Food Science and Microbiology BSc (Hons) – 2017 entry

Surrey has a great reputation for food science, and I loved the breadth of the programme. I discovered subjects I never thought I’d enjoy such as microbiology, physiology and pathology.

What you'll study

There is an important association between microbes and food. Some microbes are essential for the production of food and beverages, whereas others can destroy crops and cause disease by contaminating the food chain.

On our Food Science and Microbiology degree programme, you will learn how beneficial microbes can be used in food production and how harmful ones can be prevented from causing damage and disease.

Programme overview

Our reliance on a supply of safe food, together with the economic problems that arise from crop damage and food spoilage, mean that graduates from this programme are in high demand by the food and beverage industries.

The combination of modules covering microbiology, food composition, food analysis and quality assurance provided by this degree programme equip you for such a career.

As a Food Science student at Surrey, you’ll explore the secret science behind food production, development and safety to enable you to pursue an exciting career within the food manufacturing industry, research institutes, government and consumer organisations.

Food science is a multidisciplinary subject involving the application of sciences such as chemistry and biology to the study of food. Studying a broad-based curriculum, you will gain an understanding of the raw materials that will become food, how these interact, and how food science can have dramatic implications for human health.

You will also study modules from the Biomedical ScienceBiochemistry and Nutrition programmes to allow you to broaden your understanding of related fields.

With this combination of knowledge and skills, you will be able to appreciate how food can be produced safely and with maximum nutritional and beneficial value to human health.

These are key attributes for graduates hoping to enter the food sector, where the leading companies are seeking to exploit the food science and nutrition revolution that has led to the concept of novel and functional foods with associated health benefits.

We also offer a degree in Food Science and Nutrition, for those who would rather specialise in this area of food science.

Microbiology and Biotechnology at Surrey

Our Microbiology and Biotechnology degrees will spark your interest and develop your expertise in an exciting field of science that is progressing rapidly. 

They encompass a broad range of biological science, covering everything from molecular biology to biochemistry of micro-organisms, and from the pathogenesis of disease to the creation of pharmaceutical agents via microbial exploitation.

The modular structure of our programmes allows the study of a broad base of topics during the first two years of the degree. More specialised topics are studied in the final year, and a research project will give you the opportunity to explore a research area you are especially interested in and develop lab-based skills and experience in that area.

Together with the Professional Training placement, this means that our graduates are well-rounded, knowledgeable and eminently employable.

As a Microbiology or Biotechnology student at Surrey, you will have the flexibility to transfer between Biosciences programmes during your first year. It is usually possible to transfer between the four microbiology-related programmes at any stage up to the start of your third year.

After graduating in Microbiology or Biotechnology, you are likely to find employment in the medical, pharmaceutical, environmental or food industries, or alternatively go on to do a PhD before a career in research.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 1 covers a wide range of subjects to give you the broad scientific background required for food scientists.

Compulsory Modules:

Optional Modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

In Year 2, your studies become more specialised and you will focus on many different topics, including food science, food microbiology, nutrition and food analysis.

A specific focus during your studies in Year 2 is on preparing you for your Professional Training placement. You will acquire key skills which will help you not just on placement, but also in your future employment.

Compulsory Modules:

Optional Modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

We strongly encourage you to take a placement in the UK or overseas with an industrial leader such as:

  • Unilever
  • Nestlé
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Mars Confectionery
  • Waitrose
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Dairy Crest

We place great emphasis on organising a successful, research-based placement, allowing you to extend and enhance your practical abilities and sharpen your professional skills.

To help ensure that you have a successful experience, you will be visited by a tutor on average two times during the year and have one virtual meeting via Skype.

In the competitive world of graduate employment, companies are more likely to consider applicants who have previous professional experience.

Employers may sponsor the final year of your study and many offer our students employment on graduation.

Watch a video of a Microbiology student on placement.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Year 3 will give you a high degree of specialisation, including an understanding of novel foods. You will have the opportunity to perform your own research project, carried out under the supervision of a member of staff.

This will give you the opportunity to explore a research area of particular interest and develop specialised lab-based skills and experience.

