University of Chester

Programme Specification
Advances in Food and Beverage Packaging PGCert
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Certificate

Advances in Food and Beverage Packaging

Advances in Food and Beverage Packaging

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester; Parkgate Road campus

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Biannual - Variable



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

QAA Subject Benchmark Statements are derived from:

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences (July 2016)

There are no relevant subject benchmark statements for Masters degrees in food subjects currently available, however the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement : Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences (July 2016) for bachelor’s degrees with honours, has been referred to as the most appropriate.


The Institute of Food Science & Innovation

Wednesday 15th June 2016

The proposed programme will aim to inform and equip students with the necessary skills to function in modern food sector and associated packaging industries.

This proposal intends to address specific needs of the food sector industries in regard to packaging technologies. The relevant industries are experiencing significant knowledge loss due to an ageing workforce and increasing personnel retirements. Although automation within the sector has been significant in recent decades, there remains a lack of knowledgeable personnel with specific packaging knowledge or technical expertise. In addition, there is a growing demand for skills and knowledge that are required to develop entrepreneurial skills to enable individual start-up of new food & drink businesses. It is worth noting that packaging is worth 2% GDP in developed nations.

The content of the modules has been selected to address key issues relating to packaging in food science and technology. These are areas that are not only within the Innovate UK and BBSRC remit, but also considered a priority within the European Union Horizon 2020 programme relating to up-skilling of staff working within the Food & Drink Sector Industries. A further objective of this programme is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills that will enable them as managers and leaders to make more informed, higher level decisions that will enhance competitiveness, innovation and new market opportunities, whilst responding to global challenges and consumer needs. The programme delivery method, modular contents and assessment procedures, combined with the various learning support tools have been selected to facilitate entry or return to higher level study. Collectively these will help support and stimulate a desire for new knowledge and further upskilling for the benefit of the UK food and drink sector industries and packaging industries.

The new knowledge and skills provided to participants will enable them to identify relevant innovation, opportunities for the implementation of new technologies and assist them in the identification of new market opportunities. Consequently, this will enable more informed and strategic decisions in the workplace that will prove beneficial to them and their employers. In particular, study of the proposed modules will provide an improved awareness and understanding of the key concepts and related issues in advanced areas of food science, technology and packaging; especially those with potential for significant impact on the operation and performance of the food supply chain.

The assessment procedures used will encourage the application of new knowledge and skills that will be of benefit to future employers. The use of reports, posters and presentations will further develop scientific presentation skills; a development need frequently identified by our industrial partners. The Post Graduate Certificate programme will enhance the scientific leadership and management performance of the participants, which in turn will help ensure greater industry responsiveness to global challenges and consumer needs.

Accreditation of the programme by the Institute of Food Science & Technology will be sought in 2018. This will provide greater credibility and will assist future marketing and recruitment, particularly from industry.

Specific aims include:

  • To understand the principles of food science and packaging technology and new developments
  • To gain experience of new developments in the food industry
  • To develop an in-depth understanding of current issues in the food sector industries related to packaging

To focus on an integrated approach to new technological developments in packaging relevant to the food sector industries.

Degree programmes in Food Science and related disciplines (Packaging) are designed to develop the knowledge and skills required by those who are involved in food supply, manufacture and sale and associated regulatory and advisory work. Graduates with degrees in Food Science and related disciplines will have an understanding of the characteristics and composition of major food materials; nutritional quality, physical properties and eating qualities of food; and the impact of food storage and processing. All of these properties are related to packaging technology, in particular, they will be able to identify and respond to technological and economic challenges encountered in food chains; evaluate developing technologies and where appropriate, apply them to commercial practice; understand the appropriate legislation, identify and evaluate public concerns on food safety; evaluate the wider consequences of food chain activities and minimise any harmful effects on the environment or on populations that may relate to packaging.

Graduates will possess an appreciation and in depth knowledge of the interacting nature of a range of elements within the broad definition of Food Science and packaging technology. Typically, students will develop an ability to synthesise concepts and ideas across disciplines and to take an holistic view of the overarching concepts within the discipline.

