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Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition

Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition

This degree programme is about gaining the knowledge and understanding of three key areas in relation to food production and consumption.

Food Quality concerns the ‘fitness for purpose’ of our food in terms of appearance (e.g. colour and surface qualities, texture, flavour and odour) and how these can be improved.

Food Safety considers the physical, microbiological and chemical aspects of our food, which may be harmful to human health and how these can be minimised.

Nutrition concerns the nutrient supply from foods necessary to support the human body in health and during ill health throughout all life stages.

Employment prospects are excellent, our food graduates work in a wide variety of roles within international companies such as Heineken and PepsiCo, food retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's and local businesses such as Suki Tea, Dale Farm, Finnebrogue and Moy Park to name but a few.

The programme has underwent a professional accreditation process overseen by the Institute for Food Science and Technology (IFST). This provides quality assurance that the programme offers students ‘the best possible food-related education’.

Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition at Queen's

Join Dr Susan Doherty for her webinar on Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition at Queen's.

Subject Overview

Employment prospects are excellent, our food graduates work in a wide variety of roles within international companies such as Heineken and PepsiCo, food retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's and local businesses such as Suki Tea, Dale Farm, Finnebrogue and Moy Park to name but a few.

The programme has underwent a professional accreditation process overseen by the Institute for Food Science and Technology (IFST). This provides quality assurance that the programme offers students ‘the best possible food-related education’.

Number 1
for Food Science Teaching
(NSS, 2020)
3rd
In the UK for Food Science
(Complete University Guide 2021)
BSc Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition
BSc Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition
Facilities at the School of Biological Sciences
Facilities at the School of Biological Sciences

"When I came to Queen’s I was intrigued to learn more about Food Quality as I had an interest in working in the area of food, particularly within the area of Nutrition. I would really recommend this course at Queen’s, it has given me to opportunity to learn so much and I’m now employed with a local food producer and I’m able to put the knowledge from my course into practice."

Geraldine Renaghan (Food Quality Coordinator – Suki TEA)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do students typically go on work placement?

    Our past students have gained work placement with organisations such as: Pepsico, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, The Food Standards Agency, Finnebrogue, Suki Tea, Dale Farm, Nestlé, Kerry group, Kraft Foods, Moy Park, Tayto, Hovis, Ulster Cancer Foundation, NI Chest, Heart & Stroke, hospital trusts to name a few.

  • Do students get help securing work placements?

    Yes, we very lucky to have a dedicated Careers and Placements team within our School who provide excellent support to our students, linking them with food businesses both in NI and further afield to help them secure placements.

  • Is the course all lecture based?

    Definitely not! We use lectures to introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading and also provide you with opportunities to ask questions and gain general feedback and advice on assessments. However, we also aim to develop strong technical skills in our food students and in some cases you will design your own practical and evaluate your success. You will be expected to attend up to 2 practicals per week for a module depending on the content, e.g. nutrition, food microbiology, chemistry, quality, food manufacture or product development practicals.

  • How do Queen's food students keep up to date with what's going on in the food industry?

    As well as work placement, external experts are invited to give lectures, workshops or tutorials to enhance the learning opportunities of students. These guest speakers include representatives from the Food Industry such as Glanbia Cheese Sainsbury’s, the Food Standards Agency and Campden BRI who bring a real life context to your studies and emphasise the current relevance of the degree. Visits to food businesses and an external Sensory Evaluation facility are also arranged to support theoretical learning. Our students gain real life experience of manufacturing products such as bread, chocolate, ice-cream and ready meals in the food processing and packaging facilities at CAFRE (Loughry Campus).

    Each year, our second year students attend a Student Launchpad event facilitated by the Institute of Food Science & Technology to provide them with networking opportunities through mixing with industry mentors and allow them to gain valuable insights into possible careers in all aspects of the food chain.

  • Do you get the chance to develop other skills outside the course?

    We always encourage our students to broaden their horizons and further develop skills such as creativity, leadership, communication, problem solving and team work as these essential “soft” skills are highly valued by employers. Here are just a few examples of what our students have been up to outside the classroom......

    Our food students have enjoyed great success competing in the QUB wide “What’s the Big Idea?” competition as part of the Business Innovation & Entrepreneurship module, winning the “Best Idea” award in the Faculty in 2019/20 based on their innovative business pitches.

    This summer our food students have linked up with the University of Cambridge to take part in MAKEit, bringing their expertise, passion and team spirit to work online in teams to create new business ideas that could help the fruit & vegetable supply chains become more prepared for future disruptions such as pandemics and climate change. Their ideas will be converted into physical prototypes with the support from Makespace Cambridge. This experience has provided them with expert webinars, online team ideation platforms, mentoring, home prototyping materials and a remote prototyping service, and been lots of fun! It is also a fantastic addition to their CV.

    Each year our food students have the opportunity to compete in a joint team with their Agriculture student counterparts representing Queen’s in the Dawn Meats “Great Agri-Food Debate”, competing against universities from all over Ireland.

  • Is there a student society for this course?

    Yes, the "QUB Foodies" society run by and for our food students. They organise student events throughout the year with the highlight being the annual formal.

  • Do students have the chance to do any extra qualifications during their food course?

    This is a good question. All of our students undertake the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level 3 Award in Food Safety Supervision for Manufacturing as part of their module in Food Commodities, Processing and Hygiene. They may also have access to industry based training courses during their work placement.

    Our students also have the chance to compete for prizes. Yakult provides prizes for the best overall final year student and the best Honours project in final year. Safe Food also provides a prize for the best essay in the final year module ‘Food Supply Chain Safety and Security’.

  • How are students assessed on the course, is it all exam based?

    This is something we get asked about a lot and the answer is no. The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning outcomes of each module and we design our assessment strategies to appeal to a variety of student learning styles. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.

    Examples of coursework include real life food industry case studies, "Dragon's Den" style video pitches, practical reports, essays, online quizzes, debates, presentation of a business plan to a panel of industry experts and development of an innovative food product based on a technical brief. Some assessments are completed on an individual student basis and others involve you working with classmates in a team.

    We also see feedback as being really important and as you progress through your course you will receive general and specific feedback about your work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work.

  • What help is available for new students to help them settle into the course?

    There is a wide range of support available, we want you to settle in and enjoy being part of our School and University community. At our Welcome Week activities at the start of your degree, you will meet your Peer Mentor. Peer Mentoring at Queen’s offers you, as a new student, the opportunity to access guidance and advice from fellow food students who have already completed Level 1 of your degree. Food Student Mentors are selected by the Programme Director and trained by the Learning Development Service.

    You will also be allocated a Personal Tutor normally from the academic staff on your course, who will meet with you on several occasions during Stages 1 and 2 to support your academic development.

  • Does this course have Professional Accreditation?

    Yes, all of our undergraduate courses at QUB are accredited by the Institute for Food Science and Technology (IFST). This provides quality assurance that the programme offers our students the best possible food-related education. Accreditation can provide advantages when students from an accredited degree programme are seeking employment in the food sector.

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