What Are the Pros and Cons of Choosing a Food Science Major?

G. Wiesen

Choosing a food science major can open up some career opportunities that may be in high demand, but it can be a difficult path to follow. While some colleges do offer bachelor's degree programs in this field, careers for someone with only an undergraduate degree can be limited. Graduate work, culminating in either a master's degree or a doctorate, is often required for many careers in food science, and these programs require many years to complete. One major benefit of pursuing a food science major, however, is that it is a somewhat rare curriculum and people with this type of training can be in high demand.

Food science is a broad field.
Food science is a broad field.

An advantage of choosing a food science major is the ability to pursue careers in a field that requires this type of education. There are a number of positions, such as jobs in food product development, that require a degree in this subject. Food is always in demand; careers working in the food development and research industry remain popular and available. Pursuing a major in food science makes these types of opportunities become available, especially when paired with a minor focus in a field like business or marketing.

Food science requires an understanding of organic chemistry.
Food science requires an understanding of organic chemistry.

There is also a relatively low number of people who go after a food science major, which makes it a field in which there is less competition than other industries. Food science often requires an understanding of various mathematical and scientific concepts, such as organic chemistry and biology. Not everyone is able to complete a major in food science due to the difficulty of many of the courses involved in it. This can also be a disadvantage, however, since these classes are hard to pass and many students may find that the focus on math makes another career path more attractive.

Food science majors typically must do graduate work as well.
Food science majors typically must do graduate work as well.

Another drawback to pursuing a food science major is the fact that undergraduate programs are somewhat rare and may not be sufficient for the industry. It can be difficult for a student to find a college that offers a bachelor's degree program in this field. Many careers in food science require a higher level degree, such as a doctorate, especially for people interested in working in research or as a food chemist. This means that seven or more years of education in a food science major may be required before someone can begin working. Such an investment of time and finances can be difficult for some students, and so other careers and educational paths may be more realistic for them.

Someone who majors in food science can make more informed purchases at the grocery store.
Someone who majors in food science can make more informed purchases at the grocery store.

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Discussion Comments


@Mor - It's not true that there's no way to work on making healthy foods better for us. I mean, I think that if they would just do some more research on natural sweeteners they wouldn't need to use the ones they do at the moment and that would be an improvement right there.

Not to mention, I think that consumer awareness is growing and that companies are going to be forced to develop better practices. In that case the food scientists are going to be in high demand to help them do that.


@pastanaga - I wonder how many food scientists are doing that kind of work, versus how many are working on what we would consider to be research on tricking consumers into eating more of their product? I hear all the time about how food businesses work very hard to ensure that their food tastes good to us and is basically addictive in different ways (using texture, smell, taste and other methods to achieve this) and that they don't really care much how nutritional or healthful the food is, which is why so much processed food is bad for you.

Food that is good for you is fairly simple and doesn't really need to be studied. So I wonder how many food scientists are actually just working on how to get yogurt to taste a little bit creamier and how many are working on how to make it healthier.


I think this field is going to become more and more interesting as time goes on and we make more advances. I mean, I heard recently about a group that was researching making edible wrapping paper for food, which is basically food science and I think that's pretty cool.

Then you've got all the different research into holism and how diet can effect our lives and health. There are just so many different aspects to food science, I think it would be a great field to go into.

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