  • The development of integrated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To develop a quantitative and qualitative approach to information. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To have consideration of continuing change and development of the subject area. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To gain subject-specific and key skills, problem-solving and a professional approach to study and lifelong learning.(FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)

Graduates will have the following abilities and skills:

  • To be able to demonstrate a wide-range of subject specific facts and principles in combination with an awareness of the current limits of theory and applied knowledge. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To understand the provisional nature of information and allow for competing and alternative explanations within their subject. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To recognise and use appropriate theories, concepts and principles from a range of disciplines relevant to Food Science and Packaging Technology. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To collect and integrate several lines of evidence to develop balanced arguments. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To apply knowledge and understanding to address multidisciplinary problems related to packaging technology. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To exhibit ownership of the defining elements of the discipline as a result of in-depth study or research. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To be able to tackle problems by collecting, analysing and evaluating appropriate qualitative and quantitative information. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To understand the provisional nature of the facts and current limits of information and principles associated with the field of study. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To develop decision making skills in complex and unpredictable contexts. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To be able to plan and execute research or development work, evaluate the outcomes and draw valid conclusions. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To display transferable skills and ability to acquire new competencies required for career progression. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)

Programme delivery will be supplemented by visiting lecturers drawn from the packaging, food and drink sector industries to ensure industrial relevance. Participants will apply their learning to the workplace environment during the programme period as part of their routine activities. This will be encouraged by the use of module assessments that require participants to undertake an evaluative study of knowledge implementation in the workplace. Examples would include recommendations to improve existing processes, identifying opportunities for change, improve or alter practices, improve sustainability of operations, increase responsiveness to a changing marketplace, greater competitiveness, improved awareness of international markets and drivers. The assessed work will consist of activities such as reports and presentations in which the scope to implement new procedures, as well as an evaluation of the success of these actions, will be examined. The use of industry recognised management procedures such as SWOT analysis and risk-benefit analysis will be encouraged to maximise relevance and applicability to the workplace.

Graduates will develop the following practical and professional skills:

  • To be able to plan, conduct and report on investigations, including the use of secondary data. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To collect and record diverse types of information generated by a wide range of methodologies and be able to summarise using appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To plan their own work effectively and set realistic targets. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To organise teamwork and participate effectively in a team situation. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To reflect on and evaluate own performance as an individual or as part of a team. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To appreciate the need for professional codes of conduct where applicable. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To identify and work towards targets for personal, academic and career development. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To develop and adaptable and flexible approach to study and work. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To develop skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, including working independently and to develop time management and organisational skills. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To demonstrate the competence, behaviour and attitude required in a professional working life, including use of initiative, leadership and team skills. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)

Graduates will develop the following communication skills:

  • To be able to receive, evaluate and respond accordingly to a variety of information sources, including; electronic; textual; numerical; verbal and graphical. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To be able to communicate accurately, clearly, concisely, confidently and appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To be able to contribute constructively to group discussions. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To consider, appreciate and evaluate the views of others. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To use the internet critically as a means of communication and as a source of information. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To demonstrate competence in the use of computer-based information handling and data processing tools. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)
  • To be able to use computer software to communicate information to a range of audiences effectively. (FS7010; FS7011; FS7012)

The Institute of Food Science & Innovation will use well-established systems and procedures for giving academic guidance and feedback to students, in line with University of Chester's guidelines. These will include:

  • Experienced Institute staff, who can offer advice and guidance on general matters of programme structure and Institute organisation;
  • The Programme Leader, who is responsible for the overall operation of the programme;
  • The Personal Academic Tutor  (PAT), who can provide personal and academic guidance throughout the period of study;
  • The Module leaders and Tutors of each module undertaken, who are able to provide guidance and feedback relating specifically to individual modules.

