Studies & Degrees in Food Science Engineering
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Food Science and Engineering involves the wide range of activities involved in processing food products, packaging, manufacturing ingredients, instrumentation and much more. Practically every food product one comes across in supermarkets is a product of Food Science and Engineering. Therefore, study of Food Science and Engineering includes the study of all major hard core sciences like physics, chemistry, life science, microbiology, biochemistry, sensory analysis, instrumentation and engineering. A food scientist is supposed to acquire knowledge in many fields and apply them for improvement, development and proper functioning of the food industry. Food engineers on the other hand provide technological support to develop cost effective methods of food production and commercialization of products.
Course of Study
Food Science and Engineering is a purely technical field of study. However, along with technical skills, a student of food science and engineering requires knowledge of management, business development and marketing. Hence, any course on the subject would aim at inculcating all these skills. It is difficult to find a single course that includes food science as well as engineering for the sheer size of the module and duration of the course would be huge. Rather one will find number of universities offering graduate as well as post graduate degrees in food science, food technology, food engineering, food safety and preservation separately. While Bachelors degrees are generally for 3 – 4 years, post graduate courses are mostly of 2 years duration. Admission requirements vary from one university to the other depending on the level of study.
Essentially a food science or a food engineer is supposed to enhance the quality, nutritional value, and the safety of processed food. Food safety studies aim at developing food preservation methods and detection and prevention of contamination in food products. For the above mentioned purposes, hands-on training on these issues is important. Therefore, most of the study programs include regular visits to industrial units, laboratories and emphasize on training modules.
Apart from full time degree courses, diploma and short-term courses are also offered by many establishments. Higher studies opportunities are varied and widely available. A number of public and private scholarships and fellowships are there for students who wish to get into doctoral and post doctoral research.
The demand for highly trained professionals in the food industry is high and can be projected to remain the same or grow with passing years. Large numbers of jobs are available in the food processing, packaging, storing and marketing companies. Apart from these, food scientists and technologists have huge opportunities for involving themselves in research projects. Both the private and public sector enterprises absorb experts in the field.
Dairy, meat, sea food processing firms, large scale bakeries and confectionaries, packaging industrial units, ingredient and equipment suppliers and even marketing and advertising firms and agencies hire food scientists and engineers. Research institutes and universities also provide good research facilities to those who wish to stay in this area. While the subject is challenging, stimulating and wide based in nature, it offers numerous career opportunities.