Study programme - BSc Food Technology

The bachelor (BSc) of Food Technology is a three-year full-time programme. The first year includes four subjects specific to food technology, and the remainder are mostly core subjects in mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. The second year consists primarily of specialist subjects in food technology. The third year includes only one compulsory subject, and the rest of the year is made up of electives and the BSc thesis.

Year 1

In the first year of the bachelor’s, the foundation is laid for the rest of the programme. It contains many basic subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. In addition to these courses, there are some food technology courses. All subjects are taught in English.

Courses per period

Period 1

Introduction to Food Technology

In the first period, you follow the introductory course of the programme. Here you will become familiar with the different domains in food technology and you will go on an excursion to a company. You will also receive a course in computer skills and orientate yourself in the field.

Cell Biology

This course focuses on the biology of the cell. You will learn about the structure and function of body cells, cell organelles and biomolecules. You will learn about intra- and extracellular communication, in order to gain insight into the regulation of cell function in the body.

Period 2

General Chemistry 1

This course is an introductory course on general and physical chemistry. Topics such as thermal motion, forces, equilibria, adsorption, acids, bases and the kinetics of reactions are discussed.

Organic Chemistry 1

This course deals with organic chemistry: the structure of molecules, reaction mechanisms, stereochemistry and interactions between molecules. In addition, various (analysis) techniques are discussed, after which you perform them in a practical.

General Chemistry 2

This course is a continuation of general chemistry 1, where you go deeper into the physical and chemical properties of atoms, ions and molecules. In addition, interactions between molecules, redox reactions, and spectrophotometry are discussed.

Math 1 or Statistics 1

Depending on the mathematics you had in VWO, you start the first period with Mathematics 1 or Statistics 1. Students with Mathematics A in VWO take Mathematics 1, and students with Mathematics B in VWO take Statistics 1.

Period 3

Statistics 2

In this course, you will learn more about data collection, probability calculation and performing statistical tests. You will also learn how to use statistical software during computer practicals.

Organic Chemistry 2

This course is the continuation of Organic Chemistry 1, which further examines the chemistry of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. You will go deeper into biological reactions, molecular interactions and chemical equilibria.

Period 4

Nutritional Aspects of Foods

In this course, you will become acquainted with the chemistry and physiology of nutrients and the influence of processing and consuming them. You will also learn what happens when nutrients are absorbed into the human body and what the effect of absorption is on health and the development of diseases.

Period 5

Mathematics 2

This subject builds on Mathematics 1 or Mathematics B in VWO. You will go deeper into iterations, differentiation, integration and first-order differential equations. You learn to apply this knowledge to mathematical problems in technology.

Mathematics 3

In the third math course, linear equations, vectors, matrices and functions with multiple variables are discussed.

Microbiology and Toxicology

This course deals with genetic, physiological, morphological and ecological aspects of micro-organisms. You will also learn about the harmful effects that chemicals can have on people and the environment. The biological, pharmacological and biochemical aspects are also discussed. With practicals, you learn to work sterile with micro-organisms.

Period 6

Physical Chemistry for Food Scientists

In this course, you will learn how to use thermodynamics to explain different physical and chemical processes in food. On the basis of food products, concepts such as entropy, phase diagrams and chemical potentials are explained.

Food Production Chains

In this course, you will become acquainted with the production processes in food technology, where you will learn why these processes are present in the production chain. In addition, you also look at the role of the consumer and how decisions in the production chain can be made on the basis of mathematical models.

Presentation Skills

In this short course, you will learn the theory about preparing and giving a presentation. You give various presentations, where you receive feedback from other students so that you develop yourself in presenting.

Year 2

The second year of the training consists of compulsory food technology courses from various disciplines.

Courses per period

Period 1

Mathematical Concepts & Food Technology

To solve practical problems, mathematical equations and principles are often needed. The course starts with basic principles such as energy balance, reaction kinetics, expectations, statistical analysis, reactors and heat transfer. On the basis of this, you learn to solve complex problems through a systematic approach.

Food Microbiology

For the production and preparation of provisions, it is important to have sufficient knowledge of micro-organisms. In this course, you will learn which factors influence the growth and inactivation of the various micro-organisms. You will also learn how to prevent contamination and what the role of hygiene is. A large part of the course consists of practicals.

Period 2

Food Chemistry

You learn how food behaves through chemistry. You learn about the compositions of food components, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In addition, you will learn which chemical processes take place during the storage and processing of food and how you can analyse the composition of provisions.

