Food Business and Innovation - BSc (Hons)

2024/25 Part-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Ulster University Business School


Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Coleraine campus

Start date:

September 2024

With this degree you could become:

  • Food Product Development
  • Graduate programme in Product Development
  • Product Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Research
  • Sensory Evaluation
  • Teaching

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Selected options: Coca Cola
  • Dunbia
  • Errigal Seafood
  • Genesis C


Developing leaders for the food industry and education.


Understanding the role of the consumer and the importance of meeting consumer demands within today's marketplace is the central focus within this exciting and challenging programme of study.

The content is designed to develop your knowledge on the pivotal role the consumer plays in the design, development, management, marketing and retailing of products and services. It addresses the processes and key issues involved in helping consumers make informed choices about the products and services they buy and use.

The course will provide you with the appropriate analytical, teamwork, organisational and problem-solving skills and competencies necessary for a career related to consumer management, food innovation and food education.

We’d love to hear from you!

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:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding 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.

About this course


The BSc Hons Food Business and Innovation will develop your knowledge of the pivotal role the consumer plays in the design, development, management, marketing and retailing of food products and services. Students in this course enjoy access to our Coleraine-based dedicated labs and are taught by academics who are recognised experts in their fields. All of the teaching colleagues in the department have achieved Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and seven of these team members have Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

The programme received 95% for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS, 2023).

We are 2nd in the UK for Hospitality, Event Management and Tourism (The Guardian University Guide 2024). These are impressive achievements that demonstrate that as a department we are leading in our specialist areas.


The programme can be completed in five to seven years on a part-time basis. You will normally complete two modules per semester, with class contact time approximately three hours per week per module. You will be expected to undertake independent study of around 10 hours per week per module. You will have a minimum of 9-10 class contact hours per week on the Coleraine campus.

At the beginning of year 1, you are also expected to attend a two-day introductory induction residential involving outdoor team building and leadership activities. At this residential, you will begin to appreciate the nature of the leadership skills and knowledge required for a career in business.

Additionally, you will be expected to devote some of your study time to working with local employers on a specific issue as part of your 'live' project modules.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The aim and objectives of your course will be achieved in a variety of ways through the application of a range of teaching and learning methods across all modules. The principal methods used include lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, talks from industry guest speakers and case studies. The Department has a strong commitment to providing realistic work experiences and various simulated exercises are included in the laboratory and practical sessions. For example, you will be frequently working on live product development and marketing projects from industry utilising the facilities of our food and consumer testing suite (FACTS).

Attendance and Independent Study

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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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

    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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

You will be taught by academics who are highly qualified and experts in their fields.

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance 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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

Coleraine campus


A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student Wellbeing

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

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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.

Year one

Food, Enterprise and Consumer Insights

Year: 1

This module examines the fundamental principles relating to the food and beverage industry, NPD innovation and consumer behaviour. The significance of the many issues facing the industry will be discussed and solutions to face these issues.

Digital Media & Creativity

Year: 1

The module explores the importance of media (with an emphasis on digital) to business success in the various sectors of the tourism, events and food industries. It develops student skills and understanding in relation to writing and creating content for a variety of media applications as well as providing introductory support in relation to writing and research for their degree studies. As such the module will foster digital creativity and innovation in a variety of contexts and situations applicable to the student's course and their respective industries, leading towards aspects of future employability and entrepreneurship

Management in Action

Year: 1

This module examines the principles of management and applies them to the practice of operational management. The module is both people and action-oriented and examines a range of topics including the development of management theories, the impact of the internal and external business environment and how management contributes to sustainable business futures.

Year two

Consumer Law

Year: 2

This module will provide an accurate picture of how and why the law intervenes in the food, drink and consumer goods market to protect and empower consumers. The module aims to promote sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and citizenship throughout the curriculum to contribute to increasing students' confidence in asserting their consumer rights while recognising their consumer responsibilities.

Food Sensory Science

Year: 2

Sensory evaluation is now widely recognised within the food industry as an essential business asset. This module will enable students to have a sound understanding of food innovation, sensory science, its role in industry, how to conduct appropriate tests for industry and present findings to industry.

