UCC Adult courses

Food Studies and Irish Foodways - PG Dip

Course Fact File
Duration2 years part time Year 1 September - May Year 2 September - May
Teaching ModePart-Time
QualificationsPG Dip
NFQ LevelLevel 9
NFQ Award TitlePostgraduate Diploma (major award)
Fees€3,000 per academic year. With 20% funding from Taste4Success, Skillnet, students pay €2,400 per academic year. See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing DateSeptember 2024
Next IntakeSeptember 2024

Online with a number on UCC on-campus workshop and seminars with two fieldtrips per year.

Start DateSeptember 2024 (applications open in March 2024)

Course Outline

Taste 4 Success

Interest in food and culinary matters is at an all-time high as Ireland develops a more considered relationship with Irish food culture. Recent and ongoing research reports by government food agencies and industry identify trends that impact and direct food business; production; product development; food tourism; media focus, and food-based community initiatives. Prominent findings highlight the importance of local connections and the development of local food cultures: ‘authenticity’ of food, place and product story; food systems transparency; sustainable food practices, and social responsibility; ethical and responsible production practices and purchase and consumption choices; product and economic development based on heritage of place, nostalgia, regionality, and seasonality. Yet despite these developments, there has been no corresponding academic programme of study that examines the complexities, the intricacies, and the fascinating elements in the development and evolution of Irish food culture and its connection to global food developments.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Food Studies and Irish Foodways is designed to redress this imbalance. It is the first university programme of study that has a dedicated focus on Irish food and culinary culture. It examines food and culinary systems of the past and the present from the perspectives of production, processing, preservation, preparation, and consumption. It will guide students through popular discourses such as farm to fork, ocean to plate, factory to plate, exploring what these mean in the present day and what they meant in the past. It will also explore concepts like identity, tradition, gender, memory, and ethics and discuss how these apply to the study of food. Areas of study include food and culinary history, food and folklore, food and creative practice, food and literature, nutrition and health, food and the environment, sustainability, food policy, the contemporary Irish food system, and research methods in foodways.

This course offers candidates a unique opportunity to study Irish food culture in a holistic matter. It will enable students to distinguish between food facts and food myths and it will foster from candidates a respect and a love for research in the area of food studies and Irish foodways.

The core aim of the Postgraduate Diploma is to strengthen students’ food fluency in these growth areas through the development of critical, creative, and transferable skills and to augment graduate employment prospects in industry growth areas.

Why Choose this Course?

  • With an extensive regional history in food culture, the Postgraduate Diploma programme provides opportunity to study in one of the country’s oldest universities that has a long and disguised history of accomplishments in the humanities, food sciences and food and the environment.
  • Meet lecturing staff that are actively engaged in original research in their disciplines.
  • Experience excellence in teaching and student care.
  • Thrive in our high-qualify student-supervision environment, where each student is given extensive one-to-one supervision in completing their research dissertation.
  • Develop competencies and confidence in discussing the relationship and interconnections between local, regional, and global food practices.
  • We strive to empower students with skills, knowledge, and confidence to contribute to positive societal change in matters of food discourse, education and consumption behaviours.
  • We support you in developing expertise in a subject that is fundamental to how we will develop and experience the future.

Course Queries

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator Regina Sexton at r.sexton@ucc.ie. 

For Online Application Support please click here. 

If you require further assistance with your online application please contact the Programme Administrator Julie Holland at julie.holland@ucc.ie. 

Course Practicalities

The Postgraduate Diploma in Food Studies and Irish Foodways is an exciting and original programme of study. It is the first university course that takes a transdisciplinary approach to exploring Irish food culture. UCC has a long and proud tradition of excellence in food research and student-focused teaching, and this course brings together a stellar team of academics, who are well-respected and well-established in their fields of study. Students will be exposed to the results of their original and cutting-edge research, to critical and original thinking in Irish food studies, and to innovative teaching approaches. This is a rare opportunity to study with acclaimed academics, to be inspired by their expertise and to be guided by them in developing creative and critical approaches to applying your skills and knowledge of Ireland’s food culture to career development and innovation. And, as this is the only course of its kind in Ireland, successful candidates will be able to engage with authority and integrity with developments and discussions of Irish food culture, thereby giving them competitive advantage in career/employment markets.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The programme will run one evening per week over two academic years with students attending a three-hour lecture from mid-September to May, with 1 Saturday (full-day) on UCC-campus workshop per semester. Students are also required to undertake approx. 12 hours of self-directed study each week. Four guided fieldtrips will be taken during the programme (year I: two full-day fieldtrips (Saturday or Sunday).Year II: two full-day fieldtrips (Saturday or Sunday). (The course fee does not include the costs associated with fieldtrips, i.e. travel costs and, if applicable, venue admissions.)

Year I

  • FL6804 An Introduction to Irish Food Studies  
  • GG6802 The Irish Food System and Food Policy 
  • HI6801 Irish Food and Culinary History
  • DR6801Food and Creative Practice

Year II

  • FL6802 Food, Festival and Folklore
  • PS6801 Food, the Environment and Sustainability
  • NT6801 Introduction to the Principles of Nutrition
  • FL6806 Heritage Foods in Contemporary Society
  • FL6807 Research Methods in Foodways

The weekly lecture will be a mix of synchronous (real time) and shorter asynchronous (pre-recorded) lectures, individual and group activities, and individual and group discussions.

Assessment is by continuous assessment. Typically, students complete an assignment for submission at the end of each module. Assignments include essays; a case study; a reflective journal of learning; reports; oral presentations; one MCQ; one scientific poster; portfolio entries; creative writing, and oral presentations.

Who teaches this course?

Lecturing staff are drawn from across University colleges and include but are not confined to:

  • Professor Jools Gilson, School of Music and Theatre
  • Ms Ruth Hegarty, Adult Continuing Education
  • Dr Eoin Lettice, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Dr. Alice Lucey, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences
  • Dr Stiofán Ó Cadhla, Rionn an Bhéaldoidis/Department of Folklore and Ethnology
  • Dr Clíona O’Carroll, Rionn an Bhéaldoidis/Department of Folklore and Ethnology
  • Dr Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, Rionn an Bhéaldoidis/Department of Folklore and Ethnology
  • Ms Regina Sexton, Adult Continuing Education and School of History

The programme will also welcome a range of guest speakers and lecturers from the academy and industry.

Why Choose This Course

It is knowledge that can be grafted on to work immediately. Even more, the learning, critical thinking and writing skills will be skillsets to carry into the future.

Ruth Healy

Postgraduate student, 2019-2021

Find Out More

Skills and Careers Information

On successful completion of the programme, candidates will have developed high level and proficient skills in research, critical and creative thinking and reflective practice. These transferable skills will have direct application to careers in food-related business and professions, such as food marketing and PR; food and culinary tourism (at local and national levels); consumer research; food advocacy; agriculture; innovation and creativity in food-event design, such as food festivals, food tours/trials and food exhibitions, food education, and continued/further research in academia.


NFQ Level 8 qualification in any discipline (Honours Degree or Higher Diploma). Desirable, though not compulsory, areas of prior study include the humanities and social sciences, food science, food marketing and food business. *

* Candidates without an NFQ level 8 award are eligible to apply, subject to the approval of the programme Academic Director, if they can demonstrate at least three years of professional experience in a related field – examples include (but are not restricted to) food marketing, food business, agriculture, food and culinary tourism, food event management and food production (conventional and artisan/speciality).

English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English are required to sit either an IELTS test or a recognised equivalent test. The minimum requirement is an IELTS score of 6.5, or the equivalent TOEFL score with no individual section lower than 6.0. In addition to IELTS and TOEFL a number of English language tests & examinations are applicable to the majority of our programmes.

Further information on English language requirements can be found at PG English Language Entry Requirements | UCC | University College Cork | Ireland 

Fees and Costs

€3,000 per academic year. With 20% funding from Taste4Success, Skillnet, students pay €2,400 per academic year. On registration, students pay half fee of €1,200. The remainder is paid in the second course semester and once the programme begins you will receive further information.

For further information on fees and financial supports please click here.

How To Apply

 Applicants need to be aware of the IT student checklist below before applying:

  • You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.
  • Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) link to an external site and also have mobile apps for iOS and Android Devices that you may wish to use as part of your studies.  However, we recommend using your desktop web browser for submission of assessments.
  • You should always use the most current version of your preferred browser. In general, we recommend the Chrome Web browser (Important Note: Internet Explorer will not work with Canvas).
  • We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.
  • You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office or equivalent) and a PDF reader. You should always use the latest version of this software.  All UCC students will have access to Office 365 which includes software such as Word/Excel/Powerpoint etc. once registered.

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:

  • Application Statement
  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • English Language Report [if applicable]
  • Transcripts [if applicable]


Contact Details For This Course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact