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Food Science


Food science programs teach people to process raw agricultural crops and products into food for humans.

Food science programs include topics such as:


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer certificate or associate degree programs in food science. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. An associate degree prepares students to work as food science technicians. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Some colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in food science. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in food science. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Your bachelor's degree should be in food science, a physical or biological science, or engineering. Prerequisite courses you should complete include:

Most graduate programs are research-based. Because of this, your personal statement should include not just your career goals but also your research interests.

Research the faculty of the programs that interest you. Usually school websites list the research interests of each faculty member. You may have an opportunity on your application to name one or more faculty members whom you'd like to be your advisor.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary depending on the program. However, the general outline of a typical graduate curriculum in food science looks like the following:

Some schools offer master's degree programs that are not research-focused. These programs are for people who want advanced training in their professions and are not necessarily interested in research. In those cases, you normally do not have to write a thesis. You do, however, need to complete a large-scale project that applies your classroom knowledge to a relevant food science problem.

Many programs - both undergraduate and graduate - incorporate internship opportunities in their curriculums. Advisors in your program typically help you secure an internship based on your specific interests within the food science field. You usually earn course credit while gaining hands-on, real-world experience.

You could assist in any aspect of food science, including research, quality testing, product development, or marketing. Whatever application of food science you choose, you benefit from working under the guidance and supervision of an experienced food science professional.

Things to Know

A background in food science prepares you for a wide range of careers. You might conduct research on food additives. You might develop ways to process and package food products, improve production, or develop new foods or new markets. You might also work to market and sell these new products.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Seattle Pacific University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

Tacoma Area

University of Washington - Tacoma

Tri-Cities Area

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

West Side Area

South Puget Sound Community College

Yakima Area

Yakima Valley College