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MSc Food Microbiology

Course Description

Food is necessary for human survival, is an important source of pleasure, and plays an enormous role in the global economy. Microbes play an essential role in food preservation and safety, food for health and food biotechnology. These are growing areas in all global economies. UCC Microbiology has established a global reputation in food microbiology, based on its research profile and the impact of its graduates in the food industry.

This course covers the breadth of classical and modern food microbiology, including food safety and spoilage; food fermentation; food biotechnology; hygienic production of food; the impact of diet on health; the molecular mechanisms of infectious microbes and the role of the gut microbiota in human health. Students may also wish to take advantage of the limited number of optional industry placements which are available on this course for the research dissertation.

Visit the website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ckr19/

Course Details

The MSc in Food Microbiology is a structured one-year full-time course which includes a six-month lab-based research dissertation. The aim of this course is to educate you to an MSc level in food microbiology, emphasising areas in which UCC engages actively in research, e.g. food biotechnology, food fermentations, food safety, food for health.

The course will give you the knowledge and skills to contribute to Irish and international food industries. Modules will be chosen with the approval of the Programme Board depending on your background.

After completing this course you will have:

- advanced theoretical education and practical training in the area of food microbiology
- greater knowledge and understanding of current issues in food microbiology
- laboratory research practice in food microbiology
- knowledge from different aspects of food microbiology and formulation of appropriate judgements on scientific research
- ability to survey scientific literature at a professional level
- knowledge, understanding and problem-solving skills to address practical issues in the food industry and work there at management level.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/food/page06c.html


Lectures and workshops are conducted between 9am and 6pm (Monday to Friday). Up to 138 lecture hours with approximately 70 additional directed study/reading hours can be expected. There are 38 hours of laboratory practicals/workshops, which may be carried out as half-day or full-day workshops. Students also complete a six-month lab-based research dissertation on a topic in the area of food microbiology, performed under the supervision of a member of staff and in some cases co-supervised by collaborating research centres. The project aims to enhance your laboratory skills and critical abilities in identifying, analysing and solving problems in scientific research and to develop your skills in communicating your results.

Placement and Study Abroad

Some placement opportunities exist for research projects to be carried out in collaboration with industry partners or at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark in Fermoy.


The course uses a variety of assessment methods. Most modules are assessed by in-term continuous assessment and/or end-of-year examinations. In-term exams can be either multiple choice type questions (MCQs) or written papers (normally 1.5h duration). Most modules include assignments, dissertation and reports as part of the assessment methodology. Modules that contain workshop/practical components are also assessed using written reports/assignments. The laboratory research project is assessed by a combination of laboratory performance, written report and oral presentation. The research project (MB6007) is written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by an external examiner.


The MSc in Food Microbiology is designed to equip graduates to work in a range of management, research and innovation roles within the Irish and international food, beverage and associated industries. Graduates will be in a position to support new product development, innovation and quality assurance functions in the dairy, meat, consumer foods, soft and alcoholic beverages and food ingredients sectors. Graduates will also be equipped to work in a range of other areas such as contract food-testing laboratories, the regulatory and consumer protection sectors. Graduates also have the option of proceeding to further studies at PhD level.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

Visit the MSc Food Microbiology page on the University College Cork website for more details!

Student Profiles

UCC Postgraduate Bursaries for Taught Programmes - 20+ Awards

UCC are offering bursaries to students who have lost funding because of the changes to the Student Grant Scheme in the 2012 Budget. There has been a substantial increase in the number of postgraduate students in Ireland in recent years but it is feared that the change in the Student Grant Scheme as part of Budget 2012 may affect the numbers adversely.UCC have decided not to limit the number of bursaries as supplying suitably qualified graduates is one of its actions to support the government’s 2012 Action Plan for Jobs. “There is great merit in offering these Bursaries”, says Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC. “We know that the removal of the Government grant will have caused some problems for students and we hope that this measure alleviates the financial difficulties. This support for our postgraduate students complements the support that UCC offers disadvantaged students through it Access programme and Talented Student Programme at UCC. We think it is very important to support our students at this time as well-qualified postgraduate students will be an important part of Ireland’s economic recovery”. In 2011, 3,691 postgraduate students registered to study across UCCs four Colleges (College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, College of Business and Law, College of Medicine and Health and the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science) undertaking studies ranging from Higher Diplomas to doctoral research degrees. With over 200 taught and research programmes, UCC is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in Ireland. UCC’s excellent reputation and support for all students, especially disadvantages students, is one of the major reasons for its designation as the ‘Sunday Times Irish University of the Year 2011-12’ and ‘Ireland’s first Five Star University’ (QS Stars 2011). Other national programmes that provide financial support for suitably qualified students to undertake postgraduate studies include the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme (GSCP), a joint initiative with the Department of Education and Science and the Higher Education Authority. The aim of this programme is to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire qualifications for employment in the ICT area. These postgraduate courses are provided at reduced fees (€2,750) and aim to enhance Ireland’s competency in this economically important area. ICT is just one of the many options available to students; the full range of UCC post graduate programmes is available on http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/what/colleges/

Value of Scholarship(s)



The bursaries are specifically designed to ensure that students who were previously in receipt of a local authority grant and as a result of the changes in the scheme are no longer eligible are not disadvantaged.To be eligible, the student must have qualified for Local Authority, VEC or Department of Education grants in the final year of their bachelor’s degrees. The bursaries are not limited to UCC graduates; the scheme is open to students from any Irish HE institution who graduated since 2009 and who will commence a full time taught Post graduate programme in UCC in September 2012.

Application Procedure

Full details of the bursary scheme are on the University website http://www.ucc.ie/en/financeoffice/fees/

Further Information


Entry Requirements

To apply for this course you will have an honours BSc degree, or equivalent qualification, in a discipline with a significant element of laboratory science, with a minimum of 2.2, or equivalent. Candidates with equivalent academic qualifications may be accepted subject to the approval of the College. The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the basis of your performance in your primary degree or interview.

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