- Offered as:
- Graduate program
- Learn More:
Food Science is the scientific discipline supporting the food and beverage industry. Food Science is a multidisciplinary field that applies biology, chemistry, microbiology, physics, engineering, nutrition, and other sciences to improve the safety and quality of food products; develop new food products; and design new, safer, and more energy efficient food preservation methods.
Food scientists strive to improve the microbial and chemical safety of foods, and enhance the quality of foods through traditional and emerging technologies. Food scientists conduct research to improve food safety and quality, identify beneficial food ingredients and develop new food products, reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of foods, and identify environmentally friendly technologies to make more and better food.
Food scientists address consumer demands and the nutritional needs of the world.
In the bachelor's degree program at WSU, students learn the science and the practical skills involved in production, processing, preservation, safety, evaluation, and distribution of foods.
- Strengths of the program
- Gain practical technical and leadership skills in the state-of-the-art WSU Creamery, where world-renowned Cougar Gold Cheese® is made.
- Students work on meaningful, real-world projects. For instance, a group of food science students developed and marketed a new sports drink that is now in stores in the Northwest.
- Engage in product development and food judging competitions—everything from dairy product evaluation to developing new foods.
- Internships available in faculty research laboratories, food companies, non-governmental entities, and regulatory agencies.
- Hone professional and interpersonal skills such as the use of computers, speaking, writing, critical thinking, and teamwork.
- You can join a math, science, and engineering community residence hall at WSU Pullman—share classes with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s computer lab.
- Requirements and sample courses
To join the program
In the first two years, students will complete most of the University's common requirements (UCORE) and initiate studies of the sciences basic to food science. A student may be admitted to the Food Science option upon making their intention known to the department.The School of Food Science (SFS) works closely with the University of Idaho (UI) to offer courses of study in the undergraduate major field of food science. Some traveling to the UI campus will occur usually starting the junior year.
Junior and senior years will emphasize food processing, food microbiology, and food chemistry—all related to cereal, dairy, fruit, vegetable, wine, meat, poultry, and seafood product development and processing.
The food science program awards a bachelor of science degree upon completion.
Food Safety and Quality
Food Processing and Lab
Food Microbiology and Lab
Food Engineering and Lab
Food Chemistry and Lab
Food Analysis and Lab
Advanced Food Technology
Food Product Development and Lab
Business: Students can gain an emphasis in business by taking selected courses in accounting, finance, management, economics, writing, and hospitality management.
Science: Students wishing to eventually pursue a graduate or professional degree may want to take upper-division courses in chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, engineering, agriculture (horticulture, crops, etc.), math, or nutrition and technical writing.
Foreign Language: Coupling a food science degree with a foreign language can be an exciting combination for students seeking employment in the global food industry.
The School of Food Science helps students find internships with food companies, NGO's, or governmental agencies to provide work experience in their areas of interest. Internships are generally three to six months.
See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
- Scholarships and financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.
Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
For all students at WSU
To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:
- Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.
For food science students
In addition to general university scholarships and other financial aid, WSU offers scholarships specifically for students in food science.
The School of Food Science and the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences award more than $500,000 in scholarships to qualified undergraduate and graduate students.
Part-time employment is available at the WSU Creamery, in departmental laboratories, and areas outside the department. Summer and semester work experience in industry can be academically and financially rewarding.
For more information or to apply for jobs or departmental scholarships, contact the School of Food Science.
- Suggested strengths, interests, and preparation
If you're interested in food science:
- High school preparation should include chemistry, biological science, mathematics, and calculus courses.
- Have an interest in science, especially in applying scientific knowledge and techniques to solve practical problems.
- Careers in food science
Food scientists are employed around the world by large and small food processing companies, food ingredient suppliers, food quality assurance and testing labs, federal and state governmental agencies, and academia.
A degree from the WSU School of Food Science prepares you to meet the emerging challenges, needs, and opportunities of the food industry.
Here are some of the many job titles and positions available in food science:
Food Quality Assurance, Food Chemist, Food Microbiologist, Food Safety Microbiology, Food Safety Officer or Inspector, Food Safety Auditor, Food Product Development, Food Processing and Production, Food Engineer, Food Packaging, Food Inspector, Food Tester, Food Product Development, Foodservice, Food Production (food/beverage processor), Food Company Manager, Food Scientist, Food Toxicologist, Food Technologist, Food Industry, Technical Sales, Production Management, Product Extension or Development, Regulatory Affairs, Research in the Food/Allied Industries or Federal Regulatory Agencies, Research and Development, R & D Scientist, Engineering, Quality Assurance Officer, Quality Control, Nutrition, Sales & Marketing of Foods, Food Ingredient Sales, Technical Sales Representative, Sales Manager, Food Ingredient Sales, Sensory Analysis, Sensory & Consumer Research Specialist, Teaching/Academic Research, Teacher, Culinary, Regulatory, Extension, Management, Government Inspector, Flavor Scientist, Flavor Chemist, Academic (technician, instructor or professor), Consultant, Business Management , Manufacturer/supplier (ingredients, packaging, or equipment), Laboratory Director, Manager or Supervisor, Consultant, Chemist, Microbiologist, Biochemist, Biotechnologist, Cereal Scientist, Meat Scientist, Dairy Products Scientist, Sensory Scientist, FDA/USDA Research Scientist, Product Developer, Natural Products Researcher, New Technologies Specialist, Packaging Specialist, Plant Manager/Supervisor, General Manager of Research, Technology Development Manager, Regulatory Public Health Official, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Marketing Researcher, Public Health Official, Marketing, Market Researcher, Research Chef, Chef, Recipe tester, Wine Taster, Wine Maker