Masters degrees in Food Sciences study the principles of human food production. These programmes will allow you to explore different forms of commercial food manufacture, the technologies these processes rely upon and the science behind them.
Many degrees have clear practical applications, delivering the expertise required by a range of commercial businesses and industries. Others are more theoretical, analysing the technologies used to produce, preserve or transport food and drink.
Courses can be taught or research-based, awarding MSc, MRes or MPhil degrees as appropriate. Entry requirements will vary, but you'll normally be expected to have an undergraduate Science degree.
Postgraduate training in Food Sciences has lots of obvious (and not so obvious) professional applications. Food production is a big business, with large companies developing new processing methods, or techniques for creating more natural products.
Careers are also available in related fields such as agriculture (no pun intended) as businesses and governments seek to find ways of feeding growing and changing populations. Or, with the right Food Science Masters, you could even find work in glamorous and exciting professions such as winemaking or craft beer production (an excellent way to leverage some of the extra-curricular experience you may have developed as a student).
A specialist Food Science degree (such as a Masters in Food Hygiene) has its own professional outcomes. You could work with a public health service or cross over into applied fields such as catering or food and beverage quality control.
Information in these tables is based on the 2014/15 publication of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey, produced by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency. Data is given for graduates of UK Masters degrees and other level 7 postgraduate courses, after 3.5 years. Some figures have been rounded.
The food industry is experiencing a skills gap in technical and product development roles, while also taking a leading role in driving a public health agenda and producing safe, tasty food which meet our nutritional needs.
This course prepares you for technical and product development roles in the food industry with a strong emphasis on nutrition. It is aimed at students with a background in food science, nutrition, health and wellbeing, exercise science or biological sciences who wish to specialise in food and nutrition and acquire an in-depth understanding of how to apply nutrition principles to food product development and production.
You learn about food production and nutrition in an applied setting, developing core technical skills in our state of the art development kitchens, food and nutrition labs and sensory suite. You apply those practical skills to live briefs with commercial applications provided by our industrial partners such as Morrisons and Cranswick plc.
The course is based on three key strands:
Examples of academic research and commercial projects you work on include developing tasty healthy alternatives, understanding the impact of food labelling on consumer liking, developing a food product for a major food retailer partner (brief varies) or supporting local SMEs with food quality assurance systems.
Full-time without work placement – 12 months
Full-time with work placement – 18 to 24 months
Part time – 12 to 24 months
As a graduate from this course, career opportunities include:
This course engages with issues at the very forefront of modern food production. You‘ll explore the origins of biotechnology, the legislation and social issues related to biotechnology in food, the immune system and role of antibodies.
You’ll have chance to challenge the myths associated with food allergies and the risks, causes and solutions. You’ll learn the science behind every ingredient that goes into a product.
The core sciences of chemistry and biochemistry underpin the course, alongside the processing of food. You’ll also study some elements of microbiology and nutrition. You’ll learn to apply fundamental scientific concepts to understand and manipulate the complex characteristics of foods and to integrate this scientific knowledge with an understanding of food technology.
The course is strongly linked to our research groups, meaning you’ll be taught by staff who are actively engaged in world-class research and cutting-edge professional practice.
Through this programme you'll develop the ability to critically assess the complex factors that influence the range, quality and acceptability of foods produced in an industrialised society.
You'll apply scientific knowledge from your bachelor degree and extend it to areas outside your first degree discipline. You'll gain a broad knowledge of food science with the necessary related understanding of chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics and biology. You'll also learn to integrate your scientific knowledge with an understanding of food technology and will develop your own interests and skills through specialised options and projects, influenced by current research thinking in the field.
The programme provides an understanding of the methodology of research investigations by experimental project, and helps you develop the personal skills you'll need to communicate effectively in future professional activities.
Teaching is by lectures, practical classes, tutorials, seminars and supervised research projects. We make extensive use of IT, and a wide range of materials is available to enable you to study at your own pace and in your own time to enhance and extend the material you’ll learn formally.
Assessment is by a range of methods, including formal examination, in-class tests, laboratory practical reports, example sheets, problem solving, project work and verbal presentations.
The pass mark for each module is 50%. All marks from all modules (passed and failed) are included in the final classification mark, which must be at least a 50% average to pass.
Postgraduates from the School go into careers in research, in the food industry, into regulatory and public bodies across the world, backed by the confidence and skills gained from studying at one of the leading schools of food science and nutrition internationally.
Our graduates are in big demand and food companies come to Leeds to recruit the best talent. Some of our past graduates hold key positions in the food industry and government agencies.
There are many opportunities open to you within the food industry, from jobs in nutrition and new product development to roles in the supply chain, purchasing, logistics and distribution. You may decide to become a development scientist, working on new foodstuffs and producing food which is safe and nutritious with a consistent flavour, colour and texture. There are roles within this area in industry, but also within government and local authority food inspection departments. Other job roles include industrial buyer, retail buyer, production manager or quality assurance manager.
Read more about typical career paths:
A Masters in food science will also serve you well in progression to research-led projects. Many of our students go on to undertake PhD research here at the University of Leeds in one of the School’s research groups. Read about postgraduate research in the School of Food Science and Nutrition.
The School of Food Science and Nutrition has its own dedicated Employability Enhancement Officer who can offer quality advice and support with regards to careers, CV and cover letter writing, job applications etc. The Employability Enhancement Officer promotes a range of opportunities available to students to ensure they maximise their capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.