BSc (Hons) Food Manufacture (Quality Assurance & Technical Management)


Developed in collaboration with employers in the food manufacturing industry, this degree aims to offer students the opportunity to develop expert knowledge in quality assurance, factory processes, product development and management specific to the food sector.

This course can be studied at Foundation (FdSc) or Bachelor’s (BSc) level. Both courses are offered on a part-time time basis and are run predominantly through distance learning. Students typically complete the Foundation in two and a half years and have the option to enrol on level three of the Bachelor’s degree, following a short bridging course, to pursue more in-depth study for an additional two years. Direct enrolment on to the Bachelor’s degree is available for students who meet the entry requirements.

The course aims to introduce students to the significant recent trends in food safety and quality management in the food sector, both in the UK and internationally. Students have the opportunity to develop an extensive knowledge of food manufacture, while specialising in quality assurance and technical management, which includes areas such as hygiene, preservation and packaging, product and process development, leadership and performance monitoring across areas of quality, safety and legality.

Applications should be made direct to the University using the part-time application at:

Level 1

Food Quality Assurance and Safety

Quality assurance plays an important legal and moral role within food production for both the processor and producer. This module aims to develop students' understanding of available quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) management methods whilst adhering to legislation and industry codes of practice. The rationale of HACCP and the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) can be explored together with schemes used to monitor management systems.

Managing People

This module is designed to introduce students to the basic people management techniques required in the food industry. It encourages students to reflect on their role, and the skills, knowledge required to ensure the best possible results at work. The module aims to develop self-management and work planning skills in individuals who are in positions of responsibility in the food industry, and focuses on taking responsibility for personal development to enable them to manage effectively. It also aims to identify strategies to improve team performance.

Policies and Markets

This module encourages students to appreciate the overarching role played by international agreements on trade, in the production of food on any scale in the UK. Students have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the global perspectives and political dimensions which impact on food production in the UK. The aim is to more easily assess the direction of the business and how to comply with legislation and directives, as well as consumer influence. The module also reviews the impact of new technologies on food production, and provides students with the opportunity to examine how currency and exchange rate fluctuations can affect the market and business opportunities.

Principles of Food Science and Microbiology

This module aims to provide students with the background knowledge to the chemistry and microbiology of foodstuffs. Students have the opportunity to explore the basic chemical structures of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, and can be introduced to laboratory safety and the codes of practice relevant to the practical work they undertake.

Students have the opportunity to learn about the chemical and biological changes which occur during the processing and storage of food materials. This module reviews the nature, range and growth patterns of specific micro-organisms within foods, the spoilage patterns and pathogens associated with food commodities, and seeks to develop the basic practical skills required in microbiological analysis to include aseptic technique, media, enumeration and identification of food micro flora.

Principles of Food Technology

This module aims to equip students with an understanding of the principles of food technology. This module gives students the opportunity to appreciate the breadth and complexity of the modern food industry. The emphasis is on understanding processing and preservation technologies.

Quality, Hygiene and Environmental Systems

This module seeks to provide a foundation to support the further study of quality and technical management in subsequent modules. Students may be introduced to specific systems and practices within the food industry relating to quality, hygiene and the environment.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about the typical content and structure of business Quality Management Systems, as well as how these link to relevant legislation, industry operating standards and the definition and appreciation of customer requirements. The module also reviews common food hazards and the systems used for the control of product safety and quality, including HACCP, QA and QC. Weight measures and controls are covered, along with record keeping and the importance of traceability.

The hygiene section of the module reviews the systems and procedures used by the food industry to maintain its operations in a clean and hygienic condition which satisfies both legislative and customer requirements, and consequently provides a platform for the manufacture of safe, quality products.

The environmental section commences with a review of global environmental issues, followed by consideration of the environmental impacts of food manufacturing and relevant legislation. The modules aims to introduce techniques for reviewing environmental impacts, setting environmental policies and objectives, and the management review of such criteria.

