Food Science is an exciting area that applies a blend of basic sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics with microbiology, biochemistry, mathematics and engineering to improve the safety, taste, nutrition and value of the world's food supply. Excellent career opportunities are available for Food Science graduates.
- Nearly 100% of Virginia Tech's Food Science and Technology graduates have jobs in product development, research, sales and marketing, quality assurance, production management, analytical and technical services and regulatory affairs at graduation.
- Food processing is the largest industry in the United States.
- This industry employs nearly 2 million people and accounts for more than 16 percent of the country's gross national product.
- In a recent survey of U.S. Food Science programs, Virginia Tech ranked 6th nationally in placing Food Science B.S. graduates into graduate or professional schools.
- Higher education resource Successful Student ranks Virginia Tech's Food Science and Technology undergraduate program ninth best in the country.
- The department is approved by the national Institute of Food Technologists.
- In 2017, the department's Brewing and Fermentation degree option became one of only a handful of four-year programs to be recognized by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
Food Science and Technology utilizes the combined disciplines of science and technology in an effort to improve the safety, health, preservation quality and availability of the local and global food supply in order to help better feed the world.
The Food Science and Technology major offers students the opportunity to use science in exciting and innovative ways, with a focus on hands-on learning. Depending on the degree option they choose, students might develop and test new food products, study the pathogens that cause foodborne illness, or learn the art of brewing beer or winemaking.
The objective of the program is to develop within students an understanding of the nature, properties, and characteristics of foods as determined through biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology, physics, and other sciences, thus the program offers four degree options for undergraduate students:
- Food Business
- Food and Health
- Food and Beverage Fermentation
Career opportunities for food scientists include food safety, food quality control, food product development, production management, technical sales and service, ingredient management, research, and teaching. Students completing the science or food and health option requirements will also be prepared for graduate and professional schools of medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
A food scientist studies the physical, microbiological, and chemical makeup of food. Depending on the area of specialization, Food Scientists may develop ways to process, preserve, package, or store food, according to industry and government specifications and regulations. Food science and technology is the key to the conversion of raw agricultural materials into a wide variety of properly processed and preserved foods.
The Food Science and Technology major prepares students to apply the principles of science and engineering to better understand the complex and heterogeneous materials recognized as food. There is a great demand in the food industry and in government for highly knowledgeable and competent food scientists. Opportunities for food scientists include food safety, food quality control, food product development, production management, technical sales and service, ingredient management, research, and teaching. Students completing the science or food and health option requirements will also be prepared for graduate and professional schools of medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
The food industry also utilizes the technical training of the food scientist in many ways, such as: research and development, manufacturing and production, technical sales and service, management, quality control, inspection services with state or federal government, technical writing, teaching, and consulting work.
The department offers a minor (please consult a department representative for requirements), as well as a double-major option in Food Science and Technology to students in all other colleges of the university. Food Science and Technology students may also participate in the Cooperative Education Program.