Diploma in Speciality Food Production

Diploma in Speciality Food Production

Diploma in Speciality Food Production - this year's class..

Pictured are the most recent class with Professor Alan Kelly and Dr Eoin Lettice during Diploma sessions in UCC. Topics under discussion above include the importance of heat treatment for food safety, and how agriculture and food production impact on the environment

The next cycle of the Diploma will start in October 2020 and we are now taking applications.

NOTE: As a result of COVID 19 restrictions, it may be necessary to deliver part of the Diploma using on-line tools

Funding is available for eligible applicants as bursaries from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine


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Please click Brochure DSFP 2020 2021 for more information on this course.

Click DSFP application form to apply for this course. 




In recent years, Ireland, as elsewhere in Europe, has witnessed considerable growth in the small food enterprise sector. This sector is characterised by craftmanship and a high “hand-made” element, producing low volume but high quality food. Amongst the product range are numerous varieties of farmhouse cheeses, smoked fish, fresh and specialist meats including charcuterie, poultry and pork products, honey, sauces, condiments, confectionery and fresh organic produce may also be included here. This course is for individuals who are starting a speciality food business and also for those involved in this sector including producers, retailers, culinary specialists, buyers, food designers and journalists.


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Testimonials: click here to see some short video clips from graduates on their experience of the Diploma

Aims and Objectives

1  To provide a broad understanding of the growing differentiation of the food market in which a significant segment of consumers are motivated by characteristics of taste, traceability, quality, sustainability and proximity.

2. To encourage a more reflective analysis of the wider social, historical, cultural and economic changes that have led to the emergence of this new food culture.

3. To provide an insight into the challenges of creating a small food enterprise and the skills required to make a successful business.

4. To provide essential scientific background in the field of food science and technology, including elements of food microbiology, food safety, food chemistry, process technologies, nutrition and sensory food science. Traditional methods of food manufacture will also be covered during the course.

5. To provide an introduction to small business management, financing and marketing.

6. To provide workshops on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, Taste Evaluation, Information Retrieval and Regulations/Legislation.

Who Should Attend
The Diploma is intended for those who are interested in developing speciality foods as a commercial venture or as a way of adding value to agricultural commodities. The Diploma is also for those currently in the speciality food sector as well as suppliers, buyers and retailers.

Duration and Assessment

Lectures, practicals and workshops take place on a part-time basis, typically on Tuesday & Wednesday (9:00 - 5:00), every 3 weeks or so, over a period of approx. 9 months. Site visits are an integral part of the course. Performance is assessed on a continuous basis and participants are required to sit an assessment on completion of each module. On completion of the lectures, practicals, site visits and workshops, students are required to submit a work-related project assignment. The objective of the assignment is to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills obtained on the course in a practical way. Due to COVID 19 restrictions the course delivery methods may change.

Course Numbers
Course numbers will be limited to twenty participants

Course Content
The syllabus is designed to integrate theory and practice across nine different modules:-

Module 1 - Local Food Production Systems

Module 2 - Food Chemistry and Packaging

Module 3 - Food Processing Technology

Module 4 - Nutrition and Sensory Science

Module 5 - Speciality Food Marketing and Distribution
Module 6 - Food Microbiology
Module 7 - Risk Analysis
Module 8 - Managing Speciality Food Enterprises
Module 9 - Speciality Food Production Assignment

Module 10 - Food Production and the Environment

Academic Director: Professor Alan Kelly, UCC

Course Fee
The course fee is €2800 and there is funding available for eligible applicants, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Please contact Dr Angela Sheehan, Tel. 021-4901423 Email: a.sheehan@ucc.ie for further information.

You may also download and complete the Application Form (above) and forward to Dr Angela Sheehan, Room 246, Food Science building, University College Cork.


The Diploma in Speciality Food Production Video

The Diploma in Speciality Food Production

Please click above image to view our video on the Diploma in Speciality Food Production

The ingredients for success in speciality foods

Click on the following link to read an article in the Farming supplement of the Irish Independent The ingredients for success in speciality foods

Food Industry Training Unit

University College Cork , Western Road, Cork