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Food Science

Food Science (B.S.F.S.)

Food Science Minor

Food Science Graduate Degree Programs

Barb Rasco, Interim Director (111 Agricultural Science, 83844-2312, phone 208-885-0707); School of Food Science faculty: C. Bohach, B. Chew, J. Culbertson, R. Dougherty, C. Edwards, G. Ganjyal, J. Harbertson, T. Henick-Kling, H. Joyner, K. Killinger, A. Lin, S. Minnich, G. Moller, A. Paszczynski, B. Rasco, C. Ross, D. Ryu, B. Smith, G. Unlu, M. Zhu.

The School of Food Science (SFS), jointly administered by the University of Idaho and Washington State University, offers courses of study in the undergraduate major field of food science. Students complete a prescribed course of study leading to the Bachelor of Science in Food Science with options in Food Science and Dairy Foods Management. Graduate degrees are also offered leading to Masters and Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science.

Food Science is the scientific discipline that supports the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Food Science is a multidisciplinary science that applies biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, nutrition, and other sciences to improve the safety and quality of food products; create healthy food products; and design new, safer, and more sustainable food preservation methods. Food scientists strive to improve the quality and nutrition of foods through traditional and emerging preservation technologies. Food scientists conduct research to mitigate chemical and microbial risk factors in foods and to understand the causes of food deterioration and spoilage. 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. Food scientists also work with existing and emerging companies preparing organic, natural, kosher and halal food products.

Gaining a food science education provides students with a challenging career not only in the Pacific Northwest, but also nationally and internationally. Food science graduates begin careers in food plant operations, food quality assurance, food safety microbiology, technical sales, food product development, regulatory affairs, or research in the food/allied industries or federal/state regulatory agencies. Food science students learn to convert raw agricultural commodities into high quality, safe and nutritious food products—the complete farm-to-table process. As part of the B.S. degree, students receive training and learn skills relative to the preservation, safety, risk management, nutrition, chemistry and sensory evaluation of foods. The food processing industry is continually challenged to improve food quality, as well as enhance the sustainable development of new foods to better meet consumer demands and the nutritional needs of the world.

A student graduating with a B.S. in Food Science should be able to: 1) show a depth of knowledge that reflects an appropriate degree of specialization in food science, 2) understand how the methods and concepts of food science relate to those of other disciplines, and possess the ability to engage in cross-disciplinary activities, 3) communicate in writing, speech, and presentation to convey meaning, significance, emotion and values in and beyond peer groups, and 4) effectively organize and articulate information to promote understanding and communicate significance of the issue or problem.

In the first two years of college, students enroll in science courses and complete most general university requirements. Many of the general university requirements and introductory science and math courses can be completed at community colleges. In the junior and senior years, the curriculum emphasizes courses in food processing, food chemistry and analysis, food microbiology, sensory evaluation, and other specialized areas such as the processing of cereal, dairy, wine, fruit, and vegetable products. Students with specific interests can gain additional education by taking elective courses, participating in internships with food companies, joining student clubs or competitions, or conducting a research project with a faculty member. Contact a SFS advisor for more information.

Students planning to transfer to the School of Food Science should coordinate their programs of study with an advisor to select courses applicable to the degree requirements. Many of the general university course requirements and introductory chemistry, biology, and physics courses can be completed at community colleges. We especially recommend students take the appropriate science and mathematics courses required in our first two years of study, so students are on track with transferring to the University of Idaho.

Students who identify an interest in graduate work early in their studies are encouraged to contact their advisor no later than the end of the junior year so a course of study can be planned which schedules appropriate prerequisites to graduate courses and an introduction to research projects. Students from other science majors who wish to obtain an advanced degree in food science are encouraged to apply as they may be well prepared for graduate studies. Students are required to take certain core courses required of food science undergraduates in addition to those needed for their graduate program. For more complete information on research opportunities, please see faculty profiles on the School of Food Science website.

Admission to the graduate program is based on ability to complete graduate-level work as evidenced by undergraduate transcripts; the compatibility of the student's objectives with faculty expertise and program objectives; and availability of graduate faculty to act as major advisor for the applicant. The School of Food Science requires GRE scores, in addition to admission materials required by the College of Graduate Studies.

The School of Food Science welcomes inquiries about our program. Potential students can contact the School via phone (208-885-0707), email (foodscience@uidaho.edu) or visit the School of Food Science website (http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/sfs/).


See the course description section for courses in Food Science (FS).