BSc/BSc (Hons) Food Science and Innovation

Food Science is a multi-disciplinary field involving chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology and engineering to give one the scientific knowledge to solve real problems associated with the many facets of the food system. This new course will prepare you to work in this exciting field. It will equip you with the specialist skills that the food industry is currently crying out for to help it innovate and meet national and global demands. If you are passionate about food then this is the course for you.

Why QMU?

  • A proud history in food science: We have an impressive track record in food, nutrition and health dating back well over a hundred years, evolving from the Edinburgh School of Cookery (est.1875). In 2014, the University launched its Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation in response to the growth of Scotland’s food and drink industry. QMU has continued to focus on contributing in practical ways to improving people’s lives and serving the community. We are ambitious in our vision to support Scotland’s food and drink industry, and are well underway with our plans to develop the Edinburgh Innovation Hub on land adjacent to our campus in Musselburgh. The Hub will focus on food and drink related innovation within the context of health and wellbeing.
  • Responding to industry needs: This course has evolved from our previous degree in Nutrition and Food Science, but has been designed to respond to the current needs of the food industry. We continue to build on our traditions and continue to work with the food industry and the wider community.
  • Preparing you with the skills for a rewarding career: As a graduate of this course, you will have the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility that enables decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts, demonstrate team working skills necessary to flourish in the global workplace, communication skills that ensure information, ideas, problems and solutions are communicated effectively and clearly to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. You will have IT and digital literacy skills with an ability to work at the interface of creativity and new technologies.
  • Learning and teaching methods designed to help you succeed: We aim to provide a transformative student experience that encourages critical thinking, lifelong learning habits, enthusiasm to learn and debate and professional and ethical working behaviours. We wish to create a community of socially and globally aware citizens of the future.
  • Specialist facilities: We have specialist food product development, sensory, microbiology and food analysis facilities. We have a range of industrially focused analytical equipment to technically assess products in terms of texture, colour, moisture, acidity, brix and fat stability. We also have a range of industrial processing equipment. These facilities will enable you to develop the skills that the industry is looking for. There will be the opportunity for you to do your honours project, in year 4, using our specialist facilities at QMU or in collaboration with industry.
  • Staff support and expertise: Staff in our Division of Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences are active researchers and ensure that course content is relevant to the changing nature of the industry. Our interaction with the QMU Centre for Food Development and Innovation, allows us to provide an industry perspective. Smaller class sizes allow our staff to provide you with excellent support and we encourage you along every step of your time at QMU.
  • Industry relevance and input: Our alumni who work in the industry will deliver seminars. You will also have the opportunity to go on factory visits. We will also highlight to you the webinars and student focussed career events run by the IFST, the professional body for food scientists and technologists in the UK.  
  • Placement will allow you to put theory into practice: A placement in Year Three, will allow you to apply your learning in the real world and often helps to set you up for employment on graduation.

The food industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, employing 4 million people and generating around £121 billion annually. The Scottish food and drink sector is worth around £14 billion each year and accounts for one in five manufacturing jobs. Scotland has 18,850 food and drink businesses, which employ around 115,400 people.

There are a number of challenges in the way we produce and consume food. How do we make sure that we produce food in a sustainable way in terms of its impact on the environment and climate change? How do we make sure that we produce healthy food that aids in reducing obesity and cardiovascular disease, including producing food that is low in salt, sugar and fat but which is still nutritious, safe and tastes good? The BSc (Hons) Food Science and Innovation at QMU, will give you the knowledge, skills and tools to find innovative solutions to these challenges and opportunities.

On this course you will:

  • become more aware of the issues facing the food industry today and gain the knowledge, skills and tools to find innovative solutions to those challenges;
  • develop a sound understanding of the issues and concepts related to food science and the link between food science, nutrition and health;
  • have a detailed understanding of the important characteristics of food which enable the prediction of the safety, shelf life and acceptability of food products, and assess their nutritive values;
  • have detailed knowledge of the functionality of ingredients and their innovative use in the formulation and production of food products; and have developed practical skills in the evaluation of food with respect to composition, sensory, safety and nutritive value;
  • have experience of the nature and application of the legislation relevant for the food industry and consumer protection; and have practical experience of the monitoring, sampling and analysis of food when assessing safety standards and levels of permitted ingredients and contaminants;
  • apply the principles of quality and safety as applied to food provision, and become familiar and practised in the scientific principles and laboratory techniques used in the production, examination and analysis of food;
  • examine the systems legal and otherwise, which seek to control the production of food and protect the interests of the consumer, and foster an informed attitude to ethical and environmental concerns associated with food production;
  • develop the capacity for critical, analytical, reflective and independent thinking so that you become more of an effective problem solver and continuing learner both as a student and in your subsequent career;
  • develop experimental and practical skills and associated skills in design of investigations, data collection, analysis and reporting; and
  • understand the role of the food scientist within the food industry and professional and ethical conduct expected of a food scientist as set out by the Institute of Food Science and technology (IFST).


