Food science

Empowering Minds, Nourishing Communities

Two students in a food science lab

Become an innovator of all things edible

Food is one of the few things in life we can’t live without. That’s why the industry is thriving. However, dynamic changes are happening around the world in response to food shortages, soil depletion, lack of rainfall, competition for land and global warming. As humans, we take our food for granted. Almost all the groceries we buy have undergone rigorous development processes to ensure that consumers get the best product possible. 

Food science involves the understanding of fundamental sciences and the application of this knowledge from paddock to plate. It involves the study of production, handling, processing, preservation, distribution and marketing, through to consumption and utilisation by consumers. Food science is about understanding the composition of food and, in a way, ‘reinventing’ it. It could involve enhancing the taste, making it last longer, making sure it’s safe to eat or even boosting its nutritional content. 

When you're studying food science, you’ll learn about food from all different aspects of the industry including: 

  • Science (chemistry, biology, physics) 
  • Food microbiology and food chemistry
  • Nutrition 
  • Food toxicology 
  • Food safety 
  • Food preservation 
  • Sustainable food manufacturing
  • Product design and development

Career opportunities in food science

You could pursue a career as a food scientist, quality assurance officer or research & development manager. Food scientists work in any industry related to food – from major food and beverage brands to research organisations, flavour producers and regulatory authorities. 

Food scientists understand the nature of foods using their skills and knowledge in a combination of chemical, biological and physical sciences. They need to consider many aspects of food including flavour and nutritional content, quality, handling, storage and safety, processing, preservation, packaging and distribution. Food scientists can be involved in:

  • Product development
    Develop new food products or improve the quality, performance and/or safety of existing products. These positions require creative flair, sensory evaluation expertise and the ability to work in teams. 
  • Research and development
    Use your microbiology, chemistry, engineering or nutrition skills to investigate scientific principles and phenomena pertaining to specific food components, food products or food processes. 
  • Technical support
    Combine your knowledge of raw materials and ingredients with food processing applications. Work closely with product development specialists in the manufacture of food products.
  • Management
    Get involved in the organisation, operation and development of food processing companies. The key responsibility here is overseeing employees and operations in the processing of specific foods.
  • Quality assurance
    Analyse the components of food products and monitor the finished product for conformity to company and government standards.
  • Regulation
    Work at the state or federal government level with agencies such as the USDA, FDA, EPA and Patent Office. Roles here involve policy development, enforcing food sanitation and labelling regulations, and ensuring the safety of our food supply.
  • Extension education
    Specialise in food safety, food processing or human nutrition. Use a variety of educational methods, including group meetings, workshops, mass media and electronic methods to deliver educational information.

Our programs

  • You can study food science as a major in the following undergraduate science degrees:

    You can also study a Bachelor of Food Science (Honours) degree in the Faculty of Engineering.

  • Gain research experience and enhance your career prospects with an honours degree. These programs are designed to connect your undergraduate study with supervised independent research. An honours degree also provides a pathway into further study, such as a Masters by Research or PhD. The Faculty of Engineering offer a food science degree with embedded honours:

  • You can study food science in the following postgraduate research degrees: