Food Engineering Colleges and Degree Programs: How to Choose

Programs in food engineering can be attractive educational pathways for students interested in careers as agricultural or food scientists. Food engineering programs integrate principles of natural sciences, such as chemistry and genetics, with engineering advances, such as nanotechnology and biotechnology.

How to Select a Food Engineering Program

Food engineering programs come in many different formats, depending on career goals and intended length of study. Students may pursue a bachelor's degree in either food engineering or food science and technology. In addition, master's programs offer further avenues of study for those wanting to advance their career prospects.

Things to consider:

  • The Institute of Food Technologists has standards for food science/engineering programs that may be pertinent if interested in applying for scholarships through them.
  • Explore the breadth and quality of resources, such as teaching commitment, student support network and, postgraduate career opportunities.
  • Find out if a school has internships available.
  • Some schools have food science clubs or pre-professional associations.
  • Many positions require a master's degree, so it's important to know what graduate options a school offers.

Food Engineering Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Food Engineering

The BLS has reported that a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty, such as food engineering, is the minimum educational requirement for many applied food science careers. Students take introductory and specialized courses such as:

  • Chemistry, math and physics
  • Microbiology
  • Organic chemistry

Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology

Food science and technology programs blend lab-intensive training with didactic coursework. Topics include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Food processing and composition
  • Food sensory science
  • Nutrition

Master of Professional Studies in Food Science and Technology

Designed for individuals who already have work experience in the field, areas of study might be:

  • Microbiology
  • Food marketing
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering

Other Graduate Options

In Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs in food science and technology, students use mathematics, computer applications, thermodynamics and other engineering processes to address problems in food processing. They typically choose an area of concentration within food science and technology and a minor in an outside field, such as molecular biochemistry, biophysics, chemical engineering, animal science or genetics. Research, teaching experience and an oral exam form parts of the curriculum.

Salary and Job Outlook

The BLS projected that food scientists and technologists' employment would grow by 11% from 2012-2022. As of May 2012, these workers had a median annual salary of $58,070, according to the BLS.

Schools with Food Engineering Programs

College/University Institution Type
Auburn University 4-year, Public
Brigham Young University 4-year, Private
Clemson University 4-year, Public
Iowa State University 4-year, Public
Kansas State University 4-year, Public
Louisiana State University 4-year, Public
Ohio State University 4-year, Public
Michigan State University 4-year, Public
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 4-year, Public
University of Wisconsin-Madison 4-year, Public

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