Food Microbiology

University College Cork

Food Microbiology

Course Outline
In addition to its role as a source of pleasure, food is necessary for human survival. Food is fundamental to our existence and plays an enormous role in the global economy. Microbes play an essential role in food preservation and safety, food for health, and food biotechnology and these are growing areas for all global economies. The School of Microbiology at UCC has established a global reputation in food microbiology, based on its research profile and the impact of its graduates in the food industry.

The MSc in Food Microbiology at UCC covers the breadth of classical and modern food microbiology, including food safety and spoilage; food fermentation; food biotechnology; hygienic production of food; the impact of diet on health; the molecular mechanisms of infectious microbes and the role of the gut microbiota in human health.

Subjects taught

The programme is a structured one-year full-time course that includes a six-month lab-based research dissertation. Our aim is to educate you to an MSc level in food microbiology, emphasising areas in which UCC engages actively in research, e.g. food biotechnology, food fermentation, food safety, and food for health. In addition we will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to both Irish and international food industries. The 90-credit programme is taken in two parts as detailed below:

Part I (55 credits)
Core Modules (30 credits)

MB6006 Library project in Food Microbiology (5 credits)
MB6027 Research Frontiers in Food Microbiology (5 credits)
ML6005 Molecular Techniques in the Life Sciences (5 credits)
PG6001 STEPS - Scientific Training for Enhanced Postgraduate Studies (5 credits)
MB6010 Analytical Food Microbiology (10 credits)

Elective Modules (choose 25 credits)

FE6110 Food Markets and Policy (5 credits)
MB4110 Food Fermentation and Mycology (5 credits)
MB4111 Microbial Food Safety (5 credits)
MB4113 Food Biotechnology (5 credits)
MB6114 Hygienic Production of Food (5 credits)
MB6003 Functional Foods for Health (5 credits)

Part II (35 credits)
MB6011 Dissertation in Food Microbiology (35 credits)

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in a discipline with a significant element of laboratory science.

Consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may also be given to applicants who do not meet the above entry requirements but who have other relevant experience. To demonstrate other relevant experience, applicants will be assessed on the following criteria and an interview may also be required.

Academic achievement
Relevant professional experience
Personal statement
Interview (as required)

Application dates

Closing Date
Closed for applications for 2024/25

Assessment Info

The course uses a variety of assessment methods. Most modules are assessed by in-term continuous assessment and/or end-of-year examinations. In-term exams can be either multiple choice type questions (MCQs) or written papers (normally 1.5h duration). Most modules include assignments, dissertation and reports as part of the assessment methodology. Modules that contain workshop/practical components are also assessed using written reports/assignments. The laboratory research project is assessed by a combination of laboratory performance, written report and oral presentation. The research project (MB6007) is written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by an external examiner.


1 year full-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
The MSc in Food Microbiology is designed to equip graduates to work in a range of management, research and innovation roles within the Irish and international food, beverage and associated industries.

Our graduates will be in a position to support new product development, innovation and quality assurance functions in the dairy, meat, consumer foods, soft and alcoholic beverages and food ingredients sectors. Graduates will also be equipped to work in a range of other areas such as contract food-testing laboratories, the regulatory and consumer protection sectors or proceed to further studies at PhD level.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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