The Food Science teaching program spans the entire spectrum of courses required for a well-rounded education of food scientists and includes topics such as food chemistry and analysis, food microbiology and biotechnology, food borne illnesses, food processing and engineering.
Undergraduate enrollment has grown significantly in recent years with many students attracted to the program because of their interest in the science of food safety and the new technologies used in food product development. Often, students majoring in other courses of study, such as nutrition and dietetics, take advantage of food science classes.
Students can obtain a Bachelor of Science degree by completing course work in a robust program that is accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists. The accreditation process requires an initial assessment followed by continued progress reviews of the course offerings in all areas of food science and of the processes by which teaching and program outcomes are assessed. The program is able to boast 100% placement of graduates in food-related positions.
Master’s and doctoral degrees are offered as well. In 2007, the food science program was awarded a two-year grant from the UDSA’s Higher Education Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Program. The grant will be used to recruit and train food science graduate students in innovative food processing and preservation technologies. The fellowship will feature experiential learning opportunities at various industry and government laboratories, including the USDA Agricultural Research Service Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. and Du Pont Chemical Enterprise Solutions in Wilmington, Del. Additional research facilities at UD available to the Fellows include the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and UD’s Allen Biotechnology Laboratory.
In their senior year, all food science undergraduates must enroll in the Food Science Capstone course which completes the learning experience by being part of a food development team that simulates a real world experience. During the semester, students develop a project from start to finish, addressing such things as cost analysis, supply, quality assurance and control, nutrition, food safety, and product testing.
The Food Science Club offers social and professional-development activities for students and often joins the regional chapter of the Institute of Food Technologists for professional conferences and workshops, providing the students with contacts important to future careers in the food industry. Among the club’s social and professional development activities are field trips to local food companies and presentations by invited speakers.
A Food Science Advisory Board was established in 2006 to assist in program direction and establish industry ties to enhance research, teaching, and outreach activities. Advisory Board members include corporate leaders from local food industries, board members of the Institute for Food Technologists, state and federal government officials, and faculty from neighboring academic institutions.