Raw Materials Control and Supplier Management

Raw materials which are consistent and close liaison with suppliers are vital components in the manufacture of safe, quality products which meet legislative requirements. This module is designed to review the major ingredient groups within the food industry with the aim of providing a clear appreciation of the manufacturing systems and operating standards typically applied within these ingredient sectors. Students will have the opportunity to cover content and importance of ingredient specifications in detail, including a definition of key ingredient attributes, legislative requirements and the definition of delivery criteria.

Consistency of supply can be discussed, together with the potential for variation of supply within particular ingredient groups. Incoming goods assessment methods and sampling plans can also be considered, including the use of risk assessment techniques in defining sampling systems and frequencies.

Certain ingredient techniques can provide added complexities to manufacturers. Students have the opportunity to consider topics such as the control of potentially allergenic ingredients and requirements with regard to the use of genetically modified ingredients. Case studies are used to highlight specific challenges faced by the food industry.

This module aims to cover supplier approval procedures, risk assessment and auditing techniques. Food packaging can have a major influence upon the quality, safety and legality of food, this module also reviews aspects of packaging, including specifications, quality tests and performance monitoring.

Level 2

Food Process, Preservation and Packaging

Students are given the opportunity to develop an understanding of the major food processing and preservation methods. The technological aspects of food manufacture will centre on the precise description of a process in a specification. The module also focuses on evaluating the food process in terms of its safety to the consumer, and the effects on the food flavours, colours and textures. Packaging systems can also be studied with respect to their contribution to the growth of the food manufacturing industry along with the application of check-weighing and metal detection technologies in a modern food production operation.

Food Science and Microbiology

This module seeks to build on knowledge gained at level 1. There is an emphasis on both the microbiological and chemical analysis of food products. Within the chemistry component, students can review the role of modified foods, food nutrition, formulation, additives and preservatives, and methods of food analysis. Within the microbiology component, students have the opportunity to investigate its application in the food industry, particularly in relation to the hygienic design of premises, microbial contamination, and methods of evaluating shelf life using both practical laboratory tests and predictive modelling. By the end of this module, students are expected be able to interpret and apply microbial specifications to specific food groups.

Distance learning students are required to attend a practical school where the laboratory aspects of this module can be assessed.

Health and Diet

This module aims to provide background knowledge to the fundamental aspects of food, health and nutrition. Students are given the opportunity to develop an understanding of health related problems associated with diet and the increasing use of functional foods in food manufacturing.

Managing People in Food Organisations

This module aims to develop self-management and work planning skills for those in positions of responsibility. It focuses on taking responsibility for personal development with the aim of enabling students to manage effectively and identifies strategies to develop the skills and knowledge of teams to ensure the best possible results at work.

New Product Development

This module aims to introduce students to the concept of product development, alongside changes in consumer requirements, the ways in which market intelligence is gathered, and the role of nutrition. Labelling legislation is also a key component of this module. The module is designed to focus on practical assessment, and offers the opportunity to develop skills in the sensory evaluation of food qualities in relation to product development.

Quality Management

Quality management is a vital aspect of all food production businesses. Good quality management will support a business in its delivery of consistently safe, correct quality, legal food products and at the same time drive a cost-efficient 'right first time' culture.

This module aims to cover key systems, practices and skills required by quality management staff. Students have the opportunity to explore the design, implementation and review of quality management systems, and examine the legislative, customer and business expectations to be incorporated within such systems. This module also considers the foundations and frameworks upon which quality management systems are developed. Students have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of how to practically apply QA,QC, HACCP, TQM, training systems and document control systems.

The module is designed to cover quality monitoring and quality improvement techniques, together with the key skills required when making decisions about product quality. It includes a review of the processes of complaints management, quarantined stock control and managing incidents with product withdrawal and recall procedures.

As quantity control is a legal requirement for most food production businesses, the module also covers the legislative requirements relating to weights and measures, and how such requirements are translated into operational control systems and procedures. Students have the opportunity to review the importance of calibrating key measuring equipment used to monitor critical control points and process legality points.

