Food Science

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With approximately 250,000 jobs linked to the sector and a turnover of €27.5 billion, the food and drink industry in Ireland represents a vibrant and vital element of the Irish economy. To maintain this level of success within a global market, however, there must be ongoing innovation. This is part of what makes studying Food Science at postgraduate level such an exciting challenge: it often plays an important role in the development process.

Food Science Taught Programmes

University College Cork currently offers three taught programmes in the food science field. As well as scientific training and research, students of the MSc in Food Science – which is one-year full-time programme – can choose from among a broad selection of modules, including Material Science for Food Systems, Advanced Analytical Methods and Food Processing and Preservation. The Postgraduate Diploma in Nutritional Sciences is another nine-month option for anyone with training in a related field. The HDip in Food Science & Technology (which is one year full time or two year part time) acts as a good introduction to either of the foregoing programmes.

University College Dublin’s MEngSc in Food Engineering (one year full time, two years part time) is aimed at graduates in engineering, science and related disciplines. It provides comprehensive coverage of bioprocess engineering, risk assessment and product development. Though class sizes vary, one-to-one tuition from an assigned mentor is provided to each student.

Specialised Courses Available

While it may seem axiomatic to say that food safety should always be a priority, the unfortunate fact is that compliance is not entirely universal. Food legislation is there to maintain standards in the public’s interest; students who wish to learn more about the role of regulatory authorities can do so by enrolling a specialised masters programme covering food safety and risk analysis.

A similar option is TU Dublin’s MSc in Food Safety Management, which covers all areas relating to food safety – the dangers (microbial, chemical, etc.); safety issues in food production; regulatory, consumer, and legal concerns; food safety management tools; and a unique Integrated Food Safety Management Case Study, through which students can apply their knowledge in a food company environment.

Other food science and technology options at DIT include the MSc in Food Safety Management and the MSc in Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development – the later of which is a unique programme that bridges the areas of food science, business and culinary arts. Thanks to multi-disciplinary modules such as Gastronomy and Culture, New Food Business Creation and Sports and Exercise Nutrition, graduates are provided with extensive career options, including food product management, haute cuisine restaurants, as well as the possibility of further study.

Research avenues are available to students in both UCD and UCC. Among the research areas of particular interest in UCD are the development of new ingredient technologies and ensuring the security and safety of the food chain.

The central role that nutrition plays in our physical and mental well-being has long been recognised, but appreciation of it continues to grow and ingrain itself in the public consciousness. Such heightened awareness creates greater demand for expertise in the field, thus opening several career opportunities for graduates of nutritional science courses.

Among the courses on offer to students interested in this area are UCD’s MPH in Public Health (Nutrition) and UCC’s MSc in Nutritional Sciences, the former of which can be taken as either a one- or two-year option, depending on whether students wish to study the topic on a full- or part-time basis; the latter course, on the other hand, can only be taken full time and runs for one year. While the MSc course tends to focus on the nutritional science techniques, and the relationship between nutrition and the development of disease, the MPH degree aims to supply students with a keen understanding of public health practices and policies.


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