Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program
An Innovative Online Program for Sensory Science Professionals
UC Davis Extension is the industry-recognized leader in the education of sensory science professionals. Approved by the Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, the online Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program is the only program of its kind and is continually updated to reflect current and cutting-edge methods in the area of sensory science and consumer testing. Join a global community for sensory science professionals.
Designed for working professionals, the program features:
- Online Convenience—Engaging online courses offer one-on-one access to expert instructors no matter where you live
- Exceptional Networking Opportunities—Interactive format allows you to expand your skills, exchange ideas and build an extensive network with peers from around the world that can support you throughout your career
- "Real-world" Learning – Class projects combine academic and real-world expertise backed by the academic standards of UC Davis
- Veteran Instructors – Learn from internationally acknowledged leaders in the field, including UC faculty and industry professionals
About the program:
This certificate consists of four courses, each worth four quarter units of academic credit. These courses must be taken in sequence. The Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program is at university-level and each course will last 10-11 weeks, with roughly four hours of material presented each week. As is normal in most upper-division college courses, you should expect to spend an additional two-three hours on reading assignments or project work for each hour of lecture.
Courses Approved By:
Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis
Each course will cost $2,100, so you can plan to spend $8,475 (includes a $75 nonrefundable certificate fee) to complete the certificate. Each course is equivalent in material to a four-unit graduate professional-level course. Unlike an industry short course that lasts a few days, these courses offer enough time for you to apply the material learned to instructor-evaluated assignments designed to test mastery of concepts and applications.
How to Apply:
To apply to the Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program, you must complete a short application describing how you discovered the program, your current employment and experience with sensory science and consumer testing, and your educational background. Completion of at least an introductory college-level statistics course is required for admission to the program. You will get an email from the program coordinator in 2-3 business days to let you know what to expect next. If your application is approved, and upon enrollment in your first course, you will be asked to make a one-time, non-refundable certificate fee payment of $75.
In order to ensure the appropriate level of interaction between faculty and students, this program will be limited to the first 40 qualified applicants.
Prerequisites: Completion of at least an introductory college-level statistics course is required for admission to the program.
Note: Students must receive a grade of "C" or better in each course to earn the certificate.
Minimum technical requirements
- Internet connections: You will need a stable connection to the Internet. A broadband connection is recommended.
- Browsers: A current, non-beta browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
- Software and computer capabilities: The following requirements apply to most online courses:
- Ability to view PDF documents
- Ability to view Flash-based presentations
- Speakers or headphones to hear presentation audio
- Email: You will need a current email account to take our online courses.
Please note: The statistical software package used in Sensory Evaluation Methods (course two) and Consumer Testing Methods (course three) is not compatible with Windows VISTA Home, Windows 10 or Mac iOS.
2016 Program Dates*
|Course titles||Start date|
|Foundations of Sensory Science||October 3, 2016|
|Sensory Evaluation Methods||January 2, 2017|
|Consumer Testing Methods||April 3, 2017|
|Application of Sensory Science And Consumer Testing Principles||June 26, 2017|
|*Course outlines are subject to change.|
Taught by Howard Schutz, Ph.D. and Rebecca Bleibaum, M.A.
Foundations of Sensory Science
Scope and objectives: Physiological and psychological bases for sensory evaluation and consumer testing.
Introduction to Sensory Science
- Introduction to Sensory Science Definition, history, the senses, methods, and differences from other research methods.
- Basic Sensory Research (medical, categories, nutrition, communication between processors).
- Roles of Sensory Science in marketing, product development, quality assurance, etc.
The Senses: Taste–Gustation
- Gustation (Taste)–primary tastes, anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of taste. Transducer and neural effects including receptor types, stimulus- receptor transducer mechanisms, neural channels, neural codes, and cortical cell types and mechanisms; taste modifiers; adaptation of taste.
The Senses: Olfaction and Tactile
- Olfaction (Smell)–anatomy, physiology and chemistry of smell, transduction, adaptation, classification systems, illusions.
- Tactile (Touch)–tactile sensations, temperature, mouthfeel, pungency, heat, trigeminal pain.
The Senses: Vision and Audition
- Vision (Seeing)–eyes: design and anatomy; visual organization including rods, cones, detection, contrast effects, depth, color perception, after effects, adjustments to distorted vision.
- Audition (Hearing)–mechanisms, anatomy, adaptation, delayed feedback, sound location.
The Senses and the Brain
- Tricks the senses may play, senses and the brain, information overload, attention and adaptation, context, illusions.
- The Mind–how information is processed, analytical and affective components of sensation.
- Humans as Sensory Instruments–physiological and psychological biases–what can we do?
- Theory of Sensory Measurement–response bias, psychophysics.
- Level of Measurements
- Purposes of scaling, methods of scaling
- What is happening cognitively when we do scaling?
- What is hedonic scaling?
