Nutrition and Food Sciences
The School of Nutrition and Food Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate programs to prepare students for professional careers in specialty areas. The undergraduate curriculum in Nutrition and Food Sciences consolidates the curricula in the areas of Nutritional Sciences and Food Science and Technology. Students in this curriculum take core courses that provide basic knowledge required for specialization in one of four areas of concentration: Dietetics; Nutritional Sciences/Pre-Medical; Nutrition, Health and Society; and Food Science and Technology (with a Pre-Medical option). Each concentration provides the student with a professional sequence in an area of specialization, the necessary supporting courses in basic sciences and a broad general education. Students who enter this major should give special attention to the mathematics and science courses they select and should consult with an advisor when registering for these courses. Students are expected to be ready for the required courses in mathematics, chemistry, and biological sciences when they enter the program. Graduates are prepared to pursue professional careers in dietetics, medicine, public health, cooperative extension service, business, education, research, or all aspects of the food industry.
The concentrations in Dietetics, Nutritional Sciences/Pre-Medical, and Nutrition, Health, and Society in the Nutrition and Food Sciences Curriculum prepare students for careers in the health professions specifically in dietetics, medicine, dentistry, or related fields. The Dietetics concentration is currently accredited as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students successfully completing this program will receive a verification statement that allows them to apply for an ACEND accredited dietetic internship. This internship is required before students are eligible to sit for the registry examination to become a registered dietitian (RD). Registered dietitians provide expertise in nutrition and food service management in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, care centers, the armed services, research laboratories, commercial and industrial establishments, and local, state and federal health programs. Students who successfully complete the knowledge requirements of the dietetics concentration, as outlined by ACEND, but do not enter and complete a dietetic internship are qualified to sit the examination to become a dietetic technician, registered (DTR). Information about both the RD and DTR programs are available through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. The Nutritional Sciences/Pre-Medical concentration provides students with a strong grounding in nutritional sciences while meeting the coursework requirements for students planning to apply to medical, dental or graduate school. Since nutrition plays a role in developing or treating many chronic and acute disease processes, understanding the role of nutrients in the body provides premedical students with a strong basis for building their medical careers. The concentration in Nutrition, Health, and Society prepares students for a variety of careers in nutrition, including, but not limited to nutrition education, the food industry or scientific writing. Neither the Nutritional Sciences/Pre-Medical concentration nor the concentration in Nutrition, Health, and Society prepares students to enter a dietetic internship with the ultimate goal of sitting the exam to become an RD or to sit the examination to become a DTR or to obtain other professional credentials in dietetics. Elective courses in all three concentrations allow students to gain practical experience in research. An undergraduate practicum is also available for students in the Dietetics concentration.
Students in the Food Science and Technology concentration take courses in food chemistry, analysis, microbiology, engineering and business to learn the techniques and basic information about research, development, processing, evaluation, packaging, and distribution of foods. The primary food properties of safety, taste, acceptability, quality, and nutrition are studied extensively. Opportunities are also available to interact with culinary programs in the preparation and presentation of food. Elective courses allow students to gain practical experience in research or product development. Internships with many various food companies are also available.
Students in the Food Science and Technology concentration can take electives related to food safety and applied microbiology which will enhance students’ knowledge in the critical area of quality control and government regulation of food manufacturing. Students may also take electives related to food processing and technology which provide students background knowledge in product development, processing plant supervision, food engineering principles, and quality parameters of foods. In addition, students may take electives related to food chemistry and analysis which prepare students for careers in food quality assurance and technical services. Electives related to food business and marketing are also available and lead to knowledge or careers in management, technical sales, or marketing.
There is a strong relationship between food science, nutrition and the health field in prevention of disease, slowing aging and finding solutions to problems like inflammation, cancer, and obesity such as development of nutritional or medical foods. Students aspiring to go to medical school can take the Pre-Medical option which allows students to take core courses required for consideration for admission to medical school.
Food science has been ranked as one of the most enjoyable careers available to college graduates. Food science and technology encompasses everything in regards to food. Food scientists interface with the production practices and harvesting of raw food materials, processing of food, and marketing and merchandising of food while having main interests in providing safe, wholesome, healthy, and high quality food to customers. The Food Science and Technology concentration in the Nutrition and Food Sciences curriculum follows the Institute of Food Technologists national guidelines to provide a strong basic foundation for the study of post-production properties and processing of food products. For students taking the Food Science and Technology area of concentration, there are several job areas available in the food industry related to food quality and safety, applied microbiology, food engineering, processing and technology, food chemistry and analysis, food business and marketing research, and product development. Students are also prepared to pursue graduate study or pursue professional programs such as medical, dental and pharmacy school.
Requirements for Graduation
In addition to the graduation requirements outlined by the College of Agriculture, students in the Dietetics concentration of the Nutrition and Food Sciences curriculum must earn a grade of “C” or better in all required NFS courses, as well as in BIOL 2160 and BIOL 2083.