Sensory Science PGCert


Fact file

PGCert Sensory Science
part-time 36 months
Entry requirements
At least a 2nd class honours degree
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Sutton Bonington Campus
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


As the only postgraduate course in sensory science in the UK, this programme equips students with the skills and experience to significantly enhance their employability either within a research environment or in industry.
Read full overview

The PGCert Sensory Science is aimed primarily at individuals working in the food or related industries.The programme has been designed to meet a need for structured sensory science training in the UK food industry.

The course will provide you with comprehensive training in a variety of areas related to sensory science, including sensory techniques, statistical analysis, psychology, physiology and perception, and consumer studies. 

This course is delivered in collaboration with Campden BRI.

All modules can be taken as stand alone training courses.

Key facts

  • The Sensory Science Centre (in the school's food sciences group) is well known for its research and training in sensory science. It offers state of the art facilities and the only formal qualification in sensory science in the UK.
  • Campden BRI, the UK’s largest food RA, supports the food industry through training, scientific services and research. The Sensory Group at Campden BRI has substantial experiences in providing sensory services for industry.
  • The School of Biosciences is ranked the no.1 research environment in the UK (for agriculture, veterinary and food science) in the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework). 97% of our work (in the Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science ) was judged to be of international quality.

Course details

The University of Nottingham and Campden BRI offer six taught modules which are taught as ‘stand alone’ courses.They provide an easy way to strengthen or up-date your knowledge in a particular area. (See Modules page)

Successful completion of all six can lead to the award of a PGCert Sensory Science.  

A formal examination and/or a piece of coursework assess each module. The flexible nature of the course enables delegates to study on a part-time basis, typically two modules a year. Most delegates complete the course in 2-3 years.

Start date for the PGCert is recommended as September or February, although registration is possible at any time throughout the academic year.

Modules are supported through the University’s virtual learning environment which provides access to a wealth of electronic resources to facilitate learning. Delegates registered on the PGCert also have full access to the University’s extensive online and in house learning resources, information services and career services.


Please see school's webpages or contact us for information on the costs of each module.



Modules currently offered are:

Sensory Evaluation and Sensory Techniques

A review of the senses and an introduction to sensory evaluation techniques used in the industry together with basic statistical tests used to analyse sensory data. Both discrimination and descriptive tests are covered together with insights into approaches for panel recruitment training and performance.

Sensory Evaluation - Statistical Methods and Interpretation

Univariate and multivariate and interpretation statistics including ANOVA and updated content. Principal Component Analysis.

Advanced Sensory Science and Topical Techniques

Biological basis of sensory receptors, psychophysical laws and sensory testing, threshold measurement, d’ and Rindex measures. Temporal measures e.g. TI and TDS. Rapid descriptive methods e.g napping, flash profiling. Understanding multimodal perception.

Consumer Sensory Science

Factors affecting food choice behaviour. Hedonic techniques --- acceptability, preference and emotional response. Cognitive psychology. Qualitative research methods. Quantitative research methods. Elicitation techniques e.g. Repertory Grid. Preference Mapping.

Food Flavour

This is a one week intensive course in the Easter Holidays.

  • The biochemical origin of flavours
  • The key chemical pathways for thermal flavour generation (Maillard, caramelisation)
  • The release of flavours from foods during eating
  • The interaction of flavours with the sensors in the mouth and nose. Flavour legislation. Flavour analysis. Flavour formulation.

Sensory Science Project

Please note that all module details are subject to change. More details about modules and dates as stand-alone courses can be found on the school's webpages

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



UK/EU students

The Graduate School website at The University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

International and EU students

The International Office provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, scholarships, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Retailers and suppliers are increasingly looking to include consumer research and objective sensory tests in the product development process, as one crucial part in reducing the risks associated with existing and new product development activity.

The PGCert will equip you with the skills and experience necessary to competently conduct qualitative and quantitative consumer research and a variety of sensory evaluation methods, for companies within the food and related industries.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £24,495 with the highest being £37,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

A significant proportion of graduates from this programme choose to continue to PhD degrees leading to postdoctoral research careers; others establish careers as Research Assistants/Experimental Officers in academic or research institutes or secure administrative/technical positions in the biological sciences.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers** and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career. 

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

** The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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+44 (0)115 951 6610
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Liz Dinneen
School of Biosciences
The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
LE12 5RD
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