As business staff play a vital role in achieving product quality / safety and legality, this module also includes a section on staff hygiene rules, medical screening, training, personal protective equipment (PPE) and facilities.

Work Based Project - Quality Assurance and Technical Management

This project is an individual investigation into a specific topic, usually of direct relevance to a student's own employment and the particular route studied (whether that is Quality Assurance and Technical Management, or Process and Business Improvement). Research for the project will normally be undertaken at a student's place of work, under the supervision of both an employer mentor and an academic tutor.

The nature and parameters of the project are expected to be identified through negotiation with an employer. The project seeks to develop skills in independent learning through research, evaluation, and presenting information, as well as to foster communication between the student, employer and project tutor. Students are expected to use statistical and analytical skills to interpret primary data.

Level 3

Food Commodities Analysis

This module continues to build on Level 1 and 2 concepts of food quality assurance and techniques of food quality assessment. Practically based, the module seeks to develop practical and investigative skills in the assessment of food quality in a range of raw materials including objective and subjective measurements of food properties. Students have the opportunity to attend a practical school covering laboratory skills.

Food Nutrition and Health

This module is concerned with normal human nutrition and the relationships between foods and health. The constituents of the diet can be studied in-depth, with such aspects as their metabolic roles and their relationship to health being considered. The module also aims to examine the composition of current British diets and seeks to compare them to current recommendations on healthy diets.

The influence of national nutrition and health policy and other factors are also considered. The module gives students the opportunity to learn a theoretical background on which to evaluate functional foods by their nutritional, therapeutic and scientific efficacy. The module aims to build the students' ability to integrate commercial, nutritional and technological issues.

Food Process Technology (Level 3)

This module is designed to introduce the principles of heat, mass and momentum transfer. These principles underpin module operations in the food industry and consequently represent a starting point for any analysis of such processes. It includes an analysis of heat exchange, the elements of non-Newtonian flow and an introduction to the processing of food solids. The latter part of the syllabus consists of an overview of food preservation technology and covers a wide range of operations.

Independent Study: Technical Management

This module is based upon individual, supervised student activity which provides an opportunity for an in-depth study of a particular topic relevant to food science and manufacture and to demonstrate original and critical thought. It aims to allow students to demonstrate their abilities to research, plan, organise and conduct their own work, evaluate and select relevant information and present a thesis, which conforms to an agreed format, in a logical and coherent manner.

The research may be developed in partnership with employers and, as such, may present information relevant to a specific employers’ needs and to be significant to the development of the business.

Managing People and Change in Food Organisations

Seeking to draw from study at level 1 and level 2, this module provides students with the opportunity to explore and reflect on their own and others leadership styles; challenging the value of various leadership styles, attitudes and values. A variety of leadership theories can be analysed and key themes associated with effective leadership practice evaluated. This module aims to explore the nature of business strategy and planning aimed at attaining and sustaining a competitive edge. Modules of business strategy can also be examined. The module gives students the opportunity to become familiar with the processes involved in resource, procurement and financial management.

Technical Management

Technical management roles within the food industry demand strong 'all-rounder' skills coupled with an in-depth knowledge across the range of topics related to product safety, quality and legality. Such roles also require thorough attention to detail alongside good communication and interpersonal skills. This module aims to build upon the knowledge platform secured via study of earlier modules and aims to provide the student a clear appreciation of “Technical Management” and the skills/ knowledge required in order to achieve and maintain such positions within the food industry. Students have the opportunity to consider how to define the 'Technical Standards' of their business, including review of legislation requirements, necessary accreditation standards, customer expectations/ policies and their own business vision/mission/ethics. The module also seeks to review the techniques to be utilised when assessing business 'Technical Compliance' followed by consideration of how best to define and implement corrective/ preventative actions.

BSc (Hons) Food Manufacture (Quality Assurance & Technical Management)

Duration: 4.5 years

Study options: Delivery at Provider Premises, Part Time

BSc (Hons)

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