If you thought that juggling a career and family commitments automatically ruled out studying for a Master’s degree, then think again. The University of Greenwich offers an e-learning, part-time MSc in Food Safety and Quality Management (FSQM): a Programme designed by busy people, for busy people.
The idea for an e-learning MSc FSQM grew out of demand from busy professionals who work in the food supply chain and want to consolidate their industry knowledge with an academic qualification. This three-year MSc is specifically designed to enhance promotability or a future career change, and it contains lots of support to help students combining study with work and a busy home life.
Marcin Paluch is a recent graduate of the MSc Programme and says his only regret is not enrolling sooner. He spent a while researching various courses, his main objective was to find one that wouldn’t negatively affect his full-time job – he needed to keep earning while learning. Marcin explains what happened:
“If you want to be considered for senior roles or technical director level, you need to have a qualification that puts you above the other candidates, so that was my main motivation. I was searching for a post graduate course in this field which I could do at the same time as working. Greenwich is a well-regarded university with a very good reputation, and the course content resonated well for me.
As far as the studying went, some of the modules I breezed through as it was stuff that I dealt with on a day-to-day basis, but it was still interesting to see the differences in the academic perception of the food industry. The programme looked at food supply chains globally, and this helped me gain a much wider understanding at a policy-making level.
Career-wise it has certainly opened doors for me already. The research I did for my dissertation and an article that I published have been noticed within my industry, and have added credibility to my name and professional profile.
I am intending to apply for membership of the Fellowship of the Institute of Food Safety Technologists, which will be much easier with a Master’s degree behind me.
It was a challenge to study as well as work full time, but financially it wouldn’t have been feasible for me to do it any other way and after a while I got into a routine and enjoyed it. My advice is – it will take a lot of time, patience and being well organised, but the rewards are worth it and the workload is achievable. I wish I’d done it sooner.”
Marcin particularly liked the fact that the programme is delivered asynchronously – on demand – online, with pre-recorded lectures and tutorials meaning that busy people do not have to take time off work for tutorials or lectures. This allows great flexibility around work schedules and other commitments.
It is recommended that students should spend about 10 hours per credit studied (so a 15 credits module would equal to 150 hours) and that includes everything, from listening to pre-recorded lectures, to reading and working on the assignments.
The programme lecturers are always very happy to schedule tutorials or meetings with students when needed, something that came in handy for another student - Juddy - who was able to stay in her native Seychelles, and study from there. As well as a full-time career, she also had to fit study in around a huge, and life-changing event that came along half-way through the programme. Juddy takes up the story:
“I came to the UK to study for my first degree – in human nutrition – at the University of Greenwich, so I was already familiar with the people and place.
Doing my Master’s was a completely different experience as I was living back in the Seychelles, working full-time, balancing the needs of my family and trying to complete all my assignments on time – not easy – especially when I fell pregnant halfway through the course. I gave birth to my first child just two weeks away from a really important assignment deadline!
I had a C-section and Linda Nicolaides, the programme leader, suggested that I take the recommended three months off to rest, but I said no! I told her that I wanted to finish my Master’s this year, so I worked through, recovering from the birth and feeding my new-born and I got my assignment in on time.
As I’d studied at Greenwich for my BSc, I was used to their way of operating, I trusted them and I already knew some of the lecturers which made it easier, and they were consistently brilliant, responding either via email or over Skype as soon as I had a question or a query.
I’m currently a nutritionist with the Seychelles Ministry of Health but obtaining my Master’s has enabled me to move into the Policy Department to become a Senior Policy Analyst for Food and Nutrition, so I’ll be using much of what I learnt – especially on food regulation - straight away.
I’ve already recommended the programme to a colleague who immediately enrolled and she said to me the other day, ‘I’ve been doing my job for 15 years and I thought I knew a lot about the food industry, but doing this course I’ve realised how much more there is to learn!’. I tell as many people as I can about it as sharing knowledge is really important.”
The programme has been structured so each year equals 60 credits, making a total of 180 credits by the end. There are seven modules overall, three in the first year, three in the second, and the final year is devoted purely to the dissertation – which is usually work-based - during which the student gets to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired throughout the programme. husband David, daughter Serra, step son Dayne
If, like Marcin and Juddy, you’re currently working in the food supply chain and would like to consolidate your knowledge and experience as well as improve your skills in order to progress on your chosen career path, then this could be the MSc for you. Please do get in touch with us to find out more.
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