Undergraduate Program

Program Overview

Since 1972, the Department of Food Science has been a leader in contributing to food quality, safety, marketability, and availability through excellence in teaching, research, and extension. Our nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs prepare students for exciting and satisfying careers in industry, government, and academia. We invite you to explore our site and learn about the food science program at the University of Tennessee.

Food science is an exciting multidisciplinary field with the aim of improving the quality, safety, and nutrition of the world’s food supply. We are more than food; we study the whole process, from design to digestion and everything in between. Here at UT, you will learn how food arrives at the local grocery store. Our program is more than learning by lecture. You will spend hours in labs learning the qualities and composition of food. If you’re interested in chemical reactions, understanding how to prevent food recalls, or providing health care to a patient, you’ll leave UT prepared to take your career to the next level.

Degree Options

Students majoring in food science spend the first two years developing scientific and general background knowledge necessary for upper division courses. Required science courses include biology, chemistry, mathematics, microbiology, nutrition, and physics. A general background is provided by courses required for VolCore and an introductory food science course. At the upper division level, students take courses in biochemistry, food analysis, food chemistry, food engineering, and food microbiology.

Our flexible curriculum allows you the opportunity to focus your academic studies in one of four concentrations that support your professional goals.

Male and female student in white lab coats observing samples

Food Science Concentrations

This concentration prepares you for a career in the food industry at the local, regional, national, or global level. Other course options include food packaging, manufacturing operations, food chemistry, food microbiology, regulatory, and sensory science. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) approves this concentration and its coursework.

Check out the full requirements for this concentration.

Students interested in a career in the health field, such as dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, or veterinary care, should declare this concentration. You will take required coursework for admission into a professional school in addition to core course requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science.

Check out the full requirements for this concentration.

Similar to our Pre-Professional concentration, Pre-Professional 3+1 is targeted toward students who are admitted to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis or the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) prior to the completion of a bachelor’s degree. You’ll receive credit for the final 30 hours of undergraduate coursework upon successful completion of your first year at UTHSC or UTCVM.

Check out the full requirements for this concentration.

Tennessee offers an accelerated five-year combined bachelor’s/master’s program that will allow you to count 9 hours of graduate credit toward both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science.

Check out the full requirements for this concentration.

Beyond the Classroom – Ways to Get Involved

Get to know your peers, learn more about the opportunities available on and off campus, and experience food science! The club is open to all concentrations and you can join at any time.

Our department has two teams that compete in competitions each spring: IFTSA College Bowl Team and Dairy Products Evalution Team. Each team provides those involved with ways to learn more about food science and the opportunity to travel!

Most of our faculty have opportunities for undergraduates to work in their labs throughout the year–just ask them! Check with your advisor to determine whether the work in the lab can be used to fulfill the required course FDSC 493.

It is strongly recommended that students participate in internships to learn about what they may like or dislike in the food science work environment. Utilizing these experiences gives the student an opportunity to learn soft skills and be more prepared for the workplace or graduate school. Students will be notified through the College and the department of internships that become available throughout the year.

female student holding infant while on internship in Africa

Additional Information

male student using microscope in food chemistry lab
  • Sensory Scientist
  • Quality Assurance Technician
  • Product Development Scientist
  • Food Production Manager
  • Quality Control Scientist
  • Food Scientist

Many of our faculty and students are members of a variety of professional associations. These associations often offer scholarships, internships, and post-degree available positions.

Visit our Resources page for more information about learning and student life at the University of Tennessee. While on the agricultural campus, check out Pendergrass Library for a quiet place to study or Mabel’s for a bite to eat.

Our alumni are very supportive and active in our departmental activities. Because of our alumni we are able to offer students scholarships, internships, and real-life experiences. Our graduates go on to careers in the medical field, food industry, academia, and countless other areas.

“By studying hard and taking advantage of on-campus career fairs,

I landed my first job right out of school feeling confident and prepared to handle my responsibilities in the workplace.”
Meredith Wayman
Research and Development Food Scientist, Newly Weds Foods
BS 2014

Academic Advising

Undergraduate advisors are here to assist all Food Science majors. We can help with college, university and major requirements, academic planning, transfer credit and petitions. You may reach undergraduate advisors via GradesFirst or email them directly.

Karen Jones, M.S. – Interim Undergraduate Coordinator
Vermont Dia, PhD
Curtis Luckett, PhD
Molly West, PhD

Learn more about becoming part of the Vol family.
Female student with back to camera holding a University of Tennessee flag