Faculty in the department supervise graduate students working toward M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in either food science or the multidisciplinary program in environmental science (refer to the Program in Environmental Science for more information on requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental science).
Program Areas of Emphasis
Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Food Engineering, Food Toxicology, Environmental Toxicology
Departmental research programs include studies of the genetic/metabolic engineering of microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria, for bio-preservation of food products and conversion of biomass, such as potato processing waste, to valuable fuels and chemicals; development of new processes and technologies to improve the microbial safety of foods; investigations into mechanism(s) of action of food borne anti-toxicants that may improve human health or reduce chronic human disease; investigation of soft wheat and potato quality, functionality, and end-use potential; assessment of starch behavior and function in food processing operations; utilization of novel protein and starch ingredients in food systems. Faculty Research Focus list.
Demand for food scientists with graduate degrees is high. Graduates are employed in the food industry in research and development, food process development, food safety, quality assurance, analytical sciences and managerial positions. Recent graduates have found employment with major food companies like H.J. Heinz Co., J.R. Simplot Co., Lamb Weston, Kraft Foods, and Land O’Lakes. Many M.S. graduates continue on for a Ph.D. in preparation for a career in academia. Students also find employment with the federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.
The University of Idaho and Washington State University have a cooperative program in food science that allows graduate students from both universities to participate in a joint curriculum. Our students interact with faculty at both universities allowing for a more diverse education and access to research facilities at both institutions. Teaching and research assistantships are available from the department and faculty grants.