Requirements for IFST accreditation of degrees

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The accreditation process judges the applications for Bachelors degrees against the QAA Benchmark Statement for Typical Subject-Specific Knowledge and Understanding in Food Science and Technology and for taught Masters degrees against the “Descriptor for higher education qualifications at level 7: Master’s degrees” in the QAA document “The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland” (August 2008). With respect to Scotland, in the absence of any other formal statement, the QAA Benchmark Statements and descriptors for Masters degrees will be used for reference.

Key requirements

The IFST accreditation process examines evidence for specific key requirements including:

  • Entry requirements. Do students joining the programme/course have sound underpinning knowledge in subjects directly pertinent to the degree programme?

  • Breadth and depth of study.  Does the programme/course provide graduates with a sufficient breadth of topics to enable them to competently evaluate the safety and quality of food and sufficient depth to enable them to identify appropriate strategies for its implementation, maintenance and/or improvement?

  • Development of practical skills. Does the programme/course provide opportunities for the development of a range of current and appropriate practical skills linked, in particular, to food science and food technology?

  • Development of research skills. Does the programme/course contain a significant research project in which the student undertakes detailed study of a topic requiring critical investigation of an issue?

  • Individual study and the development of transferable skills. Does the programme/course progressively develop a student’s ability to work as an individual, as part of a team and effectively use a range of transferable skills?

  • Work-based experience.  Where  the programme/course includes a work-based placement, does this complement the theory and practical elements of the programme/course and the point above?

  • Internal and external quality assurance. Is the programme/course subject to effective review by established procedures at both departmental and institutional level and is it subject to external review whether routinely or at periodic intervals?

  • Infrastructure to support effective teaching and learning. Do the students have access to appropriate physical resources (e.g. laboratories, pilot plant facilities, sensory evaluation units, library and other information facilities, IT facilities)?

Through the submission of written evidence applicants should be able to demonstrate how their degree programme(s)/course(s) meet these key requirements. This are judged through the peer-review accreditation assessment process.  The requirements are subject to periodic review and open to change after the November 2016 submission deadline.

Bachelor’s degrees

In order to be considered food-related BSc degree programmes should contain a minimum of 50% course module contact time in food-related subjects. These should be compulsory modules, if optional modules are not in food-related subjects. Where the options are a choice between two or more food-related modules these clearly can be taken into account. Food-related modules may include topics such as:

  • Primary food production
  • Food composition
  • Food chemistry
  • Food biochemistry
  • Food microbiology
  • Food safety
  • Science of food commodities
  • Food preservation
  • Food biotechnology
  • Human nutrition
  • Sensory evaluation of foods
  • Unit operations
  • Food engineering
  • Food processing
  • Food product development
  • Food quality assurance, standards and legislation
  • Rheology of foods
  • Food packaging
  • Functional foods
  • Food analysis
  • Food economics and marketing
  • Food research project










The above are indicative titles because in individual degree programmes these topics may be assembled differently under different module titles but the same material is covered. The remainder of the overall programme content should normally include underpinning science subjects such as chemistry (including thermodynamics), biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, mathematics, statistical analysis & IT; these would normally be taught in the early part of the overall course. Personal development and transferable skills should also be included in the degree programme/course.

Taught Masters’ degrees

Many taught Masters degrees are conversion courses and entry requirements for these courses would normally be an Honours degree in a science or engineering degree related to the underpinning sciences for a food-related degree. In some cases a taught Masters course may be a significant extension beyond the material included in an Honours food-related degree; in these cases entry may also include an Honours degree in a food-related subject. In the event of doubt universities should contact IFST in advance of submitting an application to clarify the position relating to their specific degree(s).

A taught Masters programme/course typically comprises 2 semesters of taught modules plus a research project. At least 80% of the taught course content should be in food-related topics such as those outlined above.

Approved by Education & Careers Committee 10.2.15.  Subject to review and open to change from 02.11.16.

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