Food Science and Nutrition: Pre-University Science

Level 5 QQI Award. - Laboratory Techniques 5M3807


This is a Full-time One Year course which runs from Sept. to May. Exact details of the timetable will be given out to students during the induction process prior to class commencement in September.


This course is suitable for students who are interested in preparing for a career as a food scientist and/or further education in the food, science or agriculture sectors. A food scientist applies their knowledge of biology, chemistry and engineering to develop and improve foods and has a role to play in all aspects of the food chain from production to processing, storage and marketing. As Ireland's largest Indigenous sector, the Irish Food Industry employs over 54,000 people and 23,000 new jobs are anticipated in the food sector in the coming years, as specified in the Food Wise 2025 report. This sector needs highly qualified graduates with a clear understanding of food, nutrition, sustainabilities, health and their interrelationships. Students throughout the year on this course, will have the opportunity to meet scientists, researchers, and postgraduate students in a vast array of scientific fields.  This generally takes the format of talks, workshops, and field trips.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate (LC Established, LCVP, LCA) or equivalent
  • A Full QQI Level 4 Award (or equivalent)
  • For Mature applicants (aged 21 or over) - appropriate experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications. Note: Mature applicants may be entitled to VTOS funding. For details about VTOS, please contact the college.
  • As there is an emphasis on the science subjects, Biology and Chemistry, a background in science would be desirable
  • Applicants whose first language is not English require level B1 competency on the CEFR language framework. Applicants may be required to undergo English language testing to establish their language competency.

Course Modules

  • Laboratory Skills
  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Fruit and Vegetable Production
  • Mathematics
  • Communications
  • Work Experience
Module Information

Module Information

Food Science and Nutrition: Pre-University Science

Level 5 QQI Award: Laboratory Techniques 5M38071.

Course Content (Module Names and Codes)


1. Laboratory Skills 5N2751

This practical module will give the student the knowledge, skill and competence to operate safely under supervision in a laboratory environment. The students will be given the opportunity to develop skills and become proficient in the use of lab equipment. Students will observe, record and interpret data through hands-on laboratory work and practice their skills of laboratory report writing which will be the basis of any laboratory-based career. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Project (40%), Skills Demonstration (40%), Learner Record (20%).


2. Microbiology 5N0737    

This module will equip the student to undertake various microbiological techniques in the laboratory, examine microbes in the food industry, work safely with microorganisms in a lab environment and create awareness of microbes in the general environment such as air, water etc. Students will develop their academic and vocational language, literacy and numeracy skills related to microbiology. This will prepare students for participation in basic microbiological work practices or to pursue further education at higher levels. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Skills Demonstration (20%), Learner Record (50%), Examination (30%).


3. Chemistry 5N2747    

The aim of this module is to allow the learner to become confident with key chemistry concepts, which can be applied to laboratory procedures, industrial processes, and everyday life. Learners will be introduced to various areas of study including, electronic structure, titrations, organic chemistry and laboratory safety. As part of their assessment learners will develop confidence in laboratory skills and experimental work. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Examination (50%), Skills Demonstration (25%), Learner Record (25%).


4. Mathematics 5N1833    

Students will acquire mathematical skills in problem solving and mathematical investigations in the following areas: mathematical modelling, statistics and probability, graphing functions, differential and integral calculus, complex numbers and trigonometry.

Assessment: Two Assignments (30% each) Examination (40%).


5. Nutrition 5N2006    

Students will have the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and competence in the nutritional composition of food and the effects of food and nutrition on an individual’s health and personal well-being. Healthy eating and its benefits to good health as well as identifying the components of a healthy diet for all age groups will be explored. Current HSE dietary recommendations will be evaluated such as the new food pyramid. The process of digestion and the factors that affect it will be studied along with the role of food and its significance in the management of various conditions and diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and dental caries. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Two Assignments (30% each)  Examination (40%) 


6. Biology 5N2746    

This module aims to equip students with theory and biological concepts to carry out various skills and experiments in the field of biology. Learners will study various topics including, cell diversity, genetics, ecology and microbiology and current developments in biological science. Students are facilitated to develop safe laboratory skills, confidence in experimental work and good laboratory practice. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Exam (50%), Skills Demonstration (25%), Learner Record (25%).


