Food science is a multidisciplinary subject that brings together the pure science subjects of chemistry, biology, physics and nutrition to the study of nature, sustainability, properties and composition of foods and the changes they undergo during storage and processing.
Food scientists play an important role in how raw materials are transformed into finished food products ensuring that the food we eat is safe, good quality and meets our nutritional and dietary needs.
Our food science degree will give you a solid understanding of the importance of food in human society – from challenging current issues in food production to applying scientific concepts to grasp the complex characteristics of food.
You’ll develop your knowledge of the science underpinning the relationships between food processing, food formation and quality and safety, investigating the operations used to preserve foods and the procedures used to produce everyday commodities. In addition to considering the issues surrounding the sustainability of ingredients and manufactured products, you'll also study the effects that food has on our health and wellbeing. We’ll also encourage you to think creatively as a food scientist, designing your own food as part of a team-based product development project.
Throughout the course, you’ll learn a combination of core food science topics, alongside a range of optional and skills development modules to give you the technical skills, specialist knowledge and professional experience you’ll need to pursue a career in the food industry.
Why study at Leeds:
- This course is accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology.
- Our globally-renowned research here at Leeds feeds into your course and shapes your learning with the latest thinking in areas such as food colloids, functional biopolymers, food processing and novel food design.
- Experience expert teaching delivered by a programme team made up of academics and researchers who specialise in a variety of food science and nutritional disciplines.
- Take the opportunity to work alongside our academics and get involved in real-life research happening in the School.
- Access excellent specialist facilities including computer clusters and teaching laboratories that give you an industry-standard environment to perform experiments and conduct project work.
- Enhance your career prospects and give your CV that competitive edge before you graduate with our industrial work placement opportunities. Our close industry links have given previous students the chance to work at — and build professional relationships with — UK and multinational companies such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Nestlé.
- Gain invaluable life experience and advance your personal development with our exciting study abroad programmes, spanning across universities worldwide.
- Make the most of your time at Leeds by joining our Food Science society, where you can widen your interest in food studies and get to know people on your course outside of lectures through trips and socials such as a Summer BBQ.
Join our online taster course
Learn how food scientists and nutritionists combine knowledge from engineering, biology and physical sciences to study all aspects of food and to ensure what we consume is safe and wholesome. Join now on Futurelearn.
Learn more about what an integrated Masters is and how it can benefit your studies and boost your career.
Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.
This course is accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology.
This accreditation certifies that this integrated Masters programme (MSci, BSc) delivers evidence-based food science education to a professionally recognised level, giving students the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to enter into employment in the food industry, research, education and the public sector.
We are currently reviewing our curriculum as part of a university-wide process. As a result, we are unable to publish module information for this course at this time. The information below provides an overview of what you’ll study and our approach to teaching and assessment. We will update this page as soon as the changes are confirmed. Read more in our terms and conditions.
This content was last updated on 3 April 2023.
At the start of the course, you’ll gain solid foundations in food and nutrition, exploring their relationship to health, including where food is sourced from and how that fits within a ‘sustainable’ global food system framework. You’ll also cover aspects key to providing a safe and healthy diet, including food preservation and sensory evaluation.
Throughout the course, you’ll build on these foundations, studying a range of industry-relevant topics in food processing, nutritional analysis, the chemical and microbiological safety of food and even how to develop new food products – from concept to market. You will also participate in an interdisciplinary food product development exercise and explore creative and innovative ways of designing food using specialist software.
By the final year of your programme, you'll explore more specific and specialised areas of current thinking in food science and processing and reflect on how these can be applied to solve real-world local and global food challenges.
Each year of this course is designed around a combination of compulsory core modules, which provide essential foundational subject-specific knowledge and skills.
You'll also be given a choice of optional modules throughout the course to extend your knowledge in a field of your interest that may include food biotechnology, sensory science, nutrition policy, health promotion and nutritional education, nutritional issues in the life cycle and food systems and sustainability.
Optional modules may typically include the following:
- Traditional Alcoholic Beverages
- Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
- Sensory Science
- Food Biotechnology
- Functional Foods
- Food Science and Nutritional research
- Nutrition and Disease
- Nutrition Policy
- Nutritional Issues in the Life Cycle
- Health Promotion and Nutrition Education
- Food Systems and Sustainability
- Sustainable Food Consumption
- Leadership and Enterprise
In addition to subject-specific modules, we also offer a range of skills development modules that’ll give you an insight into possible careers, the variety of professional roles that our food science graduates go into and how to enhance your employability. This continuous professional development – combined with the technical knowledge you’ll develop through teaching and research activities – will not only ensure you have an extensive skill set and knowledge in food science, but the confidence to apply them in the workplace once you graduate.
Discovery modules are available in first three years of your degree, as long as you’re taking enough credits of your own subject for that year.
Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.
