PgDip | Postgraduate Taught

Global Food Security (Food Safety)

Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 Honours Degree
2 years (Part Time)
Places available
TBC (Part Time)
  • Overview

    The Global Food Security (Food Safety) programme is an online distance learning course 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 part-time programme with awards available at Diploma and Master’s level.

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

    Global Food Security (Food Safety) highlights

    World Class Facilities

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

    Professor Chris Elliott

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure


    Course DeliveryEach 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.

    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.

    Estimated student time required to complete each module is between 15–20 hours
    per week.
    IntroductionStudents can study the Masters part-time over a period of 3 years, and the Postgraduate Diploma part-time over a period of 2 years.
    30 CATS

    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 bio accumulate 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.

    30 CATS

    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.
    30 CATS

    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.

    30 CATS

    The Global Food Standards and Legislation module will introduce international food standard setting, with a focus on the Codex Aliment Arius 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.

    People teaching you

    Dr Anne Nugent

    School of Biological Sciences

    Dr Cuong Cao

    School of Biological Sciences

    Dr Mark Mooney
    Senior Lecturer

    Global Food Security

    Dr Paul Williams

    School of Biological Sciences

    Professor Andy Meharg

    School of Biological Sciences

    Professor Irene Grant

    School of Biological Sciences

    Professor Katrina Campbell

    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.



    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 for more information.

    International Students

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

    English Language Requirements

    Students wishing to apply to distance learning programmes offered by 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. This evidence may include an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University (*taken within the last 2 years). Alternatively, applicants who have previously studied a degree through the medium of English can use this as evidence of English language proficiency. Applicants who have not provided appropriate evidence of their English proficiency in their online application may be requested to provide additional supporting information and/or undertake a formal English language assessment (oral and written) conducted by the School. This assessment will seek to determine if the applicant has sufficient proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from a distance learning course of study.

    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:

    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) 1 £3,630
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £3,630
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £3,630
    EU Other 3 £3,630
    International £3,630

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

    2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    For further information please refer to

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. 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.

    Queen’s University Belfast has five Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships to support scholars commencing the MSc Global Food Security (Food Safety) in September 2020.

    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.

    For further details about the course content and entry requirements please refer to:

    For further details regarding the Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships including eligibility criteria, application and selection process please refer to:

    How do I fund my study?

    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 £10,609 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

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal 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.

    Download a prospectus