You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years. You will complete a range of modules each year as outlined.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Learning and teaching is very much student-centred and focuses on developing knowledge and understanding in the subject area, as well as development of intellectual, practical, transferable and professional skills. We use a combination of lectures, laboratory, workshops, student-led tutorials, problem-based case studies, and directed independent activities. Coursework is designed to mimic what happens in the work place.

Assessment methods include essays, reports, case studies, seminar presentations, examinations, group work, and independent study projects.

Year One

You will:

  • Gain a strong foundation in the core areas of the biological sciences.
  • Be introduced to fundamental principles and concepts in food science and associated disciplines (e. biology, biochemistry, sustainability and nutrition) and start to integrate your acquired knowledge from the different disciplines.


  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Cell biology and Genetics
  • Contextualising you and your Profession
  • Biochemistry
  • Food, Lifestyle and Society
  • Introduction to Food Science

Year Two

You will apply the knowledge and skills obtained in Year One, to a range of modules specifically relating to food science, food processing, microbiology, and nutrition. The Evidence Based Practice module will develop knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methodology, analysis, along with an ability to critically appraise the literature and prepare you for the work placement in Year Three and independent food science and innovation honours project in Year Four. 


  • Functional Food Ingredients
  • Food Processing
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Food Product Development

Year Three

You will:

  • Gain first-hand experience of the industry by undertaking a placement in the food industry
  • Study specialised modules addressing topics relating to food characterisation, current issues in the food industry, food safety, and food packaging.


  • Food Industry Placement
  • Current Issues in the Food Industry
  • Food Product Characterisation
  • Food Safety in the 21st Century
  • Innovations in Food Packaging

Year Four

There will be an increasing focus on the application of previous knowledge and skills gained in earlier years such as the module relating to food business and research development, giving a critical understanding of the complex nature of business development. Alongside this, the Food Innovation in Practice module will require you to design and assess innovative food development (ingredient, product, process or packaging). The final year food science and innovation honours project offers you an opportunity to focus on an area of particular interest and this project could be undertaken in industry or in the specialist facilities in the University.


  • Food Innovation in Practice
  • Food Business and Research Development
  • Food Science and Innovation Honours Project


Practical learning in real-world environments is the perfect way to consolidate your skills. In Year Three, you will undertake a placement in a food and drink company.

Careers and graduate films

The course will give you the scientific knowledge and skills to solve real problems associated with the many facets of the food system and will offer you opportunities to gain graduate employment both in the UK and abroad in roles such as a Food Scientist, a Food Production and Processing Technologist, a New Product Development Technologist, a Food Analyst, a Food Microbiologist or a Sensory Technologist or Analyst. Additionally, you could work in government and other organisations such as charities, enter the teaching profession on completion of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), or further your studies at postgraduate level (MSc/MPhil/PhD).


Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard - BBBC, Minimum - BCCC

A Level: BB

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

International: IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5

Required subjects: Chemistry or Biology or Human Biology and preferably one other science (may include Maths, Physics, Health and Food Technology, Environmental Science, or Home Economics) at Higher/A Level or equivalent AND Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English at Nat 5 GCSE.


  • Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies PLUS 2 Scottish Highers in Science and English at Grade C or above AND Maths and English at Nat 5 GCSE.
  • Level 3 BTEC National Diploma in Food Nutrition and Health (DM) AND Maths and English at Nat 5 GCSE.
  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science/Applied Human Biology (MMM) AND Maths and English at Nat 5 GCSE.

Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.


We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications in Biology and Chemistry or experience. Visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page for more information. 

Direct Entry:

Year Two - HNC in a related subject with B in the graded unit

Year Three

- Foundation degree in food science/technology or a related subject 

- HND in a related subject with CB in the graded units

For details of related HNC and HND courses, visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

For more information, please visit ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

Awarding body


Specialist facilities film

Open Day presentation

Please note:

  • The information posted here is correct at time of posting (September 2022) but may differ slightly to the course offered in 2023 following full validation. Please check back here for any updates.
  • The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2023/24 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).
  • Teaching staff may be subject to change.

Course Overview

On campus
3 or 4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2023
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Subject Area
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level