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Food and Drink Innovation

This course offers students an extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding of a chosen specialism within food and drink innovation.

Next Start Date: January, September

Degree type: MSc

UCAS Code: Apply direct

Duration: One year full-time for Sept entry; 18 months full-time for Jan entry


A limited number of funded places are available for September 2016 entry to this course. Highly-qualified Scottish and EU candidates can apply to have their tuition fees paid by the Scottish Funding Council. Numbers are limited so candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.


Why choose this course?

  • Apply your own specialist capability and develop new sector specific expertise through specialist education and collaborative mixed-team working on industry-linked innovation projects.
  • Learn about industry expectations as you are supported and mentored by experienced industry professionals and academic specialists.
  • Follow a curriculum designed in collaboration with Scotland Food & Drink, Skills Development Scotland and Interface Food & Drink to meet the demands of the Food & Drink sector.
  • Get involved with our highly successful commercial arm Food Innovation @ Abertay and with interdisciplinary researchers from across the University.

The MSc Food & Drink Innovation offers a unique postgraduate experience, specifically designed in discussion with industry bodies - Scotland Food & Drink, Skills Development Scotland, Interface Food & Drink. As postgraduate students, highly talented individuals will work in mixed-discipline teams to develop innovative solutions pertinent to challenges faced in the contemporary food and drink industry.

Working closely with academic staff who are highly experienced in the food & drink industry and in academic teaching, and under the guidance and mentorship of food & drink industry representatives, you will develop professional skills and knowledge relevant to the food & drink industry.

During the course of your studies you will ultimately be expected to demonstrate applied excellence in your specialist area, as well as professionalism, flexibility, the ability to adapt in team working situations, and creativity and innovation towards product development. This intensive programme will expose you to a breadth of practice encountered in the food & drink industry, ideally preparing you for an exciting and creative career in a vibrant and expanding sector.

Join our Graduate School

Our Graduate School is a dedicated facility providing support, training and professional development opportunities to our vibrant postgraduate community. Specially designed to promote integration and inculcation of interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers, postgraduates study and learn together at Abertay - from Environmental Management to Law, Psychology, Bioscience, Economics and Business, Cybersecurity and Computer Games Development.

When you join us as a postgraduate student or researcher, you’ll be joining a community of creative like-minded scholars and will automatically be provided with access to our dedicated study and social spaces – a forum in which you can meet, work and learn with other researchers and postgraduates from across the University. You’ll benefit from training and professional development opportunities as well as support with funding applications, placement opportunities, teaching support, public engagement and outreach activity.

Find out more about our Graduate School.

Making the Most of Masters

The Making the Most of Masters project provides opportunities for Masters students to undertake work based projects, allowing you to enhance your employability at the same time as studying for your Masters degree.

Working with external organisations and employers, the projects are an integral part of your academic programme, and address real needs within an organisation meaning you’ll have the opportunity to add valuable experience to your CV.

Find out more about Making the Most of Masters.


What you study

A key component of the MSc Food & Drink Innovation is to foster creativity through enquiry-based learning, where mixed-discipline teams of students will develop solutions to industry-posed problems.  Industry-linked innovation projects will be developed by multidisciplinary teams of students, mentored and supported by experienced industry practitioners and academic researchers, and underpinned by high-level sector specific modules and education.

With activities ranging from 'pitch and crit' sessions, where solution conceptions are pitched to a panel for critique, to the development of prototyped solutions, teams are mentored and supervised by academics and industry practitioners to facilitate the development of specific professional skills and a broader understanding of the Food & Drink industry.

During the course, you'll study modules in:

Packaging and sustainability for the food and drink industry
In this module you'll learn how to critically appraise the science and research underpinning food packaging and sustainability development within the industry;  Design and evaluate an “ideal” food packaging solution, considering the food product itself (composition, quality and safety) and sustainability. Critically evaluate current sustainability issues related to food packaging. Discuss consumer attitudes and behaviours towards food waste and food packaging.

Food quality and safety management
You'll learn how to critically apply the principles of HACCP in the food supply chain; verify the application of risk assessment methodologies in the quantification of hazards; critically evaluate the impact of food safety failures from an economic, health and societal point of view; critically evaluate food safety training needs in a food production environment; and present a critique of food legislation and the controls, related to food safety.

Professional development in the food and drink industry
In this module you'll learn how to formulate and appraise a personal portfolio of work; interpret and critique material presented by professional practitioners; appraise areas other than your primary professional discipline; and propose and develop an innovative topic.

Innovation project
Depending on the type of project being undertaken, these may involve independent and/or supervised research comprising literature search, data collection, experiments, field work (factory visits).  Projects will be designed by industrial partners in conjunction with academics who provide the students with both mentorship and guidance.  You'll learn how to critically evaluate the experience of project management from both a personal and team perspective, drawing valid conclusions from the available evidence, as well as critically evaluating the potential for commercialisation of any products and procedures recommended as part of project based assessments.

Professional Practice
In this module, you'll reflect and develop existing professional skills and knowledge required to manage, contribute and develop process effectively, safely and in a sustainable manner related to food and drink sector requirements and your career ambitions.

Research Methods
This module will give you a critical understanding of theories, concepts and principles of research methodology and the range of methods used in conducting research in different disciplines; as well as providing the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake an original in-depth investigation in those fields. 

Option Module
You'll also have the opportunity to take an option module from the range on offer.

Entry routes

Applicants must hold an honours degree at 2.2 (lower second class) or better in a suitable subject such as: biosciences, chemistry, science, product design, engineering, food, nutrition or consumer science degree, computing, marketing, or business.

The University is committed to a wider access policy and accepts applications from candidates with recent relevant academic, professional or employment experience who can show that they would benefit from study at masters level. These will be considered on an individual basis. We welcome applicants in employment and from the Food & Drink industry itself for FT and PT study, for those who may seek an accelerated route to a postgraduate qualification.


All applicants are required to provide certified proof of competence in English Language and the University's minimum requirements are listed here

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category

Tuition Fees

Scholarships & Bursaries

Scottish and other EU students

Current Fees

Other forms of support

English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current Fees

Bursaries & Scholarships

Overseas (non EU) students

Current Fees

Overseas Scholarships


Fee quoted is the total cost providing that the MSc follows on immediately after the PG Dip element and is completed within the same academic year as started.  Fees may be subject to increase.

Further info

Food & Drink is Scotland’s largest manufacturing sector, generates £9.5 billion turnover per annum, employs over 360,000 people and is a key sector identified by Scottish Government for growing the economy and expanding Scotland’s international competitive advantage. Scotland Food & Drink has set the sector targets of increasing turnover to £12.5 billion and increasing exports to £5.1 billion by 2017.

The industry currently faces critical skills shortages which will be further exacerbated by demographic factors by 2017. So to drive sector growth, product development and export, the industry requires creative professionals from a range of discipline and experiential backgrounds, with experience in developing innovative solutions for industry. Scotland must boost its capacity and capability to innovate in our increasingly complex, interconnected, dynamic and globally competitive world. The MSc can provide the necessary grounding for a career in the food & drink industry – it gives students real exposure to industry professionals and development practice at an advanced level.

Want to know more?
Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081

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" The visiting lecturers provided real diversity and breadth to my thinking about our food and where it comes from - an early lecture on whisky led me to develop an idea to start a distillery. "

Andrew Mackenzie

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