Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit is designed to give graduate students a solid background in the role of micro-organisms in the production, spoilage and safety of foods. It provides students with an understanding of basic microbiology including microbial structure and function, and details the factors affecting microbial growth and survival in foods. The students are introduced to the concepts and principles or risk assessment and food safety strategies for the control of microbial contamination. There is a strong hands-on laboratory component.

6 points

Students are able to (1) understand microbial function and structure; (2) understand the principles of disinfection and sterilisation and their application to the food industry; (3) utilise laboratory techniques to identify micro-organisms in foods; (4) understand the factors affecting microbial growth in foods (e.g. water activity, temperature, pH, etc.) and how the manipulation of these factors are used in food production; (5) identify the important pathogens and spoilage micro-organisms in foods, the conditions under which they grow, and how they can be inactivated; (6) understand the key techniques used by food manufacturers to render foods microbiologically safe and to reduce microbial spoilage; (7) use predictive microbiology programs to predict microbial growth in foods produced and stored under different conditions and understand their principles and limitations; (8) understand the microflora of key food ingredients (including pathogens and spoilage organisms) and the effect different processing techniques have on them; and (9) interpret and understand microbiological standards and guidelines for foods including the principles of microbial risk assessment and the limitations of standards.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory tests (40 per cent) and (2) a two-hour competency based examination (60 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
restricted to students enrolled in the Master of Food Science (53540)
Advisable prior study
an undergraduate degree in a compatible science
or engineering
Approved quota: 30
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials/labs: 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.