Food Tourism, Festivals and Events

Year: 2

This module provides students with an overview of the diverse range of food and beverage tours, festivals and events that destinations can harness to diversify their tourism product offering and, therefore, increase their competitiveness. Food is a key part of all cultures, a major element of global intangible heritage and an increasingly important attraction for tourists. So therefore, it is important that students are aware of how food festivals, wine and other beverages tasting trails, cooking experiences and competitions, open farms, factories and food markets can enhance the tourist experience as well as the experience of the locals.

Year three

Principles of Food for Product Development

Year: 3

This module will empower students to explore the principles of food drink and culture, as well as shaping their understanding of cooking techniques and outcomes. The module is designed to blend theory with hands-on practical experience in an experimental, active learning environment.

Fundamentals of People Management

Year: 3

People management forms a large part of every manager's job whether they work in a large multinational organisation, a not-for-profit organisation, or a charity. People management processes are usually designed by HR specialists within the organisation; however, line managers play a pivotal role in implementing and enacting HR policies and practices. Where employees feel positive about their relationship with their line managers, they are more likely to have higher levels of job satisfaction, commitment and loyalty, which are in turn associated with higher levels of performance.

Digital Innovation

Year: 3

This practical module explores, digital Innovation and capabilities where students apply theory in utilising digital tools and software to enhance and refine visual creations. The module is designed for students to develop a key digital and soft skills to apply to forthcoming subject related modules and those required by industry.

Year four

Entrepreneurial Product Development

Year: 4

This module empowers students to understand market dynamics, identify growth opportunities and design exceptional products which resonate with consumers. The module, in partnership with industry, offers students an authentic learning experience which embeds the product developmental structure to support further learning and development during placement, in final year food innovation and as workplace ready graduates.

Accounting Studies

Year: 4

This module focuses on managerial decision making for both SMEs and larger corporations in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The content includes costing, budgeting, investment appraisal and working capital management. The student will be expected to apply knowledge to the decision-making process and discuss alternatives relevant to the service industries.

Contemporary Marketing Practice

Year: 4

Within this module, the key concepts and practices of contemporary marketing are introduced. The module defines marketing and explores the marketing environment and key aspects including segmentation, consumer behaviour, the marketing mix, sustainability and digital marketing. The inquiry-based learning assessment provides the opportunity to apply these concepts to today's evolving marketplace developing employability and innovation skills.

Year five

Global Active Citizenship and Sustainability

Year: 5

This module promotes sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and active citizenship as they relate to global food/drink and consumer policy issues. A number of contemporary food policy and consumer issues are discussed and their management and leadership implications for the consumer, social, economic and political environments are outlined.

Food Communication

Year: 5

This module establishes a foundation of food, drink and culture with health promotional concepts, exploring policy, promotional strategies and community intervention/lesson design. It offers students an opportunity to critically analyse complex health issues and develop evidence-based strategies to promote health promoting sustainability, equality, diversity, inclusion and citizenship.

The Business Plan

Year: 5

This module is optional

In this module students are engaged in practical entrepreneurship and will develop their knowledge of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial process. This will be evidenced through the development of a business plan for new venture creation, enterprise development, project management or a community-based development project.

Research Paper

Year: 5

This module is optional

Within this module, students will complete individual research on a topic of interest related to their course and chosen industry. Such inquiry-based learning allows students to further develop key employability and innovation skills while presenting the opportunity to become a subject specialist in their field.

Year six

Researching Contemporary Issues

Year: 6

This module will develop and enhance the student's ability to carry out research within their chosen business field. The lecture and seminar schedule will cover the main concepts and principles encountered in research design, and each student will be required to write a research proposal on a contemporary issue.

Food Innovation

Year: 6

This module is optional

Students will be provided with a brief by a company and will carry out consultancy on their behalf. Students will be introduced to project management, and will work to a projected budget, assemble a product design concept in line with a company's core values.

Current Trends in People Management

Year: 6

This module is optional

The contemporary workplace is changing and there has probably never been a more challenging time to be responsible for managing and leading people. Human Resource teams and Line Managers have a major role to play in driving performance, productivity and achieving sustainable competitive advantage. This module provides an opportunity for students to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills needed to help attract, engage and retain the best and most diverse talent pool nationally and internationally.

Management Accounting

Year: 6

This module is optional

This module focuses on managerial decision making for both SMEs and larger corporations in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The content includes costing, budgeting, investment appraisal and working capital management. The student will be expected to apply knowledge to the decision-making process and discuss alternatives relevant to the service industries.

