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30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

In this article, we profile the 30 best value food science degrees of 2020.

Food science is a STEM field in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics plays a crucial role. Food scientists work in every facet of the multi-billion-dollar food industry. Earning a degree from one of the best food science programs can help students start their career off on the right foot. The main role of food scientists is to produce good food that is nutritious, and affordable, while satisfying demand — a task of increasing complexity in the modern age.

30 Best Value Food Science Degrees Methodology

We looked at approximately 110 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered bachelor’s in food science, food science and safety, food science and technology, nutrition, or closely related degree programs. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation, affordable undergraduate tuition less than $35,000 per year, and rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the programs according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of 30 best value food science degrees.

#30 – Bay Path University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Safety

Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Website

Bay Path University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked with U.S. News and World Report, Bay Path University offers accredited food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $34,225

Bay Path University offers a food science degree that helps enhance professional skills that protect the process of food handling and production. This particular program is one of the few on our list that can be completed with the flexibility of online learning. Course requirements include classes like foodborne diseases, foodborne microorganisms, introduction to food science, leading organizational change, and operations management and decision making. Bay Path is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 105th best regional university in the country. It has also received a prestigious ranking as the 11th most innovative school.

#29 – Clemson University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Clemson, South Carolina

Website

Clemson University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

IFT-approved food science degree programs – Clemson University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $15,374

Students in Clemson University’s food science degree program must choose between concentrations in food science and technology, or dietetics and nutrition. Dietetics students often pursue careers in community nutrition, public health nutrition, clinical dietetics, and sports/wellness dietetics. The food science and technology concentration is an IFT-approved program that offers further specialization in science, food and agriculture engineering, statistics and applied mathematics, food packaging, business, human nutrition, or culinary science. In addition to the wide concentration options, the school offers rankings and prestige from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Clemson ranks #66 in best national universities.

#28 – Rutgers University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Website

Rutgers University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked and accredited – Rutgers University’s food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,974

The Rutgers food science degree offers concentrations in general food science, management, and research. The research option is an IFT-approved program in which excellent students have the opportunity to study and do research abroad in countries like China and Finland. The research involves experimentation with microbes and chemicals, and exploring the way different cultures approach food science. Rutgers also offers a five-year B.S./M.S. program which allows students to combine their food science degree with a M.S. in food and business economics. Rutgers ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 56th best national university and 122nd best value school.

#27 – Michigan State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

East Lansing, Michigan

Website

Michigan State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Internships galore! Michigan State University – best value food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,460

Michigan State University’s IFT-approved food science degree offers concentrations in basic science, food technology, food packaging, and food business and industry. Some of the interesting courses students will encounter are food laws and regulations, immunology, agribusiness and food industry sales, and microbial genetics. Michigan State food science students have interned at over 29 major companies in the industry, including H.J. Heinz Co., Quaker Oats, Hershey Foods, General Mills, Tyson Foods, Nabisco Brands, Gerber Products, Little Caesar’s and Borden Incorporated. In addition to the food science program, Michigan State offers accreditation and rankings with U.S. News and World Report. The most recent ranking lists MSU #85 in best national universities.

#26 – University of Delaware

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Newark, Delaware

Website

University of Delaware - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

IFT-approved food science degrees at University of Delaware.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,680

The University of Delaware’s IFT-approved degree in food science provides students with three primary ways to take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities, as a volunteer, for a salary, or for credit. The summer scholars program provides top undergraduates the opportunity to conduct in-depth research with university faculty while earning a helpful stipend. UD also offers a very competitive winter term study abroad program where students take part in a three-credit international field experience. In addition to summer and winter programs, the school offers internships and research opportunities with UDairy Creamery, as well as other organizations and businesses to gain valuable work experience. UD ranks #89 in best national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#25 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology

Blacksburg, Virginia

Website

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked and affordable options for best value food science degrees at Virginia Tech.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,620

Virginia Tech’s IFT-approved food science and technology degree offers concentrations in science, food business, and food and health. There is also a food biology option, which is offered through the Department of Biology. Virginia Tech provides undergraduate students with the option to involve themselves in research, either by creating their own project, or joining a faculty project. Some current faculty research priorities are food safety and health, food processing and packaging, muscle foods, and food chemistry, sensory analysis, and food quality. Virginia Tech ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent rankings include #76 in best national universities and #103 in best value schools.

