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About the Department of Food Science & Technology

With Ut Prosim as our guiding motto, the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech educates, conducts research, and disseminates knowledge in the aim of making a positive impact on the world. Through cutting-edge research in novel fields and world-class education with a focus on experiential learning, we instill in students the science, business, and research skills they'll need to address the supply, health, financial, environmental, and agricultural challenges of communities throughout Virginia and across the globe.

The Department of Food Science and Technology is an internationally renowned and premiere institution ranked among the top ten food science departments in the United States. Programs cover both core disciplines and specific commodities with an emphasis on areas of critical need in the Commonwealth and where faculty expertise can make the greatest positive impact.

The department is housed in the Food Science building at the corner of Duck Pond Drive and Washington Street with additional research conducted in the Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building (HABB1), the Integrated Life Sciences Building (ILSB) in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC), the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (Virginia Seafood AREC) in Hampton and the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center (Eastern Shore AREC) in Painter.

Our Mission

Our mission is to engage the minds of the next generation of food scientists so they can rise to meet global food and health challenges. Through education and research we work to improve the quality, safety, and nutrition of the food supply in Virginia, the U.S., and the world at large.

Our Vision

The Department of Food Science and Technology strives to be a premiere institution to nurture and shape the leaders of tomorrow in the field of food science and technology. We are committed to excellence in teaching, research, and extension, and it is through these pursuits that we embrace the challenge of addressing global food-related issues, working to create sustainable solutions that benefit communities far beyond our campus.


  • 1968: The Board of Visitors establishes the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech based on disciplines previously housed in the Departments of Horticulture, Dairy Science, Animal Science, and Poultry Science.
  • 1970: Construction on the dairy technology facility, laboratory, and office wing are completed in the Food Science building.
  • 1975-77: A teaching lab, food biochemistry lab, and meat processing lab are added to FST's facilities.
  • 1991: Dr. Susan Duncan establishes the Sensory Evaluation Laboratory, bringing a new discipline into the department's research portfolio. 
  • 1994: The department branches out into wine with the hire of a faculty enology position and the completion of the research wine lab.  
  • 2006: FST expands outside of the Food Science building, establishing labs in Fralin Hall and the Integrated Life Sciences Building (ISLB) in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. 
  • 2014: Construction on the new Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building is completed. The building's completion provides the department with a new 7,100 square-foot food processing pilot plant, a 2,200 square-foot food safety pilot plant, a 1,278 square-foot state-of-the-art sensory evaluation laboratory, and a number of offices, conference rooms, and additional laboratories. 
  • 2017: The Master Brewers Association of the Americas formally recognizes FST's food and beverage fermentation degree option, an honor bestowed upon only a handful of such programs in North America. 
  • 2019: Successful Student, an online higher education resource, ranks the department's undergraduate and master's programs among the top 10 in the country. 
  • 2020: FST partners with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery to produce Fightin' Hokies Lager, the department's first licensed product and the university's first licensed alcoholic beverage.
  • 2022: FST is one of a handful of departments to pilot Virginia Tech's Bridge Experience Program, an initiative requiring all undergraduate students to have completed a number of experiential learning opportunities before graduation.

"There is no doubt in my mind that it was my experience at Virginia Tech that gave me my first taste for how science can be used to solve the world’s toughest problems.”

Dr. Elsa Murano
Alumna & Director, Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Development

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