Food production and quality is becoming increasingly important globally.
Consumers want foods that are new and exciting, while also being nutritious, safe, tasty, convenient and produced in an environmentally responsible manner. Food companies need to cost-effectively produce foods that meet increasingly diverse market needs. Regulatory agencies insist foods conform to legislation around composition and safety.
The challenge for the food scientist is to blend biology, chemistry, consumer research and nutrition to solve the problems of developing a safe, healthy, sustainable and nutritious food supply for people everywhere.
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Why study Food Science?
Food Science is a portable degree. You can find Food Science jobs all over the world.
You can use both creative and technical skills in developing new food products.
Food Science is a very practical application of basic science (Chemistry, Microbiology, Biology) training with a product, consumer and market focus. There’s a mix of scientific research, practical application and consumer interaction required to get the job done.
As a Food Science graduate, you will have good prospects here in New Zealand and also exciting opportunities overseas. Our graduates frequently find employment before they have even completed their final year at university.
You could end up working for a national or international food company specialising in dairy, confectionery, brewing, fruit and vegetables, seafood or any other foodstuff.
There are also positions for Food Science graduates in research institutes, for example Plant & Food Research, or government agencies such as the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Careers in areas such as product development, food quality management, chemical/nutritional analysis, sensory analysis, marketing and research will be at your fingertips.
High School students are recommended to take Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics in Year 12 and 13.
What is the difference between Food Science and Consumer Food Science?
Food Science is “product and process” oriented whereas Consumer Food Science is “consumer” based. A food scientist understands the nature of food components like fats and proteins and how they behave in food systems, how to process foods to produce high quality foods, and how to develop new exciting food products for the marketplace. If you enjoy science subjects like chemistry and biology then you will probably prefer Food Science. On the other hand, if you enjoy learning more about consumer behaviour, food quality, marketing, and food policy then Consumer Food Science may be for you.
What will I learn?
The Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Food Science provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the food industry, combining both theory and practical hands-on experience.
First year: You will study the basic sciences, including biology, chemistry and statistics as well as introductory food science.
Second year: You will apply the science you learnt in first year specifically to food. You will do papers in food chemistry and processing, food systems, sensory science and microbiology.
Third year: You will start to tailor your course to your own particular interests. You will take food product development, advanced food chemistry and food processing papers and can choose to include food microbiology, sensory science, food policy and consumer issues.
There are course advisers within the Department who can help you plan your study path.
Your classes will consist of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical laboratories, self-directed learning using readings and website material, and field trips to food manufacturers and research organisations.
Assessment is a combination of assignments/projects, examinations, laboratory reports, essays and oral presentations.
Several papers provide you with the opportunity to work in groups on a large project, which often includes interaction with the food industry, a most valuable experience.
Can I combine Food Science with other subjects?
Yes. There are a number of possibilities.
You can major in Food Science for a BSc and include other subjects like Chemistry, Microbiology, Human Nutrition and Biochemistry to complement Food Science in your degree. You could even decide to do a double major in Food Science and another subject. Another option is to do a double degree, for example a BSc in Food Science and a BCom in Marketing.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
- Bachelor of Science (BSc)
- Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
- Master of Science (MSc)
Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Food Science
CELS 191 Cell and Molecular Biology
FOSC 111 Food Principles
FOSC 112 Introduction to Food Marketing
FOSC 201 Food Systems 1
FOSC 202 Food Systems 2
FOSC 213 Sensory Science
MICR 221 Microbes to Medicine
FOSC 301 Food Chemistry, Structure and Function
FOSC 302 Food Preservation and Processing
FOSC 311 Food Product Development
126 further points (MICR 331 Food Microbiology recommended); must include 36 points at 200-level or above.
Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science
Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Food Science
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Food Science
Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science, FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one of FOSC 401-405.
Master of Science (MSc) in Food Science
|Papers and Thesis|
Minor subject requirements
Food Science as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
FOSC 111 Food Principles
FOSC 201 is a prerequisite for FOSC 301 and 302.
Note: Students majoring in Consumer Food Science for the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) must include two of FOSC 301, 302, MICR 331
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|FOSC111||2023||Food in a Changing World||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC112||2023||Introduction to Food Marketing||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC201||2023||Food Components, Processing and Functionality||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC202||2023||Food Systems and Quality||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC213||2023||Sensory Science||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC301||2023||Food Chemistry, Structure and Function||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC302||2023||Food Preservation and Processing||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC304||2023||Food Science Project||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year|
|FOSC306||2023||Advanced Sensory Science||18 points||Semester 1|
|FOSC308||2023||Food and Consumers||18 points||Semester 2|
|FOSC309||2023||Consumer Food Science Project||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year|
|FOSC311||2023||Food Product Development||36 points||Full Year|
|FOSC401||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 1||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC402||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 2||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC403||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 3||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC404||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 4||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC405||2023||Topics in Advanced Food Science 5||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC421||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC422||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 2||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC423||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 3||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC425||2023||Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 5||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC460||2023||Cooperative Education Programme||20 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC480||2023||Research Project||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC490||2023||Dissertation||60 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
|FOSC495||2023||Master's Thesis Preparation||40 points||Full Year, 1st Non standard period|
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Key information for future students
Department of Food Science