University of Chester

Programme Specification
Dairy Technology FDS
2017 - 2018

Foundation Science Degree

Dairy Technology

Dairy Technology (Eden - Reaseheath College)

University of Chester

Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College, Nantwich

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

42 weeks delivery over 3 years

5 Years

Annual - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

Subject Benchmark Statement: Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences: Draft for consultation February 2016

Standard for Advanced Dairy Technologist Apprenticeship, approved by the Skills Funding Agency (UK) 2016

Application for accreditation by the Institute of Food Science & Technology will be investigated.

Institute of Food Science & Innovation

Wednesday 7th December 2016

The programme aims to deliver the knowledge and skills required by the Advanced Dairy Technologist Apprenticeship Standard, and on completion enables students to progress to obtain their full advanced apprenticeship award.

The content of the programme is highly focused on practical application of knowledge, building from a strong base of the principles of dairy science to develop an understanding of raw materials and progressing to the manufacture of finished goods and the processes required for efficient factory performance.

As such it aims:

  • To develop a holistic working knowledge of dairy product manufacture, ensuring that students have the ability to apply fundamental dairy science principles to all sectors of the industry, from liquid milks to sports drinks and infant formulae.
  • To develop the ability to improve manufacturing efficiencies, through the understanding of process analysis techniques.
  • To foster an approach which promotes sustainable production, raises awareness of environmental issues and actively encourages waste minimisation.
  • To develop an understanding of the legislative framework involved in dairy manufacturing, including food specific legislation, regulations and product quality requirements.
  • To encourage active learning through teamwork, an intellectual approach to problem solving and utilisation of project management techniques to dairy manufacturing change.

FHEQ Level 4 modules focus on principles of dairy science and dairy product manufacture:

  • The primary production stages of milk. Factors affecting the composition of raw milk and final dairy products. (RC4456, RC4454 and RC4455)
  • Fundamental principles of milk chemistry and milk microbiology in raw milk and during processing of liquid milk and other dairy products(RC4454 and RC4455)
  • The dairy process environment and how it influences food safety (RC4453, RC4457 and RC4461)
  • Quality assurance of dairy products including product quality testing and sensory evaluation (RC4458)
  • Legislation and guidelines applicable to dairy product manufacture, covering risk, health and safety,  food safety including HACCP (hazard analysis), TACCP (threat analysis) and VACCP (vulnerability assessments) (RC4453, RC4458)
  • Cleaning technology and an understanding of hygiene methodology (RC4459)
  • Dairy product and process innovation (RC4462)   

FHEQ Level 5 modules develop an understanding of more advanced techniques and specialist knowledge:

  • An in-depth understanding of dairy unit operations in areas such as pasteurisation, filtration, ultra heat treatment, fermentation, evaporation and spray drying (RC5455)
  • Cheese and fermented products technology (RC5456)
  • Butter and milk fat technology (RC5457)
  • The processing of whey protein and an appreciation of the use of whey derivatives (RC5465)
  • Continuous improvement techniques to improve process efficiency (RC5459)
  • Supply chains in the dairy industry and their relationships to world markets (RC5461)
  • Sustainability, environmental and legislative considerations of the supply chain (RC5463)
  • Process control and automation, including existing and evolving technology (RC5464)

Specialist knowledge at this level will include an in-depth project of a topic of special interest to the student and their employer, (RC5462)

Thinking and cognitive skills are expected to develop across the three years of study, with progression from an emphasis on clear description and understanding to demonstration of analytical and critical evaluation skills by the end of the course.

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Find, read and understand dairy technology-specific texts, including primary sources, and reference them using the appropriate referencing format (all modules).
  • Be able to write scientific reports in a standard format (RC4454 and RC4455)
  • Interpret experimental results and basic data sets (RC4454,RC4455, RC4461 and RC4457) and DWP module

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Synthesise material from a range of sources and analyse to support or detract from a written argument (all modules)
  • Critique primary sources of information (RC5462)
  • Analyse data using appropriate statistical tests (RC5462 and RC5464)
  • Apply underlying concepts and principles to a work - based project (RC5462)

The practical and professional skills expected to be developed throughout this course are informed by the Apprenticeship Standard and the Subject Benchmark Statement referenced in section 18. They include specific work-related tasks to develop operational skills within the workplace, progressing to more advanced problem-solving, interpretive and reporting skills.

