The food science program prepares students for careers in the food industry, government, academia, and for graduate study in food science or related disciplines. Food scientists enjoy satisfying careers that help ensure the sustainable availability of a safe, nutritious, affordable, and high-quality food supply for people throughout New York State, the nation, and the world.
At Cornell, the undergraduate food science major is unique in that students choose between three different concentration options: Science, Business, or Safety. With all concentration options, the first two years are intended to establish a solid background in math, chemistry, and physical and biological sciences. Required courses include chemistry (introductory and organic), biology, microbiology, calculus, physics, introductory food science courses, and nutrition. The last two years emphasize the application of these basic sciences and technology to the manufacturing, sensory evaluation, storage, distribution, and safety of foods and food ingredients. Whether students choose the Science, Business, or Safety concentration, every student in our program will obtain a strong foundation in the physical sciences, and a thorough exposure to the various fields in Food Science.
Students are also strongly encouraged to participate in undergraduate research supervised by a faculty member and/or complete an internship in a food company during their program of study. Most teaching faculty in the department also have active research programs and welcome participation by undergraduate students.
Careers in the food industry are incredibly varied, and our students are heavily recruited by large and small companies in a range of industry sectors. For the last several years, 97-100% of our graduates have found a place in industry or graduate school within 6 months of completing our program.
Explore our Concentration Options:
The Science concentration provides an integrated curriculum that blends fundamental science with the more applied aspects of the science of foods. It is our most popular concentration among Food Science majors. This concentration is intended to provide students with a strong foundation in science and engineering within the Food Science realm, and includes an Applied Food Chemistry requirement.
The Business concentration is our second most popular concentration among Food Science majors, and features the Business Proficiency Requirement. The Business concentration deals with the principles and practices pertinent to efficient management of food processing, preservation, distribution and marketing operations. Students who pursue the Business concentration can also easily pursue a Business minor.
The Safety concentration is intended for students who are most interested in the Food Safety industry, and includes a Safety Proficiency Requirement. It provides a comprehensive curriculum covering physical, chemical and biological hazards that affect the safety of foods while providing a solid background in applied food science.
Food Science Curriculum
Undergraduates in Food Science have the opportunity to choose from one of three degree concentrations, which assist students in focusing their undergraduate program and matching their coursework to their interests. Whether students choose the Science concentration, Business concentration, or the Safety concentration, every student in our program will get a strong foundation in the physical sciences, and a thorough exposure to the various fields in Food Science.
Courses and Requirements
To obtain a Bachelor of Science in Food Science, students choose one of three possible concentrations: Science, Business, or Safety. Please fill out our Interest Form to view the latest requirements for the concentration(s) you're interested in.
Example Four-Year Schedules
To view an example of a four-year schedule based on concentration, please fill out our Interest Form. Note that the four-year schedules are examples only, for a hypothetical first-year student entering without AP/IB credits.
Applying for Admission
New Students - First Years and Transfers
First year and transfer applications are processed through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' (CALS) Admissions Office.
Prospective students who are interested in learning more about the Food Science Undergraduate Program are encouraged to visit us in Stocking Hall, and are welcome to join us on campus on any day that the University is open.
Internal Transfers and Changing Majors
Students who are interested in internally transferring to CALS from another Cornell college (Engineering, Arts & Sciences, etc.) to the Food Science major may contact the Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees for procedures.
CALS students interested in changing their major to Food Science should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Chris Loss, to arrange a meeting to discuss his/her current curriculum and the feasibility of changing majors by the end of the fall semester in their sophomore year at the latest.
Both internal transfer applicants and CALS students interested in changing majors should be aware that acceptance to the major is not guaranteed. Students accepted into the major should have two semesters of Chemistry and two semesters of Biology prior to the end of their freshman year.
Minoring in Food Science
Any student at Cornell University, pending course and scheduling availability, may minor in Food Science! Please contact Garrett Downing at gdowning [at] cornell.edu for more information about the Minor in Food Science and the Declaration of Intent to Minor.
Dr. Chris Loss
Director of Undergraduate Studies
crl3 [at] cornell.edu