Instrumental Analytical Science - Food Analysis, Authenticity & Safety MSc

1. Overview

The food and drink industry is the EU's biggest manufacturing sector in terms of jobs and value added.

There is a need for a skilled workforce capable of

  • analysing food and drink products to provide information on their nutritional content
  • ascertaining if they contain any compounds that are dangerous to the consumer
  • assessing the authenticity of products, for example; meat pastes, honey and distilled drinks.

The involvement of industry in the design of the course and an industry-based project (limited number and subject to availability), maximise employment prospects. Students on the MSc Instrumental Analytical Sciences Food Analysis, Authenticity and Safety course will benefit from hands-on use of modern analytical equipment, study visits, guest lecturers and workshops. Research activities within the University underpin the coursework.

2. What you will study

Semester 1

You will be introduced to four academic themes:- Professional Skills, including Quality Assurance and Chemometrics; Spectroscopy; Separation, Electroanalysis and Microscopy; and Laboratory work. The knowledge will be enhanced through your practical sessions which will support and complement the theory taught.

Semester 2

You will build upon the theory taught and the practical skills developed in semester 1 and apply these to a food and/ or drink related problem. You will work as a member of a group to carry out chemical analysis and report your findings via a PowerPoint presentation. The theory of food analysis, authenticity and safety will be taught and this knowledge will be enhanced through case studies and guest lectures from individuals in the industry.  In addition you will begin preparation for your project work in semester 3 by taking the responsibility to plan and risk assess the work to be carried out.

Semester 3

The final semester is devoted entirely to the MSc project work. By consolidating your knowledge and skills you will engage effectively in a research project for which you will quickly assume responsibility and grow in confidence.

Our close links with employers and external bodies ensure that you will graduate with the knowledge and skills required of a modern instrumental analyst.

Examples of MSc Projects:

  • Authenticity of Heather Honey 
  • Counterfeit profiling of Whisky and Brandy 
  • Analysis and bioactivity of micronutrients from rapeseed oil and it’s by-products 
  • Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) Toxins in Shellfish from the North Sea
  • Melamine in milk and milk powder 
  • Antioxidants in Grape Pomace

The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our Course Disclaimer for more information.

3. How you will learn

Much of the course is taught in a practical environment, including lab experiments, group lab projects and individual MSc project work.

In additional there will be conventional lectures, tutorials and computer-based exercises. Guest lectures, case work and some site visits are included.

There is the opportunity to complete the MSc project work externally and in some cases abroad.

Achievement of this course will allow you to apply your skills to everyday analytical challenges in the Food and Drink sector. The course is designed to stimulate your problem solving ability and develop skills in many types of analytical instrumentation. Much emphasis is placed on hands-on practical experience and the course is designed in motivating you to become a competent professional instrumental analyst. You will also develop an awareness of continuing education in what is, a rapidly developing industry.

A key part of the course is the Masters project in which you will develop your independent analytical skills and apply them to a research area of your choice. There is the opportunity to work on samples from external industries, work within an external industry or complete your project work abroad.


You will benefit greatly from our purpose-built analytical labs. The facilities include, but are not limited to:- liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry, gas chromatography – mass spectrometry, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy,  spectrofluorescence, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, capillary electrophoresis, high performance chromatography, ion selective electrodes, ion-chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, Karl-Fisher titration and inductively coupled plasma - atomic emission spectroscopy and an extensive array of extraction equipment. You will have hands-on experience on most of these.

4. Entry Requirements

This course is ideal for students who possess an Hons degree in a science subject. Chemical sciences subjects at second year undergraduate university level are highly desirable. Other qualifications and experience will be considered with entry being subject to the University's judgement that the person has reasonable expectation of being able to fulfil the requirements of the award.

English Language

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

* All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. A small number of courses require higher levels, but this will be stated explicitly on your offer letter.

5. Student Funding

Fully funded places

RGU is pleased to announce the SFC offers a limited number of fully funded full-time MSc places for Scottish/EU applicants, for courses starting September 2017.Find out more.

Postgraduate Living Cost Loan

Eligible (Scottish domiciled)  full-time postgraduate on an eligible course can apply to SAAS for a living cost loan up to £4,500.

To be eligible for the living cost loan, in addition to meeting the eligibility conditions above, students must:

  • be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course (normally 1 August). If you change course and are aged 60 or over on the relevant date of your second course, you will not be entitled to a student loan for your second course.
  • The living cost loan is not available to part-time postgraduate students or EU students.

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

Eligible (Scottish domiciled and EU) students can now apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan (PTFL). Full-time students can apply for a PTFL up to £5,500.

The funding available is a loan to help you pay all or some of your tuition fees up to a maximum of £5,500 for full-time courses.

Part-time students can apply for up to a maximum of £5,500 to cover your entire course. The tuition fee loan is only available to part-time students who are undertaking at least 50% of a full-time course, and therefore, complete their qualification in 2 years.

Students can apply now by downloading an application form from the SAAS web site.

Financial Information for Postgraduate Students

6. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2018/2019

Scottish/EU Students


  • £5,500 entire course


  • £2,750 for year 1
  • £2,750 for year 2
  • No fee for year 3

Rest of UK Students


  • £6,750 entire course


  • £2,750 for year 1
  • £2,750 for year 2
  • £1,250 for year 3

International Students


  • £14,520 entire course


  • £5,450 for year 1
  • £5,450 for year 2
  • £3,620 for year 3


Course fees are reviewed periodically and so are subject to change for new applicants. All tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in your offer letter. You will also be liable to pay a graduation fee of £40 before receiving a University award.

For further information see Student Finance pages


7. How to apply

All students can apply online by visiting Apply Online at

If you have any queries, please contact our Admissions Office: 

If you are an International Student and would like further information and application advice:

For course specific information contact the programme leader Dr Ann Tough,

Terms and Conditions of Admissions

The Terms and Conditions of Admission describe to applicants holding an offer of a place to study at RGU, the principal rights, duties and obligations of both the applicant and the University prior to enrolling on a course of study.

Terms and Conditions of Admissions (PDF 142KB)

8. Prospects

Industrial demand for graduates from the course is consistently high. The MSc project allows you to make invaluable links with our industrial partners. You may also want to consider a research post or other training opportunities in universities.

An instrumental analyst makes a vital and unique contribution to food safety and authenticity. Providing information to the sector upon which public health relies. In addition counterfeit products can be detected through pertinent chemical analysis and thus contribute to quality assurance.

Previous posts taken up by graduates include: analytical chemist; bioanalyst; development chemist; production chemist; environmental officer; research scientist; scientific officer; applications chemist; and food product analyst.

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Start Date

September 2017

Course Length

Full-time 1 year / Part-time 2 years

Mode of Attendance

Full-time / Part-time

Academic School
School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences
More Information:
Postgraduate Admissions +44 (0) 1224 262209