Masters of Science in Food Regulatory Affairs (Online)

  • NFQ Level 9
  • Credits 90*
  • Course Code SG_SFOOF_M09
  • Award Masters (Taught)
  • Duration

Course Summary

An increasingly complex regulatory environment, along with Brexit and potential regulatory divergence between EU and UK has led Food Drink Ireland Skillnet to partner with the Regulatory Affairs team in Food Drink Ireland/IBEC and ATU Sligo to offer members the opportunity to gain a Level 9 Certificate in Food and Drink Regulatory Affairs. The main programme aim is for graduates to be able to apply independent thinking and research skills in workplace decisions regarding relevant food and drink regulatory frameworks. 

Our part-time online Level 9 Certificate in Food and Drink Regulatory Affairs has been developed in collaboration with Industry and acts as a progression route to the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Food Regulatory Affairs. 

"In a constantly evolving and challenging regulatory landscape, it remains essential that Irish Food and Drink businesses continue to prioritise the importance of legislative knowledge and compliance. Understanding, interpreting and applying food legislation is an essential requirement for a diverse range of roles across our industry. This Masters programme has been specifically developed in conjunction with leading experts across the Irish food sector. It not only increases knowledge but also develops the necessary skills of learners to apply these regulations to their business in a practical manner” Aoife Moran Senior Regulatory Affairs Executive Food Drink Ireland"

Modules Include: 

Diploma Level 

  • Research methods in Food Regulatory Affairs (5 Credits) 

  • Managing Trends and Divergence in Food Regulatory Affairs (10 Credits) 

  • Sustainable Food Systems and Regulatory interactions (10 Credits) 

  • Current and Future issues impacting Food Regulations (5 Credits) 

Masters Level 

  • Thesis/Research Project (30 Credits) 

  • Company focused 

  • Lit Review 

  • Research 

  • Findings 

  • Recommendations 

Course Objectives: 

At the end of the Programme graduates should: 

  • Have a thorough understanding of the theory and best practice relating to Food and Drink sector regulatory structures and procedures. 

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of current Food and Drink sector regulations and the role of the regulatory affairs professional in the industry. 

  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the key functions involved in the commercialisation of a novel product including: supply, sales and marketing legislation. 

  • Employ appropriate advanced data analysing, synthesising, summarising and research skills to evaluate critical aspects of regulatory affairs within the Food and Drink sector. 

  • Interpret, synthesise and integrate core aspects of a food or drink product lifecycle, associated compliance issues and important processing parameters with a view to problem solving and making regulatory decisions in a timely and competent manner. 

  • Formulate, present and defend scientific information/regulatory findings in a variety of forms to regulatory agencies, state bodies, internal personnel and the public. 

  • Appreciate the complex and fluid relationships of food and drinks industry processes, prescribed regulatory framework and selected support activities. 

  • Apply concepts and skills learnt in a variety of contexts. 

  • Work effectively in the Food and Drink sector environment by acting autonomously and thinking independently to meet regulations and participating constructively in a complex team environment within a technical field to ensure the team is operating within the appropriate regulations. 


For more information, or to book your place, please contact Mark Skinner on (01) 6051615 or 

Key Course Information

Course Attendance: 

The programme uses a blend of learning channels to support learning, pre-dominantly live online lectures, supported by face-to-face seminars and self-directed learning. Adobe Connect will be used for lectures, whilst Moodle will be used as the student portal for accessing material, uploading projects and collaborating with staff and other students.  

Lectures will be delivered online. Live lectures normally take place between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Thursday but this may vary depending on the availability of specific lecturers. If the Live Classroom scheduled times for the live online lectures do not suit you, recordings will be made available through Moodle allowing you to watch back at a time that suits you.  

Whether you are studying part-time online, blended, or full-time online, it is very important that you allocate enough study time to your online course to stay focused, reduce stress and achieve your goals. In terms of time commitment, students would need to allow 7 hours per week, consisting of 2 hours evening lectures and 5 hours independent learning and project work. Workshops are used to bring learners together and facilitate group learning. 


