Postgraduate Taught

MSc Gastronomy

This innovative master’s course will help you gain a better understanding of the complex role that food plays in shaping our lives and the world around us.

The MSc Gastronomy takes a multidisciplinary approach to examining and better understanding how food works in our world. Many other food-related studies, whether in health sciences, hospitality, agriculture, marketing or social sciences, approach food from a particular angle. Our MSc Gastronomy course recognises that none of these specialities operate independently, and that the inter-connected nature of food is one of its most important, and most over-looked, characteristics.


Why QMU?

An opportunity to engage in the multidisciplinary study of food. Unique in the UK, the course explores how food touches and influences all parts of our lives, examining the role of food in the complex connections between culture, communication, systems, science, sustainability, production and politics.

The tutors aim to make the course as experiential as possible, using field trips, site visits, practical workshops and expert speakers to explore food from a wide range of angles. Students gain invaluable insight into the many different ways that food shapes the world around us, as well as examining how a better understanding of food can help to address not just food-related problems but many of the world’s most pressing social, environmental and public health issues.

The course builds on QMU’s history as an innovative provider of food-related courses and is continues to break new ground in this developing field. After studying this inspirational and transformational course, we promise that you’ll never eat the same way again!

This is not a cookery course. Building on the definition of gastronomy as ‘the study of all things concerning the nourishment of humankind’, students are exposed to a wide range of topics and debates including physiology and microbiology, taste and quality, anthropology and sociology, economics and politics, agriculture and the environment, nutrition and public health. Understanding how all of these topics and issues are linked and influence each other is the basis of the gastronomical approach.

Course overview

It is increasingly recognised that reductionist approaches to tackling food-related issues are ineffective and that a more comprehensive and holistic approach is required if we are to understand the many ways that food influences our lives, and effectively address the many injustices and inequalities that are manifest in the food system. This programme takes an engaged, critical and broad-ranging approach to examining the many ways that food ‘nourishes’ us, how it shapes who we are and how it can be used as a tool for positive social and environmental purposes.

Your studies will be brought to life with guest speakers, seminars and case studies, and, where possible and practical, field trips and site visits to farms, gardens and markets, food producers and factories, and restaurants and museums.
Through input from a wide range of specialist, expert and industry speakers, you will gain exposure to the diverse influences that affect how we produce, process, represent, practise and consume food. Scotland is often the showcase for this, but we retain a global outlook and the concepts covered are transferable to other cultures and countries.

Exit awards

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


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 a mix of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, self-directed study, research, group work, student assessments, tastings and more. Where possible and practical, they will also involve field trips and site visits. 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 independent study on at least two further 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 independent study on at least one further day each week.

Industry links

We have developed and validated 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, food producers and processors, regulators and researchers, campaigners and chefs, amongst others.

Class sizes

We expect approximately 15-25 students to enrol for this course each year.


  • Food and Culture* (20 credits) - This module 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 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 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 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 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) -  This module is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to carry out successfully a dissertation at master’s level. Topics include the philosophical underpinnings of research, good research design, data collection and analysis methods, and research ethics.  

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.

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2021) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, 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 for more information


There are no placements on this course, but the out-of-classroom learning experiences will, where possible and practical, allow you to meet a wide range of contacts in the food industry and food system. Students electing to engage in the Business Consultancy in Practice or Business Incubation Programme elements 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 will be in the enviable position of gaining exposure to a wide range of food-related experiences and contacts, and a broad range of contemporary food issues. You will graduate with the ‘gastronomic’ skills required to gain relevant employment, develop new ideas and projects, and make interventions and transformations in a wide variety of areas. These include further study, business, education, campaigning and advocacy, media and marketing, policy development, tourism and hospitality, and more.

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.

International: 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, or speak to one of the Programme Leaders (Stan Blackley or Donald Reid) on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.

Fees and transitionary scholarships for postgraduate EU students in 21/22 and 22/23

As part of our management of the Brexit transition, for many of our courses, including this one, we have introduced an EU transitional scholarship for EU full-time postgraduate students commencing their studies on campus in academic years 2021/22 and 2022/23. This provides a 40% discount on international tuition fees. The scholarship is available to EU students for whom the international fee rate applies and covers the courses marked with a # in the Postgraduate Fees – Full-Time Study section of our Fees page. This transitional scholarship is not applicable to students from the Republic of Ireland, who will continue to be eligible for the home fee rate.

Please Note:
The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/23 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU with additional field trips, site visits and some industry-based learning.
1 year full-time OR 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2022
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
Fees & Funding

Engage with the Team

Blogs you might like ...

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

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