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Operate and control a range of manual and automated manufacturing processes for a range of dairy products (RC4457 and RC4461)
  • Operate and control cleaning and effluent management systems (RC4459)
  • Time management (RC4462)
  • Develop IT skills (all modules)


FHEQ Level 5:

  • Use of project management tools (RC5458, RC5462)
  • Use knowledge of dairy science principles to adapt manufacturing processes to achieve a standard specification in a product (RC5456, RC5457, RC5465, RC5455)
  • Apply knowledge of engineering and automation to fault find in an operational situation (RC5464)
  • Apply knowledge of continuous improvement techniques and root cause analysis to solve operational problems (RC5459)
  • Undertake environmental audits and provide recommendations (RC5463)
  • Plan. manage and report a complex individual project (RC5462)


FHEQ Level 4:

  • Describe and discuss dairy operational concepts clearly and accurately both orally (RC4456, RC4462) and in written work (all modules)
  • Write for an academic audience (all modules)
  • Write scientific reports in a standard format (RC4454, RC4455)

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Communicate fluently and work collaboratively with members of a team (RC5458, RC5459, RC5462)
  • Produce succinct, logical and coherent explanations of complex operational situations (RC5459, RC5462, RC5454)

The FdSc Dairy Technology is designed to equip new or existing employees of the dairy industry with the technical knowledge and specific dairy-related skills required to elevate the UK’s dairy industry into a world-leading position.

The programme is structured to develop a broad-based understanding of the principles of dairy science and dairy operations, progressing to more applied techniques to ensure dairy manufacturing is efficient whilst ensuring legislative and regulatory requirements are met at all times.

The programme is structured in a block-release system, thereby enabling students to apply knowledge gained from the classroom to their place of work. The course is structured in 6 blocks of study over a period of 3 years, giving 42 weeks of teaching and learning as follows:

Year 1: level 4 modules (RC4453, RC4454, RC4455, RC4456, RC4457, RC4458, RC4460)

Year 2: completion of level 4 modules and some level 5 (RC4459, RC4461, RC4462, RC5455, RC5456, RC5457, RC5458, RC5459)

Year 3: level 5 modules only (RC5465, RC5451, RC5462, RC5463, RC5464)


At level 4 students will develop their understanding of dairy chemistry and dairy microbiology, both within raw materials at farm level and in finished products. The fundamental concepts behind food and dairy safety are explored, and students will be given the opportunity to study for an industry-standard qualification in food safety. Level 4 modules progress to introduce the student to the principles of continuous improvement, which explores established techniques to investigate process efficiency. This is a key focus of the dairy industry in current economic conditions. Dairy Process Design is also introduced at this level to introduce the student to the concepts involved in plant commissioning and depreciation.

At level 5, students develop a more detailed and in-depth understanding of product technology – cheese, butter, fermented products, ice cream and whey powder for example, applying their knowledge of Quality Assurance and Food Safety gained at level 4. More advanced topics are also introduced including Dairy Industry Automation and Process Control, exploring existing and evolving processes which are an essential feature for dairies of the future. Application of knowledge and development of analytical skills are built within Applied Continuous Improvement Techniques and also Dairy Professional Project, both of which require the student to investigate a work-related issue and develop a plan for action. An oral presentation to company representatives is included as part of the assessment of the project, which brings added relevance for the student.

