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Food Science Degrees

Food Science is the study of the chemistry, microbiology, and processing of foods. The Food Science concentration is a challenging program and requires a strong background in mathematics, and science. The curriculum also meets entrance requirements for medical, dental, and veterinary schools if an additional semester of physics is taken as an elective.

Suggested Plan of Study | Learning Outcomes  | Admission Requirements

We focus on food product development and food safety. Career opportunities exist in food product development- the creation of new food products or food ingredients. Entry-level positions are also available in sensory evaluation, which involves testing of foods for their quality and likeability in carefully controlled taste tests. Our Consumer Testing Center is the only sensory evaluation facility of its kind in the region. Food microbiologists are recruited by food companies and by government agencies to monitor the safety of food products. Food analysts work in private or government laboratories measuring the composition of foods as well as the presence of pesticides and natural toxins.

The B.S. concentration in Food Science is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Food Science majors are eligible for $500-$2500 scholarships from IFT and major food companies. Several Food Science scholarships are available from the School of Food and Agriculture and the College. University of Maine students have also received scholarships worth approximately $1000 from the Northeast Section of IFT (NEIFT). These scholarships are based upon scholastic ability, extracurricular activities, and interests.

Why should you choose the University of Maine to study food science? Our program is small enough to provide a sense of community and encourage interactions among students and faculty. Food science classes typically have fifteen or fewer students, allowing for many hands-on opportunities. Most students work in a professor’s laboratory during their first two years of college in order to gain experience. Students are encouraged to seek industry or government internships and the background working with faculty is often key to successful internship applications. In the past few years, our students have interned with NASA, Jeanie Marshal Foods, World Harbors, Cabot Creamery and McCormick’s. Seniors are required to complete a research project for additional professional experience. Students who complete FSN 512 – Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points receive National Seafood Alliance HACCP certification. The Food Science Club is a chapter of the IFT Student Association. The Club is open to all students and provides a social as well as professional network. The College Bowl team competes against other food science programs at regional events. Other club activities include factory tours, barbecues and trips to NEIFT meetings.

Graduates of the Food Science program will be prepared to find jobs not only in Maine, but nationally and internationally. Nationally, the average starting salary for B.S. food science graduates is $40,000, depending upon the student’s experience and the company location. The average starting salary in New England is higher, but entry-level positions in Maine may be a bit lower. We have had 100% job placement for graduates. Barber Foods, Hannaford Brothers, and FMC Marine Colloids are among the local companies who have hired our graduates. Many undergraduate food scientists choose to pursue graduate degrees, and we have successfully placed students at the University of Georgia, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Illinois as well as our own graduate program. Graduates of the UMaine food science graduate program are employed by Kellogg’s, McCormick’s, Campbell Soup, Givaudan Flavors, Kerry Foods and many other companies.

Food Science Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
FSN 101 – Introduction to Food and Nutrition
NFA 117 – Issues and Opportunities
ENG 101 – College Composition
CMJ 103 – Fundamentals of Public Communication
MAT 126 – Calculus
CHY 121,123 – Introduction to Chemistry and Lab
CHY 122,124 – Molecular Basis of Chemical Change and Lab
FSN 103 – Science of Food Preparation

Second Year
FSN 270 – World Food and Nutrition
FSN 330 – Introduction to Food Science
FSN 340 – Food Processing Lab
BIO 100 – Basic Biology
BIO 208 – Anatomy and Physiology
BMB 221,222 or CHY 251,253 – Organic Chemistry and Lab
BMB 322,323 – Biochemistry and Lab
PSY 100 – General Psychology
Gen Ed:  Artistic and Creative Expression

Third Year*
BMB 300,305 – General Microbiology and Lab
PHY 111 – General Physics I
MAT 232 – Principles of Statistical Inference
ENG 317 – Business and Technical Writing
FSN 436 – Food Law
FSN 482,483 – Food Chemistry and Lab
FSN 450 Food Biotechnology
FSN 396 – Field Experience
FSN 587 – Food Analysis

Fourth Year*
FSN 425 – Contemporary Issues in the Food Industry
FSN 438 – Food Microbiology
FSN 520 – Food Product Development (Capstone)
FSN 502 – Food Preservation
FSN 585 – Sensory Evaluation of Foods
FSN 485 – Introduction to Food Engineering Principles

*Upper level Food Science classes are offered alternate years; some modification of this schedule should be expected.

The capstone experience for the Food Science concentration is FSN 520 Food Product Development.  The goal of a capstone is to pull together many aspects of the undergraduate training in food science into an experience typical of a practicing professional.  In FSN 520, the students function as part of a development team whose job is to conceptualize, formulate, and evaluate a new food product.  The course also includes guest speakers about the issues and challenges facing product developers in today’s fast-paced food industry.

Learning Outcomes

The undergraduate course requirements in Food Science are designed to meet the Core Competencies identified by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).  Major content areas for learning outcomes include:

  • Food Chemistry and Analysis
  • Food Safety and Microbiology
  • Food Processing and Engineering
  • Applied Food Science
  • Success Skills (such as communication and critical thinking skills)

A complete list of Core Competencies and associated learning outcomes is available at the web site of the Institute of Food Technologists under Undergraduate Education Standards.

Admission Requirements

Scholastic Aptitude Test

High School Courses

English 4 units
Algebra 2 units
Plane Geometry 1 unit
Other Mathematics (not Accounting) 1 unit
Chemistry 1 unit
Science 1 unit
History/Social Science 1 unit
Academic Electives 5 units

TOTAL 16 units

(1 unit = 1 full year course)

Transfers from other programs at the University of Maine or other colleges and universities are expected to meet these minimum requirements. Transfer students should consult the School Chair prior to applying for more information.

Inquiries:

Dr. Mona Therrien
Undergraduate Coordinator
Food Science and Human Nutrition
103 Hitchner Hall
(207) 581-3130
Fax: (207) 581-1636
mona.therrien@maine.edu