The B. Sc. (Hons) Food Science & Technology was initiated in July 1999 and set out to provide an undergraduate degree programme to produce the technical managers of the food industry of the 21st century. Whilst providing an academically rigorous programme, it had the advantage of not being confined by history and has thus developed to reflect the current demands of the university but also those of the modern food industry. The major themes running through the programme are food safety, new food product development, food processing and Nutrition, all are crucial factors in the modern day food industry. The programme is currently based in the Department of Chemistry but is truly a cross faculty activity calling on input from a range of Departments and Faculties.
A suite of laboratories was dedicated to the subject area which includes food chemistry, food processing, food analysis and food engineering. The aim is to provide students with sufficient skills and knowledge required by the food industry.
In view of the applied nature of the subject, all students are required to spend a minimum of 4 months working within the food industry. The demands to take the students on industrial placement have been overwhelming. Placements are primarily in Singapore but to reflect the global nature of the modern food industry, some placements have also been secured in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe.
Support for the FST Programme by the food industry is also evidenced by provision of the scholarships and prizes for all levels students (level 1 to 4). In addition, it has been possible to take students on industrial visits and to invite speakers from the industry to enrich the lecture programme.
Currently the Undergraduate Programme has 140 students, most of them being Singaporean but the cohorts also contain students from Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius, Vietnam and mainland China. It is hoped to attract students soon from further a field including USA, Australia and Europe.
Teaching and learning on the Programme have been developed to encourage students to take some responsibility for their own learning. Innovative modules in the early years include a problem based learning module on food analysis and a major part of one module (on new food product development) based on peer assessment and part assessment by government and industry representatives. Students not only develop their scientific and technical skills but also focus on personal life long skills such as problem solving, team working, multi-disciplinary approaches to problems, innovation, confidence and being commercially aware.
Generally, students admitted to the Programme are academically sound and the programme team expects that 10-15% of the students will stay on at the University (subject to financial considerations) for graduate studies. Undergraduate students could select UROPs modules to develop their interest in research as part of their portfolio.
The FST modules have all been designed with clearly stated learning outcomes including
the transferable skill of self awareness, opportunity creating, decision making and self motivation. All students will, on successful completion of the Programme, be awarded the B. Sci.(Hons)* Degree in Food Science & Technology with core competence. Meawhile, students are encouraged to take one of the following minors::
The development of the Programme since 1999 has attempted to provide the following stakeholder benefits:
the students - to maximise opportunities for academic study and career development in the area of food science and technology
the food industry - by the training of technically sound and appropriately qualified graduate level staff
the University - by the provision of an academically sound programme underpinned by a strong research base
the national interest - by developing flexible practitioners for the scientific and technical needs of the Singapore food industry which will lead to increased food product export potential
Overall, the FST programme has established well within the University, is attracting excellent students, is developing a stronger research base and is receiving good support from the local food industry.