Food and Nutritional Sciences
Food - the essential fuel of life - is the business of Europe's largest and most buoyant industry. Featuring regularly in the national media, food issues are often to be found at the centre of topical debates on such areas as human health and disease, global shortages and surpluses, consumer demand, the rights and wrongs of GM, and food quality and nutrition. Its study has a direct impact on the quality and enjoyment of every aspect of our lives. Studying Food and Nutritional Sciences at Reading offers you the broad-based science education that both underpins these issues and prepares you for a secure, exciting and relevant career.
Why study at Reading?
• The largest University department of its kind in the UK and a world-leading research environment. You will be taught by acknowledged world authorities in areas as diverse as food security, food chemistry, human nutrition, food microbiology and food law.
• Excellent teaching, according to the last teaching assessment and departmental review. This is the highest accolade under the assessment criteria, and the department was particularly praised for the level of support we provide our students.
• A real sense of community between staff and students is fostered in the Department. You will be on first-name terms with your tutors within a few weeks of starting your course and staff support students in ways that reach far beyond the scheduled module contact time.
• Paid industrial placements are open to all our students in the third year of their degree. We have a senior tutor dedicated to helping you secure a placement and your personal tutor will continue to provide support whilst you are with the company.
• Cutting-edge equipment. You will have the chance to use different equipment including small-scale food processing giving you experience of industrial food processing on a pilot scale.
Life in the Department
You can expect to have approximately 25 hours of contact time with staff per week in Years 1 and 2 of your degree. This will take the form of lectures, seminars, laboratory-based practicals, sensory evaluation and work in the processing pilot plant. These diverse approaches will provide you with the training you need for an industrial placement when you will be able to put relevant aspects into practice or, if you are doing a three-year degree, you will be well-equipped to undertake your final year project
Student experience and employment
All of our courses offer a one-year industrial/ professional training year which counts towards your degree. These placements are approved by the department to ensure that they provide significant training, and they can be based overseas. Our Industrial Placement Tutor will provide you with help and guidance in seeking a placement, writing a good CV and performing well at interview. Many companies interview at Reading to prevent you from taking too much time out of your studies in pursuit of a placement. Students take up a range of roles, from work on nutrition trials, quality assurance, consumer work, food technologists and new product development scientists. You can expect to earn between £15K and £20K during the year. Our students obtain placements with a range of companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Innocent, RF Brookes, Kelloggs, Wild Bean Café, English Provender and many others.
Product Development module
Many of our students opt to take the Product Development module, where you will be given a brief by Industry, and expected to work in a team to deliver an appropriate and novel product for an end-of-term trade show and assessment. Students regularly report that this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of their degree programme. Our students are frequently finalists in the National Science, Engineering and Technology awards and last year one of our students won 'Best Food Science, Technology & Nutrition Student'.
The University has an international reputation for equipping its food graduates with a good scientific base and an understanding of how to manage the industry's response to consumer issues concerning food safety and nutrition. Over recent years, many have moved directly into the food industry and related sectors where they apply their knowledge across a range of disciplines to address issues of food quality and safety and to develop innovative products and processes. Others now work in diverse careers such as teaching, environmental health and accountancy. Our productive links with industry and successful placement scheme means that many finalists have several excellent job offers to choose from even before they graduate. Recent graduates have gained employment with a wide range of companies including Nestlé, Kraft, Mars, Marks and Spencer, GlaxoSmithKline and many others.