In year 1, you’ll develop a grounding in the core concepts in the field of food science. You'll explore different themes, including food sourcing and production within a sustainable food system, key food nutrients, food preparation and food safety, sensory aspects of food and human nutrition.
You'll also have opportunities to develop your laboratory and experimentation skills through laboratory work as well as transferable skills that are crucial for your success throughout the programme. Consequently, the portfolio of modules in your first year will allow you to gain insight into the origins of food, the role of food as a carrier of essential nutrients with specific roles in the body and appreciate how food and its constituent components affect health, which will set the foundation for your studies in subsequent years.
In your second year, you'll deepen your knowledge of food science. Learning will focus on understanding the scientific basis of food such as food texture, flavour and taste by examining physical, chemical and other properties of foods. You'll be introduced to the theory behind food formulation, new product development and quality control, with an emphasis on the study of how food components affect the chemical and microbiological safety of food. You'll delve deeper into food processing, investigating all the stages involved in getting food from the farm to the shop, the quality and safety regulations and laws, how processing impacts the nutritional value of food and analysis of the nutritional value of foods.
What you’re taught will be informed by recent developments in the area, e.g. application of colloid chemistry in plant-based products. During this year, we introduce problem-solving activities that relate to actual research or industrial situations, alongside learning the concepts and methodologies underpinning food science research. By working on new food product development and quality control, you'll further appreciate the role of a food scientist in the food industry and other related fields.
This year will provide a core programme of research and career skills training, which will build on key skills explored in year 1, including use of specialist software, careers knowledge and employability and professional aspects of food science roles in industry and other related settings.
You'll further develop your critical analysis skills of the scientific literature and explore more specific and specialised areas of current thinking in food science.
In this year, you'll learn how to think creatively when it comes to developing foods, using specialist software when looking at innovation and design principles for foods. Working alongside your peers on an interdisciplinary food product development project, you'll explore the role of food scientists in developing and marketing new, healthy food ranges for food manufacturers. You'll apply your knowledge and skills to designing new foods, from concept, through to formulation and processing, sensory evaluation, packaging, and marketing. Your team project based on new product development (NPD) ends with a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to industry and nutritional experts. Examples of products marketed to our very own ‘Dragon’s Den’ by our previous students can be found here.
In addition, you'll have the opportunity to write, and potentially publish, a review article on a topic of your choice in collaboration with one of the School’s academics.
Lastly, you'll dive deeper into the skills and competencies needed as a food science professional, including ethics, professionalism and enterprise.
This year, you'll further develop problem solving skills and professional competencies. A major part of the integrated Masters degree is your final year project work, which is an opportunity to undertake an extended capstone research project, together with experienced academics. The experience will develop your research and communication skills, which are key to all graduate roles and career paths. You'll be given a choice of topics to investigate.
Examples of the range of previous research projects include:
- Does target moisture effect textural and colour properties of plant-based meat analogues?
- The association between vitamin D and body weight in children: a systematic review
- The effects of climate change on wheat yields in the United Kingdom.
- A scoping review including initial experimental analysis into the extraction, characterisation and quantification of polyphenols and methylxanthines in commercially available raw chocolate using spectrophotometry and RP-HPLC.
- Exploring the usage of DNA immuno-nanodecoder technology to improve multiplex immunofluorescence imaging in food science and biotechnology.
One-year optional work placement or study abroad
During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.
Learning and teaching
As a food science student at Leeds, we ensure that you benefit from a wide range of active learning activities and innovative teaching methods, including lectures, workshops, small group tutorials and practical lab work. The delivery of teaching through a mix of hands-on face-to-face activities and the use of innovative digital technologies will provide a rewarding and engaging learning experience.
Independent study is also an important part of this course and will develop your research and analytical skills in order to think and work independently
You'll explore this subject with academics, researchers and invited industry experts. Teaching staff at the School of Food Science and Nutrition include lecturers, associate professors and professors. All are experienced at producing globally recognised research across a range of different areas of food science.
You'll also be assigned a personal tutor to guide you through your studies, throughout your degree.
Our problem-based learning approach, laboratory classes and project-based work allows you to gain first-hand experience investigating and applying material from your lectures and tutorials to real-life work situations. This ensures that, as a student, you’re actively engaged in teaching and learning and working collaboratively with your coursemates to build a sense of community where you feel valued. This approach will also equip you with in-depth knowledge, key practical skills and transferable skills that will help you secure a graduate job.
Our close links with industry also mean that you have direct contact with industry and potential employers from an early stage in your course. The course provides you with opportunities via skills development modules which will also give you an insight into the range of food science-related career roles and professions.
This degree supports your learning using problem-solving approaches and teamwork to foster high-level thinking and skills which will be key at all stages of your degree and future career.
Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to excellent teaching and laboratory facilities, supplemented by extensive computing equipment installed with the latest specialist food science and statistical analysis software packages, used to evaluate characteristics of food, dietary intakes and nutritional composition.