The FdSc Dairy Technology can be topped up to a full BSC (Hons) by progression to the BSc(Hons) Top Up Food Manufacturing with Operations Management.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
RC4453 4 Principles of Food and Dairy Safety 10 Comp
RC4454 4 Principles of Dairy Chemistry 15 Comp
RC4455 4 Principles of Dairy Microbiology 15 Comp
RC4456 4 Milk and Dairy Derivatives as Raw Materials 10 Comp
RC4457 4 Dairy Workplace Practices 10 Comp
RC4458 4 Quality Assurance in the Dairy Industry 15 Comp
RC4459 4 Clean in Place and Chemical Technology 10 Comp
RC4460 4 Principles of Continuous Improvement 10 Comp
RC4461 4 Dairy Process Engineering 15 Comp
RC4462 4 Innovation in the Dairy Industry 10 Comp
RC5455 5 Milk Processing 10 Comp
RC5456 5 Cheese and Fermented Product Technology 10 Comp
RC5457 5 Butter and Milk Fat Technology 10 Comp
RC5458 5 Project Management 10 Comp
RC5459 5 Applied Continuous Improvement Techniques 15 Comp
RC5461 5 Dairy Supply Chain 10 Comp
RC5462 5 Dairy Professional Project 15 Comp
RC5463 5 Sustainability and Environmental Awareness 15 Comp
RC5464 5 Dairy Automation and Process Control 15 Comp
RC5465 5 Whey Protein Processing 10 Comp

Exit award:

Certificate of Higher Education

Level 4 – 120 credits


On successful completion of the FdSc Dairy Technology, students will undertake the end-point assessment for the Advanced Dairy Technologist Apprenticeship.

Successful apprentices will then be eligible for membership of the Society of Dairy Technology.

Entry requirements are either:

  • one A level ( science based) at grade C or above
  • an appropriate food related Level 3 Diploma.

  • an appropriate science based Access to Higher Education Course ‘Certificate of Achievement’.

  • NVQ Level 3 in an area of food production


  • 5 years relevant dairy industry experience

In addition all applicants should have GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above.

Applications for the course should be made via company higher level apprenticeship adverts for 'Advanced Dairy Technologist' on



The QAA qualification benchmark for Foundation Degrees, 2010 has been consulted to ensure that the broad objectives of this vocational form of study have been met, in this instance to meet the employer needs within the national dairy industry. The specific requirements for the design of foundation degrees to ensure that learning and work  are 'closely interlinked...and consideration is given to the ways in which the work-based learning is appropriate to the needs of the relevant employment sector' have been key to the development of the part-time structure of the programme. Blocks of learning ranging from 5 - 9 weeks, progressing through the modules from level 4 to level 5, are interspersed with periods within the workplace where students are expected to apply and embed the skills and knowledge gained. Tutors give guidance for the interim periods to employer-based mentors, ensuring that students are given the opportunity to experience a wide variety of roles within the workplace to support their learning.

Two external reference points have been used to inform the content of the programme:

  1. QAA Subject Benchmark Statement: Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences: Draft for consultation, Feb 2016
  2. The Skills Funding Agency approved 'Standard for Advanced Dairy Technologist', 2016

The core knowledge and skills listed in both reference points have assisted in the development of the programme, with the QAA subject benchmark providing generic features which are then specifically interpreted within the context of dairy technology in the apprenticeship standard.

The QAA subject benchmark lists subject-specific knowledge requirements which align closely with the Essential Knowledge and Understanding' requirements of the apprenticeship standard, for example:

  • the underlying principles of the subject i.e. primary production stages of milk, key manufacturing processes
  • its relevant defining concepts, theories and methods i.e. fundamental principles of milk chemistry and microbiology,
  • the current knowledge and development of the subject i.e. dairy process design, milk testing, Good Manufacturing Practice
  • identification of current gaps in knowledge or understanding and current issues of wider concern to society and the worldi.e. new product and process development

The subject areas above are addressed at level 4 within the programme. The following topics are explored at level 5:

  • the global, regional and local contexts of the topic i.e. the dairy industry and its relation to world markets; the dairy supply chain
  • the location of resources, and the management, exploitation and pattern of utilisation of resources within socio-economic, policy and legal frameworks i.e the sustainability, environmental and legislative considerations of the dairy supply chain
  • subject-specific and generic skills, problem solving and a professional approach to study and lifelong learning i.e. project managing dairy operational change, product trials and plant commissioning; continuous improvement

Subject skills as identified by QAA revolve around the development of practical and professional competencies, including critical analysis of  theories and concepts, design and implementation of an investigation to test a hypothesis, taking account of safety and legal requirements and consideration of financial implications. Within the apprenticeship standard, the dairy-specific skills are identified as:

