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FOSC213 Sensory Science

Perception and measurement of sensory qualities found in consumer products. Selecting appropriate sensory methods, experimental design, data analysis and interpretation. Applications of sensory methods in research and the food industry.

FOSC 213 is designed to give students a thorough overview of sensory evaluation. Students will gain understanding in the principles of 'good sensory practice', the importance of being objective and selecting suitable people for use as sensory assessors. The paper will also review discriminative, descriptive and hedonic sensory methodologies used to measure human perception and preference. Students will learn to set up trials that measure the sensory characteristics of food products, including selection of appropriate methods, experimental design, data analysis and interpretation.

Paper title Sensory Science
Paper code FOSC213
Subject Food Science
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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STAT 110 or STAT 115 and 72 further points
Schedule C
Dr Biniam Kebede
Teaching staff

Dr Mei Peng
Dr Biniam Kebede
Dr Graham Eyres
Dr Karen Lusk
Dr Miranda Mirosa

Paper Structure
The general topics covered will include:
  • The senses
  • Difference testing
  • Hedonic testing
  • Descriptive sensory testing
  • Principles of good practice
Teaching Arrangements

Two one-hour lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
Three to five hours in self-directed activities such as reading, making summary notes, etc. are expected per week.
Laboratory attendance is compulsory.


  • Written report (laboratory three) - 15%
  • Oral presentation (laboratory four) - 10%
  • Laboratory quizzes - 5%
  • Term test - 20%
  • Comprehensive final exam - 50%*

*Students must achieve a minimum of 50% in the final exam to pass the paper.

Assessment structure may be subject to change.


The main text book used in this paper is an electronic text:
Lawless, H. & Heymann, H. (2010). Sensory evaluation of food: Principles and practices.

An excellent text for statistical analysis of sensory data will be on close reserve in Science Library. It is ONLY available in hard copy.

O'Mahony, M. (1986). Sensory evaluation of food: statistical methods and procedures. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Understand the physiological and psychological foundations of sensory functions
  • Recognise important considerations in the control of sensory testing environment and test protocols (samples, panels and experimental designs)
  • Describe and differentiate different categories of sensory tests and discuss typical applications and their limitations (discrimination tests, descriptive profile methods and acceptance and preference tests)
  • Understand and apply appropriate statistical analysis to analyse results obtained from sensory tests
  • Formulate sensory test objectives, recommend an appropriate test methodology for addressing the test objectives, statistically analyse test results, draw conclusions, make recommendations and present results in an acceptable format

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Thursday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41