Administrative Unit: Food Science
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Admitting Plans: M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates: Doctoral Minor
The graduate program in the Department of Food Science ranks among the best of its kind in the United States. Strong faculty research groups exist in food chemistry, food engineering, food microbiology, and food safety. Master's and Ph.D. tracks in these areas combine an array of in-depth courses with the use of advanced research methods for studying food properties: chemical, physical, physiological, and bioactive characteristics; material properties; microbial control and safety; sensory quality; procedures for the processing, storage, and preservation of foods.
Research areas in which the department has special expertise include: chemical attributes of proteins, enzymes, lipids, flavors, bioactive components, and pigments; processes for crystallizing, separating, freezing, and drying; food safety (detection, control, and mechanistic action of pathogenic microorganisms, and undesirable chemicals in food); process optimization and validation of critical processing limits. Commodity foci include: dairy products, confectionery products, fruits and vegetables, muscle foods, and fermented products.
The department occupies Babcock Hall, a modern building with excellent facilities for instruction and research. Availability of appropriate instruments, equipment, and pilot-plant facilities enables research on the above topics to be conducted in a manner that has impact worldwide.
About 40–50 students from many countries are currently pursuing M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the areas mentioned above. This includes some graduate students working in programs associated with the Food Research Institute.
Individuals obtaining advanced degrees in food science will find employment opportunities in academic instruction and research, government research or regulatory programs, and industrial research, development, or quality assurance. Historically, the department's placement record for graduating students has been very good.