Programs of Study
The Department of Nutrition and Food Science offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science with three options for students interested in nutrition, food, and health—Nutritional Science, Food Science, and Dietetics. This degree program gives graduates the breadth and depth of knowledge needed to work in the fields of global food and health systems including the food industry, state and federal regulatory agencies, healthcare, food and nutrition policy, community nutrition, and dietetics.
The Nutritional Science major (formerly known as Human Nutrition and Foods) focuses on the physiological and biological aspects of foods and nutrients. Opportunities for nutritional scientists include research positions in laboratories, hospitals, and industry. This major prepares students for graduate study. The program also meets premedical and pre-dental requirements, and many students go on to professional schools.
The Food Science major prepares students to apply the principles of science and engineering to better understand the complex and heterogeneous materials recognized as food. There is a great demand in the global food industry and government for highly knowledgeable and competent food scientists. Opportunities for food scientists include food safety, food quality control, food product development, production management, technical sales and service, ingredient management, research, and teaching. This major also prepares students for graduate study.
The Dietetics concentration prepares students to apply their knowledge of nutrition to promote healthy eating patterns in the population. Registered Dietitians (RDs) work in many areas including clinical and community nutrition, nutrition counseling, nutrition education and research, wellness, government, public health, food service management and others. The dynamic field of Dietetics is ever growing and dietitians continue to find new and different ways to communicate nutrition information to the public. This option also prepares students for medical and dental school, as well as graduate study in a variety of fields.
What are the key courses and experiences that set NFSC apart from other programs across the campus and country?
The Element of Nutrition (NFSC100) and Food: Science and Technology (NFSC112) courses offer students (including non-science majors) the opportunity to study how diet relates to long life and well-being, and how science and technology integrate in the production, processing, preservation, and regulation of safe foods. These courses can be taken as the campus GenEd curriculum distributive studies courses.
The Food Chemistry Lab, the Capstone Food Science, and Community Nutrition are scholarship in practice courses that mimic the real-world working environment. Students enrolled in these classes work in small teams on selected research topics under close supervision.
Students take similar biology, chemistry, and biochemistry courses that are required in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Biochemistry Departments.
NFSC is especially strong in food safety and risk assessment in collaboration with the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Other NFSC strengths include coursework in molecular cellular nutrition, food chemistry, food processing, excellent dietetic internship, and participation in UME outreach programs statewide.
NFSC’s location near key federal agencies including USDA, FDA, and NIH, provide faculty and students with unprecedented opportunities for collaboration. Cooperative agreements have been established with the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center laboratories and the FDA/CFSAN, enhancing faculty and student research opportunities.