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Brewing and Distilling (Partnership College Route)

Key information

Our BSc Brewing and Distilling (college partnership route) with Forth Valley College, educates future leaders of the food and drink sector.

Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
Non Graduating
Mode of delivery
4 years
Start date

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

The programme is delivered for the first two years at Forth Valley College, where you will study the fundamental principles of Industrial Biotechnology.

Entry requirements

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

For this special partnership programme, Years 1 and 2 are taken at Forth Valley College. See Forth Valley College for more information.

One of the following:

  • Two Highers at grade C or above (which should include Biology, Chemistry or Maths)
  • Successful completion of a relevant access course or an appropriate group of National Qualification units
  • Applicants who do not meet this criteria, but have relevant experience or alternative qualifications, will be considered

    Additional Requirements:
  • Please note that selection will be made via a successful interview and group task

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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