Food Science
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Food science is a program that focuses on the application of biological, chemical, and physical principles to the study of converting raw agricultural products into processed forms suitable for direct human consumption, and the storage of such products. includes instruction in applicable aspects of the agricultural sciences, human physiology and nutrition, food chemistry, agricultural products processing, food additives, food preparation and packaging, food storage and shipment, and related aspects of human health and safety including toxicology and pathology.
Current award levels
Hover over the bars below to see how many people across the country completed a degree in food science at each level last year.
05001K2K2K3K0-1 Year Certificate1-2 Year CertificateAssociate's DegreeBachelor's DegreeMaster's DegreeResearch Doctorate
People with this bachelor's degree have gone to work in these careers
Managers (specialized areas)Agricultural and food scientis...Physical scientists (specializ...Postsecondary teachersPhysicians and surgeonsChefs and head cooksFinancial managersFood service managers
Food Science majors work in these careers, which are sized by percentage of majors in the career (at least 1%) and colored by the predominant level of education.
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Race/origin of recent graduates
Here is an overview of race/origin for all food science graduates from this last academic year. We found a higher percentage of international graduates in this program than in 88% of other programs.
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Not Reported
Context: Percentage of Minority Graduates
Minority students comprise a lower percentage of graduates than in 45% of other programs.
Of all people with any degree in food science earned in the last academic year, 68% were women.
Context: Percentage women
This is a higher percentage of women than 67% of other programs.
The Census Bureau provides salary data for people with bachelor's degrees in food science, which includes food science (which unfortunately has the same name) and 2 other program.
Context: Median Salary
People with a degree in food science have a median salary of $68,859.
Context: Benefit of a master's
About 41% of these bachelor's graduates also have a graduate degree, perhaps in a different field. Salaries improved by approximately 29% over those holding only the bachelor's degree for those with subsequent graduate degrees.
As with our salary data, this data applies to all who earned a bachelor's degree in food science, which consists of 3 programs.
Context: Unemployment Rate
With an unemployment rate of 2.1%, this degree's majors who are in the workforce are more likely to be employed than the bachelor's graduates of 76% of other fields.
Context: Self Employed Workers
About 8% of workers who earned a bachelor's in food science are self-employed.
Top careers
Following are the most frequent jobs held by people who earned a bachelor's degree in Food Science (which combines 3 programs), perhaps followed by additional education in any field. There is a fun exploration of related degrees and careers under Explore Careers below.
Staring Salaries and College Debt by Award
How are students who recently completed a degree in Food Science doing?

New data from College Scorecard gives us a glimpse into the earnings and debt for recent graduates in their first year or two after leaving school. Shown is the distribution of the medians reported for all schools with graduates in the given program/award level.

Starting salaries by award level
$40K$0$20K$40K$60KBachelor's Degree
Median cumulative federal loan amount
$22K$0$10K$20K$30KBachelor's Degree
Salary and Employment for Majors
Understanding this data
This section's data applies to people with a bachelor's degree in food science
Employment overview
Percentage of food science bachelor's graduates who are working

Does getting a bachelor's degree in food science lead to a secure job? The donut chart shows the percentage food science majors who are working along with a broad view of where they work. We note:

  • Self-employed workers include those working in a family-owned business.
  • Government workers can be in local, state or federal governments.

Technically, about 18.8% of food science graduates are currently not working. However, only 2.1% are classified as "unemployed," while 16.6% are "not in the workforce." Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether people are out of the workforce for personal reasons or because they have been unable to find work for an extended period.

Percentage working by type of employer
Federal government
State government
Local government
Self Emp. Incoporated
Self Emp. Not Incorp.
Private not-for-profit
Private for-profit
Context: Unemployment rates

This chart lets you see whether food science majors have better unemployment rates than bachelor's graduates from other fields. In the shaded box plot, the percentage of unemployed with this degree is shown in blue, along with the distribution of the percentage of unemployed graduates for each bachelor's degree field.

Salary overview
Typical salaries for food science majors

How does the median (middle) salary for food science majors compare to the median salaries for other majors? The chart below compares the median salaries for all bachelor's graduates by major. Here and everywhere that we discuss salary, we limit the population to those with bachelor's degrees who report working at least 35 hours a week and are aged 65 and younger.