Students are assessed via Continuous Assessment (CA) forms 100% of the marks for each module – no exams. CA will include the following: Scenario Based-Written Assignment, MCQs, Short Assessments, Quizzes, Presentations, Reflective learning journals, Team based assignments, Group project, Case study analysis, individual portfolio of learning. 

For the Thesis/Research Project, below is a breakdown of the marks: 

  • Research project dissertation (70%) - Research project not exceeding 15,000 words (excluding bibliography). Work submitted will be assessed by two members of the lecturing team.  

  • Oral Presentation (20%) - Students will prepare a presentation to present their work and partake in a viva voce and discuss and answer questions from a two-member panel.  

  • Continuous assessment (10%) - Submission of project plan, draft literature review, draft report and general preparedness during meetings with project supervisor. These meetings will facilitate students in receiving feedback on progress and help feed forward to the higher stakes assessment which is the final dissertation (10%).  

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

Who should apply? 

Applications are invited from residents of Ireland employed in the Food and Drink sector, working in technical areas such as quality, food safety, regulatory affairs or R&D, who need to be able to interpret regulations and understand their implications to their business. Participants may have a variety of backgrounds, including food science, food engineering, home economics, and microbiology, however, many have not had any formal training in food regulations.

This course is open to those with a Level 8 Degree or Level 8 or Level 9 in other areas with sufficient work experience as assessed by Atlantic Technological University. Applicants with other qualifications and with relevant work experience may also be considered through ATU Sligo’s Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) process.  

RPL is a process that may allow you to gain admission to a programme or to receive exemptions / credit from some parts of a programme based on demonstrated learning that you may have achieved through another programme of study or through your work and career. Further information is available through which our dedicated RPL portal or by contacting our admissions team at 

Career Opportunities

Further Study

Participants have the option to claim their Certificate or alternatively progress to Diploma on pathway to MSc in Food Regulatory Affairs


Did you know?

Diploma Level – Module Overview (30 Credits):

• Research methods in Food Regulatory Affairs (5 credits)

  • Developing a research proposal in order to answer a research question or test a hypothesis.
  • Critically reviewing literature related to sustainability and sustainable food systems.
  • Application of research methodology.
  • Effective communication of research outcomes.

Managing Trends and Divergence in Regulatory Affairs (10 credits)

  • Current trends in Regulatory Affairs and areas of divergence.
  • Types of regulatory divergence – active divergence and passive divergence.
  • Meaningful divergence vs Pointless Divergence vs Painful Divergence o Strategic decisions concerning divergence.
  • Frameworks to apply when accessing new / Third country markets.

Sustainable Food Systems and Regulatory Interactions (10 credits)

  • Farm-to-fork strategy and its contribution to EU Green Deal towards production of sustainable food.
  • Ways the circular bio-based economy can contribute to sustainable food production.
  • Regulation associated with primary production and the achievement of the farm-to-fork strategy towards the production of more sustainable foods.
  • Review of the impact of regulations on sustainable packaging.
  • Analyse the impact of novel food regulation on the farm-to-form strategy.
  • How labelling of food products can contribute to the EU Green deal and contribute to sustainable food choices.

Current and Future Issues Impacting Food Legislation (5 credits)

  • Impact of macro-trends on market trends and consumer food choices including geopolitical conditions.
  • Risk analysis of the food supply chain and how risks can affect food production.
  • How consumer trends and regulatory framework impact food and beverage production.
  • How innovation is impacted by food regulations, processing, use of additives, new packaging material.
  • Socioeconomic and environmental impact of national and international policy on food production and export.
  • Appraise the potential risks pertaining to sustainability practices within global markets / trade incl. Greenwashing, False Sustainability claims and Misleading claims.
  • Investigate the various international sustainability trends and divergences and how they can impact international trade.



Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees

Total Programme Fee: €9,900

*Fees paid directly to Skillnet, Fees not paid to ATU Sligo*

For more information, or to book your place, please contact Mark Skinner on (01) 6051615 or