MSc Brewing and Distilling

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date

Heriot-Watt University is regarded as one of the best places to study Brewing and Distilling. Our reputation is reflected by our unrivalled campus facilities, respected academic faculty, and the ongoing impact of our graduates in the drinks sector.

Podcast series: A Future Made

From Grain to Glass

In this episode we raise a toast - or three - to our academics and students. All who are doing ground-breaking work, with delicious results, at the University’s International Centre of Brewing and Distilling.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


MSc Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University 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 programme will ensure you build the skills and know-how required to perform successfully in the industry.

Our series of ‘Fit for work' events held on campus include seminars, talks, networking and recruitment exercises and involve a range of industry professionals from graduates with their own companies, to representatives from the major breweries and distilling companies.

Programme duration

MSc programmes last for one year (September to August inclusive) and include a substantial research project.

The Diploma covers the same taught classes as the MSc but lasts for just 9 months (September to May inclusive). Students admitted to the Diploma programme and who perform well in the taught courses may be invited to transfer to the appropriate MSc programme.

September 2024 entry

The deadline for applications from UK students is 30 August 2024. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 2 August 2024.

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The Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) offer MSc 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.

Leon Webb

Heriot-Watt is the home of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and has an outstanding reputation for expertise in the field.

Leon Webb, MSc Brewing and Distilling

Course content

During your studies, you will complete eight taught courses (five mandatory and three optional) and your MSc Research Project dissertation. 

Semester 1

Core courses

  • Cereals, Malting and Mashing
  • Wort Boiling and Fermentation

Optional courses

  • Foundations of Energy
  • Renewable Energy Technologies
  • Beverage Microbiology and Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Process Technology

Semester 2

Core courses

  • Distilling and Whisky Maturation
  • Filtration and Packaging
  • Research and Professional Practice

Optional courses

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Chemistry of Food
  • Food Processing
  • Management in the Food and Beverage Industries

Entry requirements

For MSc entry, candidates must hold a First or Second Class Honours Degree, or equivalent qualification from a British or overseas university, in a science or engineering subject (for example, Biological Sciences, Chemistry or Chemical/Mechanical Engineering).

For Diploma entry, candidates must hold a degree, preferably at Honours level, in an appropriate subject as defined above. Candidates who do not necessarily fulfil the above criteria may wish to apply to the Diploma programme. All such cases are given individual consideration.

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 requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

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

  • 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)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time
UK £10736 £5368
Overseas £26976 £13488


  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.

Additional scholarship information

  • The Incorporation of Coopers of Glasgow offers an award of £1,500 for one postgraduate student with best dissertation project, studying MSc Brewing and Distilling.
  • The Worshipful Company of Coopers of London offers an award of £1,500 for one postgraduate student with best dissertation project, studying MSc Brewing and Distilling.
  • The Worshipful Company of Distillers Scholarship offers a scholarship of £1200 to one student studying MSc Brewing and Distilling.
  • Whisky Auctioneer and Nc'nean Distillery will fund the tuition fees for a female student from the UK studying MSc Brewing and Distilling. This scholarship will also be accompanied by a one-week work experience placement with Nc'nean Distillery.
  • The Brewers Company (or Worshipful Company of Brewers) offers a brewing excellence scholarship of £1,000 for one postgraduate student studying MSc Brewing and Distilling.