Context: median salaries
Distribution: Salaries by Employer

Above we compared the median salaries earned across college majors. Now we'll view the full salary range for food science majors. The charts below show the full distribution of salaries for this degree alone, with a look at how the type of employer might affect that salary. This salary includes all people who may also have received graduate education in this or any field. You can tease out the importance of graduate education in the last tab in the section.

$55K$73K$87K$55K$54K$33K$69K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250KState government (6.3% )Private for-profit (72.4% )Federal government (3.7% )Local government (3.4% )Private not-for-profit (6.3% )Self Emp. Not Incorp. (3.8% )Overall (100%)

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

The battle of the sexes
Gender and success for food science majors

The donut chart shows the gender balance for all people with a bachelor's degree in food science. In the graphs that follow, we'll explore how these percentages compare to other bachelor's holders, and we'll also investigate the impact of gender on pay.

Men (44%)
Women (56%)
Context: Gender representation

How does the gender balance change according to college major? In the chart below, we see that food science has more women than most other degrees.

Distribution: salaries by gender

The chart below shows the distribution of salaries by gender of food science majors who are working 35 or more hours and are 65 or younger. If salaries are balanced for men and women, the blue and pink bars will be about the same. Many programs' graduates struggle with men's wages higher at all points of the salary distribution, including significantly higher top salaries.

Context: Salary inequity

For food science graduates, men generally earn 27% more than women. This is near the middle of salary differentials within each program's graduates.

Age and Advancement
Insights from the ages of food science bachelor's-holders

The ages of people in the US with a bachelor's degree in food science can give us a hint about whether this degree is in-fashion or out-of-fashion. A higher percentage of older people with a degree suggests that newer degree options have edged out this degree for recent graduates. Likewise, a higher percentage of younger people with a degree may suggest that this degree has become more popular in recent years.

Careeer Advancement

What entry-level pay should you expect in your first job, and is the mid-level pay significantly higher? Below we see salary distributions by age group for food science graduates who are working 35 or more hours weekly. Is there room for advancement in careers that stem from this degree?

$76K$77K$77K$82K$94K$52K$65K$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalaries by age20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
01K2K3K4K5KNumber with major20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Need for higher degrees
Is a bachelor's degree all you need?

Can food science majors earn a high salary without obtaining a graduate degree? Below, we dive into the prevalence of graduate degrees for food science majors, and we explore how much a graduate degree can be expected to increase salaries. Among all food science completions reported last year, 95% were at the bachelor's level or higher, including 29% at the graduate level.

Most recent completions in food science
0-1 Year Certificate
1-2 Year Certificate
2-4 Year Certificate
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Postbaccalaureate Cert
Master's Degree
Post-master's Cert
Professional Deg/Doct
Research Doctorate
Other Doctorate
Context: Graduate degrees in any field by undergraduate ACS degree

The donut shows the degree levels awarded in food science today. Now we'll use American Community Survey (ACS) data and look at all workers in the US who majored in food science when in college.

We know that about 41% food science majors chose to also earn a graduate degree (but we do not know the graduate field of study). The percentage of food science majors also earned a graduate degree is near the middle in comparison to other fields.

Distribution: food science majors' salaries by education level

We saw above that 41% earned a graduate degree after earning a bachelor's in food science, but was this necessary for earning a good salary? We can see this answer in two ways. First, we can see the salary distribution for people with a bachelor's in food science by their highest education attained. Remember, we only know the field for the bachelor's degree; the graduate degree can be in any field.

$98K$62K$80K$73K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KBachelor's DegreeMaster's DegreeResearch DoctorateProfessional Deg/Doct

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Context: Percentage boost obtained with a graduate degree

The second way that we can explore the impact of higher education on salary is to compare median salaries for workers with each level of education. We measure the percentage increase over the bachelor's salary that each higher degree achieved, and contrast that with similar measurements for other fields.

Sure, we think a higher degree would almost always help salary, but are there some majors that "need" a higher degree (in either the same or a new field) more than others in order to reach their earnings potential?

29%59%18%0%50%100%150%Bachelor's to Master'sBachelor's to Research DoctorateBachelor's to Professional Doctorate
Explore Careers
Careers for food science majors
Careers for food science majors

As we explained at the start of the previous section "Salary and Employment for Majors", the career data in all of these tabs is supported by the American Community Survey (ACS), which provides career information based on the broad degree food science. For of the career statistics we report here, we consider all bachelor-holders in food science and 2 other programs to fall under the ACS data we aggregated for the food science degree.

