GASTRONOMY AND FOOD SUSTAINABILITY

MSc / PGDip

This course is subject to approval and validation

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Choose Award
Duration

1 year FT / 2 years PT

Placement

Opportunities available

Entry

September (2021)

Fees

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School of Health, Sport and Food
Choose Award
Duration

1 year FT / 2 years PT

Placement

Opportunities available

Entry

September (2021)

Fees

View Fees

School of Health, Sport and Food
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3.9 million work in the agri-food sector in the UK (gov.uk)

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 aims for Zero Hunger by 2030 (un.org)

There has never been a more important time to consider the impacts of food production and consumption on the societal, environmental and economic stability and development of our domestic and wider markets.

The agri-food industry requires smart, innovative people and approaches, not only to solve some of the substantial challenges facing humanity, including climate change, food security and diet-related diseases, but to balance this with the production of food that people want to eat.

Expanding from a point of gastronomy, this course offers a unique vantage point, acknowledging food as a culturally embedded source of pleasure and enrichment, rather than simply nutrition or commodity. This course will develop the required general and specific knowledge to meet the needs of the future industry. The philosophy, science and business of food is represented to reflect the considerations for nourishment, pleasure and sustainability. 

Work placements are vital for gaining real-life experience and for building your confidence and skills before you finish your course – and they may even lead to a job when you graduate. Our hired@UCB team can help find the ideal placement for you.

Our MSc Gastronomy and Food Sustainability course features an optional work placement for three to six months following completion of your taught modules, with opportunities in the UK or overseas.

Why should I choose this course?

  • GAIN PRACTICAL SKILLS: Opportunity to develop a range of current and industry appropriate practical and management skills to solve problems facing the food sector

  • WORK WITH INDUSTRY: Designed with industry and utilising their expertise through guest speakers, industry-led projects and visits to ensure you can apply your learning to real-life situations

  • EXCELLENT FACILITIES: Get hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment in our Food Science and Innovation suite, including our labs and development kitchens

  • MAKE YOUR MARK: Taking responsibility for the future of food through social awareness and compassion, mentored by our expert multi-disciplinary lecturing team

Our facilities

University College Birmingham is renowned for its outstanding food industry training facilities. Studying our Gastronomy and Food Sustainability course means you will have access to our professional development kitchens, and state-of-the-art food science facilities.

Course breakdown

  • Year 1

Core modules

Food Marketing and Digital Media

Successful food and drink products rely on effective marketing strategies to ensure consumer satisfaction and loyalty as well as company profitability. Digital media plays an increasing role in the communication and engagement with consumers. This module will provide you with an in-depth understanding of marketing, PR and digital media within the context of the food and drink industry. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the module will combine a theoretical foundation with contemporary marketing and digital media techniques. Key themes including current trends and issues, the contemporary environment and wider UN Sustainable Development goals will be covered and contextualised with practical applications in marketing and digital media.

Gastro-science

You are what we eat is a well-known phrase but why do we eat what we eat? Culture and society are significant influences, but what about the science behind the factors influencing our perception and preferences? How can the food and drink and hospitality industries use this knowledge to develop successful products and experiences? This module explores the complex relationships involved in consuming food and drink from sensory perception and nutrition through to food psychology and food choice. It will draw upon the sciences of biology, sociology, psychology, sociology and neuroscience to examine the connection with our senses and the ultimate enjoyment of eating. Influencing factors will be investigated and applied to create exciting, healthy and memorable solutions to eating and dining in the contemporary world.

Future Foods

The world’s population is set to pass 10 billion people by 2100, bringing with it global challenges that few have seen before nor considered a reality. Just how do we feed such a population? How is this sustainable? This module will look at how the human need for food has developed alongside our growing numbers, and how future generations will need to adapt and develop the food chain to feed the next 10 billion.

Global Food Culture

Culture is at the heart of everything we do individually, in groups and as a society by defining the norms of behaviour. It is a powerful influence over the food we eat and how we eat it; science identifies edible material, while culture confirms its acceptance as food. This module explores how cultural norms, values and practices relate to food throughout history to the present day. Students will critically evaluate how this impacts upon availability and choice of food and the developments of cuisine across the world. A multi-disciplinary approach will identify the social and cultural aspects of food and the changing patterns of food acquisitions and consumption in contemporary society.

Food Waste: A Global Challenge

The increasing amount of food wasted globally represents one of the greatest challenges in promoting resource efficiency and overall food sustainability. Tackling food waste is an opportunity to address food insecurity and mitigate climate change – and it therefore requires a global approach. This module will inspire you to explore the local and global food systems with the aim of finding realistic solutions to challenges associated with avoidable food wastage and its relation to the wider issue of food sustainability. You will examine and investigate these components from a number of perspectives and employ a bird’s eye view to appraise the devastating impact of commercial food production on our world, including consideration of issues connected to minimising food wastage, dwindling natural resources and the changing climate.

Sustainable Food Strategies

The future of food production, security, policy, and sustainability is a complex issue. The strategies employed now will resonate for future generations, and will shape the way we grow, design, produce, and consume our food. And these strategies will need leadership. This module will prepare you, from a strategic management perspective, to understand how policy, food cycles, supply chains, and changing environments can influence an innovative, sustainable, global production of food.

Plus one option from:

Masters Dissertation Project

This module introduces students to the disciplines and techniques required for critical appraisal of complex data and industry practice, creating research designs and accompanying research techniques, building theoretical frameworks and the scheduling and execution of a research project. The module will develop students' skills and expertise in the essential research tools they will need for both successful postgraduate study and as leaders in their chosen service industry sector.

Gastronomy Project

This project provides students with the opportunity to consolidate their learning and undertake a supervised project. Students are able to specialise in an area of interest to them and carry out a primary research investigation and communicate their findings in written and verbal formats. The modules listed above for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules – if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.

The modules listed above for this course are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and informed by industry as well as the latest teaching methods. On occasion, we may need to make unexpected changes to modules – if this occurs, we will contact all offer holders as soon as possible.

Entry requirements

Academic

MSc Gastronomy and Food Sustainability – A grade classification of 2:2 is required, or international equivalent.

PGDip Gastronomy and Food Sustainability – A grade classification of third-class is required, or international equivalent.

A UK or International honours degree from a recognised institution.

Work-based

We also consider applicants who are currently employed and wish to apply to University College Birmingham.

To apply, you must have five years of relevant managerial work experience, demonstrating in-depth knowledge of the sector for the subject matter you are interested in pursuing.

A reference detailing your roles and responsibilities from your line manager and a meeting with the programme team will usually be scheduled prior to a place being offered.

EU/international students

For Academic and English entry requirements for EU and international students, please visit the Country Specific Information page.

Additional

If your degree is not related and you do not have relevant managerial work experience, please contact Admissions so that we can discuss your application on an individual basis before you apply.

If you have any questions, please send us an email:

Home and EU applicants: pg@ucb.ac.uk

International applicants: international@ucb.ac.uk

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Note: Indicative information only – actual timetables and assessment regimes will be issued at your induction.

Teaching

Example of a typical teaching week (up to 12 contact hours):

  • Large group teaching – 10 hours (a mixture of face to face teaching and online/practical work in specialist kitchens)
  • Smaller group teaching – 1 hour
  • Tutorials – 1 hour
  • Subject advice sessions – 1-3 hours

You will also need to commit around 20 hours per week for individual study time.

 

Assessment

Estimated breakdown of assessment for this postgraduate course:

  • Coursework – 70%
  • Practical assessment – 30%

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Percentage
70%

of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements are vital for gaining real-life experience and for building your confidence and skills before you finish your course – and they may even lead to a job when you graduate. Our hired@UCB team can help find the ideal placement for you.

Our MSc/PGDip Gastronomy and Food Sustainability course features an optional work placement for three to six months following completion of your taught modules, with opportunities in the UK or overseas.

Work alongside experts in your sector

A snapshot of some of the employers we have worked with:

  • Mondelez
  • Whitworths
  • Newly Weds
  • Campden BRI
  • Greencore
  • M&S
  • Co-op
  • Synergy Flavours
  • Samworth Brothers
  • Coppenwrath and Wiese
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, please be aware that opportunities to travel abroad for placements, project work or residential trips may be affected by government travel restrictions. Please visit our updates and FAQs page for information.
Appealing to graduates and food and hospitality industry employees, this course provides the opportunity to challenge your perceptions of food, from culture to climate change, and develop creative solutions for food sustainability and waste. We need innovative, practical problem solvers to feed our future population and this will equip you with essential skills to make a difference.

Sarah Santos-Murphy Lecturer

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Product development technologist

Average Salary: £22,000 – £40,000

New product development manager

Average Salary: £50,000

Innovation manager

Average Salary: £40,000

Buyer (food)

Average Salary: £35,000 – £50,000

hired@UCB

We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 

 

Find out more

 

Mandy’s story

Mandy started out writing about food as a communications professional before becoming a food lecturer and developing this forward-thinking course for a new age.

Read Story

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