Course overview

The MSc in Sustainable Food Quality for Health offers industry professionals the opportunity to develop their professional roles and to implement an independent programme of research within the workplace.

A flexible pathway delivers training that crosses traditional skill disciplines within the fields of food and agricultural science. The MSc programme brings the opportunity to engage in critical reflection upon existing scientific literature and current state-of-the-art research findings towards the planning and execution of original industry-based research.

Part 1 – Taught Component – 120 credits

The taught component aims to provide a depth of understanding at the cutting edge of current knowledge across a broad base of disciplines relevant to the modern food industry. The programme has been designed as flexible, modular training to allow for part-time and online study to enable participants to balance study with work.

Part 2 – Research Component – 60 credits

The research project is conducted within the participant’s workplace with additional access to facilities and expertise within the EPTH. The project will be supervised by at least one academic supervisor (a permanent member of academic staff The University of Reading) and one company-based supervisor.

Developed with leading academics from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences and School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, in conjunction with the AgriFood EPTH’s academic and industrial partners and collaborators typically, holders of the MSc qualification can expect to gain the following knowledge, understanding and skills:


Learning outcomes:

Completing this course results in a postgraduate qualification. See Our Qualifications for more information.

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Advanced concepts and techniques in scientific disciplines relevant to the food and agricultural industries
  • Global food security issues and their impact on the food and agricultural industries
  • Background scientific, technical, commercial and policy literature
  • Research methods and study design
  • Project planning and management
  • Current professional developments within field of work

Intellectual Skills:

  • Think logically and evaluate critical research and advanced scholarship in their discipline
  • Plan and implement tasks at a professional level to solve problems related to their discipline
  • Relate systematic evidence to issues arising in professional practice
  • Plan, conduct and write a report on an independent research project

Practical Skills:

  • Apply, or adapt, experimental methodology safely and accurately
  • Interpret quantitatively the results of experiments undertaken by themselves or others
  • Devise experimental methods appropriate for tackling a particular problem
  • Use statistical and related methods to objectively evaluate data and draw conclusions
  • Access a wide range of literature and data using bibliographic and IT skills
  • Communicate scientific ideas and conclusions to different audiences across disciplines

Transferable skills:

  • Monitor own learning
  • Communicate orally and in writing with scientific rigour
  • Critically evaluate information from a variety of sources to develop understanding and make decisions
  • Project planning and management
  • Data analysis
  • Report writing

This programme has been designed with maximum flexibility in mind: you study part-time and follow a modular structure which allows you to progress at a rate to suit your own personal and professional situation. You will need to study 3-4 modules in the first three years to progress to the MSc qualification. There is only one compulsory module and you are able to discuss study options with the course leader. You will be expected to complete your course of study in no more than five years.

Taught Element – Modules

Core module

The Research Methods course will introduce you to the principles of scientific research, and methods relating to qualitative and quantitative research undertaken in relation to food quality and health. Through a series of online lectures and seminars, you will explore the principle components of undertaking research, from the development of research plans, the practical steps in implementing these plans, and the statistical tools available for assessing the collected data. The aim is to provide you with all of the knowledge, methods and skills necessary to design, carry out, and assess a research project, whether in a higher education or professional setting.

Optional modules

Participants select their optional modules from those delivered by the partner Higher Education Institutions from within the Education & Professional Training Hub.

Optional Modules are grouped into the following thematic pathways:

  • Sustainable Practices in Food Production
  • Nutrition, Food and the Consumer
  • Managing Risk and Food Safety
  • Food Structure for Health and Quality

Course Structure & Dates:

The MSc in Sustainable Food Quality for Health has Flexible start dates. Taught modules are scheduled once per year, you choose the modules you wish to complete, and in which order you want to achieve them.

Research Elements:

In consultation with their project supervisors, the research and thesis phase requires participants to undertake original research in an approved topic in a relevant field and complete a 10,000 – 12,000 word thesis.

Taught element:

120 credits (core module 10 credits; optional modules 110 credits)

(a) Core module – Research Methods (compulsory for MSc programme)
(b) Optional modules are individually chosen to suit your area of interest and personal commitments.

Participants select optional modules with 110 combined academic credits from the professional education provision offered by the EPTH.

Participants completing the MSc can obtain up to 60 of the academic credits required for the qualification from a range of modules offered by partner universities the EPTH have teamed up with delivering professional education for the AgriFood sector. Contact us for further information on our currently available partner modules.

Support and guidance:

Following acceptance on to the course, each participant will have the opportunity to discuss their individual needs with members of the course team resulting in an agreed plan of study. All participants will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will provide academic and pastoral support throughout the course. Information on University provisions for student support will be given to each participant.

Key facts:

Course Dates Flexible


Part time – minimum registration of 1 year, maximum of 5 years
Entry Requirements The applicant has obtained an undergraduate honours degree in the 1st or 2nd class range, or international equivalent, in a relevant pure or applied science, technology or engineering subject. A minimum of one year of relevant full-time work experience. Applicants who do not meet the academic requirement, but can demonstrate commensurate professional experience will be considered for admission for this programme.
Credits 180
Fee info No upfront fees.  Total programme fee varies with module options selected.
Taught module fees payable on a flexible module-by-module basis.
Research element fee:   £2500
Course Provider University of Reading
Provider Reference Number PPTZFQHGENFM
Course Location Online, University of Reading
Cohort EPTH Cohort
Tutors Professor Carol Wagstaff – University of Reading, AFTP Director

Dr Jane Parker – University of Reading, Flavour Centre

Dr Lisa Methven – University of Reading, Sensory Science Centre

Dr Caroline Rymer – University of Reading, Agriculture Policy & Development

Dr David Jukes – University of Reading – Food & Nutritional Sciences

Dr Emma Bennett – University of Reading, Food & Nutritional Sciences

Dr Andrew Ainslee – University of Reading, Agriculture Policy & Development

Contact details:

Contact Name for Enquiries: Fiona Lee or Cathy Crips

Email address:

Telephone Number: 0118 378 3312 or  0118 378 8722