Each module comprises 200 hours of total student study time, typically comprising:

  • 28-48 hours intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions;
  • 10 hours of tutorial support; (this may be by Skype or email contact);
  • 142-162 hours of directed self-study

Credit is awarded for the achievement of the learning outcomes of the modules.  Modules are closely linked to the research expertise of the staff concerned with delivering them. There is a commitment to the development of transferable skills within the curriculum and personal profiling as an aid to personal development. The learning outcomes are carefully graded to ensure progression and in keeping with national frameworks. Employability and subject key skills are incorporated across the programme and also delivered in a progressive fashion in keeping with national expectations of graduate capabilities. The QAA Subject Benchmark Statements for Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food, nutrition and consumer sciences (2016) have been used to guide the content of the modules and mapping has been done to ensure adequate coverage of threshold statements.

The Institute of Food Science & Innovation will use well-established processes for consultation on programme quality and content that will in-part be informed by extensive industry consultation to ensure that new developments are incorporated into learning and teaching strategies. The Programme content will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure currency and relevance to both students and industry employers.

Student module evaluation forms are completed and analysed at the conclusion of each module. This process provides an opportunity for students to evaluate their own approach to studying and learning. In addition, each Module Tutor is required to complete a tutor module evaluation form. At the end of the academic year, the Programme Leader is responsible for completing the Annual Programme Monitoring Report (AMR) form, which contributes to the Institute's Annual Report.

The monitoring is supplemented by regular Programme Cohort meetings which function as Staff/Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) for Part-time students. These meetings with staff take place at least once every academic year to discuss course delivery, resource issues and other items identified by students. In addition, all students can raise issues regarding individual Modules and/or the general programme with the Programme Leader at any time through their course of study. Minutes of all SSLCs will be considered at Programme Team meetings and displayed via the VLE.

Each student will be provided with a Programme Handbook on registration, which is also available on the VLE. This fully explains the organisation of the programme and describes the provision for academic guidance as detailed above.

The programme Management Team will meet at least annually to discuss issues raised either by staff or students through Staff/Student Liaison meetings. Between them the staff have considerable teaching/research/consultancy and external examiner experience. A formal staff course evaluation day, will be held once each year to review progress and discuss issues, such as teaching, learning and assessment issues and to further long term development strategies.

The Programme Planning Team are responsible for:

  • The academic rigour and balance of the programme;
  • Monitoring student progress and ensuring the effective operation of student support mechanisms;
  • Reflecting on student feedback from staff-student liaison committee meetings and module questionnaires;
  • Arrangement of appropriate internal moderation and feedback mechanisms for marking of coursework and examinations;
  • Ensuring that the programme is conducted in accordance with University and QAA academic regulations and requirements;
  • Promotion and marketing of the programme;
  • Programme enrichment and modification through proposing and development of new modules.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
FS7010 7 Principles of Packaging for Food & Beverages 20 Comp
FS7011 7 Packaging and the Consumer 20 Comp
FS7012 7 Future Developments in Packaging 20 Comp

Credit is awarded for the achievement of the learning outcomes of the modules. Modules are closely linked to the research expertise of the staff concerned with delivering them. There is a commitment to the development of transferable skills within the curriculum and personal profiling as an aid to personal development. The learning outcomes at each module are carefully graded to ensure progression and in keeping with national frameworks. Employability and subject key skills are incorporated across the programme and also delivered in a progressive fashion in keeping with national expectations of graduate capabilities.

Credit accumulation:

Students graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate on completion of 3 modules at Level 7 having obtained 60 credits.



  • Students will normally have a first degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Students will be from a range of academic and professional food science and / or Packaging backgrounds

Please note: A first degree in Packaging does not exist in the UK. Most packaging professionals have moved from roles within businesses to packaging departments.

Most of the expected applicants will have significant industrial experience and will be from packaging departments within their respective industries.

Applicants whose first language is not English must have an appropriate level of English proficiency certification. This should include the name and result of any English language test taken, as well as copies of the appropriate certificates.

UKVI Approved SELT Tests



6.5 (Min 5.5 in each sub-skill)

Trinity College London ISE

ISEII - Pass in all 4 components

*IELTS tests must have been taken at a UKVI approved test centre for exams taken on or after 6th April 2016.  

