This MSc is an online learning programme aimed at students with relevant agricultural and food related background keen to acquire in-depth knowledge on Food Safety.
This MSc is an online learning programme aimed at students with relevant agricultural and food related background keen to acquire in-depth knowledge on Food Safety. The MSc is specifically designed to provide a true holistic Food Safety approach to the food chain that incorporates the pre- and post-harvest stages of food production, crop safety, animal welfare and economics of the supply chain.
Foodborne diseases are a growing public health concern worldwide. The contamination of food with microorganisms or chemicals may occur at any stage in the process from food production to consumption ('farm to fork') and as a result of environmental contamination, including pollution of water, soil or air. The global burden of foodborne diseases worldwide is very high affecting every year around 600 million people with 420,000 deaths. Therefore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) highlighted the importance of producing safe food that saves human lives, saves resources and has a positive impact on the economy of every country.
The programme would be suitable for those with an undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences, biological science, food systems, veterinary medicine and human medicine, as well as professionals from agriculture, rural industries, the food industry, government officials, international organisations, researchers in food safety and the third sector.
There are many and diverse prospects for employment depending on where you want to work.
This MSc programme aims to equip students with the fundamental knowledge and expertise to be able to influence and promote food safety at different levels of their organisation. It gives solid grounds to enhance their career or to secure a position or to pursue a different career in food safety related organisations. Whether they are or intend to work for the government, for the industry or in research (e.g. to prepare for a PhD in Food Safety or to have a more hands-on experience).
Examples of potential employment areas in the UK:
Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Food Standards Scotland (FSS)
Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
Local Authorities (Environmental Health Offices)
Virtual Open Days
Virtual drop-in sessions are available for prospective postgraduate online students. Visit our website for more information: https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/open-days-events-visits/online-events
MSc, PGDip, PGCert, PPD
The programme would be most suitable for those with an undergraduate Honours Degree (first or 2:1 or its equivalent) in agricultural or biological science, veterinary or human medicine.
In circumstances where the background is not specifically related to these disciplines, we may also consider applications from those who have relevant work experience (work experience must be in a related area of food safety or some involvement in food related matters for 3 or more years).
Applicants can contact the programme team to check before applying. They may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.
Once successfully on the programme, completion of core courses is a pre-requisite for progression to subsequent courses.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, we will also need to see evidence of your English language proficiency before we can offer you a place.
Alongside the subject content, the programme will also enable the acquisition of a range of transferable skills, such as computer skills, report writing, giving online presentations and time and project management.
Programme learning outcomes
Critical identification, evaluation and assessment of the main theories, principles and concepts related to sources and pathways of foodborne hazards along the food chain and formulation of bespoke intervention strategies to mitigate the risk to public health
Use of a significant range of the principal skills, techniques and practices associated with the evaluation of economic burdens of foodborne diseases, epidemiological and statistical analysis of food safety data and most advanced practices to isolate and identify microbiological foodborne hazards from different food matrixes.
Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to a holistic approach to animal health, animal welfare, plant and environmental health as an integral part to food safety and how this can contribute to improve efficiency and save resources from a food security perspective.
Critically evaluate food safety data by applying epidemiological and statistical methods (including statistical software) from collection to presentation including data generation, collection, curation, backup, cleaning, analysis and communication.
Deal with complex professional issues, to make informed judgements, on your own or collectively, about food safety.
This programme is delivered part time through online learning, over a period of between three and six years.
This MSc programme is modular in structure, offering a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied. You can exit with the award of post-graduate (PG) Certificate (60 credits), PG Diploma (120 credits) or MSc (180 credits). The programme is composed of 180 credits divided over eight taught courses (6 core and 2 electives chosen from 4 courses). For the MSc you will complete a (60 credit) dissertation project.
Programme Director: Dr Alessandro Seguino
Deputy Programme Director: Dr Cristina Soare
Programme coordinator: Dr Ruth Fowler
Course Organiser: Dr Stella Mazeri
Course Organiser: Dr Cosmin Chintoan-Uta
You may undertake the programme by Intermittent Study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within a maximum time limit of six years for the MSc which will include a maximum period of 12 months from the start of your dissertation to it being completed. If you wish to study for the PG Diploma by intermittent study, the maximum time period for this is 4 years and for the PG Certificate only, the maximum time period is 2 years.
In summary, times for completion are as follows:
Master of Science: 36-72 months
Postgraduate Diploma: 24-48 months
Postgraduate Certificate: 12-24 months
Each course (elsewhere often called ‘modules’) of the taught element is delivered in 2 blocks of 5 weeks of study with a week of independent study and reflection time in between.
