Key information

Mode of delivery
Delivery type
Start date
1 year


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Our MSc Food Process Engineering provides you with an opportunity to develop your chemical, process engineering, food science, or biology knowledge to the specific requirements and context of the food and drink sector. You'll explore core theories and subjects across chemical engineering, process engineering, brewing, distilling, bioscience, and biology to set you up for a process engineering career in the food and beverage industry.  

During your studies, you'll apply engineering skills and knowledge to the specialist requirements of the food and drink sector and gain a broad spectrum of expertise. You'll assess sustainability issues involved in food production and learn to apply a variety of solutions to food and drink sustainability problems.  

You'll have the opportunity to learn from a comprehensive course structure, exploring topics in food and beverage biotechnology, processing, chemistry, toxicology, microbiology, nutrition, and biochemistry whilst also analysing emerging food products, and the life cycle of food production. During the Future Foods course and your summer Dissertation, you'll customise your learning by focusing in on a chosen subject as part of your individual research projects. 

Beyond the science and engineering, you will work with your academics and peers to gain valuable transferable skills. You'll develop your team working ability, communication, time management, prioritisation, job seeking, and interview skills and techniques. 

Upon completion of the programme, you will have the breadth and depth of knowledge in the necessary subjects required by the food and drink industry. You'll understand the underlying principles, concepts, theories, methods, and current and emerging developments in the food industry, which will equip you for life after graduation.   

Our expertise

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active chemical and process engineers and academics, and our brewing and distilling scientists and academics. You'll be taught by academics who have been employed within the Food Industry, with years of practical and professional experience in research and development.  

96% of Heriot-Watt University's engineering research was classed as world-leading in the REF 2021 review, which ranked us 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for engineering research through a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh.  

Chemical and Process Engineering has been taught and researched at Heriot-Watt University for over 50 years. Heriot-Watt is ranked 2nd in Scotland and 8th in the UK for chemical engineering by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2024).

Teaching in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt began in 1903, which led to the establishment of the highly reputable International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) in 1989. The ICBD has established itself as an excellent research centre, with close ties with the professional and industrial world of science, engineering, and technology.   

As part of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, our academics are involved in in food science research. You will learn directly from academics involved in world leading research focusing on the functional properties of food proteins, characterisation of beneficial food related phytochemicals, and nanomaterials in food. 

The research relevance of this postgraduate programme ensures your studies remain innovative and industry focused.  

Your learning environment

The MSc Food Process Engineering programme is taught though a combination of lectures, tutorials, and laboratory practicals, allowing you to get to know and build relationships with your teaching staff, academics, and peers. You will be evaluated by a variety of assessments, including coursework, exams, and your dissertation, and will receive support and feedback throughout the programme.     

During your studies, you'll have access to our specialist equipment, software and laboratories used by industry, including both Brewing and Distilling facilities, e.g. our on-site nano-brewery (2 HL), distillery, and rectification laboratory, and Chemical and Process Engineering facilities, e.g. condensation rig, continuous stirred tank reactor, absorption columns, reactant distribution reactors, heat exchangers, distillation columns, absorption column, and fermenters.  

You will have the opportunity to work on real-world problems, and work across disciplines to deliver practical solutions with global impact in our state-of-the-art GRID (Global Research Innovation and Discovery) facility.   

Outside of the classroom, there are various Process Engineering and Brewing and Distilling related societies which provide the opportunity to meet likeminded people, gain insights into industry and career opportunities, and get involved in regular social events and networking events. Societies include: 

Customise your learning

You'll have the opportunity to focus on the areas of food process engineering that interest you the most. You'll follow a comprehensive curriculum studying courses including food biotechnology, future foods, food processing, and beverage microbiology and biochemistry.  

In semester three, you'll undertake an extensive and specialised research investigation into your chosen area of food process engineering through your dissertation. You'll be required to demonstrate your mastery of the subject area by constructing a series of experiments, surveys and investigations to obtain desired date and help formulate conclusions.  

The programme is delivered on a full-time basis commencing in September each year. Your studies will last 12 months.  


You will learn from a programme and course structure which has been specifically formed to respond to the global industry demand for graduates with science or engineering backgrounds, with knowledge of the Food and Drink industry. This will set you up well to gain employment as food process engineers upon graduation.  

We work closely with industry through our Industrial Advisory Boards for chemical engineering and brewing and distilling, which contain alumni and company representative. This helps us to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You'll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.    


Having launched the programme for September 2024 entry, accreditation will be sought from the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). 

Postgraduate Masterclass Series

We’re running a series of free online masterclasses throughout July to showcase our postgraduate taught study options. Take a look at the exciting topics our academic experts will be speaking about and book to attend.

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Course content

Year 1

Semester one

All courses are mandatory.

  • Future Foods
  • Process Engineering
  • Food and Beverage Toxicology
  • Beverage Microbiology and Biochemistry

Semester two

All courses are mandatory.

  • Food Biotechnology
  • Food Processing
  • Chemistry of Food
  • Research and Professional Practice

Semester three

  • MSc Dissertation Project

Go Global

Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees
Status [footnote 1] Full-time
UK 10600
Overseas [footnote 2] 24496


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

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. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

Entry requirements


Graduates with a good first degree from a relevant subject area will be considered. Suitable backgrounds include: chemical engineering, chemistry, biosciences/technology or cognate disciplines. 

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability.

The minimum English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 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)

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