Veterinary Public Health (Food Regulatory Affairs) - PgDip/MSc
The programme provides postgraduate training in Food Regulatory Affairs with Veterinary Public Health specialism.Take a look
The programme provides postgraduate training in Food Regulatory Affairs with Veterinary Public Health specialism.
Food Regulatory Affairs is an interdisciplinary subject area - integrating science, law and food/health policy as applied to the regulation of the entire food chain from pre-harvest to the consumer. International perspectives on Food Regulatory Affairs have become increasingly important particularly since the formation of the World Trade Organisation and the international acceptance of Codex Alimentarius standards. This part-time programme provides postgraduate training in Food Regulatory Affairs together with a specialism in Veterinary Public Health (VPH) and is particularly designed for veterinarians employed in the food sector who wish to develop their career in this field but who are unable to undertake study on a full-time basis. In addition, the programme fulfils the additional requirement for the training of official veterinarians as set out in European Regulation 854/2004.
This is a part-time programme which is entirely internet delivered. European and global experts in veterinary and food science, law, economics, and policy contribute to the programme. The awards are granted jointly between Ulster University (UK), and University College Dublin (IRL).
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About this course
In this section
This programme provides students with broad knowledge and understanding of food regulatory affairs and promotes their ability to assess available evidence and data, make sound judgements and communicate findings effectively to all stakeholders in the food chain – producers, regulators, industry and consumers. Relevant EU food regulatory policy is integrated within the lectures and translated into a coherent regulatory framework so that students will grasp the complex idea of total regulation of the food chain from primary production through to consumer health issues. Core domains of VPH are addressed in relation to the regulatory responsibilities of the veterinarians and the protection of animal health and welfare and human health.
Teaching is through online lectures, online discussions, individual support, video and internet links with staff, independent learning, and work in small groups.
There is no requirement to come on campus - the programme is delivered fully online.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
A variety of methods is used to support and enhance the student learning experience:
- Formal lectures remain a key feature in teaching and learning within academic institutions and are increasingly interactive, and may include discussion elements, particularly at postgraduate level. Within these distance-learning programmes lectures are delivered using teaching material specifically adapted for presentation on BBLearn to ensure all students are provided with a similar information set. The interactive nature of face-to-face teaching is mirrored in the e-learning environment by discussion boards and, increasingly, by asynchronous chat rooms.
- Case studiesare used for many classes to illustrate the practical application of subject specific knowledge.
- Online discussionsare designed not only to extend the lecture topics but also equip students with the skills to seek out relevant subject material and to present and defend the material within a given time-frame.
- Online tutorialsare used to support students who need help with their studies in specific subject areas.
- Group workingis an important element of learning and is used to help students acquire, integrate and apply knowledge from a variety of sources. Group work is facilitated for distance learning students to allow for group interaction via Discussion and Chat tools.
- Assignments encourage students to be independent learners. Assignments take a variety of forms (essays, literature reviews, case studies, word-limited reports, data analysis, and presentations) which encourage students to read the literature, integrate and apply knowledge and improve written skills.
- Research projectsare undertaken by all those postgraduate students who proceed to MSc. The research project will normally be carried out under supervision of allocated academics at the University.
Encouraging contact between students and staff
The Subject team seeks to encourage contact between students and staff as illustrated through induction processes, student-staff consultation and personal development planning (PDP).
Induction processes: BBLearn is the online teaching tool for the University and is used extensively in the modules delivered on the PgCert/PgDip/MSc Food Regulatory Affairs (Veterinary Public Health) programme. At registration all students are given access to the BBLearn Student Orientation Course which aims to help students become familiar with the VLE and how to use it effectively to assist with their learning activities.
Student-Staff Consultative Committee: This committee meets at least once per semester on-line and reports to the Course Committee. The Student-Staff Consultative Committee (SSCC) is chaired by the Course Director and includes another member of staff and student representatives from the programme. It is in this forum that issues specific to postgraduate students can be dealt with. Student comments are highly valued and acted upon.
All modules are assessed exclusively through the submission of coursework. The assessment methods are designed to test both knowledge and skills, and include, but are not limited to, critical evaluations of current literature, problem-based case studies, and development of an online scientific discussion board. A self-assessment tool will be also offered to students. Assessments aim to promote independence of learning, and encourage students to apply their experience and expertise to case studies, and problems in food regulatory affairs/veterinary public health.
In line with the University’s support for students with special educational needs, reasonable adjustments will be made to assessments to accommodate the needs of students under SENDO.
Students will be given prompt feedback, and the focus in the early parts of the modules will provide formative feedback to help future assessments.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
This module provides students with a solid foundation in the concepts and principles of risk analysis so that they will be capable of applying knowledge gained in this module to practical situations in the workplace.
International Food Regulatory Affairs
This module gives students an appreciation of global regulation of the food supply. It provides students with a solid foundation in the concepts and principles of risk analysis so that they will be capable of applying the knowledge gained in this module to practical situations in the workplace.
Veterinary Public Health 1 - Regulatory
Veterinary Public Health 1 - Regulatory, will translate the requirements laid down in of EC Regulation 854/2004 on official controls on food and feed of animal origin in terms of basic tenets that underpin EU food regulatory policy into a coherent framework which will equip students with the knowledge base and skills necessary to progress to the more specific elements of Veterinary Public Health which will be studied in the second semester.
Veterinary Public Health 2 - Applied
This module builds on the knowledge base and skills from the previous module (Veterinary Public Health 1 - Regulatory) and aims to integrate the disparate elements of the documented requirements for training of official veterinarians so that students will grasp the complex idea of total regulation of the food chain from primary production, animal welfare, food processing, monitoring and surveillance, environmental and waste issues to protection of consumer health.
Food Regulatory Affairs Research Project
This module, which is normally practical based, provides the opportunity, through research or advanced scholarship, to integrate knowledge of the food regulatory sciences by the advanced study and elucidation of a chosen topic in the food regulatory area. It is conducted under supervision.
Research Methods and Biostatistics for Food and Nutrition
This module provides the foundation for research methods for food and nutrition sciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of statistical methods are discussed. The module requires the completion of a critical evaluation of published literature and development of the research project proposal and problem-based assessments; issues relating to research governance are also included.
Food and Health
This module is optional
This module introduces students to basic nutritional concepts, including the relationships between diet and chronic disease, and how these concepts inform developments in food and nutrition policy.
Current Issues in Food Regulatory Affairs
This module is optional
This module gives students the opportunity to study in-depth and to evaluate critically some of the current issues and challenges facing the EU and the UK in terms of implication for regulatory affairs.
Nutrition and Health Claims
This module is optional
Development, implementation and evaluation of Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation 1924/2006) in the European Union and comparison with other regulatory regimes.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Applicants for the PgD/MSc Food Regulatory Affairs with Veterinary Public Health specialism must hold a degree in veterinary medicine from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard. Normally students will have a minimum of one-year post qualification experience prior to commencement of the programme.
Applicants are also demonstrate evidence of competence in written and spoke English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that
(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a Master’s award and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate award;
(b) for the master’s award no exemption shall be permitted from the research project.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
The academic content of the programme helps students to develop knowledge and understanding of legislative, policy and scientific aspects of food regulatory affairs as well as to acquire skills to disseminate and implement knowledge in practice. This leads to excellent employment opportunities in government (EU and international) and non-government organisations, and in the European and international agri-food industry.
ApplyHow to apply
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
Please note that students are initially registered for PgCert/PgDip level and only after successful completion of the PgDip part of the programme may students proceed to register for the MSc.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis. Find out more
Scholarships, awards and prizes
A prize for the best MSc student has been provided by the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland.
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
Our graduates say:
“The Course gave me a better understanding of the operation of the EU food safety legislation; it provided me the opportunity to research and study areas of VPH which are not normally associated with my work. The e-learning allowed me to fit the course around my busy work and domestic life.”
“The course has provided me with an excellent overview of the field of food regulations (particularly EU) which enabled me to transition from my former research career within my company to a role in the regulatory affairs department. The course materials provided me all the information I needed and to understand the background to food law/regulations in the EU. I hope that this initial investment in education will have a long-term benefit”.