#24 – University of Minnesota

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

University of Minnesota - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

International internships offered through University of Minnesota’s food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,352

The University of Minnesota’s IFT-approved food science degree offers concentrations in advanced food technology, nutrition, chemistry, microbiology, and biochemistry. Food science majors can participate in any study abroad program offered by the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences and use the credits to fulfill elective slots. There are fourteen short term programs, three semester programs, and one international internship. The programs take place in a diverse array of locations including France, Thailand, Kenya, India, Ecuador, Bahamas, England, and Panama. University of Minnesota ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 76th best national university and 86th best value school in the country.

#23 – Montclair State University

Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Food Science

Montclair, New Jersey

Website

Montclair State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked and accredited – Food science degrees at Montclair State.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,790

Students enrolled in the bachelor’s in nutrition and food science program at Montclair State University must elect one of the three concentrations – applied nutrition and wellness, food science, or food systems. Students must then take classes and maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA throughout the program. Courses cover a wide range of topics appropriate to food handling, production, and nutrition. Montclair is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school #169 in best national universities and #90 in top public schools.

#22 – Louisiana State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Website

Louisiana State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked with U.S. News – LSU’s food science programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,950

Louisiana State University’s bachelor’s in food science features concentrations in nutrition health and society, dietetics, nutrition science with pre-med, and food science and technology with both pre-med and non-pre-med options. The food science and technology is an IFT-approved program. Graduates of LSU’s program have been employed by NASA, Dreyer’s Ice Cream Company, Folger’s, Smucker’s, Gerber, Proctor and Gamble, Pillsbury, Riviana Foods, the USDA, and the FDA. LSU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent publication of Best Colleges lists LSU #140 in best national universities and #139 in best value schools.

#21 – University of Georgia

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Athens, Georgia

Website

University of Georgia - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Highly affordable food science programs offered at University of Georgia.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,830

The food science degree at the University of Georgia is an IFT-approved program. The two areas of emphasis offered are business, and science, technology, and engineering. Some UGA food science alumni now work in positions in research microbiology with the USDA, and senior program leadership roles of food and product safety at Chick-fil-A. Other careers open to graduates of this program are quality assurance, food sales and marketing, and food law if the student decides to earn their law degree. University of Georgia ranks #46 in best national universities and offers one of the most affordable food science programs on our list.

#20 – Colorado State University

Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Food Science

Fort Collins, Colorado

Website

Colorado State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Four concentration options – Colorado State’s food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,707

Colorado State University offers bachelor’s in nutrition and food science degrees with four concentration options. Students choose one of the four concentrations that include emphases in areas like dietetics and nutrition management, food safety and nutrition, nutrition and fitness, and nutritional sciences. The courses depend on the concentration chosen and allow students to tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet specific career goals. Colorado State offers affordable tuition and is ranked with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, CSU ranks #140 in best national universities and #141 in best value schools.

#19 – Washington State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Pullman, Washington

Website

Washington State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked with U.S. News – WSU’s food science degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,584

Washington State University’s food science major is a multidisciplinary program that applies biology, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, nutrition, physics, and other sciences to improve the quality and safety of food products. The bachelor’s in food science program offers one specialization track for students wanting to tailor their degree toward fermentation science. Students gain practical and technical skills they can apply to the industry by working at WSU’s Creamery, where the world-renowned Cougar Gold Cheese is made. Other internships are available through nearby food companies and faculty-led research laboratories. U.S. News and World Report ranks WSU #140 in best national universities and #83 in best value schools.