- Acceptance testing
Discrimination Theory and Testing Methods
- Why some people do better (central vs. peripheral processing)
- Thurstonian Modeling
- Memory Effects
- Creating more sensitive tests
- Guessing Models for Discrimination Theory
- Signal Detection and the R-Index
- Signal Detection Theory
- John Brown's R-index
Labs and Procedures
- The Sensory Evaluation Laboratory–environment, test protocol, instructions to panel, palate cleansing, swallowing and expectoration, randomization and labeling, etc.
- Virtual Tour of evaluation booths.
- Testing Procedures–strategy, staffing, experimental design options, use of human subjects, selection and training, screening tests, performance assessment.
- A summary of lessons 1 through 9.
Taught by Jean Xavier Guinard, Ph.D.
Sensory Evaluation Methods
Prerequisite: Foundations of Sensory Science
Scope and objectives: Common basic methods, theories, and approaches used in the execution of sensory evaluation and consumer testing research.
- Review of Course 1 materials
- Sensory Evaluation Methods (classification and purposes)
- Univariate Statistics
- Measures of central tendency and dispersion; binomial and nominal distributions; Student's t-test; Chi-square; correlation and regression; analysis of variance; multiple mean comparisons
- Theory and measurement of thresholds
- Types of thresholds
- Methods for measuring thresholds
- Types of difference tests
- Applications of difference testing
- Difference vs. similarity testing
- Difference tests
- Types of scales
- Applications of scaling
- Uses and abuses of scales
- Psychological biases in scaling
- Multivariate Statistics
- Basic principles, types of methods and applications
- Regression methods (RSM, PLS), factor analysis methods (PCA, GPA) and classification methods (Cluster analysis)
- Descriptive Analysis
- Purposes, applications, principles
- Panel selection and screening
- Term generation and scorecard development
- Panel training
- Judge performance (criteria and assessment)
Descriptive Analysis Methods
- Descriptive Analysis Methods
- The Flavor Profile Method, The Texture Profile Method, Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA), Spectrum Method, Free-Choice Profiling, etc.
- Time-Intensity Measurements: purposes and principles
- Training for Time-Intensity Profiling
- Analysis of time-intensity curves
- Instrumental Measurements of Sensory Properties
- Flavor (taste and aroma)
- Relation with sensory measurements
Taught by Jean Xavier Guinard, Ph.D.
Consumer Testing Methods
Prerequisites: Foundations of Sensory Science and Sensory Evaluation Methods
Scope and objectives: Management of sensory evaluation and consumer testing resources, activities, and their interaction with other business units; exploratory research techniques.
- Consumer testing vs. market research
- Types of consumer tests
- Settings for consumer tests
- Applications of consumer tests
Sampling, recruitment, and screening
- Sampling and demographics
- Sample size and power issues
- Source of test subjects: employees vs. local residents vs. population at large
- Databases and subject pools
- Recruitment methods
- Preference testing
- Measurement of liking
- Just-right scales
- Other acceptance rating scales
- Other scales or tools used in quantitative market research
- Questionnaire design
- Special issues
- Product optimization applications of hedonic ratings by consumers
- Demographics, psychographics, attitudes, usage and genetics
- Understanding consumer language–the Repertory Grid Method
- Segmenting consumers based on preferences for product or service features–Conjoint Analysis
- Segmenting consumers based on sensory liking–Internal Preference Mapping and Preference Clustering
- Definitions of "context" and context variables
- History of context research
- Documented effects of context variables on consumer behavior and responses
- Use of Robust Design Methodology to study context effects
- Implications of context research on consumer testing methodology
Laboratory, central location, home-use and other field tests
- Online market research–Testing through the Internet
- Internal laboratory tests (with employees or local residents)
- Central Location Tests
- Home Use Tests
- Other field tests (e.g., mobile laboratory, simulated-supermarket setting, etc.)
- Testing with special populations
- Contracting a consumer test to a market research agency
- What is "qualitative"?
- Idea generation methods
- Focus groups
- In-depth individual interviews
- Projective techniques
- Using the Internet for qualitative research
Relating consumer and sensory data
- The regression method
- Response surface methodology
- Principal component analysis of sensory attributes and hedonic ratings
- Internal preference mapping with projection of sensory data
- External preference mapping
- Drivers of liking
Market research methods
- Consumer trends research
- Usage and attitudes studies
- Means-End Chain Analysis
- Conjoint analysis
- Simulated Test Markets
- Advertising research
- Chronemics Method
- The Gemba Method
- The Quali-Quanti Method
- Customer-Defined Quality
- Empathic design
Taught by Howard Schutz, Ph.D. and Rebecca Bleibaum, M.A.
Applications of Sensory Science and Consumer Testing Principles
Prerequisites: Foundations of Sensory Science, Sensory Evaluation Methods and Consumer Testing Methods
Scope and objectives: Current business applications of the foundations, principles, and methods taught in the first three courses, for sensory evaluation and consumer testing.
