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MSc Brewing and Distilling

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    Key information

    Mode of delivery
    Start date
    September, January


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    The degree prepares candidates for entry into the malting, brewing or distilling industries, or to conduct research. It covers a broad range of subjects, from brewing science and chemical engineering, to business studies and production management.

    The quickly developing craft industry, both in brewing and distilling, requires graduates with knowledge of modern instrumentation and this degree will ensure you build the skills and know-how required to perform successfully in the industry.

    The distance learning programme is taught jointly with the on-campus programme with taught courses running from September to December and January to May. Lectures are typically live-streamed but also recorded and posted on our online blackboard along with various other learning materials. The majority of courses involve assignment based assessment, with 1-2 coursework submissions during the semester and a longer assignment at the end.

    Our distance learning students are welcome to visit campus anytime, and opportunities for practical experience are available.

    All students are initially registered for the PG Diploma but may exit with:

    • A course completion certificate - on completion of 1, 2 or 3 courses.
    • PG Certificate - on completion of 4 courses.
    • PG Diploma - on completion of 8 courses.
    • MSc - on completion of 8 courses with an average of 50% or more and the research project course.

    Degree duration

    Two years minimum. Two to four years for completion of the PG Diploma with a further 3 years for completion of the MSc project course.

    Professional recognition

    The Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) offer graduates the opportunity for exemption from the Diploma in Brewing, or Diploma in Distilling should they, later in their career, wish to undertake the IBD Master Brewer or Master Distiller qualification through the IBD.

    Course content

    Year 1

    Degree structure

    Semester 2
    • Research and Professional Practice
    Any semester
    • Cereals, Malting and Mashing
    • Distilling and Whisky Maturation
    • Filtration and Packaging
    • MSc Research Project
    • Wort Boiling and Fermentation
    • Foundations of Energy
    • Renewable Energy Technologies
    • Environmental Impact Assessment
    • Beverage Microbiology and Biochemistry
    • Introduction to Process Technology
    • Management in the Food and Beverage Industries

    Detailed degree guide

    Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills

    The Programme aims to enable learners to:

    • Develop detailed knowledge and understanding of the fundamental subjects and topics which are essential in gaining the broad spectrum of expertise required for malting, brewing and distilling: cereal science and technology, yeast science, microbiology, biochemistry, process technology, business strategies, management, food safety, practical and project skills (malting, brewing and distilling), quality control and quality assurance, flavour assessment, analytical chemistry.
    • Develop a sound understanding and knowledge of policy, legislation, ethical, health and safety issues of concern as they relate to the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of alcoholic drinks and for the raw materials, processing aids, by-products and wastes of the industry.
    • Develop specialist knowledge of the malting, brewing, fermentation, processing, distillation, maturation, packaging and distribution process stages in the production of alcoholic drinks.
    • Develop knowledge and understanding of the methods and research skills for investigating new and existing problem areas in malting, brewing and distilling, so that the ability is acquired to conduct independent research and to solve problems.
    • Develop knowledge and understanding of the business environment pertaining to malting, brewery and distillery companies including the main areas of strategic planning, operations management, organisational structure, human resources management, marketing, finance, intellectual property and due diligence.
    • Critically analyse and evaluate subject material and concepts.

    Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research Informed Learning)

    The Programme aims to enable learners to:-

    • Comprehend, analyse and critically evaluate theory, research findings, process applications.
    • Diagnose attributes and defects in alcoholic drinks.
    • Recognise, evaluate and comment on alternative theories, opinions and points of view.
    • Explore alternative theories and hypotheses.
    • Understand and use data and information effectively.
    • Apply and interpret statistical and numerical information.

    Approaches to Teaching and Learning

    A wide range of approaches are used for teaching and learning, these include lectures, tutorials, laboratories and assignments such as essays, problems, case studies, projects and presentations. Examinations provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have grasped a wide range of key concepts and can articulate them clearly.

    Assessment Policies

    Understanding, knowledge and subject-specific skills will be evaluated by course work (assignments as essays, problems, case studies, projects and presentations) as well as written examinations.

    The MSc project will be assessed by submission of a written thesis.

    Fees and funding

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees
    Status Per course [footnote 1] Dissertation/Project [footnote 1]
    UK / EU / Overseas GBP1100 GBP2400
    1. The tuition fees listed are for courses starting between September 2023 and August 2024. Fees normally increase annually. Find out more about our tuition fees.

    Additional fee information

    Financial support

    Tuition fee loans are available to Scottish distance learning students on some taught postgraduate courses. Find out more from the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

    Scholarships and bursaries

    We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Each year, hundreds of students enhance their educational experience through a variety of Heriot-Watt and externally funded scholarships, including opportunities funded by the University's generous alumni community, based all over the world.

    View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

    Entry requirements

    For MSc level entry applicants must have:

    • Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area.
    • Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.

    For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:

    • Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
    • Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
    • Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.

    There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.

    Non-graduating study at masters level:

    • Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    We are committed to providing study opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). For more information on RPL, please contact the Online Admissions Team (egis-idl-apps@hw.ac.uk) ahead of application. We can only consider requests for RPL at the time of application to a course of study.

    English language requirements

    If English is not the applicant's first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.

    Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree course. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.

    We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters course:

    • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
    • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
    • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
    • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

    Why Heriot-Watt?

    Flexibility and affordability

    Study at a time and pace that suits you, and even while you work. HW Online offers pay-as-you-study courses and fees inclusive of exams and study materials, meaning you can focus on success, not extra costs.

    Your career

    Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

    Online events

    We host online events throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to speak to our academic teaching staff, meet students, find out what it is like to study using our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and discover how to enrol.

    Lifelong connections

    Upon completing your studies you will automatically join the UK's oldest alumni association The Watt Club, with 147k members worldwide.

    Study options Edinburgh - Brewing and Distilling

    Our MSc in Brewing and Distilling is also available to study at our Edinburgh campus.

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