Food Science

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is Food Science?

Food Science is the study of the chemical and physical properties of food. Students interested in careers in food science will study the foundational principles of the science including food safety, processing, and the development of food technology. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • Food Science – the study of the physical and chemical properties of food.
    • Nutrition – the study of the physiological effects of food on the human body.
    • Biology – the study of life and living things.

Studying Food Science in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students an introduction to the foundational principles of food science including biology, chemistry, and nutrition. 

In subsequent years of study, students will combine practical work, written exams, and laboratory work as benchmark assessments of their course progression. 

Most undergraduate food science courses run for three or four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experience. 

It is common with all science-based subjects that students are expected to engage in a high number of contact hours with lecturers and tutors, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for careers in food science after university.

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research jobs. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working as food technologists, toxicologists, and as chefs.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in Food Science will serve you well as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill set. A science degree teaches students to think critically and creatively as well as equipping them with invaluable problem solving and communication skills. 

Many recent graduates have gone into ‘entry-level’ careers in Food science working as naturopaths, nutritional therapists, and technical brewers. 

Other careers in Food Science that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training and/or experience to qualify for, eg teaching, research and consulting positions.

 Related jobs include:

  • Food Technologist
  • Regulatory Affairs Officer
  • Naturopath
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Nutritional Therapist
  • Technical Brewer
  • Product Development Scientist
  • Toxicologist
  • Quality Manager
  • Nutritionist
  • Chef

Further study

An undergraduate food science degree is often the first step to go onto further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of food science and/or undertaking work in new, sometimes interdisciplinary fields. 

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  • What points do I need to study Food Science?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
    • Many universities also require a Leaving Cert grade O2/H6 in Mathematics, O2/H6 in Laboratory Science, and O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognized subjects. 
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study Food Science?
    • Students interested in careers in food science will need to enjoy math and science as well as their application in the real world. They will need to be innovative, creative, and collaborative as well as being able to communicate their own ideas and opinions. 
  • Where can I study Food Science?
    • Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • People used to believe that tomato ketchup possessed medicinal properties that could cure a number of ailments such as indigestion!
  • A single hamburger patty can contain meat from up to 100 different cows!
  • According to a team of scientists from Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Germany, due to the high carbon levels in peanut butter, it is theoretically possible to turn the spread into diamonds!


Ethan Moser

Environmental Science
Laboratory Practice


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