Food Regulatory Affairs - PgCert, PgDip, MSc

2024/25 Part-time Postgraduate course


Postgraduate Certificate, 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.

Start date:

September 2024


The programme provides fully online postgraduate training in food regulatory affairs.


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 programme is designed to provide postgraduate training in Food Regulatory Affairs for individuals employed in the food sector, regulatory agencies, government departments, and trade organisations as well as those who wish to develop their career in this field.

The awards are granted jointly between Ulster University (UK), and University College Dublin (IRL), in association with University College Cork (IRL). European and global experts in science, law, economics, and policy contribute to the courses.

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


All the courses in the programme are entirely internet delivered through a modular format. Modules have a credit value of either 15 or 30 credit points. The credit rating of a module is in proportion to the effort required from the student, thus a 30 point module corresponds to 300 hours of notional learning time including viewing lectures, tutorials, discussion groups, coursework, assignment and self-study. All modules are at level 7.

For the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Food Regulatory Affairs students undertake taught modules worth a total of 60 credit points and this is delivered part-time over two semesters (i.e. over one academic year) with students taking one 30 credit core module in each semester.

For the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Food Regulatory Affairs students undertake taught modules worth a total of 120 credit points and this is delivered part-time over three semesters (i.e. over one and a half academic years) with students taking 30-45 credit points of modules in each semester.

For the award of Masters of Science in Food Regulatory Affairs students undertake taught modules worth a total of 120 credit points and complete a 60 credit research project module. Part-time students normally take five semesters (i.e. two academic years) to complete the MSc.


This is an elearning course and is delivered fully online.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The programme has been designed taking cognisance of the Teaching and Learning strategies developed by Ulster University and University College Dublin.

In line with the Faculty’s Teaching and Learning strategy, the subject team is aware of the need in its teaching and learning to:

· Respect diverse talents and ways of learning;

· Encourage contact between students and staff;

· Develop cooperation among students; and

· Use active learning techniques.

In line with the Faculty’s Teaching and Learning strategy, the Subject team is also aware

of the need in its assessment to:

· Use a variety of assessment procedures;

· Communicate high expectations;

· Emphasize time on task; and

· Give prompt feedback.

The programme consists of modules at master’s level (level 7), and aims to provide a broad range of learning experiences that will enable students to enhance their knowledge and skills. The learning experience provided will encourage students to become active and motivated learners, who can seek information, question and analyse its validity and draw appropriate and logical conclusions. The overall aim of these courses is to provide an academically challenging and professionally relevant focussed, programme of study for those who wish to develop their careers in Food Regulatory Affairs or undertake research in these area. The courses will also provide the student with opportunity for critical reflection and evaluation of current practice and policy, enabling lifelong learning and fostering continuing professional development. This is in line with two of the University’s strategic teaching and learning aims: to promote and foster creativity and innovation in curriculum design and delivery and to promote learning, professionalism and employability through the integration of academic theory and relevant professional expertise.

All students will be provided online with a course handbook which contains details of the organization of teaching and learning, and the programme-wide arrangements for submission of work and return of assessed material, as well as specific details regarding the expectations of the programme team. All modules will be hosted on-line within BBLearn and, in addition to core module content, will contain all relevant details regarding module content, and a schedule of events, information on assessment, including marking schemes, and any other relevant information.

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 programme. eLearning at the University of Ulster facilitates a number of distance-learning courses, in which teaching and learning are delivered to students primarily via eLearning. BBLearn, which is also increasingly used to supplement campus-based programmes, provides an alternative and stimulating learning environment. eLearning at the University of Ulster includes personalised online access to course material, university library systems, academic and student support programs, and electronic communication tools. E-learning is therefore fully blended into the traditional delivery of on campus material. Training in BBLearn is readily available to teaching staff via the University’s Staff Development section, and an increasing number of campus-delivered modules are supplemented with a range of materials presented via BBLearn. All students are informed about the availability of, and have access to, the set of on-line tutorials regarding general and specific use of BBLearn. Students are also provided with personal support from technical and academic staff if required.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students learn by a variety of means and these programmes will use a variety of methods 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 PowerPoint presentations with 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. The School of Biomedical Sciences monitors attendance at all timetabled face-to-face teaching activities and in line with this policy a similar approach is used in the online environment to ensure all students are engaging with the material and to quickly pick up those who may be struggling with some concepts so that tutorial support and peer support may be provided.
  • Case studiesare used for many classes to illustrate the practical application of subject specific knowledge. They can also be used in assessment with students asked to select and apply knowledge to a given problem, and illustrate the practical aspects of this problem thereby embedding 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. With the increasing amount of information available on the web, the knowledge and skills to select appropriate, scientifically sound material, is vital to equip students for continuing personal, professional and intellectual development throughout their careers. The presentations may take many formats and it is the experience of many academic staff who also teach on the distance programmes delivered by the School that production of posters certainly allows all learning outcomes to be achieved. Technological developments have also resulted in greater use of embedded narration into documents. This is increasingly used as a feedback mechanism and very popular with students. It is envisioned that the production of slideshows with embedded narration by students will further streamline this process.
  • Online tutorialsare used to support students who need help with their studies in specific subject areas. The advantages of the BBLearn environment is that students who may feel intimidated about articulating their problems often are more engaged when encouraged to outline their difficulties in an anonymous system.
  • Group workingis an important element of learning and is used to help students acquire, integrate and apply knowledge from a variety of sources, solve problems, engage with case studies, and prepare for and present seminar work. Group work is facilitated for distance learning students to allow for relevant group interaction via Discussion and Chat tools. It is also relatively easy for academic staff to monitor by reviewing log-in and postings for all group members within BBLearn.
  • Assignments are an essential part of teaching and learning as they encourage students to be independent learners. Assignments take a variety of forms are used to encourage students to read the literature underpinning lectures, integrate and apply knowledge and improve written skills. Assignments can include structured essays, literature reviews, case studies, word-limited reports, data analysis, and presentations.
  • 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. The nature of the project will depend on the working environment and preferences of the student. The majority of students undertaking this programme will be working within the food industry sector and will base their research project in their work-place. In these cases, students will be allocated an academic supervisor in addition to a work-based supervisor. Ulster’s Biomedical Sciences Ethics Filter Committee, or the Ulster University's Research Ethics Committee will ensure the project complies with Research Governance procedures and policy of 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: 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. This course helps students to gain the skills necessary to learn effectively in an online environment. The course introduces students, not only to the various policies and procedures that they are expected to follow, but also the scope and sources of support that they may need as they establish themselves at the University of Ulster. In particular, these include the University Handbook, Student Charter and support charters, academic calendar, link to Library Skills Training page and all the essential tools necessary to access course materials, communicate with classmates and tutors, submit assignments, take tests and check their grades. The Course Director contacts the students at this starting point and provides advice, information and a detailed Programme Handbook.