Here we look at ACS survey respondents across the US with a bachelor's degree in food science, and we see their top careers. You can explore the salary distributions for all people in those careers, as well as the typical education help by workers in that job. If you see ** before the job name, that tells you that the Department of Education recommends this job for people with a degree in food science. We did not find always find a strong correlation between that advice and where people were working.

Select any column header to sort by that column, and select any row to explore that career.
Salary distribution 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Percentage with degree who are in job
Managers (specialized areas)
**Agricultural and food scientists
Physical scientists (specialized areas)
Industrial production managers
Market research analysts and marketing specialists
**Postsecondary teachers
Dietitians and nutritionists
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
Marketing and sales managers
Business operations specialists
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
Chief executives and legislators
General and operations managers
Physicians and surgeons
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
Elementary and middle school teachers
First-line supervisors of production and operating workers
First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
Chefs and head cooks
Financial managers
Other routes to the top ten careers
Other majors that are hired by the top ten food science careers

Take a minute with this sankey diagram, and use your mouse/touch to explore. You can follow the top ten jobs held by food science graduates, and then, in turn, you can see the largest 10 degrees hired by each of those careers. We hope this gives you a glimpse at where you can most realistically hope to get a job with this degree, but also see alternatives for the same employment options. It's worth noting that for many degrees, the top ten jobs don't account for even half of the graduates. The data warns us / encourages us that a degree is only one piece of the puzzle that determines where we land.

Business Management and AdministrationGeneral BusinessAccountingElectrical EngineeringMechanical EngineeringPsychologyPolitical Science and GovernmentEconomicsMarketingFinancePlant Science and AgronomyBiologyGeneral AgricultureFood ScienceChemistryAnimal SciencesAgriculture Production and ManagementMultidisciplinary or General ScienceSoil ScienceEnvironmental SciencePhysicsBiochemical SciencesChemical EngineeringMicrobiologyIndustrial and Manufacturing EngineeringGeneral EngineeringCommunicationsEnglish Language and LiteratureJournalismAdvertising and Public RelationsNutrition SciencesHealth/Medical Specialized PreparationFamily and Consumer SciencesNursingMathematicsGeneral EducationHistoryManagers (specializedareas)Agricultural and foodscientistsPhysical scientists(specialized areas)Industrial productionmanagersMarket research analystsand marketing specialistsDietitians and nutritionistsPostsecondary teachersWholesale andmanufacturing salesrepresentativesMarketing and salesmanagersFirst-line supervisors ofproduction and operatingworkersAll othersThis degreeTop 10 CareersTop 10 degrees hired
Jobs that choose food science majors
What careers hire food science majors as one of their top 10?

What jobs are especially seeking you out? The previous section let you explore the top ten jobs for people who earn bachelor's degrees in this field. Now we turn the tables a bit. What jobs have food science as one of the top ten majors they hire? Take this with a grain of salt, though, since some majors have more than 100,000 annual graduates and others have only a few thousand. Maybe employers would hire more of certain low-number majors if they could be found. In the bottom Sankey box, we show you the proportion of food science majors that are accounted for by the top 10 jobs -- there are a myriad of other options for most majors.

Dietitians and nutritionistsAgricultural and food scientistsAll other careersFood ScienceAll other degreesCareers where this degree is a top 10 hireDegree
Where can I complete this program?
What schools offer this program?
Graduate program details
Explore food science graduate program details

Many schools provide information to Peterson's about their graduate programs, and Ididio has licensed that data to share with you. The data is reported by program name and subject, and we have worked to match that data with the standard "CIP" titles that are the basis of these program pages. Please be aware that only a subset of all possible graduate programs share the details about financial support and admissions numbers with Peterson's. To see a complete list of schools who have graduated students with this degree, the previous section is much more reliable; however, this is a great place to look for a hint of schools that may offer financial support. You can see more details about each school's graduate programs in the Programs Offered section within that school's Ididio page.

Filter Schools
Total applicants
Percentage Admitted
Application Fee
Grad students with aid
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Program in Food Science (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, Master of Philosophy)
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Program in Food Science (Master of Science)
University of Maryland - College Park
Program in Food Science (Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Program in Food Science (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science)
Explore similar programs

Food Science is part of a larger collection of programs: Agriculture. Is there a different program that's close to Food Science that might be a better match for your interests? You can use this table to see a little about the programs that fall under this umbrella. If you click on any of the table headers, that will sort the table by that column, or click on a row and see Ididio's profile for that program.

Award Levels
Less than Bachelor's