FDSC40600 Principles of Sensory Science

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module is for students taking the Graduate Diploma or MSc in Food, Nutrition and Health.

This module is a postgraduate course designed to give students essential tools to understand and use the key principles of sensory science in food-related research.

The module will focus on techniques used in industrial sensory evaluation. In particular, sensory principles will include aspects of panellist evaluation; requirements of test area equipment and facilities; analytical and subjective tests including difference testing, methods for consumer testing and statistical approaches. The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) Database provides direct access to up to ISO standards for sensory testing. This can be accessed through the Library at http://eu.i2.saiglobal.com/management/

The two key mandatory text books are
1. Food oral processing [electronic resource] : fundamentals of eating and sensory perception / edited by Jianshe Chen, Lina Engelen
2. Sensory evaluation [electronic resource] : a practical handbook by/ Sarah E. Kemp, Tracey Hollowood, Joanne Hort.

The module will be delivered through the UCD Brightspace system and will consist of:
• Electronic lectures and notes
• Online discussions
• Written assignments

How will the student be assessed?
The continuous assessment strategy seeks to develop scientific writing and report writing skills in addition to discipline knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Assessments will be scheduled at times which vary over the trimester and will be submitted remotely through Brightspace. The assessment elements may include:
• Essay plan; peer review of the essay plan; the final version of the essay; and resource review (40%)
• Mind map and its peer review; rationale/project proposal; detailed experimental design (60%)

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module student will be able to
• Discuss how the human sense organs function
• Distinguish between different sensory testing procedures.
• Resource and critically review relevant peer reviewed journal articles
• Plan a taste panel complying with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO standards).
• Analyse a typical difference test dataset and prepare a sensory report explaining the consequences of the result in the context of a given sensory scenario.
• Evaluate a given product scenario, and select appropriate sensory testing and statistical analysis, making choices based on reasoned argument using information derived throughout the module
• Synthesise a structured report documenting test procedures, results analysis and conclusions, and disseminate key findings to a defined audience in a media chosen by the student.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students are not required to attend lectures at the UCD campus as part of the course. Students are expected to spend a total 125 hours workload during the trimester consisting of:
• Lectures and course material: 48 hours
• Discussion threads/Asynchronous chats 2-4 hours
• Autonomous learning: 68 hours 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Continuous Assessment to ensure students are engaging with course material Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The students will get individual feedback on each activity (or draft) through written/annotated feedback through the VLE and by email using rubrics. They will also have opportunities to peer review a range of different works of other students.

Name Role
Mrs Angela Brennan Tutor
Ms Jacqueline Conway Tutor
Dr Emma Feeney Tutor
Dr Fiona Lalor Tutor
Ms Lauren McGuinness Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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