7. Work Experience 5N1356    

Students will prepare for work placement in their relevant vocational area through an evaluation of personal skills set, the development of an industry type CV, interview preparation and practice. Current relevant workplace legislation is also evaluated and assessed. An integral part of this module is developing skills required for a successful job search; and so, students are facilitated to secure a relevant work placement. On completion of the work placement (60 hours) the student will reflect, review and consider their future career options.

Assessment: Collection of Work (60%) Skills Demonstration (Work placement 40%).


8. Communications 5N0690    

This module explores the role of communication in human interaction in theory and practice. Students are facilitated to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and competence to communicate verbally and nonverbally in standard everyday tasks and work-related situations. Students will have the opportunity to develop important vocational related skills such as report writing, report reading, listening, and speaking skills (through oral presentation, interviews, group work) and modern information communication technology.

Assessment: Collection of Work (50%)  Skills Demonstration (50%).


9. Fruit & Vegetable Production 5N2552    

Through this hands-on module, students will learn how to choose a growing site with adequate soil preparation, knowledge of crop rotation and protective cropping. Also, there will be an emphasis on an awareness of crop irrigation, pollination in fruit and veg; how to safely protect/grow/maintain year-round fruit and vegetable crops right through from propagation to harvest. Industry field trips and external speakers are a key part of this module.

Assessment: Assignment (30%), Skills Demonstration (40%), Examination (30%).


  • Level 5 QQI Award Laboratory Techniques (5M3807)

Special Features

  • Work placement
  • Hands-on laboratory experience
  • Field trips/Lab Tours: Rye River Brewing, Kildare, Annual Brewery Trip, Lab Scientific Lab Tour, Dublin, Department of Agriculture and Food Lab Tour, Kildare, Kerry Group Headquarters, Kildare, Botanic Gardens, Dublin, Killiney Beach Trip, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Annual UCD Open Day for FET students, Ringsend WasterwaterTreatment Plant, Dublin, Maritime Museum, Dún Laoghaire
  • Workshops: Spectroscopy in a suitcase workshop by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Amgen Biotech Experience
  • Guest speakers from industry and academia give talks about real-world STEM applications and careers: Science Communicator Dr. Niamh Shaw, Dr. Claudia Rocha, School of Physics, TCD, The Irish Astrobiologist, Stewart Gault, PhD Researcher, Dr. Conor Dowling, Smart Sandyford, Natalia Garcia Domenech, PhD candidate, School of Chemistry, TCD. Dr. Joseph Crispell, Data Scientist, UCD, Anne McCormick, Bloom Health, Sandyford, Joseph Ahern, Functional Blends Manager, Kerry Food Group
  • This course is also supported by FIT, which offers students the opportunity to acquire essential skills to gain employment. Students are given training in job interview techniques and CV preparation
  • CAO advice

Amgen Biotech Experience

Students will be encouraged to develop a scientific mindset open to ideas and experimentation along with analytical, problem-solving and research skills, through the Amgen Biotech Experience which DFEi takes part in each year. This innovative science education program brings cutting edge biotechnology into the classroom. It introduces students to the importance of scientific discovery through a molecular biology learning experience that links core science concepts to real-world applications. One of these concepts is DNA fingerprinting which is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals or samples by their respective DNA profiles.


All DFEi students are provided with an M365 account, which gives them access to the tools and resources needed to deliver assessment work while attending their course. M365 Apps include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, outlook and OneDrive.

Work Experience

Students will be required to undertake a period work placement in an organisation connected to their vocational area during the academic year.  Work Experience is mandatory for all of our full-time Level 5 courses. Students are required to source their own work placement but will be assisted in this by the work experience teacher.  The work placement is usually for a period of 10 days or a minimum of 60 hours.  Students usually find the work experience element of the course to be invaluable and should bear in mind that a successful work placement can sometimes lead to further opportunities.

Additional Information


Assessment techniques will be used to assess the knowledge and skills that students will have achieved on successful completion of modules:

  • Student Record
  • Portfolio/Collection of Work
  • Assignments
  • Examination - Written or Practical
  • Project

All assignments are submitted electronically.  Therefore all students need access to a device such as a computer/laptop.