  • operation and control of dairy manufacturing equipment, including processing, packing and cleaning
  • manufacture of a specific range of dairy products
  • develop new products and processes in a cost-compliant manner
  • demonstrate understanding of microbiological concepts and interpret microbiological test results

Each of the above are fully explored at level 4 within the programme. Level 5 skills address further dairy-specific skills required by the apprenticeship standard, such as:

  • test and analyse products. Interpret results and process data to adapt process parameters
  • apply Continuous Improvement techniques to solve operational problems, to deliver improvement to products, optimise ways of working, improve efficiency and reduce waste
  • comply with legislation, regulations and organisational requirements for health and safety, food safety and hygiene and develop Critical Control Points for Hazard Analysis, Threat Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment
  • undertake environmental audits and provide recommendations.

Generic skills identified by the QAA benchmarking statement include effective communication, use and interpretation of data, use of digital and social media and its use to inform decision making, and self management and professional development skills. These are explicitly taught in many modules at both levels 4 and 5.


This programme is entirely focused on equipping dairy technologists of the future with the knowledge and skills required to work in the modern dairy.

Students will experience a wide variety of learning and teaching methods throughout the course, including lectures, laboratory work, seminars, individual tutorials, group work, guided reading and self-directed learning. In addition, extensive practical experience of dairy operations takes place in years 1 and 2, and presents a significant element of the student’s weekly study, allowing them to develop their manufacturing skills in both manual and automated dairy unit operations. They are also introduced to efficient cleaning and effluent management within the practical sessions.

Students enter the programme from a wide variety of backgrounds, some of whom have not been in education for many years. Induction week not only introduces the students to the programme structure, practical facilities and learning resources, but also includes a 2 day study tour involving a variety of dairy visits, for example large and small liquid milk processors; large and artisan cheese makers; yogurt and dairy desserts manufacturers. This introduces the student to the breadth and diversity within the industry and also allows the group to get to know each other. Due to the block nature of the programme, students live and study during each intensive block of between 5 and 9 weeks, and so it is essential they work well together and work as a team, all of which contributes to their personal development. Students are introduced to their Personal Academic Tutor early in the programme, who oversees their progress in a series of 1 to 1 meetings throughout each block.

The teaching team will help students develop their research skills, learning discrimination in the choice of reading materials and encouraging them to read widely in order to achieve a good knowledge base.

The assessment strategy includes a variety of different types, including:

  • written examinations
  • written assignments
  • group presentations
  • individual presentations
  • poster presentations
  • professional discussions
  • observation of practical competency

Modules are assessed on a 3000 word equivalent basis (for a 15 credit module) and 2000 word equivalent for a 10 credit module. Most modules have a two-part assessment, but variations exist where appropriate. The module descriptors provide a clear indication of the relationship between individual assessment components and learning outcomes, both in terms of knowledge and understanding and skills development.




This programme is designed for employees of the UK dairy companies, and as such is solely focussed on improving the individual's net worth to the company and hence their employability. On completion of the course, students are typically offered roles within their companies at team leader/junior management level.

Both Reaseheath College and the University of Chester are committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity.  Both institutions 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 delivery is 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 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 week 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 also enhances equal opportunity, fairness and independence 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 roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of both institutional Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

Reaseheath College offers specific support for students with specified learning needs, encompassing all physical abilities, in conjunction with the Higher Education Support Team (HEST) on campus.  In collaboration with student support services, and safeguarding task groups, the college's equality and diversity policy aims to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the College have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job. The policy also aims to eliminate discrimination, which is unlawful or unfair.

Sponsor dairy companies will provide a production site-based mentor to provide guidance throughout the apprenticeship.

Mentors receive a report on the student's progress at the end of each block, which includes a progress and achievement report, as well as suggested work-related experience to undertake between blocks of study.

Mentors are encouraged to communicate directly with the dedicated course manager to discuss any specific issues relating to their mentee.

Mentors are invited to an annual meeting where updates on course developments, progress and the wider perspective of the course can be discussed in more detail.

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