The curriculum in Food Science and Technology, following guidelines from the Institute of Food Technologists, provides students a common core of courses. These courses provide a strong basic foundation for the study of post-production processing of food products. By selecting from one of five areas of concentration -- Pre-Med, Food Safety and Applied Microbiology, Food Processing and Technology, Food Chemistry and Analysis, or Food Business and Marketing -- students can target a program of study suited to their specific needs and interests.
Through our elective course, Food Science Research, FDSC 3900, students can gain hands-on experience in research or product development. Optional summer internships with food companies are also available. Students will be prepared to enter into several different career paths in the food industry or to pursue graduate study.
Food scientists use basic principles and knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, engineering and business to research, develop, process, evaluate, package and distribute foods. Food scientists are responsible for the safety, taste, acceptability and nutrition of processed foods. They develop new food products and process technology for manufacturing foods. Food scientists may concentrate on basic research, product development, processing and quality assurance, packaging or market research. Food scientists work in food or food ingredient processing plants where raw foods are converted into beverages; cereals; canned foods; desserts and candy; dairy products; meats, poultry, fish and seafood products; fruit and vegetable products; snacks and convenience foods; and animal foods.
Food scientists in basic research conduct investigations into the physical, chemical and biological makeup of foods. They study the changes that occur in the food products during processing and storage. Food scientists are also active in biotechnology and may work with plant breeding and microbial fermentation products for further processing. Food scientists in applied research work on product development. They create new food products with longer shelf life such as frozen concentrated orange juice, freeze-dried coffee, dehydrated soups and eggs, precooked sausages, granola bars and juices in juice boxes. Food scientists also work with marketing people to test public acceptance of new products and prepare nutritional labels found on food packages. In processing plants, food scientists prepare specifications and schedules for production operations. Food scientists in quality assurance ensure that foods in every stage of processing meet government standards through microbiological and shelf-life testing.
There is a strong relationship between food science, nutrition and the medical field in prevention of disease, slowing aging and finding solutions to problems like obesity. The Pre-Med area of concentration prepares students for careers in the health field as a physician or for research in graduate school in the areas of health or food science.
The Food Safety and Applied Microbiology area of concentration enhances students’ knowledge in the critical area of quality control and government regulation of food manufacturing. Food microbiology has become an important part of food biotechnology in producing healthy bioprocessed foods and ingredients. Students pursuing this concentration will be prepared for careers in applied microbiology, quality control or regulatory fields.
The Food Processing and Technology area of concentration provides students background knowledge processing plant supervision, product development and food engineering.
The Food Chemistry and Analysis area of concentration prepares students for careers in food quality assurance and technical services. Food chemistry is one of the most important aspects of food quality and analytical capabilities are essential for proper food quality assurance.
The Food Business/Marketing area of concentration prepares students for careers in the food business, technical sales and food product development systems.