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Culinary History Degree Program Overviews

Degrees in culinary history are most common at the master's degree level in food studies and gastronomy. These programs provide students with the training they need to pursue a career in the industry as a food critic, researcher, teacher or author.

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Essential Information

Master's degree students interested in culinary history have a few options to choose from through a food science or gastronomy program, including historical, cultural or holistic culinary studies. Some schools offer internship opportunities and lab experiences for hands-on research and education. Programs take approximately two to three years to complete, depending on whether a student takes a part-time or full-time course load. Students typically must complete a research project or thesis to graduate, and graduates are conferred a Master of Science or Master of Liberal Arts.

Applicants for these degree programs are required to submit their curriculum vitae or resume with references and letters of recommendation, as well as personal statements or application essays. Undergraduate transcripts are usually required, and some schools may require a related degree in biology, food science or chemistry.


Degree Programs in Culinary History

Core coursework in culinary history degree programs cover the history, quality and manufacturing of food. Students might focus on historical aspects of cuisine through specific elective coursework and thesis research. Topics particular to culinary history include:

  • The history of cuisine
  • Food and the senses
  • Food marketing
  • Global cuisine and culture
  • Agricultural history
  • Food consumption history

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree programs in food studies or gastronomy may find careers in several industries. A few examples of job options include food critic, culinary author, food and beverage consultant, teacher, food marketer, and food researcher.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide specific information for culinary historians, it does provide job outlooks and salary information for similar careers like historian, writer and chef. In May 2015, the mean annual wages were $45,920 for chefs, $61,120 for historians and $69,130 for writers and authors. The projected job growth, from 2014-2024, is 9% for chefs, 2% for historians and 2% for writers and authors.

Continuing Education Information

Continuing education related to culinary studies is available through a variety of certificate programs, seminars, lectures and individual courses. Some specific continuing education options include programs in wine or cheese studies or a graduate certificate in food studies. Master's degree-holders might choose to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in the field, qualifying them for advanced research positions or academic teaching at the postgraduate level. However, these programs are not common.

Students with an interest in culinary history can pursue a master's degree in food studies or gastronomy that will prepare them for a career as a historian, writer, food critic or researcher. Courses take two to three years to complete and combine classroom instruction with hands-on lab experience.

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