The courses are delivered in three 11-week terms from September-June.
Food Supply Chain and Food Safety (* Core – 10 Credits)
Data Analysis for Food Safety (* Core – 10 Credits)
Food Safety Hazards and Food Safety Management Systems (* Core – 20 Credits)
Food Production Systems (* Core – 20 Credits)
Food Processing and Waste Management (*Core – 20 Credits)
Research Methods and Data Analysis (*Core – 10 Credits)
(Research Methods & Data Analysis course is core for progressing to MSc)
A selection of elective courses are available which allow students to follow their own interests. Topics within Food Safety and Food Security include: Food Traceability, Labelling, Fraud and Crime, Food Policy, Innovations in Sustainable Food Systems, and Interrelationships in Food Systems. Elective options are also available from One Health and Livestock Management topics.
Years 3 - 6
Dissertation Element (must be written within a 12-month period)
Although all courses are offered, we will not be able to guarantee that all courses will be available to all students, each year. This will be dependent upon numbers of students and availability of places on non-programme owned courses.
As a recently qualified veterinarian working in the public health industry, I quickly noticed myself asking more and more questions that my undergraduate degree could not provide all the answers to. Not only were there times where I felt ill-equipped for some of the challenges I faced in this vast industry, but I also had the desire to unlock greater career opportunities. These are some of the factors that lead me to discover the MSc in Food Safety offered by the University of Edinburgh.
Living and working full time in South Africa, I was initially sceptical as to the practical aspects, including how the course would be presented and possible time constraints. Even though there have been some challenging days, the manner in which the course is designed and the support from the academic staff have been second to none. Concepts such as statistics, which I found intimidating in a full-time undergraduate environment, were made accessible and understandable in this course.
The MSc in Food Safety offered by the University of Edinburgh has enriched my perspective on food and the food industry in a remarkable way. In a world where knowledge is expanding at a rapid pace, especially when it comes to a sector that is specialised and complex, I have found this masters degree to be invaluable. Not only does it provide a solid base of knowledge, but it addresses wider relevant and current issues such as antimicrobial resistance, chemical residues and animal welfare in food production. I fully intend to complete this postgraduate degree over the next two years, and I am excited to extend my knowledge and deepen my perspective even further.
I would recommend this to any individual with an interest in food safety and a curious mind. Whether you have been in the field for some time and would like to know more, or whether you intend to change the course of your career entirely, this degree will guide you in that prospect.
I highly recommend this postgraduate course. I was apprehensive at the start as I have been away from university since graduation from University College Dublin in 2004 but the online support and mentoring I have received has made my decision to join this course one of the best both personally and professionally. The course is outstanding and the knowledge learnt has impacted on my job as a veterinarian. The course is well structured and the subjects are interesting. There is huge back-up from top class tutors. With a full-time job and a young child I was worried it would be very difficult for me to get back into education but this course was the ideal choice. To anyone thinking about joining, I would say just do it!
I pursued this program because of my interest in the field. My hope at the end of this experience was to gain knowledge and recognised qualifications to develop as a young individual and make myself more marketable for potential jobs while building a career. However I gained much more than this and my expectations were surpassed beyond anything I could imagine. I not only gained knowledge but a deeper insight in all angles of food safety and the different aspects involved.
Please note that you can pay for the programme on a course (module) basis. Each course is 20 credits and the dissertation year is equivalent to 60 credits.
Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
The University of Edinburgh subscribes to a funding database specifically for those looking for funding to support postgraduate studies. The guide contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance and tools to help you prepare a winning grant application including.
It is recommended that you conduct your own research on this, but you can refer to the University Scholarship website to view suggestions on Scholarships.
Get up to £200 towards the cost of a training course with an SDS Individual Training Account (ITA).
You could use the money to build the skills you need for a job. Or get some training to take your career to the next level. Whatever you want to do, there is a wide range of ITA approved courses on offer.
UK government postgraduate loans
If you are planning to study with us, you could be eligible for a postgraduate loan towards your fees. From this year, online programmes are also eligible for this funding (please note, restrictions apply)
This funding is available for UK nationals, those with settled status, and in some cases, EU nationals not resident in the UK.
Online application form
Applications must be submitted through the University’s online application service, EUCLID. Offers cannot be made without a fully completed online application.
Please use the Personal Statement section to outline your motivation to study this programme, the knowledge you hope to gain and how this fits with your future career plans.
If you would like more information on applying for this programme, please contact our team using the address below: