Culinary School: Top Ranked Culinary Arts Program - Philadelphia, PA

Students interested in studying culinary arts in Philadelphia, PA, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition, and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Students seeking a culinary arts program in Philadelphia have five schools from which to choose. Drexel University, Montgomery County Community College, and the Community College of Philadelphia are the only three not-for-profit schools offering culinary arts programs within about 25 miles of downtown Philadelphia. Based on rankings from U.S. News & World Report and each school's culinary arts facilities and program offerings, these three schools are ranked as follows:

  • Winner: Drexel University is the top culinary arts school in the metro area. It is the only one of the three schools to be nationally ranked and the only one to offer degrees in both culinary arts and culinary science.
  • Runner Up #1: Montgomery County Community College offers both certificates and associate's degrees in the field and hosts a new dedicated culinary arts building.
  • Runner Up #2: Community College of Philadelphia offers an Associate of Applied Science degree related to culinary arts. Students may choose to enter a state-licensed chef apprenticeship program.

School Comparison Chart

Category Drexel University Montgomery County Community College Community College of Philadelphia
Ranking 83rd among national universities in 2013* N/A N/A
Location Philadelphia, PA Blue Bell, PA (24 miles from Philadelphia) Philadelphia, PA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $36,090** $4,050 (in-district), $7,710 (in-state), $11,370 (out-of-state)** $4,800 (in-district), $9,120 (in-state), $13,440 (out-of-state)**
Culinary Program Levels Offered Bachelor's degree Certificate; associate's degree Associate's degree
Culinary Certificate and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2012 7** 11** 17**
Most Popular Culinary Program (2012) Bachelor's in culinary arts/chef training ** Associate's in culinary arts/chef training** Associate's in culinary arts/chef training**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 68% (2005 entering class)** 12% (2008 entering class)** 9% (2008 entering class)**
Noteworthy Cooperative education program provides employment at leading agencies Full-time instructor Chad Durkin competed on TLC's program 'Next Great Baker' American Culinary Federation qualified faculty help students obtain apprenticeships

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator.

Winner: Drexel University

  • Offers Bachelor of Science degrees in both culinary arts and culinary science
  • Ranked 3rd best up-and-coming school among national universities in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Students have the opportunity to study abroad in London

At Drexel University, located in the heart of Philadelphia, students gain experience in the program's 14,000-square foot food lab and operate a student-run restaurant and lounge. While students can earn either a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Science, those who pursue the B.S. in Culinary Arts also earn an integrated business minor. Culinary arts students take classes in all aspects of the culinary field, including food preparation, international cuisine, food styling and beverage management. Students in the culinary science program learn about the production and scientific side of the industry, as well as learning culinary skills. They also complete a 6-month cooperative internship during their junior year.

Runner-Up #1: Montgomery County Community College

  • New 15,000-square foot culinary arts building
  • Students prepare and sell items in an on-campus café and bakeshop
  • 200- and 400-hour externships requires within culinary programs

Montgomery County Community College's Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) offers certificate and associate's degree programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. CAI's new facilities are scheduled to open in Fall 2013 and include four state-of-the-art kitchens and a student-run bakeshop. Additionally, there are three SMART classrooms in the facility. Campus-based career coaches offer guidance and placement assistance. The program accepts recent high school graduates, adult learners, and those already working in the culinary field.

Runner-Up #2: Community College of Philadelphia

  • Up-to-date culinary arts labs
  • Includes a 14-week summer work experience
  • May receive college credit for previous work experience

The Community College of Philadelphia offers an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. The curriculum includes courses in hospitality, baking, cuisine, food preparation, and general education. Credits from this degree may be transferred to a 4-year university. Students benefit from guidance from American Culinary Federation (ACF) qualified mentors and may choose to pursue an apprenticeship.

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