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Postgraduate study
Food & Nutrition

Food Science and Biotechnology (with Advanced Practice) MSc

Food and drink manufacturing is vital to the UK economy. It is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, employing 15% of the entire manufacturing workforce. Food producers must address environmental concerns, social responsibility and economic viability when designing sustainable food processing techniques.

  • This course is closed for September 2023 entry for international applicants.

Course overview

This innovative and topical programme is ideal for graduates new to this dynamic and exciting sector. It’s also particularly suitable if you’re seeking career enhancement by studying food science and biotechnology at master’s level. The programme will be of particular interest to graduates with an interest in developing knowledge and skills in subjects such as food biotechnology, food safety management and analytical techniques currently used in the food industry. It is also suitable if you already work in the industry and wish to develop your skills in these areas. We are highly praised for the links we maintain with local and national industries and businesses such as Marlow Foods (Quorn), SK Chilled Foods and Sainsbury’s. Our commitment to integrate with industry in the Tees Valley and beyond is reflected in our record of producing employment-ready problem solvers and innovators.

There are three routes you can select from to gain a master’s award:
• MSc Food Science and Biotechnology – one year full time
• MSc Food Science and Biotechnology – two years part time
• MSc Food Science and Biotechnology (with Advanced Practice) – two years full time

The one-year programme is a great option if you want to gain a traditional MSc qualification. The two-year master’s degree with advanced practice enhances your qualification by adding a vocational or research based internship to the one-year master’s programme.

A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge. A research internship provides you with the opportunity to develop your analytical, team-working, research and academic skills by working alongside a research team in an academic setting. We guarantee a research internship, but cannot guarantee a vocational internship. We will, however, provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own vocational internship position should you prefer this type of internship.

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Course details

For the MSc award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit master's research project.

You develop a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of food science and bioprocessing in the 21st century. You focus on food production and processing, biotechnology and sustainability alongside food quality and supply chain management. You also have the option to explore food product development and enterprise, food microbiology and safety, or project management in great depth, depending on your interest or desired career choice.

You are encouraged to take a voluntary placement within local industry to conduct real-world research projects. 

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Practice in Health and Life Sciences

You undertake a research or development internship to gain additional experience, enhancing your employability and academic learning.

Food Biotechnology

An introduction to current research and development across food biotechnology. You explore examples of the impact of biotechnology on food science, nutrition, food processing and food safety.

Traditionally, fermented foods such as cheese, yoghurt and alcoholic beverages were all produced by the action of micro-organisms converting simple raw materials into a range of products with enhanced organoleptic properties. Modern applications of these technologies include bioconversion of raw materials into high-priced commodities such as starch into sugar.

In addition, the development of genetic engineering techniques has permitted the modification of microbes, plants and animals. This is a highly controversial development potentially offering a diversity of new and enhanced food products, but there is a perceived risk to the environment and consumers.
The principles of microbial fermentation are investigated, with examples from food production including managing waste. This element of the module builds on a grounding in microbial physiology, prior to exploring types of reactor systems and their analysis and operation. The module also explores the recombinant DNA technologies which underpin the genetic modification of organisms and their applications to the food and agricultural sector.

Food Chemistry Composition and Analysis

The chemical composition of food is the key focus of this module. You critically examine the major physical and chemical changes to food as a result of applying a range of food processing technologies and storage conditions. You develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the current and emerging analytical techniques used by the food industry.

Food Product Design and Manufacturing Process Development

The module introduces you to the food product development and food manufacturing processes. It allows you to connect to the real world through the experience of developing a new food product either through an industry-based or industry-linked project. You experience challenges similar to those encountered in the launch of a new food product from laboratory to the table, including consideration of full economic costs and the development of a business plan. As part of this learning, you integrate graduate research skills and develop entrepreneurship.

Food Safety Engineering and Management

You examine a range of traditional and emerging technologies to ensure food safety. You explore a range of current food-related safety issues, for example analysing risk using standard industry tools such as hazard analysis critical control points. You review current hygiene practices in the food industry including emerging new sectors, such as biotechnology, which have brought with them new challenges associated with food quality and safety.

You also look at implementing, auditing and evaluating appropriate processes and procedures, and controls for safely processing foods. This module provides you with the necessary skills to synthesise and critically appraise different aspects of food safety technologies and food safety management in complex contexts.

Research Project

This module will provide an appropriate environment for an in-depth investigation of a subject relevant to the programme chosen and the continued development of cognitive, professional and transferable skills. It aims to unify your understanding and awareness of engineering or science as developed in the programme, with individual and independent research and analysis on a selected topic within the discipline. It also aims to expose you to the management of a significant project and to enable you to apply research methods relevant to your specific field and related discipline.

You investigate problems which involve the consideration of relevant legal, social, ethical, environmental and other professional issues.

You will be expected to develop and practice a professional approach to the presentation, delivery and appraisal of your written and oral presentations.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Making the transition to postgraduate-level study can be challenging. Support with making this transition is seen as an important element of this programme. 

Support is provided during the programme induction and within the module, Food Product Design and Manufacturing Processes. This support is designed to help you understand the requirements of academic study at postgraduate level, to enhance your skills in academic writing and referencing, and to help you develop the skills necessary to operate professionally, safely and ethically in planning and implementing a master’s-level research project.

By including work-based problem-solving projects and case study exercises this programme emphasises real-world working. This helps to blend theory and knowledge in the context of business, allowing you to develop the skills employers are seeking to set you on a successful career path. 

A significant feature of the programme is the inclusion of blended learning to provide a rich and varied learning experience. This also provides additional flexibility if you are in employment.

On campus you have access to a dedicated food product development laboratory and a pilot-scale processing equipment facility, allowing you to gain valuable hands-on experience of food processing and product development. Fully equipped microbiological and chemical analysis laboratories enable you to undertake a series of relevant practical investigative projects, through which you explore a range of ingredients and food products.

How you are assessed

You are assessed on subject knowledge, independent thought and skills acquisition through formative and summative assessment. 

Assessment may include:
• examinations
• oral presentations
• technical interviews
• technical reports
• laboratory reports 
• literature surveys, evaluations and summaries
• dissertation or thesis (MSc only).

You are presented with an assessment schedule providing details of the submission deadlines for summative assessments.


Entry requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have at least a UK 2.2 honours degree, or equivalent, in a subject related to science, engineering or technology. 

In addition, international students normally need at least a 6.0, with no component below 5.5, in the International Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

If your first degree is not in one of the subject areas listed above please contact our admissions team for guidance and advice on how you might become eligible. We may be able to offer you alternative access routes.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

Food and drink manufacturing is vital to the UK economy. It is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, employing 15% of the entire manufacturing workforce. Food and drink manufacturing companies make up 7% of all manufacturing businesses, and they buy two thirds of all the UK’s agricultural produce. The industry generates 18% of total manufacturing turnover. 

To meet the demands of this dynamic sector, the food industry needs to recruit more than 49,000 new skilled professionals and managers by 2022 which is great news for the next generation of talent wanting to study toward a rewarding career in a dynamic and highly innovative sector (The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink). 

Graduates can seek jobs in many areas in the food sector including:
• food analysis 
• new product development 
• quality management and food safety management
• food production management 
• technical management.

Work placement

There are potential short-term placements available during your study.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

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2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,770 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£9,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: September enrolment: 20 months, including a summer break; January enrolment: 2 years, including two summer breaks
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

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This course is closed for September 2023 entry for international applicants.

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