Digital Marketing Management

Year: 6

This module is optional

Within this module, the pivotal role of digital marketing management is examined. The key elements and practices of developing and executing comprehensive digital marketing strategies, to create impactful campaigns are explored and applied. The inquiry-based and authentic learning approach allows students to enhance vital employability skills and digital innovation capabilities while applying strategic concepts to drive sustainable business growth.

Standard entry conditions

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.

A level

A minimum of 5 subject passes (A*-C) to include either three at GCSE (including English and Maths) and two at A Level OR two at GCSE (including English and Maths) and three at A Level.

If you are a mature applicant who lacks formal academic qualifications, you may be admitted to the course if you can satisfy the Course Committee of your ability to complete the course satisfactorily.


GCSE Profile to include minimum Grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language.

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 for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Exemption is granted on the basis of recent and relevant study.

What exemptions can I get?
Based on recent and successfully completed accredited learning, students can seek exemptions from the programme. The Course Director can advise you as to the eligibility of your accredited course.

How do I apply for exemptions?
When accepted on the Course you are asked to complete an exemptions form, which is reviewed by the Course Director and exemptions are then agreed during the Induction process.

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Selected options: Coca Cola
  • Dunbia
  • Errigal Seafood
  • Genesis C

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Food Product Development
  • Graduate programme in Product Development
  • Product Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Research
  • Sensory Evaluation
  • Teaching

Career options

In terms of career opportunities, the course structure offers flexibility to progress into areas of employment relating to food business and innovation. Several career routes have been identified in the following areas: food product development, teaching, marketing and sales, health promotion, consumer protection and rights, human resource management and food journalism. In addition, successful completion of this course enables you to progress to Post Graduate study and be eligible to apply for admission to the one year full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Home Economics). You will also have the opportunity to participate in the optional Tutoring in Schools programme prior to applying to the PGCE. The elective placement opportunity also provides you with valuable work-related learning experiences to further inform your career decision-making.

Work placement / study abroad

Not Applicable for part-time students.

Professional recognition

Institute of Hospitality (IoH)

Accredited by the Institute of Hospitality that academic, vocational and professional standards achieved are appropriate and programme content and delivery meet international Institute of Hospitality benchmark standards.


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

Module Pricing

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2024/25, the following fees apply:

Credit Points NI/ROI  Cost GB Cost International Cost*

NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

*Please note our on campus part-time undergraduate courses are not open to international (non-EU) students.

Scholarships, awards and prizes

  • Consumer Council (NI) Award
  • Food Innovation Award
  • Suki Tea Food Policy Award

Additional mandatory costs

Chef Whites are required for practical work. These cost approximately £30.

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 fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

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:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding 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.

For more information visit


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“The cross functional link between industry and education cannot be underestimated. Shared learning’s and experiences evolve in progression of skills and succession planning.”

Helen Dunn, Product Innovation & Development Manager, Moy Park.

“We engaged with the Food and Consumer Testing Suite (FACTS) for two projects; one for our Poultry division and one for Goodfella’s pizza. We were very impressed by the calibre of the students and staff who embraced the projects with enthusiasm and delivered work of a very high standard in a professional and timely manner. This facility was an invaluable resource and a key element of research and testing of products providing quality data that could be analysed against a number of parameters and target markets. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the University for future projects.”

Maura Carolan, NPD Manager, Green Isle Foods

“It was fantastic to receive the assistance of FACTS. Product testing and sensory analysis is something that is usually done in-house but the results and feedback have certainly got us thinking and we’ll definitely will be using sensory analysis to test even more new flavours in the future.”

Arnaldo Morelli, Morelli’s Ice Cream

“FACTS was pivotal to the development of our product. With their state of the art facilities the highly supportive staff were able to meet all our needs. They carried out first class sensory testing and provided exceptional advice for the improvement and growth of our product and business. The team worked ceaselessly to provide support. We would therefore highly recommend the services provided by Ulster University to any business.”

Vanessa Rolls, Modern Nature

"The facilities at the food and consumer testing suite are some of the best in the industry and I found working with the professional team very rewarding. At the Culinary food group we put the consumer at the heart of everything we do through the combining of culinary arts and food science. These facilities help us deliver that goal."

Dominic Darby, Group Business Development Manager, Culinary Food Group.