Discover Food Science


In the food science major, we empower students to nourish the world.

What is food science? 

With a food science degree, you can influence food choices and possibilities. The average supermarket carries more than 20,000 items, most of which were developed into safe, affordable, and tasty products by food scientists. Imagine walking down the grocery store aisle and knowing YOU had an important role in bringing a product from farm to fork!
You might work for a large multi-national corporation, with an opportunity for traveling the world. You might work for a government agency or a non-profit foundation. You might start your own business or work with a small start-up company. Whichever route you choose, there's a career waiting for you. Depending on your personal interests, we'll help you choose the right concentration within the food science major to prepare you for your career goals.

Check out our latest Food Science video here!

Food Science concentrations

We offer two curriculum options or 'concentrations'* within the food science major: advanced food science and culinology. You may link to the online Cal Poly catalog to learn more about the department, the food science major, and concentrations within the food science major. If you're interested in the food science flow charts and curriculum sheets, visit the Cal Poly catalog degree flowchart and select your catalog year, major and concentration.
*The applied food technology concentration was phased out with the new curriculum cycle starting in fall 2019. We will continue to serve students currently enrolled in the applied food technology concentration until graduation, but urge students to consider the IFT approved advanced food science concentration as a viable alternative.


Advanced Food Science

Advanced food science is the curriculum approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the key international professional society for food scientists. Students are strongly advised to follow this concentration if they anticipate graduate study following completion of the BS, as many graduate programs in food science require the advanced chemistry and calculus coursework included in this concentration. In addition, students must follow this concentration to be eligible for IFT scholarships. 


Culinology is the curriculum approved by the Research Chefs Association (RCA) and is designed for students who want to blend culinary and food science principles in ingredient development, food product development, or in entrepreneurial pursuits. Some students choose this route after completing a professional culinary program or choose to attend one after earning their B.S.


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