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Food Science and Technology . . .

What is Food Science and Technology?

A food scientist applies chemistry, microbiology, engineering and other sciences to the production, processing, preservation, evaluation and distribution of food products. Food scientists ensure the availability of a safe, acceptable and nutritious selection of foods for the world's consumers. Food processing is the largest manufacturing industry in the United States. Graduates of the UT Food Science and Technology program find career opportunities in a variety of food industries.
If you are interested in the quality and safety of food, have a special interest in science or engineering and would like an opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world, then you should consider majoring in Food Science and Technology.

Concentrations in Food Science and Technology

Students majoring in Food Science and Technology select from three concentrations: Science, Business/Technology or Pre-Professional.
The Science Concentration is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). The majority of students in this concentration continue their studies in graduate programs to improve their opportunities for working in research and product development in the food industry.
Students in The Business/Technology Concentration study food science while developing specializations or minors in other areas of interest. Business or agricultural economics minors are most common for the concentration; however, some students may opt to take courses in animal or plant sciences, communications or microbiology. Graduates in the concentration typically plan to work immediately upon completion of their undergraduate degree requirements, and are very successful in production supervision, quality assurance, sales and regulatory positions.
Prepare for pharmacy, medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine with a major in Food Science and Technology while earning a B.S. in agriculture. Students who graduate in the Food Science and Technology Pre-Professional Concentration with a B.S. in agriculture have been very successful in gaining acceptance to professional schools. With a background in food science, these students understand an area that has a great impact in pharmacy and medicine, and is closely related to may areas of veterinary medicine.
The Pre-Professional Concentration allows students to fulfill their pre-professional requirements by completing a B.S. degree in agriculture with a major in Food Science and Technology. Or, students may also be awarded the B.S. degree after three years in Food Science and Technology and successful completion of the first year in the UT pharmacy program or the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. Although a B.S. degree is not required for admission to the colleges of dentistry and medicine, most students accepted into these programs have earned a baccalaureate degree before admission.

Where can I get a job with this background?

As the world's population continues to increase and the awareness of the importance of a safe and affordable food supply heightens, so does the demand for food science and technology graduates. Our graduates find career opportunities in the largest manufacturing industry in the United States, including processors of frozen, canned and fresh foods; bakery and candy items; and dairy and meat products.
Graduates also find employment with governmental agencies and private firms that support food processing, including government food safety and quality inspection and packaging agencies, and equipment and ingredient suppliers. Food scientists work as quality assurance supervisors, production managers, marketing representatives, food/flavor chemists, new product developers and researchers, sensory evaluation specialists, and in-state and federal government positions in food safety and quality.

What co-ops or internships are available to Food Science and Technology students?

Students are encouraged to participate in internships with food industry organizations, usually during the summer semester. A food science and technology curriculum requirement is practical training in food-processing plants, food laboratories or state/federal regulatory agencies.

What other opportunities will I have with this major?

  • The Food Science Club is an integral part of the department and is an affiliate of the Student Association of the national IFT. The club provides students opportunities to develop personal and professional relationships with fellow students, faculty and food industry professionals, while developing leadership and interpersonal communications skills.
  • The department sponsors dairy products and meat judging teams that travel and compete with students from other universities. Team members have opportunities to tour dairy and meat processing companies during their travel.
  • The department provides assistance and opportunities for students to study abroad. Past opportunities include tours to Mexico and Thailand.


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Herbert College of Agriculture
2621 Morgan Circle - 126 Morgan Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7303
Fax: 865-974-9329

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