A full major award is granted on passing the relevant eight components.  On successful completion of each component, you will be awarded a pass, a merit or a distinction grade. See for more details

Progression Opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to year one of a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities using their full QQI Level 5 major award. Places are not guaranteed in these Institutes and are subject to students meeting certain criteria.  It is the students' responsibility to consult with the relevant HEI for information on the admissions process and any specific entry requirements. Students may also refer to the individual HEI prospectus or may also refer to the QQI FET section of the CAO website.

There are progression options in a wide range of areas including food science, general science, agricultural science, sports science, culinary arts, applied science in nutrition and many other related areas. Example are shown below. However a full list of programmes to choose from will be given to all students at induction in September.

Students from this course may also progress onto a number of apprenticeships for example Laboratory Technician or Laboratory Analyst that are now available in Ireland.

Graduates can progress to work in companies such as Kerry Group, Glanbia, All in All Ingredients, Ornua.

Progression Examples

BSc in Food Science (DN261)

Bachelor of Science (DN200)

BSc Agricultural Science (DN250)

BAgrSc in Dairy Business (DN252)

BSc Sustainability with Environmental Science (DN240)

BSc Agri-Environmental Sciences (DN253)

University College Dublin -

Bachelor of Science (MH201)

BSc Biotechnology (MH202)

BSc Biological and Biomedical Science (MH208)

BSc Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Chemistry (MH210)

BSc Computer Science (MH602)

BSc Biological and Geographical Science (MH203)

Maynooth University -

BSc Biological and Biomedical Sciences (TR060)

BSc Chemical Sciences (TR061)

BSc Physical Sciences (TR063)

BSc Geography and Geoscience (TR062)

Bachelor of Dental Technology (TR803)

Trinity College Dublin -

BSc Nutraceuticals in Health and Nutrition (TU882)

Bachelor of Science in Food Innovation (TU881)

BSc Environmental Health (TU869)

BSc Clinical Measurement Science (TU868)

BSc Culinary Science (TU944)

Bachelor of Science (TU854)

BSc Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (TU762)

BSc Pharmaceutical Healthcare (TU875)

BSc Biosciences (TU751)

BSc DNA and Forensic Analysis (TU752), (TU864)

Technological University Dublin -

Bachelor of Applied Science (Nutrition, Food and
Business Management) (AS051)

St. Angela's College Sligo -

BSc Analytical Science (DC161)

BSc Environmental Science and Technology (DC166)

BSc Biological Sciences (DC180)

BSc Science Education (DC203)

BSc Biotechnology (DC181)

Dublin City University -

BSc Nutritional Science (CK504)

BSc Public Health Services (CK706)

BSc Medical and Health Sciences (CK707)

University College Cork -

Bachelor of Science (GY301)

BSc Biomedical Science (GY303)

BSc Biotechnology (GY304)

BSc Environmental Science (GY308)

BSc Marine Science (GY310)

BSc Environmental Health and Safety (GY313)

Galway University -

BEd (Hons) in Home Economics (AU988). This Degree is recognised by the Teaching Council of Ireland for teaching Home Economics to the highest level in the postprimary sector.

BEd (Hons) in Home Economics and Biology (AU985).  This Degree is recognised by the Teaching Council of Ireland for teaching Home Economics and Biology to the highest level in the post primary sector.

St. Angela's College, Lough Gill, Sligo (Atlantic Technological University, Sligo)

Career Paths

Students should use this course as a stepping stone to obtaining a high-level qualification in the progression areas listed below. Alternatively, students may seek immediate employment in a range of companies and projects that seek graduates with a science aptitude. Career opportunities such as food technologists, food scientists, microbiologists, food safety consultants, covid testing workers, technicians, food engineers, laboratory assistants and product development managers exist for graduates who complete further or higher education qualifications.

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly


Caoimhe Fox

2019 Graduate - Now studying Science in UCD

I came to DFEi as a mature student. Coming here gave me huge confidence. The teachers were amazing and I made good friends.  I got in to Science in UCD and I would like to specialise in…

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Caoimhe Fox

2019 Graduate - Now studying Science in UCD

I came to DFEi as a mature student. Coming here gave me huge confidence. The teachers were amazing and I made good friends.  I got in to Science in UCD and I would like to specialise in Microbiology.  The course was a great preparation for 3rd level. I would definitely recommend doing a PLC course before going to college

Course Coordinator

Eileen Connell

Eileen Connell

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly