Postgraduate Taught

MSc Gastronomy

This MSc is the first and only course of its kind in the UK. It will help you gain a better understanding of the complex role that food plays in shaping our lives and the world around us.

On this unique course you’ll take a multidisciplinary approach to shed light upon the often unseen links between food culture and communications, science and systems, production and politics, and more. If you have an appetite for enhancing your career in the food industry or are interested in cultivating a fuller understanding of food, this course is for you.


Why QMU?

The course is currently the only one available in the UK at this level on which you can engage in the holistic study of food through multidisciplinary, experiential learning.

The course tutors and guest speakers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, representing the different ways that food influences our lives, from chefs to journalists, farmers to campaigners, scientists to politicians, and more.

Field trips and site visits will offer you unique insights and experiences and give you real-world, first-hand experiences of often obscured or ignored elements of the food system.

Course overview

It is increasingly recognised that reductionist approaches to tackling food-related issues are ineffective and that a more comprehensive, holistic approach is required if we are to better understand the many ways that food affects and shapes our lives, and effectively address the many injustices and inequalities that are manifest in the current food system.

This course takes an experiential approach to answering these questions and many others. Your studies will be brought to life with field trips to a diverse range of food-related businesses and organisations – from supermarket distribution warehouses to Michelin-starred restaurants, large-scale farm operations to artisan food producers, campaigning organisations to government research centres.

Through input from a wide range of specialist, expert and industry speakers, you’ll gain exposure to the diverse influences that affect how we produce, transform, utilise, represent, understand and consume food. Scotland is most often the showcase for this, although the concepts covered are transferable to other countries.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/PgCert (60 credits)


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip, or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessment

All modules involve elements of inquiry-based learning, academic writing, practical workshops, self-directed study, research, group work, student presentations, tastings, field trips and site visits and more. While many of these activities will take place on campus, others can be located in a wide variety of external venues, which can be anywhere with a link to food and drink or ancillary industries. The course requires students to critically examine information from a diverse range of sources and engages a significant number of specialist and expert speakers from different parts of the food industry and food system.

Class sizes are normally around 20 students. This ensures that students receive dedicated support from tutors and benefit from sharing experiences with a close-knit cohort.

Teaching hours and attendance

If studying full-time over one year, you can expect to spend at least two days each week in classes with self-directed or peer-led study on two or more days each week. If studying part-time over two years, you can expect to spend at least one day each week in classes with self-directed or peer-led study on one or more days each week. Your specific timetable will depend on whether you are studying full-time, part-time or an individual module. Timetables are normally available around one month before you commence your studies.

Links with industry/ professional bodies

We have developed the course in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders involved in the food and drink industry so you can expect unique opportunities to make contact with, and interact with, a wide range of food producers and processors, regulators and researchers, celebrity chefs and campaigners.

Class sizes

We expect around 12-25 students to enrol for this course each year.


Food and Culture (20 credits): This module will engage students in a critical examination of the many different ways that food has cultural importance and significance. It will provide a multidisciplinary examination of the many ways that food can be linked to all forms of ‘culture’, from bacteria in soil, fermented foods and the human gut, through the expression of taste, identity, class and gender, to the ways in which people act and consume. It will provide students with a broad understanding of the relevance of food to all parts of human life. 

Food Production (20 credits): This module will engage students in a critical analysis of food production, supply, sustainability and security. It will provide a broad, multidisciplinary overview of the past and present methods used to produce the food we eat. It will provide students with the knowledge and skills to make informed judgements on the sustainability, equity and security of current food production and supply, and to critically consider potential future means of food procurement, production and processing. 

Food Communication (20 credits): This module will engage students in a critical examination of the ways that food, ideas of food and food-related issues are communicated and consumed. It will provide a multidisciplinary examination of the ways that food is communicated and consumed. It will provide students with a critical understanding of the role food plays in the mass media, art and philosophy, manners and space, marketing and other public discourses. 

Food and Drink in Scotland (20 credits): This module will engage students in a critical examination of Scotland’s contemporary foodscape. It offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview and insight into food and drink in Scotland, incorporating historic, social, cultural, economic and political perspectives. Utilising specific examples of Scottish food and drink, students will explore and develop their understanding of key contemporary issues within Scottish food and drink. 

The Food System (20 credits): This module will engage students in a structural analysis of the food system and a critical examination of its wide-ranging influences and impacts. It will provide a broad, multidisciplinary overview of the food system, including its structure, the relationships it contains, the factors that influence it, and the impacts it has on wider society. It will provide students with knowledge and skills to help develop possible solutions to food system problems, inequalities and injustices. 

Research Methods (20 credits)

Gastronomy project (60 credits): If studying for an MSc, you will also complete a Gastronomy Project module (60 credits). This takes the form of either a 12,000-word Dissertation, a Business Consultancy in Practice project, or a Business Incubation Programme. These options will allow you to choose between routes through the course that will culminate with a research-based, consultancy or business project exit.

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (July 2019). In the event that modules are changed, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Single modules for CPD

Available for modules Food and Culture (20 credits), Food Production (20 credits), Food and Drink in Scotland (20 credits). Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Stan Blackley for more information


There are no placements on this course, but the out-of-classroom learning experiences will give you the opportunity to apply your learning and gain valuable insight. Students electing to engage in the Business Consultancy in Practice or Business Incubation Programme exits will have the opportunity to work directly with existing or nascent businesses on practical tasks potentially ranging from research projects to business development plans.


You’ll be in the enviable position of gaining exposure to a wide range of industry experiences and contacts, and a broad range of contemporary food issues. You’ll graduate with the skills you need to gain employment and make interventions and transformations in a wide variety of areas. These include further study, business, education, community work, advocacy, campaigning, policy development, tourism and progressive hospitality.

Entry requirements

There are several routes to entry:

  • Applicants with a UK Honours degree or equivalent.
  • Applicants will also be considered with qualifications below UK Honours degree level or as mature students who can exhibit relevant work and life experience gained through their employment, professional activities and/ or significant and relevant personal interests.
  • Particular consideration will be given to candidates who are able to express their eligibility through the articulation of a passion for, knowledge of, or experience in the broad area of food and drink.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Application deadline


More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or contact Stan Blackley, Programme Leader on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU with field trips, site visits and some industry-based learning.
Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years
Start Date
September 2020
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
Fees & Funding

Engage with the Team

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A Student Story (see bottom of page for more)

Lesley Rozycki - MSc Gastronomy "In addition to the vast amount of information on food, as well as other ideas, issues and processes surrounding it (I know quite a bit about soil), I‘ve made invaluable connections and friendships with my course mates who have vastly different professional and personal experience with food, as well as guest lecturers and producers we’ve visited along the way.” Read my story