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University of Otago
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Master of Science (MSc) in Food Science

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Otago


The Master of Science (MSc) is a two-year degree which encompasses both coursework and research. The first year involves mainly coursework and preliminary research preparation. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to existing fields of research, or to begin to develop new areas.

Why study Food Science?

Food Science is a portable degree. You can find Food Science jobs all over the world.

You can use both creative and technical skills in developing new food products.

Food Science is a very practical application of basic science (Chemistry, Microbiology, Biology) training with a product, consumer and market focus. There’s a mix of scientific research, practical application and consumer interaction required to get the job done.

What will I learn?

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Food Science provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the food industry, combining both theory and practical hands-on experience.

First year: You will study the basic sciences, including biology, chemistry and statistics as well as introductory food science.

Second year: You will apply the science you learnt in first year specifically to food. You will do papers in food chemistry and processing, food systems, sensory science and microbiology.

Third year: You will start to tailor your course to your own particular interests. You will take food product development, advanced food chemistry and food processing papers and can choose to include food microbiology, sensory science, food policy and consumer issues.

There are course advisers within the Department who can help you plan your study path.

Career opportunities

As a Food Science graduate, you will have good prospects here in New Zealand and also exciting opportunities overseas. Our graduates frequently find employment before they have even completed their final year at university.

You could end up working for a national or international food company specialising in dairy, confectionery, brewing, fruit and vegetables, seafood or any other foodstuff.

There are also positions for Food Science graduates in research institutes, for example Plant & Food Research, or government agencies such as the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Careers in areas such as product development, food quality management, chemical/nutritional analysis, sensory analysis, marketing and research will be at your fingertips.

Duration of the Programme

A candidate achieving the degree by papers and a thesis shall normally follow a programme for the equivalent of not less than two years of full-time study and not more than three years of full-time study, and a candidate achieving the degree by thesis alone shall normally follow a programme of study for the equivalent of not less than one year of full-time study and not more than two years of full-time study. Exceptions shall be permitted only with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

Entry criteria

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

Every applicant must either

  • be a graduate with an average grade of at least B for the appropriate 300-level papers, or
  • have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences).

An applicant seeking admission to the thesis-only option of the programme (see regulation 2(c) below) on the basis of the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science or equivalent must have achieved a grade of at least B+ for the research report, thesis preparation, or dissertation requirement of the qualification concerned.

In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualification, as well as the applicant's performance in the programme.

English language requirements

  • IELTS Academic - Score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 90 with a minimum writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - score of 587 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Minimum of 176
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
  • ELA pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade

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