Food Science Major

Supplying an expanding global population with adequate food is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind in the 21st century. The Food Science major prepares students for leadership positions in the food industry, academia, and government. Our research programs are designed to expand understanding of the biological/microbiological, chemical, physical, sensory, nutritional, and engineering properties of foods and beverages. 

At CALS, Food Science students are gaining skills and advancing the knowledge necessary to make meaningful contributions toward ensuring that all people have access to a safe, healthy, affordable, and sustainable food supply.  Cornell faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge research designed to:

  • Identify and prevent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
  • Develop improved preservation methods to expand the available food supply.
  • Evaluate the role of fruit and vegetables in preventing cancer.
  • Reduce nutrient losses during processing, storage, and transport of foods.
  • Improve the effectiveness of food fortification.
  • Develop foods that may someday travel to other planets with astronauts.

Three paths are available in this major

  • Food Science provides an integrated curriculum that blends fundamental science with the more applied aspects of the science of foods. This option includes core courses in the microbiology and safety of foods, food processing and engineering, the chemistry of foods and food ingredients, and sensory evaluation of foods.
  • Food Operations and Management deals with the principles and practices pertinent to efficient management of food processing, preservation, distribution and marketing operations. This option is offered to meet the needs of students that are more interested in the business or marketing side of the food industry.
  • Food Safety 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.

Employment Fields

  • Research
  • Food Industry Manufacturing/Marketing/Sales
  • General Business
  • Education
  • Ag Business

What recent graduates are doing

  • Food Technologist at Baldwin Richardson Foods
  • Food Technologist at Beachbody, LLC
  • Food Technologist at International Food Network
  • Associate Scientist at PepsiCo
  • Sales Byrne Dairy
  • Winemaking Intern; E & J Gallo Winery
  • Food Scientist at Frito Lay
  • Chocolate Technologist; Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
  • Team Advisor at Schreiber Foods
  • Associate Brand Manager at Unilever
  • Technical Account Manager at TIC Gums
  • Scientist at Kraft Foods
  • Sales Manager at Aldi's
  • Graduate Student at Cornell, Ohio State University, University of Massachusetts, North Carolina State University, Wageningen University (Netherlands), University of Sheffield (UK)
  • AmeriCorps 

Sample Classes

FDSC 2000 Introduction to Physiochemical and Biological Aspects of Food

Comprehensive introduction to the physical, chemical, and nutritional properties of foods and to the principles and practice of food science and technology. Topics include chemistry and functionality of commodities and ingredients, chemical and physical phenomena that affect food quality, techniques of processing and preservation, microbiology and fermentation, food safety, regulation, and contemporary issues.

FDSC 3950 Food Microbiology Laboratory

Work includes study of the physiological characteristics of representative food microorganisms, practice in using general and rapid methods for microbiological testing and control of food products, and practice in the application of a systematic approach to controlling the safety of foods, or addressing a food safety issue.

FDSC 4170 Food Chemistry

Covers the chemistry of foods and food ingredients. Discusses the chemical and physical properties of water, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other food components and additives in the context of their interactions and functional roles in foods.

    More about Food Science from the Department