Food Production and Preservation

In this course, you will study techniques used for food production, such as separation processes, heating, cooling and the kinetics of future preservation. You learn to predict the shelf life of a product and which method is best used to keep a certain product as long as possible.

Period 3

Food Physics

Various structures are present in provisions, such as dispersions, emulsions, solutions, gels and foams. The interaction between these structures has an effect on the stability and properties of the product. In this physics course, you will learn how to adjust these properties by changing the temperature, pH or salt concentration.

Period 4

Food Packaging and Design

This course provides an overview of the various aspects and functions of packaging, in combination with the consumer, the product and the production chain. Packaging materials and processes are discussed in relation to the quality of the product.

Period 5

Food Engineering

Processing raw materials into a food product often requires a combination of techniques. Examples of techniques are drying, stabilization, evaporation and the processing of membranes. In this course, you will become acquainted with these techniques and apply the knowledge by designing your own production process in which you produce a product of high quality and safety.

Food Hazards

In this course, you learn to recognize the various hazards in food and their risks: toxins, contaminants, infections, micro-organisms and allergens. In addition, you will get a foundation in toxicology. With a group, you perform a risk analysis in the form of a HACCP. Finally, you learn what the influence of different stakeholders is on the safety of the product.

Period 6

Food Properties and Function

The first half of this course consists of lectures on consumers, ethical aspects, sensory research and methods to analyse products. After this, you design and analyse a food product, integrating all the knowledge acquired during the first 2 years: you take into account the process engineering, chemistry, physics, safety, quality and the design of the product.

Quality Systems Operations

Various systems have been developed to guarantee food quality. This course provides an introduction to these quality systems and standards. You also learn methods and techniques to control quality and you learn how to trace food products in the production chain.

Year 3

In the third year, one compulsory subject is taught. In addition, you take electives for six months, during which you can take courses that you find interesting. You conclude your BSc Food Technology with a graduation subject at one of the chair groups of Food Technology.

Case Studies

In this last course of your bachelor’s, you work together with other students on a case from the food industry. You analyse a product and devise ways to improve or innovate this product by changing ingredients or processes. It is necessary to integrate the different disciplines in food technology.

Free Electives

You can take a total of 30 ECTS of free electives, in the field of food technology or in another field. You can take the courses at Wageningen University, at another Dutch university or abroad. You can choose individual courses, but you can also take a prescribed minor, for example to prepare for another MSc programme. Together with the study advisor, you decide which courses you will take.

Graduation Subject

Your graduation subject, also known as your thesis, lasts 4 months and you usually do it at the end of the year. A thesis is a small study that you independently conduct and report. You can choose the subject of your thesis yourself at one of the chair groups of food technology. You do a practical research; you summarize the results and conclusions in a report. A PhD student or Postdoc supervises you with the thesis.

Forms of Education

Teaching periods

Every year of the programme is divided into six teaching periods, usually of eight weeks each. During the first six weeks, students complete two subjects (one morning and one afternoon subject), followed by a week of private study. The final week of each period is usually when the exams are held.

Periods 3 and 4 have a different structure: they are made up of four weeks each and usually only include one subject. Classes are given for the first three weeks, and exams are held in the final week.

All subjects in the bachelor total 180 credits under the ECTS. Most subjects are worth 6 ECs each.

Teaching methods

The Food Technology programme has a relatively high number of contact hours – around 24 per week. It is a broad programme and therefore includes a variety of teaching methods.

Lectures

During a lecture, students sit together in a lecture theatre and listen to the lecturer.

Tutorials

During tutorials, students work on assignments either alone or in groups. Tutorials present the opportunity to discuss with your fellow students. Often extra instructors are present, who can help solve any problems, answer questions, and explain the material straight away.

Project-based teaching

In project-based teaching, students work together in small groups on a problem or case study, under the supervision of an instructor. At the end of the session, students will have considered a range of solutions to the problem together, and learned about the best way to approach problems.

Computer/other practicums

Students generally put theory into practice during practicums, which involve conducting experiments (usually in groups of two or three) in a laboratory or other practical classroom, under the supervision of instructors or assistants. Not all practicums take place in a laboratory – some use computers and teach how to use software packages or how to produce a computer model.

Some subjects involve excursions to food companies. Some private study is required in addition to the contact hours; students can plan this study to suit their schedule.

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