Food Science

What is Food Science and Technology? Food science is a degree program focused on food issues from the time crops leave the field until consumers buy the food products. Food scientists apply basic science (chemistry, biology, physics) to improve processing, preservation, and safety of food and to develop new food products.  There are two options in food science, and both options are approved by the Institute of Food Technologists:

  • Food science and technology option - designed for students who intend to go to graduate or professional school or who are interested in food science research and biotechnology.
  • Food science and industry option - combines food science and business courses to prepare students for food processing, sales, and management positions in the food industry.

Students in both options take coursework focused on food chemistry, food microbiology, food quality assurance, sensory evaluation of food, and food product development and pursue careers as food scientists in a variety of positions within food industry. 

Students have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) concurrently with the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in food science. The program is designed so students can earn the BS in food science and MBA in five years, to meet the needs of students who are interested in management careers in the food industry. Students apply for admission to the MBA program in the spring of the third year. The program for concurrent BS in food science/MBA degrees is a rigorous 5-year program, and admission is very selective.  Read more about this concurrent program »


Program Information: Course Requirements / Sample 4-Year Plans

Food science and technology option

Curriculum Requirements
2017-18 Catalog requirements (PDF)
2016-17 Catalog requirements (PDF)

4-Year Plans
2017-18 Sample 4-year plan (PDF)
2016-17 Sample 4-year plan (PDF)

Course Sequences
Course sequence flow sheet (PDF)

Food science and industry option

Curriculum Requirements
2017-18 Catalog requirements (PDF)
2016-17 Catalog requirements (PDF)

4-Year Plans
2017-18 Sample 4-year plan (PDF)
2016-17 Sample 4-year plan (PDF)

Course Sequences
Course sequence flow sheet (PDF)

Accelerated Degree Option
An accelerated degree option is available for the food science program.

Get Involved

Learning Communities

Learning communities connect students with social and learning activities that extend well beyond the classroom. Students in many communities take a few courses together, get to know upperclassmen peer mentors, study together as a group, do service projects, and gather just for fun. Visit FSHN’s learning community page

Clubs and Organizations

Connect with people who share similar interests across the ISU campus. You can gain additional professional experiences outside of the classroom by getting involved in clubs and student organizations as wells as professional organizations.

Food Science Club

Dairy Products Evaluation Club

Product Development Team

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

IFT Student Association

IFT - Iowa Section

Careers and Internships


Food scientists work in food industry, academia, and non-profit and government institutions. A food science degree can lead to positions focused on:

  • Food quality and microbiology
  • Food engineering
  • Product development
  • Food chemistry
  • Sensory science
  • Food marketing and sales

For more information about careers in food science, view the following websites of the Institute of Food Technologists:

Become a Food Scientist

Institute of Food Technologists Career Center

Career services

Students and alumni of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University are eligible to use the career services in both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Sciences. They can assist in these areas:

  • Job search materials such as resumes and cover letters
  • Job and internship search strategies
  • Interviewing skills


To apply for internships and full-time work positions, use the ISU CyHire (formerly CMS), on-campus career fairs, and the college career services offices:

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Career Services

College of Human Sciences Career Services

  • Interested in Food Science?

    See what Food Science is all about and what students are gaining through our program. View video.

  • Contact Information

    Request information
    Questions? Email Us!
    515 294-3011

  • Food Product Development

    Students and instructors in the Product Development class share their experiences, including creating, scaling, packaging, and presenting their product to industry board members. Video »

  • 200-ift-undergraduate-badge-2014-2019

    The food science program in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University has received approval from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). FSHN joins a list of just over 60 universities worldwide that have been approved by IFT. Departments on the list offer curricula the IFT Higher Education Review Board has determined to meet the IFT Undergraduate Education Standards for degrees in food science.

  • Tools