Food Science and Nutrition: Pre-University Science

Level 5 QQI Award.


This is a Full time one year course


This course is suitable for students who are interested in preparing for a career as a food scientist and/or further education in 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. The food industry, Ireland’s largest industry, with Irish food companies being amongst the most successful in the world, employing up to 230,000 is expected to grow. This sector needs highly qualified graduates with a clear understanding of food, nutrition, health and their interrelationships.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate - You must have achieved 5 passes or 5 O6/H7's or a combination of 5 O6/H7's or its equivalent.
  • Leaving Certificate Applied with a Merit Profile
  • Full QQI Level 4 Award
  • Mature Applicants (aged 21 or over) - appropriate experience will be considered
  • As there is an emphasis on the science subjects, Biology and Chemistry, a background in science would be desirable

Course Modules

  • Laboratory Skills
  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Food Safety and HACCP
  • 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 process, 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 a personal skills set, the development of an industry type CV, interview preparation and practice. Current relevant work place 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 in 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
  • Small class groups
  • Visits to industry
  • Professional guest lectures
  • CAO advise

This course is 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.

Work Experience

Students will be required to undertake a period work placement in an organisation connected to their vocational area during the academic year.  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

Progression Opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities. Places are not guaranteed and are subject to students meeting certain criteria.  It is the students' responsibility to consult with the individual third level college websites for more information.  Information is also available at

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 that are now available in Ireland.

Progression Examples

BSc in Food Science

Bachelor of Science

BSc in Agricultural Science

BSc in Dairy Business

BA Arts

BA Humanities

University College Dublin

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology

Bachelor of Science in Biological and Medical Science

National University of Ireland Maynooth

BSc in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

BSc in Chemical Sciences

BSc in Physical Sciences

Trinity College Dublin

BSc in Nutraceuticals in Health and Nutrition

BSc in Food Innovation

BSc in Environmental Health

BSc in Clinical Measurement Science

BA in Culinary Arts

TU Dublin -City Campus (formerly DIT)

Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition, Food and
Business Management

St Angels's College Sligo

Career Paths

Students should use this course as a stepping stone in order to obtain 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, 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