The Global Food Security (Food Safety) programme is delivered by leading research active staff within the Internationally recognised Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) based at Queen’s University Belfast.

This is a unique postgraduate level course and awards are available at Certificate, Diploma or Master’s Level.

The programme offers a flexible study pathway to those working in the agri-food industry who wish to develop their skills and knowledge to a postgraduate level.

The course includes the following modules:
• Food Safety and Health
• Food Integrity, Fraud and Traceability
• Advanced Analytical Tools for Food Safety
• Global Food Standards and Legislation
• Dissertation

Modern online technology and dynamic advanced audio and video tools will be employed to achieve a stimulating interactive teaching and learning experience across all topics.This programme offers learners the opportunity to study this exciting and rapidly changing area, taught by world experts within the field, at their
own pace (60 CATS per year) and within their chosen environment.

Global Food Security (Food Safety) highlights

“Food safety and food security is now one of the most important topics in science across the world.” Professor Chris Elliott

Internationally Renowned Experts

  • The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast plays a major role in delivering safe, sustainable and authentic food to the world’s population, and has become globally recognised for it’s excellence in research and was ranked number one for research intensity in the UK for agriculture veterinary and food science (Times Higher Education Research Intensity Ranking/REF, 2014).

Student Experience

  • The distance-learning format is particularly suitable if you are in full or part-time employment as you can organise your studies around your work and family commitments. Furthermore, the flexible format permits study breaks between academic years if required. In addition, employers support our distance learning format as staff do not require regular leave to attend on-campus. Students download their study materials, participate in course discussions, test their learning, watch video presentations and participate in webinars delivered by food security experts via the University’s Online distance learning delivery platform.

Course content

Course Structure

Course Details
Students can study the Masters part-time over a period of 3 years, the Postgraduate Diploma part-time over a period of 2 years and the Postgraduate Certificate part-time over a period of 1 year.

Students have the option to enroll initially for a 1 year Postgraduate Certificate and upon successful completion advance to the Postgraduate Diploma and /or Masters programme.

Students can start the course in either September or February of each academic year.


Each module is available online for a specified 20 week period each academic year.

Online material will be released over a 15 week content delivery period with a further 5 weeks for completion and submission of the final assessment element.

Module content will be opened up on a block-by-block basis every 3 weeks and students will work at their own pace through content completing continuous assessment tasks to agreed schedules.

Start dates for next DL modules are:
- Food safety and health: Monday 24 September 2018
- Food integrity, fraud and traceability: Monday 4th March 2019
- Advanced Analytical Tools for Food Security: Monday 23 September 2019
- Global food standards and legislation: Monday 2 March 2020
Year 1

The Food Safety and Health module provides a solid background in various aspects of food safety evidencing links to health and disease.Key thematic topics will include: Food safety and health and the consumer; Natural toxins; Environmental chemical contaminants; Man-made chemical contaminants; Microbiological risks.

The module will explore various chemical and microbiological risks associated with animal feed and human food safety, and examine reported links to health defects/ disease progression. The entry route of hazards and contaminants into the agri-food supply chain and the potential health impacts associated with the consumption of contaminated foods will be described. Examination of the acute and chronic effects of exposure to natural (e.g. mycotoxins), environmental (e.g. metals) and man-made toxins (e.g. dioxins) and contaminants (e.g. drug residues) which can occur, persist or bioaccumulate in the food chain will be presented.

Microbiological (e.g. food-borne diseases) and related issues (e.g. antimicrobial resistance) will be examined and the impact on future food security discussed.

Perceptions of what the concept of food safety refers to will be assessed and the impact that this has on consumer behaviour and food risk control measures will also be processed.


In this module, examples of highly varied, internationally relevant and difficult to detect incidences of food fraud and compromised food traceability will be examined.

The range and types of food fraud will be discussed and the means of detecting such incidences to ensure that food is safe, wholesome and authentic demonstrated. Regulatory requirements and associated challenges to the maintenance of food quality/safety will be elucidated highlighting the need for sensitive analytical techniques which can assist in such tasks.

The economic consequences of food product recalls due to food contamination incidents will be assessed highlighting the need for traceability across the whole food supply chain, together with an exploration of consumer willingness to pay for improvements to aspects of food safety and traceability.
Year 2

This module examines the principles behind current and emerging monitoring technologies for rapid and early detection of feed/food contamination incidents and disease.
Overviews of applications of various screening and confirmatory test platforms for food security analysis will be delivered. These will include bioanalytical and immunoassay methods incorporating biosensor-based (micro- and nano-technology) techniques, and UPLC and mass spectrometry (QqQ and ICP MS) approaches.

The Global Food Standards and Legislation module will introduce international food standard setting, with a focus on the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards processes and will describe its impacts on international
trade and World Trade Organisation agreements related to food.

Trends of modernisation of food safety legislation internationally, such as the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act in the United States and the changes in China’s food safety regulatory system will also be explored.
Year 3

This module involves a written dissertation carried out around a hypothesis, case study, critical incident or other significant activity relevant to the programme.

For the dissertation candidates will prepare a project proposal for approval before registering on the module and then develop a full project proposal on which they will be interviewed. Following this they will carry out the project work, keeping a diary and submitting interim reports on progress at weeks 10 and 20 with the complete thesis submitted by an agreed deadline.

Submission of the introduction to the dissertation will take place by week 30 with the completed thesis submitted by an agreed deadline.

During the Dissertation Module students will have regular meetings/ contact with assigned Queen’s academic supervisors and tutors, and additional online teaching delivery will relate to project management skills, plagiarism, researching and report writing techniques.

People teaching you

Dr Cuong Cao
School of Biological Sciences

Dr Irene Grant
School of Biological Sciences

Dr Katrina Campbell
School of Biological Sciences

Dr Mark Mooney
Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences
Email: mark.mooney@qub.ac.uk

Dr Paul William
School of Biological Sciences

Dr Susanne Boyd
School of Biological Sciences

Professor Andy Meharg
School of Biological Sciences

Professor Moira Dean
School of Biological Sciences

Professor Seamus Fanning
School of Biological Sciences

Career Prospects

This flexible online programme has been designed specifically for anyone who wants to know more about this subject of increasing global importance, and who is seeking new opportunities or career advancement and progression in food safety related organisations and the wider agri-food industry sector including:

• Food production
• Agri-Food focused companies
• Processing and Retail Sectors
• Regulatory and governmental control agencies
• Research organisations
• Further PhD level study

Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.

The programme is only taught part time with students undertaking 1 module per semester.

Modern online technology and dynamic advanced audio and video tools will be employed to achieve a stimulating teaching and learning experience.

Read more




Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

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A variety of written coursework, case study and online assessment is used. These will include multiple choice questions, essays, reports, short exercises, case studies, activity logs and presentations. There will be no formal

Coursework and online assessments are completed according to a timetable provided at the beginning of each module.

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above in a relevant area of science or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) will be considered on a case by case basis, if they can demonstrate appropriate experience, acceptable to the School.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit http://go.qub.ac.uk/RPLpolicy for more information.


For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements


International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 10440
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 10440
Other (non-UK) EU 10440
International 10440

MSc (T) Global Food Security (Food Safety) 

All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2018-19 and relate to one year of study only. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs. If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Global Food Security (Food Safety) costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme. However as the course is distance learning students are recommended to have access to the following: PC or laptop (of reasonable specification with webcam or camera), up to date browser (with standard plugins), headphones/speakers, microphone, PDF reader and word processing application.

COMMONWEALTH DISTANCE LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships are for candidates from least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries, for part-time Masters study by distance learning on selected courses offered by UK Universities. Queen’s University Belfast has five Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships to support scholars commencing the MSc Global Food Security (Food Safety) in September 2018. For more information visit: go.qub.ac.uk/commonwealthdl

How do I fund my study?

From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2018 Entry.

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Medical Biology Centre
97 Lisburn Road

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