Food for thought
The University of Hong Kong's master's degree in food safety and toxicology gives students "essential" knowledge for their careers. The programme was launched last year and it's the first of its kind in Hong Kong.
Dr Hani El-Nezami, associate professor of the school of biological sciences and director of the programme, says: "It provides students with toxicological knowledge essential for proper and critical evaluation, and management of risks [caused] by chemical or microbial hazards in food supplies."
The course provides practical skills in the recognition and evaluation of human exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals and pathogens.
It is designed for people with experience in the food and chemical industries. "We have applicants who work in diagnostic or food microbiology laboratories, as well as consultants in food and chemical industries," El-Nezami says.
Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, biological sciences, clinical laboratory science, food and nutritional sciences, environmental sciences or other related disciplines, and meet English standards.
In the programme's first intake last year, 70 per cent of applicants were fresh graduates.
El-Nezami says the programme provides graduates with plenty of job opportunities. "With the recent food-safety problems, there is an urgent need to provide educational and training programmes in areas addressing food safety," he says.
Students are able to choose from studying one year, full time or two years, part time. The programme accepts 35 students. The course consists of three core modules plus one project module and dissertation. There are two courses in each of the three core modules. Each requires 40 hours of study.
Students learn through classroom lectures and distance-learning material.