Subject pathways within the Natural Sciences degree (2024/25)

Food Science and Nutrition

A food science masters degree student at the University of Leeds

Food science and nutrition is a multidisciplinary subject area that applies the pure science subjects of chemistry, biology, physics and nutrition to the study of the nature, sustainability, properties and composition of foods as well as focusing on understanding the role of foods, nutrients and the overall “diet” in maintaining health and wellbeing and preventing diseases.  

In year 1, you’ll develop a grounding in the foundational concepts and laboratory techniques used in the fields of food science and nutrition. You'll study the basics of human nutrition which will allow you to gain insight into the role of food as a carrier of essential nutrients with specific roles in the body and appreciate how food and its constituent components affect health. You’ll also study food preservation and food safety, covering topics such as food microbiology as well as key processes used to ensure safe food production. Topics studied within the modules of your first year will set the foundation for your studies if you continue with food science and nutrition in subsequent years.     

If you continue to study food science and nutrition in year 2, you'll continue to develop key skills within the field which will include laboratory techniques and/or the use of specialist software. You'll also have the option to deepen your knowledge of food science and/or nutrition. Typical topics that you could explore include: 

  • the biochemical and physicochemical aspects related to food and nutrition  
  • food composition and how food components affect the chemical and microbiological safety of food 
  • the concepts and methodologies related to molecular nutrition and nutritional biochemistry 
  • the scientific basis of nutritional recommendations and the impact of nutrition on health, for different population groups at different life stages, e.g., pregnancy, childhood and older age  

In year 3, you'll be able to explore more specific and specialised areas in food science and/or nutrition, with a range of options to allow you to develop your interests. Key areas you may wish to explore include how nutrition/diet can be applied in the treatment and prevention of some diseases, or you could focus on working alongside your peers on an interdisciplinary food product development project, where you get the opportunity to develop and market a new, healthy food range and present your ideas in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to industry and nutritional experts.  

If you decide to study the four-year integrated Masters, year 4 gives you the opportunity to take specialist courses from a range of options based on key areas of research within the School of Food Science and Nutrition. The range of topics will build on those you have chosen to study in year 3 and will be taught by leading experts, providing you with opportunities to learn about the most recent developments at the frontiers of food science and nutrition. For example, you may choose to take the module studying epidemiology, which is aligned with our nutritional epidemiology research theme or the module focused on food colloids, which is aligned with our food colloids and soft matter at interfaces research theme, amongst others.