#18 – University of Akron

Bachelor’s in Food and Environmental Nutrition

Akron, Ohio

Website

University of Akron - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

University of Akron’s food science degree programs offer nutrition studies.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,463

University of Akron’s School of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a bachelor’s in food and environmental nutrition (FEN) designed to meet the needs of the food industry. This degree prepares undergraduates for the industry’s fast pace team approach by offering classes covering a wide range of topics. Some of the required courses include human nutrition, introduction to food regulation, management principles and concepts, principles of microeconomics, and the food industry. Internships are available through the program to enhance the student experience. The school’s current partnerships exist with local food industry experts to large food producers and processing plants. University of Akron ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 230th to 301st best national university in the country.

#17 – University of Maine

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Orono, Maine

Website

University of Maine - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked and affordable – University of Maine – a best value school for food science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,170

The University of Maine’s food science degree offers concentrations in food science, human nutrition and dietetics, and food management. The food science concentration is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists. Students who elect to take the food science concentration often go on to graduate school at universities like Penn State, the University of Georgia, and the University of Illinois, according to the program’s website. The University of Maine boasts a 100 percent job placement for food science graduates, some of whom have landed jobs at companies like Kellogg’s, Campbell’s Soup, Givaudan Flavors, and Kerry Foods. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Maine #177 in best national universities.

#16 – Oregon State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Oregon State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Specializations in fermentation! OSU’s food science programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,166

The IFT-approved food science degree at Oregon State University offers concentrations in general food science, fermentation science, and enology & viticulture. Fermentation science students will take classes like organic chemistry, fermentation microbiology, and brewing science. The enology and viticulture program is designed to provide students with a mastery of the end to end process of winemaking and includes courses like grapevine growth and physiology, principles and practices of vineyard production, and wine production. Oregon State University ranks #140 in best national universities and #116 in best value schools with U.S. News and World Report. It is also one of the most affordable schools on our list to offer food science programs.

#15 – Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

ASU’s food science degree programs are offered online!

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,822

Arizona State University’s bachelor’s in nutrition program prepares students for careers in food production, health and wellness, marketing and journalism, and service management. Courses are delivered online, making it one of the few online nutrition and food science programs offered in this format. A total of 40 classes are required for the completion of this degree. Classes run 7.5 weeks in length and cover topics from harnessing big data to improve patient outcomes to neuroscience techniques. Nutrition students interested in business and entrepreneurship may take advantage of the options food entrepreneurship track. ASU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 115th best national university. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #2 in the country.

#14 – University of Maryland

Bachelor’s in Food Science

College Park, Maryland

Website

University of Maryland - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

IFT approved – University of Maryland’s food science bachelor’s program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,595

The food science degree at the University of Maryland is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and prepares students for careers in ingredient management, research, teaching, and production management. Students will take courses like nutritional genomics, special problems in food science, and foodservice operations. Some successful UMD food science graduates have become leaders at companies like BakeCo LLC and Coca Cola, and government organizations like the US Department of Agriculture. University of Maryland offers accreditation, affordability, and rankings with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, UM ranks #63 in best national universities and #108 in best value schools.

#13 – Kansas State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Manhattan, Kansas

Website

Kansas State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Kansas State University’s food science degree is IFT-approved.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,383

Kansas State University’s food science degree is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists. Kansas State offers concentrations in science and food business and operations management. The science option prepares students for graduate study in food science programs and integrates well with pre-vet and pre-med study. Those taking the food business and operations management track must minor in business, agribusiness, or agricultural economics. KSU also offers one of the only online bachelor’s completion degrees in food science and industry. Kansas State ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 147th best national university and 75th top public school.

#12 – University of Missouri

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Columbia, Missouri

Website

University of Missouri - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Internship opportunities – University of Missouri – food science degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,972

The University of Missouri food science degree offers business, science, enology, and culinary concentrations. The science option is IFT-approved. Enology students might be interested in the study abroad opportunity called French Agriculture, Viticulture, & Culture. The program is two months long and worth nine credits if the student opts into the second month internship. Students earn six academic credits in international agriculture and natural resources. The internship counts for three credits in international agriculture, food, and natural resources. University of Missouri ranks #129 in best national universities and #78 in best value schools by U.S. News and World Report.

