The Washington State University General Catalog

School of Food Science

The online catalog includes the most recent changes to courses and degree requirements that have been approved by the Faculty Senate, including changes that are not yet effective.

School of Food Science
Food Science & Human Nutrition Bldg, 106

Director and Professor, S. Y. Lee; Professors, G. Ganjyal, C. Ross, M. Zhu; Associate Professors, Y. Lee, S. Smith, G. Unlu; Assistant Professors, K. Huang, C. Murphy; Teaching Assistant Professor, T. Bernhard; UI Affiliates: Professors, C. Bohach, S. Minnich, G. Moller.

The School of Food Science (SFS) works closely with the University of Idaho (UI) to offer courses of study in the undergraduate major field of food science. Some traveling to the UI campus will occur usually starting the junior year. Students complete a prescribed course of study leading to the Bachelor of Science in Food Science with an option in general science emphasizing areas in processing and engineering, food sensory, food safety, hospitality and business management, business, science, enology, or fermentation science. Graduate degrees are also offered leading to Master of Science in Food Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science.

Food Science

Food Science is the scientific discipline that supports the food and beverage manufacturing industry.  Food Science is a multidisciplinary science that applies biology, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, nutrition, physics, and other sciences to improve the safety and quality of food products; create healthy food products; and design new, safer, and more sustainable food preservation methods.  Food scientists strive to improve the quality and nutrition of foods through traditional and emerging preservation technologies.  Food scientists conduct research to mitigate chemical and microbial risk factors in foods and to understand the causes of food deterioration and spoilage.  Food scientists are employed around the world by large and small food processing companies, food ingredient suppliers, food quality assurance and testing labs, federal and state governmental agencies, and academia.  Food scientists also work with existing and emerging companies preparing organic, natural, kosher, and halal food products.

Graduates of the food science program are well positioned to meet the evolving challenges, needs, and opportunities of the food industry not only in the Pacific Northwest, but also nationally and internationally.  Graduates begin careers in food quality assurance, food safety microbiology, technical sales, production management, product extension or development, regulatory affairs, or research in the food/allied industries or federal/state regulatory agencies.

Food Science students learn to convert food commodities into high quality, safe and nutritious food products. As part of the BS degree, students receive training and learn skills relative to the production, processing, preservation, safety, evaluation, and distribution of foods. The food processing industry is continually challenged to evaluate existing foods for quality, as well as the development of new foods to better meet consumer demands and the nutritional needs of the world. Students who work at the WSU Creamery ( can gain practical processing and leadership skills in the state-of-the-art creamery where world-renowned Cougar Gold Cheese is made.

In the first two years of college, students enroll in science courses and complete most University Common Requirements (UCORE) classes. In the junior and senior years, the curriculum emphasizes courses in food processing and engineering, food chemistry, food analysis, food microbiology, sensory evaluation, and other specialized areas such as the processing and manufacture of cereal and dairy products, and fermented foods. A student may be admitted to the Food Science major upon making their intention known to the department. Contact the Food Science Advisor to begin the process,

Student Learning Outcomes  

Our graduating seniors will:

  1. Demonstrate a level of comprehension of Food Science concepts and analyses equivalent to or greater than that required by the Institute of Food Technologists Core Competencies Guidelines.
  2. Critically evaluate and summarize a food science issue or problem.
  3. Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address current challenges in the food industry.
  4. Communicate effectively in both written and oral format with an audience possessing varying degrees of food science knowledge.

Options in Food Science

The General Option emphasizes open electives so students can take specific classes in their area of interest or choose a minor to complement their degree.  This option prepares students to work in the food industry and related industries, government agencies, and governmental organizations.  This degree is an IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) Approved Undergraduate Program and provides a strong science background leading to graduate or professional degrees in various fields.

Other Opportunities

Students with specific interests can gain additional education by taking elective courses, participating in internships with food companies, and/or conducting a research project with a faculty member. Summer internships are available to gain practical hands-on training. Contact your advisor for more information. Graduate programs are also available that lead to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science.

Transfer Students

Students planning to transfer to the School of Food Science should coordinate their programs of study with advisors to select courses applicable to the degree requirements. Many of the University Common Requirements (UCORE) courses and introductory biology, chemistry, microbiology, and physics courses can be completed at community colleges. We especially recommend students take the appropriate science and mathematics courses required in our first two years of study, so students are on track when transferring to WSU.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students who identify an interest in graduate work are encouraged to contact the advisor no later than the end of the junior year, so a course of study can be planned which schedules appropriate prerequisites to graduate courses and an introduction to research projects. Students from other science majors who wish to obtain an advanced degree in food science are encouraged to apply as they may be well prepared for graduate studies. Students are required to take certain core courses required of food science undergraduates in addition to those needed for their graduate program. For more complete information on our graduate program, admission requirements, and program requirements, review the School of Food Science website  Please see faculty profiles at for research opportunities. Admission to the graduate program is based on ability to complete graduate-level work as evidenced by undergraduate transcripts; the compatibility of the student's objectives with faculty expertise and program objectives; and availability of graduate faculty to act as major advisor for the applicant. The School of Food Science requires TOEFL scores, in addition to admission materials required by the WSU Graduate School.

The School of Food Science welcomes inquiries about our program.  Potential students can contact the School via phone (509-335-4763), email (, visit Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) Bldg., Rm 106, or review the School of Food Science website (

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