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This programme provides advanced academic training in food safety and food control. It includes topics such as food control, hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) and food chain security.

You will consider the relationship between food and public health, and examine the scientific, technical, managerial, political and legislative factors that influence food safety.

Course details

This programme provides advanced academic training in food safety and food control. You will consider the relationship between food and public health, and examine the scientific, technical, managerial, political and legislative factors that influence food safety.

The course is particularly suitable for those with relevant food related knowledge and/or experience including:

  • Hygiene managers or supervisors already working in the food industry
  • Staff working in competent authorities or enforcement; for example, Environmental Health Officers or Food Safety Officers
  • Staff in diagnostic or food microbiology laboratories
  • Students who have completed relevant undergraduate degrees such as Food Technology and wish to find employment in the food industry or local government
  • Food hygiene and management trainers or consultants

Programme content

The syllabus includes detailed coverage of food safety hazards, especially microbial contamination, and the impact of such contamination on public health. Also covered in depth are the Food Controls used in the EU to contain such hazards.

This postgraduate programme is designed to provide rigorous academic training in Food Safety, Hygiene and Management.

It provides an opportunity for students to develop an appreciation of the relationship between food and public health by focusing on the factors that influence food safety and quality. These are multidisciplinary and include scientific, technical, managerial, political and legislative matters. Topics covered include:

Food Safety

Access to safe food should be a basic human right. Unfortunately food borne illness is universal. Changing methods of food production and the globalisation of the food chain increase the risk that food borne contaminants will cause larger and more serious outbreaks, as well as providing opportunities for emerging pathogens.

The MSc in Food Safety Hygiene and Management differs from other postgraduate food courses in that it focuses on the mechanisms of Food Control and Food Safety Management. All Food Control and Safety Systems seek to prevent food safety hazards from causing illness; microbiological hazards are considered to be some of the most significant food safety hazards in the food chain and the content of the course reflects this viewpoint. 

Food Control

One of the main mechanisms of Food Control is the implementation of food hygiene and food standards legislation. Together with the relevant food microbiology, this legislation forms the basis of the course, underpinning the study of processes and management systems commonly used by industry and the competent authorities.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

The course also covers HACCP, Risk Assessment, Quality Assurance, Integrated Pest Management, premises and equipment design and other aspects of control in a national and international context. The research projects conducted by the students as part of the MSc reflect these priorities and may be laboratory or practice based.

Food Chain Security

The emphasis on implementation and enforcement of legislation and safety standards is a novel approach and, by offering a comprehensive picture of food chain security, provides progression for those from undergraduate degrees such as food technology, veterinary medicine or microbiology. This legal perspective qualifies successful candidates to work in enforcement or advisory positions for UK competent authorities such as the Food Authority (Local Authority). The course is accredited by the Environmental Health Registration Board.

The legislation considered is EC based and the course welcomes many students from other member states, some of whom return home to work in their own Competent Authorities or to represent their country on specialist food committees at national, EU and international level. Several have also taken up lectureships in food safety. The course has also become increasingly popular with overseas students, especially those from countries wishing to accede to the EU or to trade with it.

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Learning and teaching

Learning, teaching and assessment

Various learning and teaching methods are used on the programme, including traditional lectures, computer-based learning, student-based learning such as case studies and directed learning, laboratories and visits. The programme is assessed using both traditional unseen examination and coursework. The MSc requires candidates to complete a research project and submit a thesis.

Skills gained

Apart from a high level of technical knowledge, students will also gain the ability to critically analyse data and published information, apply scientific principles and legislation to practical situations and become experienced at locating and interpreting government guidance. Successful candidates will also develop an advanced understanding of common food safety management systems such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).


The Postgraduate Diploma and MSc are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health /Environmental Health Registration Board as a route to the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection and therefore very appropriate for anyone wishing to work as a food premises officer in a food authority or competent authority. Past students have found work in a variety of areas, including NGOs, competent authorities in the UK and overseas, academic institutions and the food industry.

Visit the Food Safety, Hygiene and Management - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!






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