#11 – Alabama A & M University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Normal, Alabama

Website

Alabama A & M University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked by U.S. News – Alabama A&M offers reputation and food science degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,744

Students in the food science program at Alabama A&M University have the option to minor in chemistry, nutrition, or business. There is also a minor to non-food science students for 18 credit hours from five different courses. As a food science major, you will learn about the current food production and approaches to meet demands. Courses prepare students for careers in this industry. According to the program website, graduates of the food science program at Alabama A&M have gone on to work for companies like Costco, Kellogg’s, Pinnacle Foods, and the USDA. U.S. News and World Report ranks Alabama A&M #107-#141 in best regional universities in the South.

#10 – North Dakota State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Fargo, North Dakota

Website

North Dakota State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

North Dakota State University offers an IFT-approved food science degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,414

North Dakota State tops our list of the best food science programs according to value. NDSU’s IFT-approved bachelor’s in food science offers emphases in food safety, microbiology, sciences, business and management, engineering, nutrition, and processing. Students will have the opportunity to intern at companies like General Mills, Hormel, ConAgra, Roman Meal, and American Crystal Sugar. Graduates of the program often fill positions at these and similar companies, working in areas like product development, quality control, food inspection, or sales and marketing. North Dakota State ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 215th best national university and 121st top public school.

#9 – University of Nebraska

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Study food science & technology at University of Nebraska.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,242

University of Nebraska’s IFT-approved degree in food science prepares students for careers in food plant management, product development, food research, and education. The program doesn’t offer specific emphasis areas, which allows students the freedom to choose up to 11 credits of technical electives in agriculture, economics, accounting, chemistry, horticulture, nutrition, management, and marketing, and five credits of free electives, which provides them with a variety of interdisciplinary options. UNL stresses the importance of internships, and students have been placed with companies like Nestle, Cargill, ConAgra, Schwann’s Foods, Wells’ Dairy Inc. and Farmland Foods. In addition to internship opportunities, the school offers a solid reputation with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact. University of Nebraska ranks #129 in best national universities and #95 in best value schools.

#8 – Texas Tech University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked with U.S. News – Texas Tech University – food science best value program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,080

The two food science tracks offered by Texas Tech are industry and science. The industry option provides students with the flexibility to pursue a minor in business or nutritional science. Career opportunities for the industry concentration include food engineering, genetics and nutrition, and government positions with agencies like the FDA or USDA. The science option includes a minor in chemistry and functions as a pre-professional program for students interested in medical, pharmacy, dental, veterinary medicine, allied health, and law professions. Texas Tech has earned rankings from U.S. News and World Report as the 187th best national university and the 100th top public school.

#7 – Oklahoma State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Website

Oklahoma State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked with U.S. News – Oklahoma State University is a top value school for food science programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,019

Oklahoma State University’s food science degree offers concentrations in food safety, industry, meat science, and science. Some of the careers OSU students have pursued are food toxicology, fats and oil research, flavor chemist, cereal scientist, and market researcher. The school and program offer extensive undergraduate research opportunities with the Department of Animal and Food Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Students work alongside faculty, graduate students, and unit managers. Oklahoma State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 157th best national university and 80th top public school. Oklahoma State offers one of the most affordable food science programs on our list.

#6 – Iowa State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Ames, Iowa

Website

Iowa State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

IFT-approved food science degrees – Iowa State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,988

Iowa State’s IFT-approved bachelor’s of food science offers five minors: culinary science, food and society, food safety, food science, and nutrition. The food and society minor focuses on how food science can help alleviate major social issues through classes like food and the consumer, societal impacts on food systems, world food issues, and issues in food and society. Students in the culinary science minor will take courses like advanced food preparation, quantity food production management, and scientific study of food. Iowa State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 119th best national university and the 81st best value school.

