Both years are arranged as a combination of distance learning and block release. Each year comprises 60 credits of study. This equates to approximately 600 hours (100 days) of student effort.
Some of this takes place at University of Birmingham (lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals), but a large proportion must take place in the students own time (distance learning and private study). Attendance at the university in the first year is concentrated mainly between January and May. In the second year attendance requirements consist typically of one, three-day block per month. Total contact time in each year is approximately 24 days.
Year One has been designed to cover the fundamentals of Food Safety and Food Law. The basic microbiology is covered, and the emphasis is on the Food safety Act 1990 and horizontal directives legislation. This year consists of three modules:
- Module 1: Underpinning Science
Four workbooks with required reading and self-assessment questions. Some of the required reading is on the Internet. There is a multiple choice examination. This module is distance learning supported by tutorials
- Module 2: Introduction to Food Law, Food Safety & Risk Assessment
Lectures, case studies and required reading, including a three day block on HACCP. Assessment via examination, case studies and poster presentation.
- OPTION: Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing
- The School of Chemical Engineering is authorised to offer the Royal Society for Public Health Level 3 Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing. Candidates may, if they wish, write an additional examination and if successful gain this qualification at the cost charged by the RSPH which is currently £25.
- Module 3: Inspection
Inspection of a premises covered by Regulation (EC) no 852/2004 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (or relevant national regulations). Assessment is by report and viva.
Year Two develops the principles of food safety further and concentrates on the application and understanding. The product specific legislation is dealt with in more depth. There is an emphasis on current trends and future issues. There are five modules.
- Module One: Food Microbiology
The common microbes associated with food, including methods for sampling and enumeration and control of food-borne illness. This module will consist of lectures, directed reading and self assessment questions, laboratory practicals, case studies and web based assignments.
- Module Two: Food Legislation
The main food hygiene legislation, including sources of law, the interpretation and application of food safety legislation, evidence gathering and legal procedure as they relate to contraventions of food law. This module will comprise lectures, directed reading with self assessment questions, case studies and some visits.
- Module Three: Hygienic Management
Systems used to control food hazards, including cleaning, pest control, recall procedures, risk assessment systems and quality assurance. This module will consist of lectures, directed reading and web based assignments. There will be one laboratory practical.
- Module Four: Food project
This module allows the candidate to explore a particular area of food safety in more depth than is possible in other modules. A variety of projects may be suitable for this module, for example, an extended audit of a major premises, a short discrete laboratory based project or an in depth literature review. Assessment will be by means of an extended report and a viva
- Module Five: Food Technology
Application of the principles of food preservation and manufacture, to include their importance in food safety and hygiene. This module will comprise lectures, a laboratory practical, directed reading, a workbook and some visits.