Assessment Strategies

The diversity of assessment within the programme reflects the course team’s awareness of the kind of knowledge and skills needed at a postgraduate level in the Food Regulatory Affairs areas. Students are provided online access to the module handbooks at the beginning of the module, and these contain comprehensive information regarding module content, learning outcomes, assessment requirements, and criteria and marking schemes. The module handbooks and course handbook are available within the course support area; a central area in BBLearn where all students can access general information and communicate with one another.

All modules will be assessed either exclusively through the submission of coursework (defined as any non-examination/coursework based assessment). 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.

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.

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 and veterinary public health.

Where possible, module coordinators will make every effort to ensure that summative assessment deadlines are spread over the semester. Some aspects of coursework occur across the semester whereas other pieces of coursework will naturally fall towards the end of the module. Students will be given prompt feedback, and the focus in the early parts of the modules will provide formative feedback to help future assessments. Students will be given details of all pieces of assessment at the beginning of the module, and encouraged to manage their schedule of assessments.

Students will be encouraged to engage with and use feedback to feed-forward into future assessments, and to carry feedback into new modules as they move through the MSc programme.

The assessment methods for the PgCert/PgD/MSc Food Regulatory Affairs are in line with the University Assessment Handbook. In addition, students’ progress will be monitored by the module coordinators.

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

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.


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

Year one

Introduction to the European Union and Food Regulatory Affairs

Year: 1

This module provides students with an in depth knowledge of the workings of the EU and the process of negotiation with respect to food regulatory issues which lies at the heart of the food regulatory process.

Risk Analysis

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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.

Farm to Fork Regulation of the Food Chain

Year: 1

This module allows the students to develop a critical understanding of the totality and complexity of the farm to fork concept and how such a concept impinges on food regulatory affairs within the EU and UK food arena.

Year two

Food Regulatory Affairs Research Project

Year: 2

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 or veterinary public health. It is conducted under supervision.

Food and Health

Year: 2

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.

Nutrition and Health Claims in the UK and Europe

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an appreciation of the complexity of Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation 1924/2006). The evolution of claims globally, the process of authorisation and scientific substantiation of claims for the UK and European markets, and contentious issues with regard to legal and regulatory aspects of claims will be explored.

Research Methods and Biostatistics for Food and Nutrition

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module will provide a comprehensive understanding of the research methods for food, nutritional and sports sciences. The design of experimental investigations and the use of specialist statistical methods will be discussed. The module requires the completion of a critical evaluation of published literature and development of a novel research project proposal and problem-based assessments; issues relating to research ethics and governance are also included.

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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants for the PgD/MSc must hold an Honours or non-Honours degree with a pass mark or equivalent standard (e.g. Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate) in a relevant subject area from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard or demonstrate ability to undertake the course through accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).

Applicants for the PgCert must hold an Honours or non-Honours degree with a pass mark of 50% or equivalent standard. Relevant subject degree areas include Human Nutrition, Food Science, and Agriculture/Biological/Biomedical Sciences/Veterinary Medicine. Other degrees (e.g. Law) will also be acceptable provided that the applicant can demonstrate experience in food regulatory affairs.

Applicants are also to 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

Career options

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.

Professional recognition

Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST)

Accredited by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST).


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

Important notice - Tuition fees for this course may vary

Visit Tuition Fees pages for more details on the price of this course.

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Masters), please note that the price displayed is for the complete Masters programme.

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis.

Find out more about postgraduate fees

Scholarships, awards and prizes

A prize for the best MSc student has been provided by the Food Standard Agency Northern Ireland.

Additional mandatory costs

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


  1. 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.
  1. 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.
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“The course exceeded my expectations as it has opened a new view of the regulatory world I have been working in. After finishing the MSc Food regulatory Affairs I feel much more confident in dealing with both European and international food legislation. This qualification helped me to move to a higher position as a Regulatory Affairs Manager with a new company.”

Vanessa Richardson, MSc Food Regulatory Affairs

“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”.

Colm Moran, MSc Food Regulatory Affairs

“I undertook the MSc Food Regulatory Affairs to gain an understanding of the requirements and regulations surrounding the supply of food to the consumer. The course was well structured and a number of the lecturers are quite prolific in the area of food regulation so a lot of the content was current and topical. Although I have a strong background in nutrition the legal and political aspects behind food regulation were challenging to deal with and I learnt a great deal. Initially I undertook the course out of interest rather than to further my career, however it has turned out to be an extremely useful qualification as I now teach food regulation at Monash University, Melbourne.”

Dr Maxine Bonham, MSc Food Regulatory Affairs