Food Studies & Irish Foodways

University College Cork

Food Studies & Irish Foodways

Interest in food and culinary matters is at an all-time high as Ireland develops a more considered relationship with Irish food culture. Recent and ongoing research reports by government food agencies and industry identify trends that impact and direct food business; production; product development; food tourism; media focus, and food-based community initiatives. Prominent findings highlight the importance of local connections and the development of local food cultures: 'authenticity' of food, place and product story; food systems transparency; sustainable food practices, and social responsibility; ethical and responsible production practices and purchase and consumption choices; product and economic development based on heritage of place, nostalgia, regionality, and seasonality. Yet despite these developments, there has been no corresponding academic programme of study that examines the complexities, the intricacies, and the fascinating elements in the development and evolution of Irish food culture and its connection to global food developments.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Food Studies and Irish Foodways is designed to redress this imbalance. It is the first university programme of study that has a dedicated focus on Irish food and culinary culture. It examines food and culinary systems of the past and the present from the perspectives of production, processing, preservation, preparation, and consumption. It will guide students through popular discourses such as farm to fork, ocean to plate, factory to plate, exploring what these mean in the present day and what they meant in the past. It will also explore concepts like identity, tradition, gender, memory, and ethics and discuss how these apply to the study of food. Areas of study include food and culinary history, food and folklore, food and creative practice, food and literature, nutrition and health, food and the environment, sustainability, food policy, the contemporary Irish food system, and research methods in foodways.

This course offers candidates a unique opportunity to study Irish food culture in a holistic matter. It will enable students to distinguish between food facts and food myths and it will foster from candidates a respect and a love for research in the area of food studies and Irish foodways.

The core aim of the Postgraduate Diploma is to strengthen students' food fluency in these growth areas through the development of critical, creative, and transferable skills and to augment graduate employment prospects in industry growth areas.

Why Choose this Course?

With an extensive regional history in food culture, the Postgraduate Diploma programme provides opportunity to study in one of the country's oldest universities that has a long and disguised history of accomplishments in the humanities, food sciences and food and the environment.

Meet lecturing staff that are actively engaged in original research in their disciplines.

Experience excellence in teaching and student care.
Thrive in our high-qualify student-supervision environment, where each student is given extensive one-to-one supervision in completing their research dissertation.

Develop competencies and confidence in discussing the relationship and interconnections between local, regional, and global food practices.

We strive to empower students with skills, knowledge, and confidence to contribute to positive societal change in matters of food discourse, education and consumption behaviours.

We support you in developing expertise in a subject that is fundamental to how we will develop and experience the future.

Course Practicalities
The Postgraduate Diploma in Food Studies and Irish Foodways is an exciting and original programme of study. It is the first university course that takes a transdisciplinary approach to exploring Irish food culture. UCC has a long and proud tradition of excellence in food research and student-focused teaching, and this course brings together a stellar team of academics, who are well-respected and well-established in their fields of study. Students will be exposed to the results of their original and cutting-edge research, to critical and original thinking in Irish food studies, and to innovative teaching approaches. This is a rare opportunity to study with acclaimed academics, to be inspired by their expertise and to be guided by them in developing creative and critical approaches to applying your skills and knowledge of Ireland's food culture to career development and innovation. And, as this is the only course of its kind in Ireland, successful candidates will be able to engage with authority and integrity with developments and discussions of Irish food culture, thereby giving them competitive advantage in career/employment markets.

Subjects taught

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The programme will run one evening per week over two academic years with students attending a three-hour lecture from mid-September to May, with 1 Saturday (full-day) on UCC-campus workshop per semester. Students are also required to undertake approx. 12 hours of self-directed study each week. Four guided fieldtrips will be taken during the programme (year I: two full-day fieldtrips (Saturday or Sunday).Year II: two full-day fieldtrips (Saturday or Sunday). (The course fee does not include the costs associated with fieldtrips, i.e. travel costs and, if applicable, venue admissions.)

Year I

FL6804 An Introduction to Irish Food Studies
GG6802 The Irish Food System and Food Policy
HI6801 Irish Food and Culinary History
DR6801 Food and Creative Practice
Year II

FL6802 Food, Festival and Folklore
PS6801 Food, the Environment and Sustainability
NT6801 Introduction to the Principles of Nutrition
FL6806 Heritage Foods in Contemporary Society
FL6807 Research Methods in Foodways

The weekly lecture will be a mix of synchronous (real time) and shorter asynchronous (pre-recorded) lectures, individual and group activities, and individual and group discussions.

Entry requirements

NFQ Level 8 qualification in any discipline (Honours Degree or Higher Diploma). Desirable, though not compulsory, areas of prior study include the humanities and social sciences, food science, food marketing and food business. *

* Candidates without an NFQ level 8 award are eligible to apply, subject to the approval of the programme Academic Director, if they can demonstrate at least three years of professional experience in a related field – examples include (but are not restricted to) food marketing, food business, agriculture, food and culinary tourism, food event management and food production (conventional and artisan/speciality).

English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English are required to sit either an IELTS test or a recognised equivalent test. The minimum requirement is an IELTS score of 6.5, or the equivalent TOEFL score with no individual section lower than 6.0. In addition to IELTS and TOEFL a number of English language tests & examinations are applicable to the majority of our programmes.

Application dates

CLOSING DATE 16 September 2023


2 years part time
Year 1 September - May
Year 2 September - May

Online with a number on UCC on-campus workshop and seminars with two fieldtrips per year.

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
On successful completion of the programme, candidates will have developed high level and proficient skills in research, critical and creative thinking and reflective practice. These transferable skills will have direct application to careers in food-related business and professions, such as food marketing and PR; food and culinary tourism (at local and national levels); consumer research; food advocacy; agriculture; innovation and creativity in food-event design, such as food festivals, food tours/trials and food exhibitions, food education, and continued/further research in academia.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    PG Dip

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Blended

  • Apply to

    Course provider