Health, Nutrition and Food Science

QQI Level 5 Award
Health Nutrition & Food Science

Course Overview

The Health, Nutrition & Food Science course focuses on food chemistry and nutrition while also covering other science disciplines such as microbiology. All the science and food processing modules have a considerable proportion of practical work in them, which the learner will undertake on this two-year programme. The course is suitable for students who are interested in returning to education or upskilling for a career of food industry, science, food safety & quality, or continuing onto further education in the food, science, or nutrition sectors. 

As Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, the Irish Food Industry employs over 54,000 people and 23,000 new jobs are anticipated in the food sector in the coming years, as specified in the Food Wise 2025 report. This sector needs qualified graduates with a clear understanding of food, nutrition, sustainability, health, and their interrelationships. Students throughout the two years on this course, will have the opportunity to meet with some students presently studying or graduates from a vast array of fields such as home economics, human nutrition and phytotherapy to mention a few. 

As part of our programme, we use the format of blending learning methodologies, along with discussions, workshops, and field trips, while also obtaining work experience which is an integral part of the programme. Students will be encouraged to develop a scientific mindset open to ideas and experimentation along with advancing in analytical and problem-solving skills, while further enhancing their research skills. 

Students will also be provided with the Environmental Health Association of Irelands (EHAI), HACCP – Management in food safety course which is integrated into the two-year programme. Students will receive an added certification on completion of this module. Those awarded a distinction in this module then may apply to the EHAI to become a registered food safety trainer themselves. In conjunction with ATU Sligo St Angelas, we also run an access programme for those wishing to pursue a career in home economics teaching. This is an alternative entry route for our learners to ATU Sligo St. Angelas – Bachelor of Education Degree in home economics. 

Course Modules

  • Microbiology
  • Food Chemistry
  • Food processing
  • Nutrition
  • Dietetics
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Food Safety & HACCP
  • Food Hygiene
  • Food Science & Technology
  • Communications
  • Customer Service
  • Work Experience

Special Features

  • Work placement
  • Erasmus + work experience abroad opportunities
  • Hands-on science & food laboratory experience 
  • Field trips & guest speakers
  • HACCP The management of food safety Certification with the (EHAI) – Environmental Health Association of Ireland 
  • Access programme with ATU Sligo – St Angelas for Home Economics teaching
  • Workshops e.g. bakery, butchery, cheesemaking, distillation or brewing & fermentation workshops 
  • CV & Interview preparation
  • Microsoft365 account & laptop provided 
  • Free access to adult guidance counselling services 
  • All VTOS Drumshanbo students are provided with a Microsoft365 account, which gives them access to the necessary tools and resources needed for the assessment of work while attending their course. Microsoft365 Apps include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and OneDrive. Microsoft Teams and Moodle are also used in the delivery of all modules in the FET centre.

Work Experience

Students will be required to undertake a period of work placement in an organisation or company suitable and connected to their chosen vocational area during the academic year.  Work Experience is mandatory for all full-time QQI Level 5 courses. Students are encouraged to source their own work placement but will be assisted in this by the work experience teachers also.  The work placement is usually for a minimum of 60 hours. Students usually find the work experience element of the course to be invaluable and should bear in mind that a successful work placement can sometimes lead to further opportunities as we have witnessed with past students.

Additional Information

Assessment techniques will be used to assess the knowledge and skills that students will have achieved on successful completion of modules:

  • Student learning record
  • Portfolio/Collection of work
  • Skills demonstrated 
  • Assignments
  • Examination – written or practical
  • Projects – group work

All assignments and exams are submitted electronically online via Moodle.  Therefore, all students need access to a device; a laptop is provided for all students for the course duration.

A full major award is granted on passing the relevant components.  On successful completion of each component, you will be awarded a pass, merit or a distinction grade.

Progression Opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO scheme for entry to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities & Technological Universities using their full QQI Level 5 major award. Places are not guaranteed in these institutes and are subject to students meeting certain criteria.  It is the students’ responsibility to consult with the relevant universities for information on the admissions process and any specific entry requirements. Students may also refer to the individual university prospectus or may also refer to the QQI FET section of the CAO website: We have an adult guidance councillor that will also assist you with this process along with our experienced teaching staff. The adult counselling service also provides opportunities for one-to-one meetings to enable learners seek opportunities for their chosen career and to explore suitable progression routes.

Students from this course may also progress onto several apprenticeships for example Commis chef (MSLETB) or Laboratory Technician that are now available with our local ETBs. Students can use this course as a stepping stone to obtain a high-level qualification in the progression areas listed below. The access programme runs annually with ATU Sligo – St Angelas for the Home Economics Bachelor in Education degree for those wishing to become a home economics teacher.  Alternatively, students may seek immediate employment in a range of companies that seek graduates with a science or food science aptitude.

On completion there are many progression options in a wide range of areas including food science, general science, agricultural science, home economics, culinary arts, human nutrition, and many other related areas.

Progression options:

New Generation Apprenticeships MSLETB: The Commis Chef – Sligo Training centre.

ATU Sligo – St. Angelas: Bachelor of arts in Home Economics, Bachelor of Education in Home Economics, Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Food & Business Management.

ATU Sligo – Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Bachelor of Science in Science, Bachelor of Science in Applied Medical Science, Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Physical Activity, Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigation and Analysis.

ATU Galway – Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Environmental Management

TUS Athlone – Bachelor of Arts Culinary Arts

TUD – Grangegorman, Dublin- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health

Further Details

These courses:

  • Are FREE of charge.
  • Allow you retain your social welfare benefits (even if you miss a day of class).
  • Provide an increase to €232 for students aged 21—25 who are on an aged reduced rate of payment.
  • Qualify for National Childcare Scheme (NCS) formerly known as CETS.
  • Provide meal and travel allowances.
  • Provide the loan of a laptop for the duration of the course.
  • Provide CV and interview preparation.
  • Provide one to one meetings with an adult guidance counsellor.
  • With a potential 390 CAO points available there is the opportunity of progression to Institutes of Technology.
  • Provide Microsoft Office Specialist as an ad-on.
  • Include relevant work experience and field trips.
  • Include the opportunity to travel abroad for 2 weeks work experience under the Erasmus+ Programme – accommodation, travel and living expenses are covered.
  • Utilise the local link bus service from Carrick on Shannon brings students to Drumshanbo town in the mornings and brings students back in the evening.


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