Food Safety & Analytical Microbiology

Why was this course developed?

The agri-food sector is currently thriving, especially in the South-East of Ireland. The Certificate in Food Safety and Analytical Microbiology was developed based on an analysis of the importance of the food, pharmaceutical and related industries in Ireland and within the South-East region, and also using information generated as a result of the Wales Ireland Network for Scientific Skills (WINSS) Scientific Survey from a large number of pharmaceutical/biotechnology, medical device and food companies. From the survey, skills needs were highlighted in a number of areas, including food microbiology and food safety management.

This course will provide the student with an advanced understanding of the theory, practices and implementation issues associated with food industry safety management, while incorporating a comprehensive overview of the theoretical background, methodologies and practical skills in modern methods of analysis of foods for microbial contaminants. The student will be exposed to aspects of working in an environment that operates under strict guidelines for production and quality outputs.

The aims of the course are to produce graduates with an in-depth knowledge of food industry safety management, as well as modern methods of microbiological analysis of foods and food production premises. The student will acquire the tools and skills in modern methods and the technology associated with the analysis of foods and production facilities for microbial contaminants. The course will also enable students to critically appraise the scientific literature and identify future trends in the areas of food safety and analytical microbiology.

What are the learning outcomes?

On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:

1.Evaluate the inter-related processes that contribute to food safety management.

2.Summarise the role and function of quality through production and processing of food, including the origins of HACCP and its basis as a Food Safety Management System.

3.Competently propose suitable techniques for the selective isolation and identification of pathogens and indicator organisms from a wide variety of products using current methodologies and technologies.

4.Evaluate the underlying principles behind molecular biology techniques employed in isolation and identification of microbes.

5.Critically evaluate sterility testing of products and monitoring of sterile production facilities, and recommend appropriate methods for routine hygiene assessment in the food industry.

Entry requirements

The Certificate in Food Safety and Analytical Microbiology programme is aimed at those already working in the food industry, as well as in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sectors, as the methodologies and techniques involved would be relevant to the analysis of pharmaceuticals, as well as foods, for microbial contaminants. This programme is also suitable for students intending to/already undertaking postgraduate research study.

Food Safety and Analytical Microbiology Entry Requirements

•Applicants for entry to this Certificate course should hold a bachelor's degree at honours level minimum 2.2 (Level 8) in an appropriate subject area or equivalent qualification.

•In addition, in order to fully appreciate the industrial impact of the content of this programme, it has been deemed necessary to have a minimum of two years relevant industrial experience.

•Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT's English Language Requirements for details.

Assessment Info

•Continuous assessment will be carried out throughout the course of the programme.




4 months part-time.

•Over the duration of the programme, students will be required to attend WIT for approximately 8 days from January to June.

•This programme will be delivered through a blend of lectures, laboratory practicals and independent study. Students will be required to attend WIT for five days of lectures, in addition to three days of laboratory practicals.

Enrolment dates

The course will next run in January 2021, subject to sufficient student numbers

The course will be offered every two years, subject to sufficient number of students applying for the programme.

Post Course Info

This course places a strong emphasis on the professional development of the graduate and is aimed at students already working in an industrial environment. Such a qualification will enable and facilitate career progression for graduates in the region.

Further study opportunities
This programme can be taken as a stand-alone Certificate worth 10 credits at level 9, or if the student wishes, they can use these credits towards the 60 credit Postgraduate Diploma in Analytical Science with Quality Management (WD 519) or the 90 credit MSc in Analytical Science with Quality Management (WD 520).

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