What is Food Science?
Have you ever wondered about the processes involved to transform raw commodities to the food on your table? That's what food science is all about. Food scientists use principles from biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering to convert agricultural commodities into edible foods and beverages.
As the largest industry in the United States, food processing employs nearly 2 million people and accounts for more than 16 percent of the country's gross national product. Consumers drive the industry as they seek healthy, convenient, and affordable foods and beverages to purchase. As the industry strives to meet consumers demands, the job market for trained food scientists grows. Purdue's Department of Food Science is recognized word-wide for training food scientists from around the globe.
Types of Jobs
Most students who graduate from our program work in the food and beverage industry in the areas of food regulations, quality assurance, product development, product procurement, research, sales, sensory evaluation, and technical services. Some choose related areas such as food communications, advertising, consumer education and protection, and culinary research. Our undergraduate program can also prepare students to pursue graduate studies, medical school, veterinary school, or law school.
The average starting salary for students who earned a bachelor's degree from our program is $48,314. Geographic location of jobs does make a difference in salary offers.
Students can seek employment by using the resources within the Department of Food Science, the College of Agriculture, and/or the University. Food Science continues to have 100% job placement for our graduates who are actively seeking employment. Purdue University was named among the top university career centers in the nation in College Magazine's #3 College for Career Services.
Food Science Department Placement
Laurie Lambert Swift, Career Services & External Relations Coordinator, coordinates recruiting visits to the Department for companies. She also advises students on résumés, cover letters, interviewing skills, and university career resources.
College of Agriculture Placement
The College of Agriculture employs career services staff, who maintain a web site with position openings posted. They also coordinate the fall and spring career fairs hosted by the College.
Purdue University Placement
The Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) is a resource for all Purdue students and alumni. Students can register with CCO to access their job posting site. Employers should contact CCO to post jobs on their site.
The Purdue Engineering Student Council hosts one of the largest student-run career fairs in the nation every year, usually in early September, called Industrial Roundtable (IR). This two-day career fair attracts over 300 companies and is open to all Purdue students.
The average beginning salary for B.S. food science graduates in 2013 was $48,314. For more details, refer to:
2013 College of Agriculture Employment Data Summary
Check out a sample list of companies that hire food scientists, including many graduates from our program.
Check out what some of our alumni are doing with their food science degree. (coming soon!)