Why Major in Food Science and Human Nutrition?

From the Department Chair

ruthmacd Dear Students:

Pick up any newspaper today and you will see a story that relates to the role of food in disease prevention, the impact of food safety on the economy, or a story about the obesity epidemic - not to mention the impact of the Food Network! Food and health issues have never been more important or timely, and there is great demand for students educated in these areas. The disciplines of food science and human nutrition are diverse and multidisciplinary.

The opportunities for food science majors with B.S. degrees are strong, and we see high job placement of our students upon graduation. Food science majors have excellent job opportunities with above average starting salaries. The national average for a food science graduate with a bachelor’s degree is $55,000 according to the Institute of Food Technologists.

Our dietetics students are very competitive for their supervised internships which lead to their credentialing as registered dietitians by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.), formerly named the American Dietetic Association. Iowa State University offers the only program accredited by the A.N.D. accrediting agency in the State of Iowa for students who want to become registered dietitians and has been recognized by colleagues in the profession as a very well respected and rigorous program. The job market for highly trained dietitians will continue to grow.

Nutritional science bridges the biological connections between diet and health. Our pre-health professional and research option, with curriculum providing a strong science education along with human nutrition expertise, is an excellent major for pre-medical, pre-pharmacy and pre-dental students. If your interest lies with learning about the role of nutrition and healthy eating for disease prevention and wellness, the nutrition and wellness option prepares graduates to find careers in areas such as community nutrition and public health. With both options, students will have important roles in determining the cause, treatment, and prevention of many diseases.

The culinary food science degree is a unique undergraduate program allowing students to combine a strong science foundation with basic culinary skills. The food industry is demanding employees with both cooking expertise and scientific knowledge of food. Culinary food science graduates are uniquely prepared to meet both of these demands.

Finally, as graduate degrees become increasingly important, qualified students strive to begin their careers with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in hand and can do so concurrently with a B.S./M.S. program in Diet and Exercise. Graduates can work in a wide range of dietitian positions after earning their RD credentials, or in wellness positions as nutrition and physical fitness experts.

Food science and human nutrition coursework at Iowa State University provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learning in the food and nutrition disciplines. With its practical approach to student learning, Iowa State is considered one of the top programs in the nation.

There’s never been a more exciting time to enter the growing field of food science and human nutrition, and Iowa State University is the place to start your career! We look forward to having you visit campus of contact one of our advisers to learn more.


Dr. Ruth MacDonald
FSHN Chair/Professor