Country Specific 

We may also accept other country specific English Language proficiency examinations (e.g. WAEC or Indian Standard XII). 

QAA Subject Benchmark Statements are derived from:

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences (July 2016)

Food Science and Technology is the understanding and application of a range of sciences to satisfy the needs of society for sustainable food security, quality and safety. Degree programmes in food science and technology are designed to develop the knowledge and skills required by those who are involved in food supply, manufacture and sale and associated regulatory and advisory work. Graduates with degrees in food science and technology will have an understanding of the characteristics and composition of major food materials; the microbiology, nutritional quality, chemistry, physical properties and eating qualities of food; and the impact of food storage and processing. In particular, they will be able to identify and respond to technological and economic challenges encountered in food chains; evaluate developing technologies and where appropriate, apply them to commercial practice; understand the appropriate legislation; identify and evaluate public concerns on food safety; evaluate the wider consequences of food chain activities; and minimise any harmful effects on the environment and on people.

Members of the Institute of Food Science & Innovation have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Institute has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development. Consequently, students encounter a broad range of teaching and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter.

Methods of teaching and learning are indicated clearly in each module descriptor and the list that follows describes the variety of approaches used by tutors. 

Lectures: These feature in all modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. Additionally, they are supplemented by a variety of other methods of teaching and learning as described below. 

Seminars: These are used most often in modules at Level 7 in which group sizes are relatively small and students tend to be more confident. Selected topics of the module content are chosen to provide the opportunity for more in-depth study and dissemination of ideas.  Amongst other key skills, students are able to practice oral communication skills in a relatively informal context.  When students have specific queries that have not been addressed during formal teaching sessions, they can contact module tutors directly. In practice, these discussions tend to focus on assessment issues, including feedback on formative essays, the initial drafts of assignments and performance in examinations. A system is in operation whereby students can make appointments to consult tutors. 

Intranet-based support materials The University has an intranet (Moodle) available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library, e-mail and all modular support materials. Online journals and social media are also used to enhance learning.

Directed reading As reading is central to the process of knowledge acquisition in higher education, module tutors provide reading lists to guide their students to appropriate material. Increasingly, these lists include references to the Internet and electronic sources, as well as more traditional book and journal references.  

Induction Prior to the start of the programme, all students have an Induction Programme which introduces them to the University and the Institute. There are group sessions on, for example, learning to learn, plagiarism, preparing for assignments and using the University VLE (Moodle). The Learning Support Service is also introduced.

The University's level related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme. Regular and structured formative assessment is a feature of the programme ensuring that students have regular and informed feedback on their learning.

Course Work:

It is the Institute’s policy to use a variety of assessment processes so that our students can demonstrate their abilities in a variety of assessment modes.

We feel that in preparing course work, which can include essays and presentations, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes.

The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing has repeatedly identified the need for greater training and provision of food technologists and packaging expertise to counteract the effect of skills loss due to an ageing workforce and lack of higher level skills. 

Through previous and current projects, we have developed extensive links with regional and national food supply chain industries that encompass produces, processors, retailers and analytical equipment manufacturers. Their needs range from up-skilling to knowledge transfer and provision of accessible training schemes that allow flexible study and minimise impact on workplace function. Additional market research activities have included consultation with:

  • Regional business development organisations (Mersey Dee Alliance).
  • Food and drink sector industry primes (AB World Foods, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Coco-Cola, Marks and Spencer, Muller Dairies, Malvern Instruments, Perkin Elmer, Stable Microsystems) and regional SMEs
  • Membership organisations (Institute of Food Science & Technology)

An integrated programme addressing these specific topics, in particular key areas of national significance such as the application of nanotechnology to the food and drink sector and packaging technology, is not currently available. The proposed programme will address this market failure and increase knowledge and understanding of key areas with applied sector specific benefits. The workforce upskilling will equip businesses with the scientific understanding necessary to encourage innovation and provide beneficiaries with greater market penetration and enhanced range of product development. This will lead to increased competitiveness and economic growth, creation and preservation of employment.

This programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue careers in the area of food science & technology, either in industry or within the packaging industry. In addition, the transferable skills embedded throughout the programme will benefit graduates considering a change of career and equip them to enter other areas of employment (e.g. management, new product development or as  packaging technologists).

The programme has been developed with significant input from the Institute of Food Science & Innovation extensive industry contact database. A Steering Group was formed from industrial experts who have significantly given input to this programme.

Employer liaison meetings will be held every 12 months with the Programme Planning Team to review new developments in the industry. These meetings will act as a platform to review content of the programme, ensuring that new industry developments are incorporated into teaching and learning. The programme will therefore remain current and relevant to both students and industry employers.

The programme is therefore clearly linked to the University's learning and teaching strategy to increase employer engagement and involvement with curriculum development. This is fully in-line with University corporate objectives to increase employer-driven provision. 

Graduates of this PG Certificate programme should be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues systematically and creatively and communicate findings to specialists and other professional groups;
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in problem-solving across a variety of areas;
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level and possess the necessary qualities and transferable skills at an advanced professional level  

Graduate study involves the development of reflective practice, such that the student can modify personal professional activity, critically evaluate scientific information sources and methodologies and possess the ability to perform such activities autonomously. 

The programmes of study in the Institute of Food Science & Innovation fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking enhances equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

The Institute of Food Science & Innovation academic staff have expertise in developing programmes and workshops with appropriate application to Food Science & Technology and for which the expertise of visiting lecturers and experts from Industry can be added to ensure fitness for purpose. The Institute of Food Science & Innovation long-standing commitment to work in accordance with the ethics and values of professional and learned bodies places it firmly within the Institutional mission.  Across all of its programmes, the Institute of Food Science & Innovation is concerned with the development of innovative approaches to teaching and learning, research and scholarly activity.  Students on postgraduate programmes are supported in their learning by means of a well-established induction and development programme that introduces a wide range of study skills and key skills, thereby contributing towards the University’s commitment to widening access to HE programmes.

In accordance with University of Chester quality control procedures for new programme development, industrial input is a required component of the Steering and Validation process. Industrial input and review of the content must be demonstrated as this is important to ensure relevance and graduate employability. The following food and drink sector industries or related organisations have been consulted as part of the development process and have formed the Steering Group for development:

  • AB World Foods
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Dairy Crest
  • Waitrose
  • 2 Sisters Food Group
  • Mondelez International
  • Nestle
  • Warburton’s Bakery
  • Morrison’s
  • Asda
  • Coca Cola UK
  • PepsiCo
  • Muller Dairies
  • Perkin Elmer Corporation
  • Malvern Instruments
  • Women in Packaging
  • GBP Consulting
  • New Food Innovation Ltd

It is expected that many of these organisations will provide students for participation in these programmes. Specialist delivery of the programme content through provision of visiting lecturers and demonstrators has been offered by several of the organisations and these include Malvern Instruments, Perkin Elmer Corporation and Stable Microsystems. Offers have been received to co-promote the programme through the web sites of the industrial partners, in trade magazines and at workshops and conferences. Several of the industrial partners have offered to promote the programme to their existing customer base. This is considered desirable as it will increase awareness of the programme to individuals who may already routinely use their equipment and will be attracted to the programme by their familiarity with procedures and techniques.

Several food processing and packaging manufacturers have expressed an interest in providing equipment for demonstration purposes (Stephan UK, C-Tech Innovation Ltd). Similarly, offers have been made by analytical equipment manufacturers to provide specialist equipment and personnel to support training activities (Perkin Elmer Corporation; Malvern Instruments).


The University has invested considerable finances in adding to the research expertise in The Institute of Food Science & Innovation. In the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF 2020) (UoA 6; Agriculture, Veterinary & Food Science), our aim is to submit research output that is considered world leading or internationally excellent. We have 8 research students reading for PhD degrees and we aim to significantly increase this number.  The research activity in the Institute of Food Science & Innovation has been developed in recent years and there are now a number of PhD students researching in areas such as nanotechnology and rapid diagnostics.

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