UCC Adult courses

Speciality Food Production - Dip

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Speciality Food Production

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science, Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    1 year

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • NFQ Level

    Level 7

  • NFQ Award Title

    Special Purpose

  • Fees

    €2,800 per academic year - The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provide 64% of the fee to eligible applicants See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants should ideally have experience in a food related sector. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    13 October 2022

  • Next Intake

    October 2022

  • Venue

    Blended Approach - Online classes with some in person classes also. See Course Practicalities for Further Details. 

  • Start Date

    October 2022

Course Outline

This part-time Diploma is for those who are starting or wish to further develop an artisan or specialty food business and also for those involved in this sector including farmers, producers, retailers, culinary specialists, and those in support agencies.

In previous classes we have had great diversity, including people with various backgrounds, such as farmers, artisan producers, chefs, environmental health officers, and interests, such as farmhouse cheeses, smoked fish and seafood, fresh and specialist meats, poultry and pork products, sauces, confectionery, and fresh organic produce. Such diversity together with programme tutors (from business, food science and social sciences), guest speakers and field trips creates an excellent forum for discussion, exchange of experience and learning.

A large number of these Diploma graduates are now successfully running small food enterprises from their home, farm or small production unit or have further developed and improved existing small food businesses.

The Diploma course is a mix of lectures, practicals, workshops, project assignment and site visits. It is run on a part-time basis over one year, typically 2 days per week (Tuesday and Wednesday) every 3 or 4 weeks, from October to June. The modules include Local Food Production Systems, Food Microbiology, Food Chemistry and Packaging, Food Marketing and Distribution, Food Processing Technology, Risk Analysis, Nutrition and you will submit an assignment report at the end of the year. There are also practical sessions, guest lecturers (case studies), site visits, and an end of year field trip.

Course Queries

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator Dr Angela Sheehan at a.sheehan@ucc.ie

For Online Application Support please click here. 

If you require further assistance with your online application please contact the Programme Administrator Julianne Moynihan at j.moynihan@ucc.ie. 

Course Practicalities

This course will be blended with Online Lectures (10 sessions) and In Class Lectures (4 sessions). There will be sessions typically every 3 weeks from October to May on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00am to 5pm. Additional cost of accomodation/meals an overnight field trip. 


The assessments are given on a continuous assessment basis from October to May. They are a combination of either in-class 1.5 - 2-hour exams, or essays/assignments to be completed at home. The assessment is given on completion of each module and there is no block of exams at the end of the programme.

Who teaches this course

The lecturers comprise internal UCC lecturers and external independent lecturers, as well as a selection of guest lecturers.

Why Choose This Course

This part-time Diploma is unique to UCC, and is the only one of its kind in Ireland and the UK. It is designed for those who are starting or wish to further develop an artisan or specialty food business and also for those involved in this sector including farmers, producers, retailers, culinary specialists, and those in support agencies. It is also targeted at second generation food business families.

Skills and Careers Information

Following successful completion of the course, you can expect to be successfully running a small food enterprises from your home, farm or small production unit or have further developed and improved an existing small food business.


  • The students come to the course from a variety of backgrounds, including: speciality food producers, farmers who wish to add value to their farm produce, retailers who wish to expand into the ever increasing organic and artisan food sector, restaurateurs and chefs, Environmental Health Officers and others working in support agencies who wish to increase their knowledge and understanding of the speciality food sector
  • Candidates wishing to be considered for entry to this programme should ideally have experience in a food related sector.
  • All applications are assessed on an individual basis to determine eligibility. This course will be open to national and international participants.
  • English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6 or the equivalent TOEFL score.

Fees and Costs

€2,800 per academic year - The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provide 64% of the fee to eligible applicants

How Do I Apply

To Apply for this course please follow the steps below:

When you log into the Application Portal:

Click Apply Online

Select Start a new Adult & Continuing Education Application 

On the 2nd tab Academic Level 
Select the following options:
Academic Level: Adult Continuing Education (ACE at UCC)
Course Type:  ACE Part-time Courses
Academic Programme: The course title you are applying for.

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • Supplementary Questions

Please download the following document Specialty Food Production Supplemental Questions and upload the completed document during your application.


Apply Now

Contact details for this course

Diploma in Speciality Food Production

Year 1 Modules

  • FE1805: Local Food Production Systems (5 credits)
    The characteristics that make speciality foods distinctive from mass-produced food products. The multidimensional challenges in achieving high environmental standards in the sector.
  • FE1806: Speciality Food Marketing and Distribution (5 credits)
    Market opportunities for speciality food. The marketing skills that can help make a business successful. Market analysis tools and marketing plan components.
  • FE1807: Managing Speciality Food Enterprises (5 credits)
    Opportunities and challenges facing small speciality food enterprise establishment and development. Main components of a business plan. Elements of cost and the application of costing techniques to decision-making.
  • FS1820: Speciality Food Production Assignment (10 credits)
    Participants prepare and submit 3,500 word individual assignment.
  • FS1823: Food Processing Technology (10 credits)
    Main steps involved in food processes such as heating, cooling, fermentation etc. Principles of production of the main commodity food products, such as dairy, cereals, meat products etc., in terms of conversion of raw materials to finished products. Design, construction and layout of food premises and how these influence product hygiene.
  • FS1824: Food Chemistry and Packaging (5 credits)
    Key characteristics of major food constitutents such as water, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins and how some may be determined in the laboratory. Overview of the principal packaging systems used in foods.
  • FS1825: Nutrition and Sensory Science (5 credits)
    The process of digestion, absorption and function of nutrients in the body. An overview of diet/disease relationships in the life cycle. The dietary guidelines and key dietary recommendatinos for the general population. The concept of functional and therapeutic foods. The sensory system, sensory interactions and influence in food preference.
  • MB1800: Food Microbiology (5 credits)
    The factors affecting the growth of microbes in food.
    The microbes of relevance to foods.
    The microbioogy of raw and processed foods.
    The fermentation process.
    The principles of cleaning and sanitation.
    The factors leading to outbreaks of food borne illness.
    Strategies to minimise risk of food borne illness.
  • MB1801: Risk Analysis (5 credits)
    The regulations and legislation of food law.
    The fundamental challenge of producing consistently safe food.
    Clear and simple guidelines for all individuals and organisations operating in the food, animal product, processing sector.
    The labelling and traceability requirements for food products.
  • PS1801: Food Production and the Environment (5 credits)
    Global food security. Food production on a local and global scale and the impact on the environment. The role of a changing environment on food production. Key elements and evidence for global climate change. Inputs into agriculture (energy, water, fertilisers, pesticides, etc). Food waste. Lifecycle assessment of food products. Global food production systems, including traditional, organic and conventional. Policy and legislation for food production and the environments.

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact