Food Science major: Bachelor of Science

Food science is an exciting and extremely rewarding area of science in New Zealand. With this major you will gain the skills and knowledge required in this profession.
Human existence is maintained on the basis that we provide our bodies with sufficient nutrition. A scientific understanding of food is vital to human existence on many levels. It increases our ability to add value to our agricultural and horticultural industries, helps us understand the impact of nutrition on the health of our economy and the importance of nutrition and people’s individual health. The role of a food scientist is critical in the production of food. Jobs include working in food processing or packaging industries, developing new products with the help of biotechnology and improving the nutritional content of foods through research and development.

This major introduces you to the science behind the food we eat and its fundamental effect on our quality of life. The basic principles of microbiology and chemistry will give you an understanding of food product development and food safety. Analysis of food, food chemistry, food microbiology, HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points), sensory evaluation, food packaging and legal issues relating to food are also studied.

Bachelor of Science: degree outline

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You will study core (compulsory) papers from across the degree in addition to optional elective papers.

Year 1

In your first year you take eight compulsory papers. These papers provide a general scientific grounding that is important for students:

775205 General Chemistry
775411 Food Science
555301 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
775102 Biological Chemistry
775111 Microbiology
775611 Biophysics
555401 Health and Environment
BIOL501 Biological Sampling and Interpretation

Year 2

You continue to deepen your understanding of food science by studying papers that cover the areas of food technology, food chemistry and food microbiology.

776411 Food Chemistry
776412 Food Microbiology
776413 Food Technology
776414 Process Engineering
776220 Analytical Chemistry

Plus three electives.

Year 3

777411 Advanced Food Microbiology
777416 Advanced Food Chemistry
777417 Sensory Evaluation

Plus five electives.

Research project
In the final year of your degree you will have the opportunity to enrol in either the Food Product Development or Research Project paper (both 30 points) if you had a B grade average in 60 points at level 6. This may involve placement in an employer organisation related to your major and undertaking a mini research project.


The School of Applied Sciences offers competitive fee-only scholarships for the first year of Bachelor of Science (one for every major). Some of these scholarships are for the full three years and are co-funded by external institutions, such as the Department of Conservation.
Visit the scholarship website to find out more

Career opportunities

Graduates find a wide range of employment opportunities in food related industries. These include:
  • Product development scientist
  • Food microbiologist
  • Sensory scientist
  • Food chemist
  • Quality control executive
  • Science teacher*
  • Food scientist
*Upon completion of the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching (one additional year of full-time study and training in how to teach, subject to meeting entry and selection criteria).

Graduates and students of science

Other majors and pathways in the Bachelor of Science

Other courses you may be interested in

Last updated: 21-May-2015 3.17pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.