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Open for Clearing 2024

BSc (Hons) Brewing and Distilling

Key information

At the forefront of the Brewing and Distilling industry for the UK.

UCAS code
Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
BSc (Hons)
Mode of delivery
4 years
Start date

Overview of Programme 

BSc Brewing and Distilling provides you with the unique opportunity to gain a grounding in engineering and science and explore the mechanisms behind brewing and distilling at an undergraduate level. This is the only undergraduate programme of its kind in the UK, in which you can tailor and develop your STEM knowledge, skills, and background to the drinks and beverage industry.  

During your undergraduate studies, you’ll learn from a broad curriculum from a wide range of disciplines, including brewing and distilling, biology, process engineering, mathematics, beverage microbiology and biochemistry, food microbiology, bioprocessing, quantitative and qualitative analytical skills, with optional modules in business, accounting and finance, operations management, enterprise, and sustainable development. To develop your brewing and distilling subject knowledge, you’ll explore fundamental topics including, but not limited to, cereal science and technology, yeast science, microbiology, biochemistry, process technology, business studies, management, food safety, quality control and quality assurance, flavour assessment and analytical chemistry.  

You will develop a sound basis in fundamental scientific and technological principles and learn to apply this in the context of malting, brewing, and distilling. You’ll explore the underlying principles, relevant defining concepts, theories and methods, the current state of knowledge and future development possibilities of the industries, whilst grasping the global, regional, and local contexts of malting, brewing and distilling. You’ll develop knowledge of policy, legislation, ethical, health and safety issues relating to the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of alcoholic drinks which will provide you with a plethora of knowledge and skills which you can directly apply to various roles in industry upon graduation.  

The drink and beverage industry is continuously growing, and is becoming an increasingly important part of GDP. In Scotland alone, more than 11,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry, with a further 42,000 people indirectly employed by the industry. The growing demand for graduates with an understanding of brewing and distilling, will make you highly employable upon completion of the course.     

You’ll gain hands-on experience by utilising our on-site brewery, distillery, and rectification laboratory to support your in-depth scientific learning. This will ensure you build the skills and expertise to perform successfully in industry and make you highly employable in all sizes of brewing, distilling and allied industries.  

Your student experience

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active brewing and distilling scientists and academics. 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.  

The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling is a unique teaching and research facility which meets the needs of the brewing, distilling, and malting industries worldwide. You will learn directly from academics involved in this world leading research, whose work focuses on promoting excellence across five main research themes across the brewing and distilling industries:

  • Raw materials 

  • Malting 

  • Process improvement 

  • Sustainability 

  • Biochemistry and microbiology 

Beyond their academic careers, your teaching staff hold various positions of responsibility and authority throughout the industry, including roles on global and local drink companies’ boards and management teams, and on governmental bodies. As a result, your learning will be informed directly by the conversations staff are having both within the university, and outwith in the national and international beverage markets they represent. The teaching staff external roles will further help to improve the industry relevance of the programme, as they will adapt the course content accordingly based on current and predicted industry changes.

The research and industry focused nature of this undergraduate programme ensures your studies remain innovative and up to date with current and emerging trends.

Go Global

There are currently no Go Global opportunities for this particular programme. However, other Go Global opportunities may be available. Please contact for more information.

Course content

September Intake - Edinburgh

Introduces the necessary Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and related topics that are fundamental to Brewing and Distilling.

Mandatory September

  • Introductory Biology 1
  • Practical Skills in Biology
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together A

Mandatory January

  • Introductory Biology 2
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • Shaping Tomorrow Together B

Mandatory AY

  • Introduction to Process Engineering

Programme Video

Why does the world need engineering?

Fees and funding

ScotlandPaid by SAAS
England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland£9,250
  • Status: 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.
  • International: 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above).

Scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details

Entry requirements

We have standard entry requirements for all of our courses that you will have to meet.

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers ABBB (including B in Chemistry or Biology and C in Maths)
  • A-Levels BCC - BBB (including Maths and either Chemistry or Biology with one at B)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points (with Higher Level Science at 5 and Higher Level Mathematics at 6)
  • BTEC DMM (in a relevant subject)
  • HNC A in graded unit (of an appropriate HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (B in Chemistry or Biology)
  • A-Levels CCC (Including Maths and either Chemistry or Biology)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Why Heriot-Watt

We're the top university in Scotland for graduate outcomes which means that more of our graduates are employed or in postgraduate education than any other institution in the country and we ranked 5th in the UK.

We're also rated number one in the UK for CEO or MD roles, meaning more of our graduates go on to become CEOs or MDs than any other university in the whole of the UK. On top of that, we have beautiful campuses, across the globe, so you'll get a truly international education. Our Edinburgh Campus is home to Oriam, Scotland's National Sports Performance Centre combined with plenty of wellbeing resources, prioritising fitness and mental health for all students. Our Global Research Institutes look at solving real world issues such as climate change and saving our oceans as well as working on the next medical technological breakthrough and the future of AI and robots.

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