Product Development Principles
- Stages of Product Evaluation and Product Life Style
- Brand Control, Competence Structure, and Sensory/Consumer Testing Activities
- Basic Assumptions of Product Development
- Steps in Product Development
- Aspects of Marketing Specificity
- Aspects of Product Specificity
- Product Development Activities Related t Specificity
Quality Control and Stability Testing
- Overview and Background
- What is Quality?
- Implementation of a Sensory Specification
- Special Issues with Sensory Specification
- Measuring Product Stability–Shelf Life
- Final Thoughts
- Why Do We Improve Products?
- Where Do Line Extensions Fit into Product Improvement?
- Discrimination Methods in Product Improvement
- Descriptive Methods in Product Improvement
- Affective Methods in Product Improvement
- Qualitative Methods in Product Improvement
- Product Development Case History
New Product Development
- How Do Companies Get New Product Ideas?
- The Hierarchy of New Products
- Front End of Innovation
- Concept Generation
- Concept Identification
- Consumer Driven Innovation
- Product Development and Evaluation
- Product Development and Validation
- The "Optimum Product" Fallacy
- Qualitative Evaluation in Product Optimization
- Number and Selection of Products for Optimization
- Descriptive Evaluation in Product Optimization
- Analytical Evaluations in Product Optimization
- Measuring Consumer Acceptance in Optimization Research
- Selecting Variables to Predict Product Liking in Optimization
- Reducing Redundancy in Descriptive and Analytical Variables
- Statistical Analysis in Optimization
- Segmentation in Optimization
- Non Sensory and Acceptance Aspects of Optimization
- Does Optimization Work?
Post Marketing Audits
- Product Maintenance Strategies
- Retail Audits
- Product Procurement for Marketing Audits
- Sensory Science and Consumer Testing Methods Used in Audits
- Marketing Audit Example
- Market Audit Business Effects
- Case History–Chocolate Chip Cookies
Extended Use Testing
- Why Would a Product Change in its Acceptance Over Time/Repeated Use?
- Which Products Should Undergo Extended Use Testing?
- How Much Sample for Extended Use Testing?
- Where Do Extended Use Tests Take Place?
- How Many Evaluations Qualify for Extended Use?
- What Types of Sensory/Consumer Evaluations Can be Used in Extended Use Testing?
- How Does Monotony Relate to Extended Use Testing?
- How Does Extended Use and Satiety Relate?
- Purchase of Extended Use Evaluations
- How Do Extended Use and Brand Loyalty Relate?
- Who Regulates Advertising Claims?
- Schrank's Categories of Advertising Claims
- Superiority Claims
- Developing an Advertising Claim
- Case Histories
- Planning and Advertising Claim
- Generic Deposition or Testifying as an Expert Witness
- Defending Against a Competitive or Regulatory Activity Directed At Your Company
Resources and Issues in Sensory Science and Consumer Testing
- Strategic Management of Your Resources
- Sensory Science Interaction with Market Research Department
- What Does Sensory Science and Consumer Testing have to Offer Market Research?
- Interaction of Sensory Science and Production
- Why Use Outside Resources or Vendors
- Choice of a Vendor
- Partial Vendor List for the United States, Canada, and Parts of Europe
- Partial List of Journals and Publications of Interest
- Ethics in Sensory Science and Consumer Testing
The Future of Sensory Science and Consumer Testing
- Education of the Sensory Scientist
- Tools for Data Collection
- Digital Aroma Technology
- Sensory and Consumer Testing Methodology
- Taste Modifiers Research
- Cross Cultural Research
- Non-Food Applications
- Final Send-off for Students
Apply now for the 2016 Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program, which begins October 3, 2016.
Get answers to Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program frequently asked questions.
"In today’s world where many colleagues join sensory/consumer science from varied backgrounds and experiences, this curriculum has provided me with a program that delivers foundational knowledge and education. This has allowed me to build my global talent on a reliable and consistent basis. The program builds the needed functional skills while allowing colleagues to remain in their home business unit and apply their learning straight away."
Marcia Young, Mondeléz International
"This was indeed one of the best learning programs that I have been involved in. The teachings are invaluable and insightful. The program has broadened my knowledge base, which makes for a more efficient sensory scientist."
Casandra V. Turner, Kraft Foods
"One very valuable aspect of this program is that it provides us with a broader framework in the sensory and consumer area, from the foundations to the real applications, which I think is quite difficult to obtain from other training courses."
María José Sánchez, Consumolab
"The program was very useful. I learned the background of most of the techniques I use at work, improving my confidence when planning a study and analyzing the results."
Patricia Osidacz, The Australian Wine Research Institute
"Thank you again for the quality of the UC Davis Extension online certificate, it really made a difference in my work life."
Jonathan Rason, MARS
"The Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program is for anyone who is in the business of producing consumer products. To be able to understand what your customer wants, how to deliver the product and sustain marketability is the goal of any organization. Here you will learn and develop those skills, allowing you to help lead your organization to the top leaving your competitors in the rear view mirror."
Robert Ronayne, corporate chemist, Hillshire Brands Company