Postgraduate Diploma, Master of Science
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
School of Biomedical Sciences
This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.
The programme provides postgraduate training in Veterinary Public Health with Food Regulatory Affairs specialism.
Veterinary Public Health (VPH) is a subject area which includes all aspects of public health that can be protected or improved by application of veterinary science. It links the animal and human health with the environment and plays a pivotal role in the development of an integrated ‘farm to fork’ approach to food safety. Whereas 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. This part-time programme provides postgraduate training in VPH together with a specialism in Food Regulatory Affairs 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. This programme fulfils the additional requirement for the training of official veterinarians as set out in European Regulation 625/2017.
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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This programme provides students with broad knowledge and understanding of veterinary public health and related food regulation issues and promotes student's 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.
A variety of methods is used to support and enhance the student learning experience:
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 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:
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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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.
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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.
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.
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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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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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.
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A prize for the best MSc student has been provided by the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI prize).
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition feesWhere a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering)vaccinations , 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 are also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs 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.
We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.
Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:
For any queries regarding course entry requirements or getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.
For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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”.