Those interested in food science have plenty of online education options to consider. Several universities offer online graduate certificate and bachelor's and master's degree programs in the field. Professional certificates are also available for those already working in the food science industry. Students can also find standalone courses for aspiring and experienced food science technicians online.
Food Science Education
Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees
Online food science bachelor's and master's degree programs are available. The focus of such degrees may be in food science or food business operations. Master's degree programs often give students the choice between thesis and non-thesis tracks.
Professional certificate programs in food science are available to those already working in the food industry.
Graduate certificate programs (bachelor's degree required) comprised of 12-15 credit hours are also available from several universities.
Undergraduate and graduate courses may include advanced topics in food analysis and chemistry, microbiology, statistics and quality assurance.
A certificate program might feature five courses and cover introductory food science, food processing, food safety and quality, chemical safety and biosecurity. Graduate-level certificate courses include nutrition and aging, food processing, food law and thermal processing. Graduate certificate programs that focus solely on food safety and defense are also available.
Individual online classes for professional development are available in nutrition and medical terminology, applied microbiology, world food and nutrition, food preservation and research methods. Short courses are also available in process control, dairy basics, hazard analysis fundamentals and sanitation.
Food science technology applies the study of chemical, biological and physical makeup of food to its safe production, selection, preservation, packaging and distribution. Food scientists are involved in the food supply chain from the farm to the home, and food science technicians often serve the quality assurance role in the food production process. Food science professionals are employed in industry, academia and government, from home kitchens to the NASA space shuttle. Typical job duties include analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, of the chemical and physical properties of food.
Continuing Education Information
The Institute for Food Technologists (IFT) offers introductory and advanced courses online. Focus areas, often spanning multiple courses, include product development, public policy and regulations, health and nutrition, and safety and defense. Professional development focus areas include finance, leadership, time management and project management. On-demand and live webcasts address current industry topics (www.ift.org).
Opportunities exist for short-term training, some without prerequisites, for people who either desire or have positions in the food industry. Representative workshops include food and water protection, foodborne illness, microbiology and worker hygiene.
Online education options for food science technicians are highly interdisciplinary, including studies in topics ranging from health and nutrition to food preparation safety. These programs also differ considerably in length and focus area; students can choose between standalone courses, certificates and degree programs based on their previous education, academic interests and career goals.