives students have in relation to the different foods available/consumed, their origin, the processes used & the legislation that underpins the use of food additives within different countries and students are encouraged to engage with, and learn from each other, through interaction in lectures and other settings, including assessments. Furthermore, Food Science and Nutrition research is well recognised as a global topic and there are extremely useful findings from research studies across the world. This is explored across the programme in cross-cultural studies conducted in relation to the role of different food components in health and disease, the differences that occur between different populations as well as in population migration studies. Students also develop an understanding of inadequate nutrition worldwide (over and under nutrition), with explorations of how the diversity of the lived experience & culture can impact upon food choice.

Resourcefulness & Resilience: Students are introduced to what is expected of them in terms of teaching, learning and assessment in the early stages of the programme and the need for them to be highly organised and self-reliant in the process. Timetables are provided in advance to facilitate planning and students are advised that they must prepare for some sessions in advance to make the very most of the learning available (e.g., practicals and flipped learning in tutorials). Formative assessments within some modules are designed to help students develop their knowledge and understanding in a ¿safe¿ environment (allowing failure). Summative assessment and feedback are used to develop knowledge/understanding/critical evaluation in future modules in the programme. Collaborative learning is encouraged and there is some opportunity for peer support. In the programme there is a clear pathway for students to become more independent in their learning, ultimately to become confident in their evaluative and creative skills in Food Science and Nutrition. Students are required to draw upon their individual resourcefulness but also that of the group/team in which they may work. The importance of developing self-reliance and self-reflection are also encouraged as these features become more important.

Sustainability: Sustainability underpins numerous aspects relating to the Food Science and Nutrition programme including the sourcing of food and ingredients from around the globe, the impact this has on the crops grown and the environment and the important role food supply has in terms of population growth and health. Indeed, many of the modules in the programme relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 2, 3, 9, 12 and 13. A further feature of sustainability relates to the need for sustainable diets arising from changes in food provision on a global scale, the reliance of plant-based foods and the impact this has on nutrition and the prevention of disease. Seminars and tutorials give students the opportunity to explore specific topics of sustainability e.g., the National Food Strategy and factors affecting UK and global food security.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.