#5 – Mississippi State University

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology

Mississippi State, Mississippi

Website

Mississippi State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Study food science & technology – Mississippi State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,650

Mississippi State University’s bachelor’s in food science and technology program is designed to train students to either go to graduate school for a food science degree or work in a variety of food science and research fields. Courses cover topics such as career planning and success skills in food science, child health and nutrition, food products evaluation, individual and family nutrition, introduction to food science, and research methods in food and nutrition. The school and its programs are accredited, and U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution. In fact, MSU ranks #177 in best national universities and #97 in top public schools.

#4 – University of Idaho

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Moscow, Idaho

Website

University of Idaho - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Highly affordable food science program at University of Idaho.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,864

The University of Idaho’s food science degree offers concentrations in dairy foods management and processing. The processing concentration is an IFT-approved program. Food science students at the University of Idaho have interned at companies like Darigold, J.R. Simplot, Starbucks, Glanbia, and Kraft Foods. Graduates of the program have gone on to work at major industry companies like Stone Mill Foods, General Mills, and Heinz Frozen Food Company. The University of Idaho ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 165th best national university and the 87th best top public school in the country.

#3 – Texas Woman’s University

Bachelor’s in Food and Nutrition in Business Industry

Denton, Texas

Website

Texas Woman's University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Study business in the food science industry – Texas Woman’s University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,796

Texas Woman’s University offers a bachelor’s in food and nutrition in business industry program designed for individuals seeking careers in the business side of food manufacturing and distribution. The program offers small class sizes and expert faculty with contacts to local food industry leaders. These established partnerships provide students with access to research opportunities in areas like diabetes control, effect of berries on bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis, and parameters that influence ovulation regulation. U.S. News and World Report ranks Texas Woman’s University among the top 300 best national universities. The school and its programs are fully accredited.

#2 – Fresno State University

Bachelor’s in Food and Nutritional Sciences

Fresno, California

Website

Fresno State University - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked as most affordable! Fresno State University – food science degree program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,587

Fresno State University’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition offers a bachelor’s in food and nutritional science program designed to equip students with the skills needed to work in the food industry. Through the Center for Food Science and Nutrition Research, students gain research experience applicable to career pathways in food production, research, and management. A total of 120 semester credits are required and include 51 credits in general education. What makes Fresno State unique is the number of internship opportunities, projects, supervised work experience options, and cooperative research partnerships for students. Graduates find themselves prepared to enter all areas of the food industry with a strong foundational knowledge. Fresno State ranks #2 on our list of most affordable and best value food science degrees.

#1 – University of Florida

Bachelor’s in Food Science

Gainesville, Florida

Website

University of Florida - 30 Best Value Food Science Degrees

Ranked #1 most affordable – University of Florida – best value food science degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,381

Ranked as offering the most affordable food science program on our list, University of Florida is recognized for its quality education offerings and academic reputation. The food science program at UF offers formal food science training for students pursuing their bachelor’s degree. Students gain knowledge and training needed to enter careers in food and beverage scaling and processing, food product design and development, microbiology analytical laboratories, and regulatory agencies (FDA and USDA). UF ranks #35 in best national universities and #91 in best value schools. It is our #1 pick for most affordable and best value food science degrees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a food science degree?

A food science degree is a versatile one; however, the most common career path is to enter the food industry as a skilled food scientist, researcher, or technologist. Food scientists work to research and improve the efficiency and safety of food products. They typically conduct research and create new food products or develop methods to improve the process, packaging, and delivery of food.

Most food scientist jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in food science or closely related nutrition or technology discipline. Since food scientists utilize a wide range of skills in biology, chemistry, and nutrition, having a strong background in these scientific areas helps. There are a number of organizations that hire well-qualified food scientists. We detail the organizations that hire food scientists below.

At colleges and universities, food scientists usually typically conduct research and investigate how to improve current methods for the production of food. They also research nutrition and food quality.

