Fermentation Science

Explore endless opportunities

Fermentation Science is a major offered within the Food Science Department at Purdue University. Within this program, students apply principles of chemistry and microbiology to study diverse fermentation processes, from traditional food and beverage fermentations, to industrial processes that produce biofuels and refined chemicals, to proteins and antibodies in the biopharma industry.  Fermentation science offers a plethora of career possibilities in a growing field.

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Department of Food Science     Fermentation Science
745 Agriculture Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 494-8256



what is fermentation science?

Fermentation is an industrial process by which microorganisms are used to generate useful end products. Fermentation processes are diverse, from traditional food and beverage fermentations, to industrial processes that produce biofuels and refined chemicals, to proteins and antibodies in the biopharma industry to improve health. In the food and beverage industry, fermentation is used to create products including sour dough bread, yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, kimchi, sauerkraut and novel food ingredients that give the meaty flavor and texture to plant-based protein products. With advances in biotechnology, fermentation is an important process used in the pharmaceutical industry to make products like insulin. There is increasing interest in our human body's fermenter, our gut, and how our gut microbiome impacts our health. Many of today's challenges of feeding a growing global population, advancing medicines, and creating alternative bio-based energy sources sustainably will be solved using fermentation science. 

The right fit for you

Fermentation LabIf you can answer YES to some of these questions, talk to our food science academic advisor, Caitlinn Hubbell, chubbell@purdue.edu, about a bachelor's degree in fermentation science and schedule a visit.

  •  Do you like science, chemistry, biology, microbiology, and engineering? 
  •  Do you want to work in industries tackling some of our biggest societal challenges? 
  •  Are you interested in the food, beverage, biopharmaceutical, biofuels, and/or biotech industries? 
  •  Are you interested in producing protein from microbial sources?

careers in fermentation Science

Fermentation scientists can be involved with the design and execution of experiments and processes, manufacturing operations of fermentation processes, quality assurance and safety of products, and compliance and regulatory affairs. 

plan of study

Purdue University's Fermentation Science bachelor degree program consists of 120 credit hours that can be completed in 8 semesters on the West Lafayette, Indiana campus. The Purdue University catalog lists the detailed requirements and list of food science courses. Note: the Fermentation Science major is new as of fall 2021 and will be added to the university catalog soon.

Bachelor of Science Degree Fermentation Science Major Details and Plan of Study

Our department offers scholarships specifically for students pursing a food science or fermentation science degree. Every year over 50% of our students receive scholarships totaling over $500,000! Check out the Purdue Food Science Scholarship page for details.
Job Outlook
Job Outlook
In 2020, the market size of industrial biorenewable products produced largely by microbial fermentation, was $475 Billion and has grown recently at a compound annual growth rate of ~20%.  Every year, more fermentation scientists are needed to fill the jobs created in this growing sector.
Salary for Fermentation Scientists
Salary for Fermentation Scientists
The U.S. national average for an entry level bachelor's degree food scientist is ~$60,000 per year. This is comparable to fermentation scientists. As fermentation scientists grow in their careers, they can expect to earn over $100,000 per year.

Take your next giant leap

Discover the Purdue Fermentation Science program! Set up a visit with the Food Science department to see if Fermentation Science is the right fit for you.

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