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Bachelor of Arts (BA): Culinary Arts Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts provides individuals with hands-on training and work experience in cooking and food service management. Explore program details, typical coursework and job outlook.

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Essential Information

Some programs in culinary arts offer specialization options that allow students to focus their studies on areas such as wine, baking and pastry arts. In addition to classroom study, most culinary arts programs include internship or work-study opportunities to give students hands-on experience working with customers and food. Entrance into this program typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts

Training in the culinary arts introduces students to different cooking methods and types of food preparation. Programs usually also include business courses, such as budgeting and employee management. Topics covered in a program may include:

  • Sanitation and safety
  • Product selection
  • Baking and pastry
  • Food service management
  • Fish and meat
  • Catering

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a bachelor's program in culinary arts are prepared to serve in different leadership positions within the culinary industry. Upon graduation, students often understand world cuisines, various cooking methods, nutrition standards and food safety techniques. Some additional on-the-job training may be required for individuals to enter into upper-level positions. Entry-level opportunities for graduates may include:

  • Sous chef
  • Food preparation and serving supervisor
  • Chef de cuisine

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for chefs and head cooks are predicted to increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). In May of 2015, the BLS reported that chefs and head cooks received a yearly median salary of $41,500, and first-line food preparation supervisors earned $30,340.

Continuing Education Information

In this field, it is common for employers to provide on-the-job training for individuals even if they have formal training or hold a degree. Certification is not typically required, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers may offer advancements or higher paying positions to those with professional certification (www.bls.gov). The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers multiple certification options for individuals, depending on their chosen career path (www.acfchefs.org). Certification areas include sous chefs, executive chefs, master chefs, personal chefs and pastry chefs.

Bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts explore fundamental cooking and business content, but may also offer students an area of specialization from which to choose. Students gain practical experience through internships and can voluntarily earn certification as they make their way working as chefs and head cooks.

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