Government agencies hire food scientists to conduct research on animal safety and to help improve food and crop production. Food scientists working for the federal government typically spend most of their time working with clinical trials.

The first step in securing a career as a food scientist is to enroll in a bachelor’s in food science program at a reputable and accredited institution.

How long does it take to earn a food science degree?

While the time to completion for food science degrees varies by institution and program, the average length is four years. There are a few ways to cut the time it typically takes to complete a food science degree, which we discuss below.

Online food science programs are limited, but accredited online food science programs do exist from reputable institutions. In fact, we listed a couple on our list, including the online bachelor’s in nutrition and food science at Arizona State University. Some online programs give students added flexibility when completing classes. Courses take less time to complete and students are able to work at their own pace. In non-cohort programs, this flexibility allows students to earn their bachelor’s degree in less than four years.

Enrollment status also impacts completion time. For programs that allow flexibility, enrolling as a part-time or full-time student can impact the time it takes to earn your food science degree. Both enrollment statuses offer benefits and drawbacks. Part-time programs allow students to take a lighter course load, which can be helpful for working individuals. Full-time programs allow students to move at a quicker pace and finish their degree in less time than is required for a part-time program.

How much money can I make with a food science degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for agricultural and food scientists was $64,020 as of May 2018. Ten percent of the lowest earners made under $38,740, while the highest earners made more than $116,740. Drilling the numbers down even further showed that food scientists and technologists earned a median annual wage of $65,300.

BLS also lists the top paying industries for food scientists. According to numbers published in May of 2018, research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industry paid agricultural and food scientists $76,590 in median annual wages. Other high-paying industries include, government – $68,040; management, scientific, technical consulting services – $65,780; food manufacturing – $63,430; and colleges, universities, and professional schools at the local, state, and private level – $54,640. Food scientists work full time.

PayScale, a global research compensation organization that compiles salary data for specific occupations, reports pay differences by location and experience. This means food scientists living in certain cities and areas can earn more than their colleagues working in other locations. According to PayScale, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles were high-paying areas for food scientists, though cost of living should be factored into the salary earnings.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a food science degree?

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the overall employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow seven percent through 2028. This is about as fast as is expected for all other occupations, but slightly higher than the average. Due to the anticipated continuation of research in agricultural production, methods, and techniques, growth is expected.

Over the next several years, the food industry will face challenges as the human population grows. There will be an increased demand for clean water, changes in climate and weather patterns, and the need for pest control as resistances develop. All of these challenges impact the food industry. Food scientists and researchers with specialized skills in these areas will be needed to help improve food-processing techniques and methods.

Looking at the occupational employment statistics, as listed by the Occupational Outlook Handbook, states with the highest employment of food scientists include: California, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia. This means these states are likely to have more jobs available for food scientists. If you are willing to relocate to any one of these areas, you may see better job prospects. Also, these states report higher wages for food scientists, according to BLS.

What kinds of classes will I take in food science degree programs?

Most food science programs are designed as multidisciplinary, which means integrating studies in biology, business, chemistry, engineering, nutrition, and technology. The programs usually cover a wide range of classes that emphasize research, production, and the engineering of food.

Common classes required for bachelor’s in food science degrees can be broken into four major categories.

Food chemistry: Most of the food chemistry courses are designed to prepare students with knowledge of chemical structures of various food products. Food constituents are also examined, such as carbohydrates, fats, lipids, proteins, and sugars, as well as flavorings, minerals, and water components.

Food processing: In the food processing classes, students learn what types of processes go into food packaging, production, and the preservation of food products. These courses examine shelf life, food safety, and sanitation. Also, students take courses that cover FDA and USDA laws and regulations.

Food science: Students take introductory and fundamental classes in food science that introduce them to modern food production systems, research, processes, and methods.

Nutrition: Nutrition classes cover content such as personal health and how the practice of food science affects the public as a whole. Students may take classes in human metabolism, wellness and disease prevention, and macronutrient absorption.

CVO Staff
September 2019

This concludes our list of 30 best value food science degrees for 2020.

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