New minor in food science

A new minor in food science will prepare undergraduates in nutrition, chemistry, biology and other sciences for a wide variety of careers in food technology.

“Chicago is such a food hub; there are a lot of interesting opportunities,” said Kirsten Straughan, director of nutrition science in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

Food manufacturers like Conagra Brands and McDonald’s Corp., grocery and restaurant chains and federal agencies are among those hiring entry-level food chemists, food analysts, product developers, food safety personnel and others, Straughan said.

The new program, offered beginning in fall 2021, will be the only one of its kind in the Chicago area. A partnership with the Chicago Section of the Institute of Food Technologists will provide opportunities for scholarships, internships and networking.

The science-heavy curriculum was developed with input from faculty in the Department of Chemistry in the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“This program will help our undergraduate students to learn how to improve food preservation methods, reduce nutrient losses during processing and storage of foods, and prevent foodborne illnesses. It will make our students very competitive in the job market,” said George Papadantonakis, clinical associate professor and director of general chemistry.

Required courses include food science, food microbiology, food analysis and analytical chemistry, plus electives in sensory evaluation, product development and fermented food and beverages. Lectures will be online, with laboratory courses held in the nutrition labs in the AHS building.

Learn more about the new minor in food science online.