Food Policy and Sustainable Food Systems

2021/22 Part-time Postgraduate Short course and CPD


Ulster University Business School


Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Belfast campus

Credit points:


Start date:

2 February 2022

For full instructions on how to apply for postgraduate short courses, please contact the Centre for Flexible and Continuing Education -


This course provides knowledge and understanding of relevant global issues regarding how food is grown, reared, processed, distributed and consumed.


This course examines the effects of food policy issues on the consumer, the environment and the food industry as a whole. The course draws on the knowledge and experiences of participants and relates them to global and local food issues. A number of contemporary food policy and food issues are discussed and their implications for the consumer and the social, economic, business and political environment are outlined.

This course can be taken individually or combined over a period of time towards a Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development.

Sign up to hear more about Ulster

About this course


The content of the course will reflect current global and local food policy issues and will involve an understanding of the impact and effectiveness of policies relating to food systems in the context of public policy, public health, government actions related to food and consumer issues, and consumer behaviour. This will encourage critical thinking about contemporary (and sometimes controversial) food policy issues. Topics that will be covered relate to food production, food safety and traceability, food security, sustainability, food trade and retail, nutrition and health aspects of food systems, and consumer behaviour.

Day 1: Food policy and food systems

Food policies, practices and procedures

Information relating to food policy, the political ideology of food, emerging policy challenges, the structure of our global food system, major themes (i.e. the global food crisis) and the key players involved will be discussed.

Food production and technology

Global food issues relating to agricultural practices and their impact on the environment will be discussed. Examples of issues will include intensive farming practices and the production of Genetically Modified foods.

Food security and traceability

With escalating outbreaks of food borne diseases the media has publicised the need to ensure consumers have access to safe and good quality food. Participants will gain an understanding of traceability and examples of best practice.

Day 2: Food's role in public health policy

Nutrition and health aspects of food systems

The food system has a major influence on what people eat. Food poverty, rising food prices, food inflation and the obesity epidemic and industry's responses to these are are key issues affecting today's consumers, business, policymakers and civil society.

Food needs, entitlements, security and aid

The impact of social exclusion/inclusion in relation to food, and its effects upon different consumer groups will be discussed. Examples will include the concept of food deserts, food poverty and foreign aid.

Day 3: Food futures

Sustainability and Fairtrade

Many key players within the food supply chain are pledging their commitment to Fair Trade in support of sustainable development. An overview of the development and growth of Fair Trade will be examined alongside an analysis of consumer demand for these products.

Sustainability and Food Retail

The overproduction and overconsumption of food has become a key issue among many food retailers and is transforming the way they do business. A review of the many initiatives and policies which are being implemented by retail multiples to become more sustainable will be discussed.

An emphasis on continuous 'action and reflection' will be a common theme to this course.

Linked programmes

MSc Food Design and Innovation, PgCertPD Professional Development


100% Coursework

(1) Presentation/Professional Conversation of 15 minutes maximum (50%)

A 10 minute professional conversation (plus 5 minutes for dedicated questions and answers) on a current food policy issue presented as a mini conference inclusive of all participants. The participant is expected to search the scientific literature in depth and gather information in a systematic way, and to critically review the current status of evidence available and identify any unresolved issues.

The participant will have to examine the issue from various viewpoints and debate the issue in terms of the case for and against. In addition, the participant should be able to put forward a case and rationale as to the strategy which should be adopted or not. The output should include a PowerPoint slideshow to support the information delivered verbally. The conversation will be (audio)-visually recorded.

(2) Reflective Piece (maximum 2000 words) (50%)

Participants will be expected to actively participate in class to enhance the learning experience of the entire group and to develop their understanding of the subject and its application. The participants will be required to compile journal entries based on a sample of the lecture/seminar/workshop deliveries. These journals will include critical reflections and reviews of their learning from the composite delivery. In addition, participants will recommend relevant reading to supplement reference lists in the module handbook and seminar reference lists. The journal should be a maximum of 2000 words.


The course requires attendance on three consecutive days from 9.30am to 5.30pm on 2, 3 and 4 February 2022 plus two learning set days from 9.30am to 1.30pm on 9 February and 23 March 2022.

Entry requirements

Any undergraduate degree (second class honours or above).

In addition, applicants must have at least one year's managerial/executive/owner position experience within a Food and Drink company. (Please contact us if you are unsure about the experience entry requirements).

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English entrance requirements of the University and will need to provide recent evidence of this (certified within the last two years).

Most of our courses require a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Please see details of the English language qualifications and certificates we can accept -

International applicants will also require a short-term study visa. Further information is available at

Start dates

  • 2 February 2022


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:

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.

Academic profile

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.

Belfast campus

A globally recognised hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast campus location info

  Find out more about our Belfast campus


Ulster University
York Street
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456


Start dates

  • 2 February 2022

Fees and funding


Northern Ireland & EU: £862.60

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands: £862.60

International: £1,656.60

Fees information

Information about how to pay for a course including different payment options is available at

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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.