Award Type and NFQ level : UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE (8)

CAO/PAC code : MH222

CAO Points : 000

Closing Date : 01 July 2024

View QQI details

New degree in 2024

This programme is for students who wish to work in the area of food production, quality assurance, nutrition, and product development, with a focus on future foods and the role of food in the health of people, in Ireland and globally.

The Food sector is Ireland’s largest industry with a turnover in excess of €25 billion, sustaining over 230,000 jobs. It consists of a range of companies from major multinational to niche food suppliers, with a reputation internationally for quality, sustainability, and innovation.

MH222 provides students with a broad science-based education, with specialist content on the future of food development, human nutrition, and the role of food and healthy living, and also explores the social and global challenges around food security.

In your third year, you will have an opportunity to undertake a work placement (subject to availability) which will allow you to apply what you have learned. Given the diversity of businesses in this sector, ranging from food production to assurance to development, there are opportunities to suit all interests.

Why choose this degree?

  • Flexible Opportunities. Maynooth University offers you a broad science-based programme that allows you a lot of choice while giving you a strong grounding in food production, safety, and food chemistry as well as the role of food in our health, how we sense and perceive food, and the future of food in a diverse society.
  • Work Placement: The opportunity to undertake a 6-month work placement (subject to availability), in Ireland or abroad, as an integral part of your degree which gives you a chance to put your learning into practice and significantly improves your employability upon graduation.
  • Future of Food: This programme explores the future of food, from superfoods that address particular health concerns, to the challenges around obesity, allergies, food security and sustainability. This will give a unique perspective to anyone interested in future food product development.
  • Employability: This programme is designed to support careers in both large multinational companies and small custom businesses, as well as exploring the social policy aspects. It will support roles as diverse as product development, public health, food quality assurance and safety. As one of Ireland’s largest sectors, graduates are in high demand in all of these areas.

Duration: 4 years

1st year 

  • Food & Nutrition
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics

2nd year 

  • Concentrate on Food & Nutrition, Biology and Chemistry
  • Optional 10 credit Elective or Critical Skills 

3rd year

  • Focus mainly on Food Science and Nutrition
  • Second semester includes work placement (subject to availability) or other forms of experiential learning

Final year

  • Concentrate on advanced topics in Food Science & Nutrition
  • A capstone project
Course Duration: 4 years

Options after graduation?
The global food industry is currently facing unprecedented challenges – with changing dietary habits, food security with dispersed supply chains, demands for low-carbon production, as well as functional foods. In Ireland, the food sector is increasingly moving from raw ingredients to value-added food product development. This is driving the need for a more skilled workforce in all aspects of food production, handling, and product development.

Graduates of this programme will be able to take up roles in production management, nutrition, food quality and safety, new product development and research, and sales and marketing.

There are also opportunities for employment in the public sector such as in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Teagasc or working for charities on health promotion.

This programme is excellent preparation for you to progress to accredited postgraduate programmes in the area of Dietetics, as well as other postgraduate opportunities in the area of public health and social policy.

There are opportunities for students to undertake research degrees, at Master’s and PhD level in a variety of topics in the area of food science and nutrition.

Visit the Graduate Studies website for more information about postgraduate options.

This table displays the requirements for Leaving Certificate applicants.
Subject Required Ordinary Level Grade Higher Level Grade
Irish Yes O6 H7
English Yes O6 H7
Language No N/A N/A
Math Yes O4 H7
Science Yes O6 H7

International & EU/EFTA Entry Requirements

Mature Students

Mature Applicants

Mature applicants are assessed separately to school-leavers. Mature applicants are 23 years or older by 1st January in the year of entry to the University. For part-time/flexible degrees the mature age is 21. 

Click here to be taken to our mature applicant information page - tab 3 on that page outlines application steps for this degree.

Mature applicants who have a disability 

If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia), and require examination support for any written tests that may be required, please submit supporting documentation by 15 March 2024 to the Access Office. 

Unfortunately we are unable to consider applications for alternative examination accommodation after this deadline. 

For further information on the supporting documentation required, as well as examination and other supports visit the Access Office website.

01 February 2024

Additional Information

Leaving Certificate Applicants

Required to present (as a minimum): 2H5 & 4O6/H7, Irish, English & O4/H7 Mathematics & O6/H7 Science subject (one of Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics or Physics with Chemistry). New degree in 2024.


DARE: The Disability Access Route to Education is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education.

HEAR: The Higher Education Access Route is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Contact the Access Office for more information about these access routes.

The Maynooth Education

Click here for details about optional Critical Skills courses, Electives and degree pathways. 



The application process depends on the type of applicant you are. Click here for all information about how to apply.

Categories of applicant:

  • School-leavers (Leaving Certificate students)
  • Mature students (23 years or older by 1st January in the year of entry to the University/part-time degrees the mature age is 21)
  • EU/EFTA/UK students
  • International students (outside the EU)
  • QQI students
  • Transferring students
  • Deferring students
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