For their research project, students on the Food Science and Microbiology programme have recently chosen to investigate the molecular biology of Campylobacter and associated food-poisoning mechanisms, the effect of water on microbial growth in food, microbes used in probiotic yogurts, bacteria in meat and microbial contaminants of baby milk formula.

Compulsory Modules:                                                                                                                        

Optional Modules:

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £20
  • Grand total: £20

The equipment pack includes laboratory coat, laboratory glasses, laboratory book, pen and padlock.

Global opportunities

You may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. Students have travelled to the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil and many European countries and typically work in a research laboratory at a partner institution.

If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant and your full student loan if you work in a foreign university laboratory. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire  valuable work experience but also to improve or learn another language.

Learn more about the Erasmus programme or discover where our global opportunities can take you.


Our degrees are modular and based on a structured programme of advanced study, allowing you to pursue the subjects essential to your degree whilst offering flexibility.

On average, you will have approximately 24 hours of contact time each week (lectures, practicals and tutorials). You will also be expected to undertake private study for a similar amount of time (laboratory write-ups, essays and other coursework).


All modules are assessed individually as you progress through the degree programmes and 15 credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one.

You can accumulate marks gradually towards your final degree classification rather than everything resting on one final examination. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and practical reports.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 0.96 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 0.35 per cent medium group teaching
  • 19.69 per cent large group teaching
  • 79 per cent studying and revising in your own time


Our degree programmes are enhanced through the use of state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.

Our commitment to the development of your practical skills means that you will use equipment allowing you to analyse the genetic make-up of different types of microbes, and specialist computer software enabling the modelling of microbiological systems and metabolic pathways.

For your research project in Year 3, you will work within our research laboratories alongside active researchers, and will have the opportunity to contribute to established research projects being undertaken by the Department of Microbial and Cellular Sciences.

Academic support

You will be allocated a personal tutor during your first week at the University and will normally keep this tutor throughout the degree programme.

They will provide advice to you on personal and academic matters, including reviewing your progress on the programme, advising on module, placement and career options and providing information about wider support services at the University.

Career opportunities

Our reliance on a supply of safe food, together with the economic problems that arise from crop damage and food spoilage, mean that graduates from this programme are in high demand by the food and beverage industries.

The combination of modules covering microbiology, food composition, food analysis and quality assurance provided by this degree equips you for a range of careers.

You will be eminently employable in the food industry and related areas and will be able to make an important contribution to UK and global food security through improved food preservation and the provision of safe and nutritious foods.

You will find our graduates involved in product development, food analysis, research, consumer advice, legislation, food safety and teaching.

The majority of our graduates go immediately into the job market and positions often follow naturally from a successful Professional Training placement, but further study comes a close second. This includes taught Masters programmes and PhD studentships.

Graduate prospects

Graduates over the last few years have entered employment in roles such as:

  • Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association, Senior Research Officer and PhD
  • Tesco, Technical Development Executive
  • Northern Foods (Solway Foods Factory), Process Development Technologist
  • Danone, Nutritionist
  • Princes Foods, New Product Development
  • Mars Confectionery, Product Design Senior Scientist

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

It is desirable for those applicants taking part in the Science Practical Endorsement in either Physics, Biology or Chemistry to obtain a pass.

Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit - QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 Credits at Merit.

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent-74 per cent

International Baccalaureate

35-34 points

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB-Scottish Advanced Highers ABB/Scottish Highers AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA-Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AB

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above. 

Two core science A-level subjects required from Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Mathematics (Chemistry or Biology preferred).

Other A-level subjects such as Food Technology, Home Economics, Applied Science or Environmental Studies will also be considered, in combination with a core science subject.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates may be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall (or equivalent)

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill (or equivalent)

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2018 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BSc (Hons) 3 Years CD56 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 Years CD57 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

There are additional costs associated with this programme – view the fees page for full details.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Professional Training Placement

Professional Training placement at CEFAS

Rachel Kettles, BSc Microbiology, talks about her Professional Training placement year at CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science).

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