University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on reading.ac.uk to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

It took Rachel Jamieson a little time to discover her ideal Master's degree but when she found out about our MSc Food Science she soon realised it was a perfect fit - she had a strong scientific background from her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and a passion for food, nutrition, and wellbeing.

"It excited me straight away to learn of the different careers I could go into. It seemed liked the perfect combination of my interest in science and passion for food and nutrition. It was the best decision I've ever made."

Her favourite module on the Food Science course was, unsurprisingly, food chemistry, in which she learned about the chemistry of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as their uses in food and why they are used in recipe formulations.

Rachel was drawn into a product development role because it seemed like the "perfect career route" for her. She completed a 6-month internship at French bakery brand Brioche Pasquier in new product development (or NPD) after graduation, and is now a Product Technologist at Unilever, working within the Pepsi Lipton joint venture, developing Lipton Iced Tea.

"A large part of the development of iced tea is achieving the optimal flavour. For example, a simple lemon or mint can have many different profiles and sensory attributes, but you also have to balance the flavour by considering the sweetness and acidity. Flavour is super interesting, yet it is very complex. Tasting iced tea samples every day is really helping develop my knowledge of flavours."

Advantages of a diverse course

Rachel found the MSc Food Science course material to be especially appealing and beneficial, as she learned a plethora of in demand skills.

"Although it was only a one-year course, it covered a broad range of modules, from food chemistry to nutrition, from processing to microbiology. I believe this diversity helped to make my knowledge and skills more rounded and attractive to employers."

Since there was a lot of content to cover, she found that the course helped her with time management and organisational skills too.

"It was challenging and intense, but I knew the food industry was the career route for me. I love to learn and was committed to working as hard as I could. I apply these skills every day in my job because I have many responsibilities to manage; some projects take higher priority than others, or sometimes projects need a quick turnaround. It's important to be organised and manage my time effectively."

Building transferable skills

Rachel emphasises the importance of her course in encouraging students to work both individually and collaboratively, thus acquiring two valuable skills.

"My dissertation allowed me to work in the labs and think independently and use my own initiative, whereas there were numerous opportunities for group work throughout the year, such as writing a HACCP report. (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a report that details how to manage the food hygiene and safety procedures in food production at scale).

This has helped me in my current job because when I'm in the Research & Development lab and pilot plant, often I have to develop and create iced tea samples independently, whilst other times I'm assisting other developers with their projects and need to communicate effectively."

Rachel reflected on her time at Reading, noting that she especially enjoyed working in the pilot plant and being able to see food processing first-hand.

"Although it is important to learn the theory, being able to see the processing in practice really solidifies your knowledge."

Highlights of working for a global company

"I feel very lucky to work for a global FMCG company. Everyday I'm so excited to go to work in the Research & Development lab and be surrounded by knowledgeable people. They really push me to improve and develop my knowledge and skills and I learn so much from them."