Other specialist facilities include high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) analytical equipment used for nutrient analysis. In the Food Technology Laboratory, you’ll apply theories of physics and mathematics to gain understanding and experience in using industrial food processing equipment such as industrial retorts, ovens, blast and plate freezers, spray driers, rotary evaporators and pasteurisation equipment. Our purpose-built Sensory Panel room, equipped with PCs and sensory software, alongside rheometers and tribometers, allows you to develop skills in sensory and texture analysis, including shelf-life testing and quality control.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
Watch our taster lectures to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
A variety of traditional and authentic assessment approaches are used to support your learning and progression through the course and measure attainment of the learning outcomes. Assessments have a range of formats to develop your skills such as report writing, effective presentation and communication, problem-solving and the necessary practical skills such as laboratory and experimental methods. These will reflect the needs of real-world and authentic problems encountered in the workplace. This helps you to develop key transferable skills relevant to your future career.
The course supports and encourages you to think critically and provides opportunities for you to receive formative feedback and to reflect on performance to help you progress and learn.
Our assessments are designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles and embed equitable and inclusive practices to ensure a supportive and fair assessment framework is presented. In your final year, you'll synthesise learning and knowledge skills through the design and development of a new food product, working in a multidisciplinary team alongside your peers.
A-level: AAB including two science subjects (including at least one of Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics).
Where an A-Level science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.
Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.
GCSE: C (4) in English, or an equivalent English language qualification, and C (4) in Mathematics.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): We recognise the value of this qualification and the effort and skills required to undertake it, where an applicant is taking the EPQ this may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. The EPQ taken with A-Levels, for example, could be ABB with an A in the EPQ.
Access to HE Diploma
60 credits overall in an acceptable science related programme with 45 credits at Level 3 of which 30 are graded Distinction and the remainder graded Merit.
D*DD in a relevant Science subject. We do not accept Health and Social Care or Sports and Exercise Science.
D2 M2 M2 including two science subjects (including at least one of Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics).
16 points at higher level, with 5 each in two science subjects at Higher Level including at least one of Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics.
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
AAAABB or H2H2H2H2H3H3 including two science subjects (including at least one of Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics).
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
AAABB including 2 sciences at Advanced Higher, at least one of which must be Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics.
T Level Technical Qualification with Food Sciences Occupational Specialism overall grade Distinction.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: BBB including two science subjects (including at least one of Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Mathematics) plus a pass in the Access to Leeds scheme.
If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.
International Foundation Year
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £30,750 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Read our admissions guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
This course is taught by
School of Food Science and Nutrition Undergraduate Admissions
There’s a worldwide shortage of qualified food science graduates, so there has never been a better time to study this highly sought after degree at Leeds.
Once you graduate, you’ll have the scientific knowledge and relevant practical, interpersonal and intellectual skills to be able to work as a food scientist.
Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.
Our recent graduates have pursued a range of interesting careers, for example, in food science research, product development, marketing, food technology and food quality assurance in the food industry, in the community or within food science research, consultancy and policy.
Examples of recent graduate destinations include:
- Marks and Spencer
- Mondelez International
- Premier Foods
- University of Cambridge
- Arla Foods
- Heart Research UK
- University of Edinburgh
Read profiles of our alumni to find out more about where some of our graduates are working.
At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. The School of Food Science and Nutrition has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability. Each year we host dedicated employability fairs, careers events and presentations to provide you with an understanding and finding opportunities in industry.
We have a dedicated Careers Advisor and Employability Officer who's able to offer you advice, guidance and support with any applications you might wish to make, whether it be a placement year, graduate role or volunteering position. Alongside this programme we also endeavour to offer you the opportunity to attend relevant workshops, conferences and factory/site visits.
Our Academic Personal Tutor initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate and move into the world of work. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements, so that you can clearly articulate your experiences and the skills gleaned from them, with confidence.
You'll also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.
Study abroad and work placements
Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.
From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.
This course offers you the chance to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year between years 2 and 3 which will extend your studies by 12 months.
Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
A placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market and improve your chances of securing the career you want.
Benefits of a work placement year:
- 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
- Build industry contacts within your chosen field
- Our close industry links mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
- Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
- Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in this industry
- Improve your employability
If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you'll be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.
With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.
In previous years, students have worked at many prestigious organisations, including:
- Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Co-op
- Nestlé, Unilever, Arla, PepsiCo and Mondelez International
- DEFRA and Leatherhead Food RA
- Flourishing Families
During your industrial placement, you'll have an industrial supervisor from within the company, plus an academic supervisor who will keep in touch throughout your placement.
Find out more about Industrial placements.
Student profile: Lucy Garman
Everything I’ve learnt on my course will definitely be translated into my career, especially the practical knowledge; I’ve already applied a lot of that into my placement.Find out more about Lucy Garman's time at Leeds