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There are numerous directions to take in the fields of food and nutritional sciences, and each of our degree programmes offers different paths towards a future career. Our programmes are structured into themes that help you to follow those paths and map out the degree course that is best for you. Take a closer look at each of our themes.

Fundamental science for food and nutrition

An understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning food and nutrition is vital whichever path or career you follow. This theme is included in all of our programmes and builds your knowledge of the chemistry and biochemistry of foods, including the role of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids in food quality. In the final year of our food science programmes, you will learn about how flavour is generated in foods and the chemistry behind food structure.

Quality and safety across the food chain

Understanding the way that we assess whether food is safe and fit for purpose is important for both academic and commercial food sciences, and fundamental to careers in quality assurance. In this theme you will learn about the way that international food quality management systems work and why these standards must be adhered to. You will receive practical experience of participation working with quality management systems and have a solid understanding of the origins of these standards. Other aspects of the subject include the need to ensure that health and safety are observed throughout the food chain so that food products reach the shelf without contaminating elements.

Food microbiology

Food microbiology will provide you with both knowledge and practical skills of the ways in which we use microbes for the production of food and food ingredients - and what can go wrong. This theme will help you to understand how microbes grow and how we can control microbes during food production to ensure that foods are safe and have long shelf-life. You will learn practical techniques used in food microbiology and learn the principles of food fermentations and microbial metabolism. This theme is critical to any food scientist or technologist, but particularly if your career path is in food safety.

Food processing and engineering

This theme focuses on the industrial manufacture of foods and how we process raw materials into the wide range of safe, nutritious and tasty food products we consume daily. This is at the heart of the role of food technologists in industry. You will learn about different manufacturing processes and get hands-on experience in our own pilot-scale food processing plant. In the final year of our food technology programme, you will study process design and how we tackle issues of sustainability through efficient food processing.

Human nutrition

What effect do nutrients (and non-nutrients) have on the human body? In this theme, you will develop an understanding of the relationship between human physiology and the human diet. You will focus on how diet can influence health and our likelihood of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia in later life. You will discover the impact that nutrients have on cells, tissues and organs. You will also learn about how public health advice and health claims are underpinned by clinical evidence. This means that you will have a very good understanding of several key areas: physiology, nutritional requirements, macro and micro requirement, how nutrients interact with health, and nutritional research. This theme will help you as a food scientist, since nutritional quality is such a driver of new product development, as well as for following a career in the field of nutrition.

Applied food and nutritional science

For development of food products both in the commercial world and academic research, the ability to apply knowledge of food and nutrition to practical effect is very important. This theme encompasses your final year research project and our New Product Development module.

Consumer choice and perception

If you want to encourage people towards a healthier diet or increase a product's sales, you need a strong understanding of what motivates people to make healthy diet choices. The promotion of health benefits and the perception this creates can be the deciding factor of whether a food producer is successful or whether people live longer. You will learn why people are attracted to certain food products, how marketing can be used to direct the buyer's choice and how the performance of a product can be improved. This will be very useful for any commercial food career.

Food business management and entrepreneurship

Understanding the science behind food and nutrition is one thing: being able to excel in the commercial world requires some additional skills. If your interest is primarily in the food business, this theme will be for you. You will learn both industry knowledge and the business skills to develop, manage and market food products. We work closely with big names in the food industry. When learning, you will be taught by both the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences and Henley Business School. Henley is an internationally respected business school, which means that you will learn from the top minds in both aspects of the theme.