CIA Culinary Science Bachelor’s Degree

  • With a CIA Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Culinary Science degree, you’ll have the expertise to work in a food research and development environment and create the foods of the future. Whether in a research kitchen for an independent restaurant, or in the product development laboratory of a leading food company, your culinary and/or baking and pastry art skills, coupled with a deep understanding of the chemistry, physics, and biology of foods will allow you to create food experiences that are creative, delicious, safe, and consistent. Study how food impacts the senses, learn to develop new food products, and apply the scientific method to answer your own questions about what is happening in the kitchen. The CIA’s industry-experienced faculty will ensure you receive a hands-on learning experience that provides you the foundation for a successful career. After you’ve earned your degree, you will have a strong theoretical and practical understand of the science behind the food and beverage experience.


    • Develop an understanding of the scientific foundations of foods, and apply that knowledge in the design of innovative and creative sensory experiences.
    • Understand how culinary science enhances food quality in research and development kitchens, multi-unit operations, commissary food production, fine dining establishments, small and large-scale manufacturers, and more.
    • Continue to develop your culinary and baking and pastry skills by learning advanced techniques such as fermentation, sous-vide cooking, and the application of technical ingredients.
    • Learn to prepare high-quality products for small- and large-scale production systems using a scientific understanding of food safety, and HACCP management systems.
    • Cultivate a deeper knowledge of the functionality of ingredients, while learning more about their impact through the application of sensory evaluation techniques.
    • Study precision temperature cooking, culinary chemistry, dynamics of heat transfer and the physical properties of food, and the microbial ecology of food systems.
    • Execute an experimental study to answer your own culinary or baking and pastry question.
    • Interact with more than 130 companies that visit CIA’s campus four times a year to recruit students. Discuss career opportunities with these leaders, which include Dole Consumer Products Division, EFCO Products, Highland Baking Company, McCormick, and Nestle, among many others.
    • Gain valuable real-world experience during an off-campus externship semester.

    Please note: This BPS degree program is limited to 20 to 24 students per entry date.

    Ready to get started? Apply Today!

    The Science of Success

    The Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Culinary Science was developed with the growing demand for skilled innovators in the food industry in mind. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of culinary scientists is expected to grow as science and technology unlock new food production methods and techniques. After you graduate, pursue a career in fields that include:

    • Culinary education
    • Food compliance and safety
    • Production management
    • Quality assurance
    • Food manufacturing
    • Research and development

    With so many possibilities, our Career Services staff is ready to help you every step of the way. There’s no network like the CIA network, which includes some of the world’s most renowned culinary, beverage, and hospitality experts.

    The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. They’ve found success doing what they love. Now it’s your turn.

    Freshman/Sophomore Years

    Total Credits: 69 (CIA Associate Degree)

    Junior/Senior Years

    Liberal Arts Requirements (30 Credits)

    Anthropology of Food or Psychology of Human Behavior or Social Psychology3 credits
    Calculus I or College Algebra3 credits
    Foreign Language6 credits
    History and Cultures of Asia or History and Cultures of Europe or History and Cultures of the Americas6 credits
    Introduction to Statistics3 credits
    Literature and Composition3 credits
    Principles of Macroeconomics or Principles of Microeconomics3 credits
    Science Fundamentals3 credits

    Culinary Science Requirements (33 Credits)

    Advanced Concepts in Precision Temperature Cooking3 credits
    Culinary Chemistry3 credits
    Culinary Research and Development3 credits
    Culinary Science: Principles and Applications3 credits
    Dynamics of Heat Transfer and Physical Properties of Food3 credits
    Flavor Science and Perception3 credits
    Ingredient Functionality: Texture Development, Stability, and Flavor Release3 credits
    Microbial Ecology of Food Systems3 credits
    Modern and Industrial Cooking Tools, Techniques, and Ingredients3 credits
    Research Methods: Scientific Evaluation of Traditional Cooking Techniques3 credits
    Senior Thesis: Culinary Science Research Projects3 credits
    Total Credits: 63 (Junior/Senior Years)

    Total Credits, Associate & Bachelor’s Degree: 132

    Please note:
    • The foreign language requirement must be fulfilled by the end of the junior year.
    • Not all electives will be offered each semester. For the most current list of elective offerings, students should check CIA Main Menu (the student web portal).
    • The Global Cuisines and Cultures elective travel courses take place between bachelor’s semesters in late April/early May and late July/early August.
    • Course prerequisites and corequisites are listed in the course descriptions.

    Requirements for Admission

    • A high school diploma or GED credential.
    • Recommendation—One character letter of recommendation is required. It should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry. The letter should address your commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics.
    • Students interested the bachelor’s degree program in culinary science must complete an application for admission, available from the Center for Academic Advising on the student portal. Acceptances are based on all postsecondary school grades, CIA grades, an essay, as well as responses to five critical essay questions. All applications will be reviewed by the Culinary Science Admissions Committee.

    How to Apply

    Culinary Science Costs

    The CIA is very committed to making your CIA education as affordable as possible. Our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and here’s even better news—approximately 92% of our students receive some form of financial aid.

    Don’t let applying for financial assistance keep you from going to the world’s premier culinary college. No matter what your individual circumstances are, we will work with you to help make attending the CIA an affordable investment in your future in the world of food.

    Related Links

    Regular Guest Speakers—Culinary Science

    We are pleased to welcome a rotation of outstanding guest speakers from all segments of the food world. By coming to campus to share their knowledge, these industry leaders greatly enrich the learning experience for our culinary science students.

    Upcoming guest speakers include:

    Michele Reisner ’76Michele Reisner ’76
    Executive VP at Target Research Group
    Sarah StriblingSarah Stribling
    Unilever Food Solutions
    Matt TomMatt Tom
    Independent Technical Consultant
  • Jennifer Stack, CIA Associate Professor—Liberal Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Jennifer Stack ’03
    Associate Professor—Culinary Science
    Jennifer has worked as Proprietor/Executive Chef, served as a past board member, and continues a private practice as a Nutrition Therapist.
    Evan Bollers

    Alumni Spotlight

    Evan Bollers
    Research & Development Chef, Custom Foods of America
    Ever wonder how new foods get developed and who’s behind these innovative formulations and recipes? Oftentimes, there’s a CIA graduate involved...
  • Food is big business, and you won’t find business education anywhere as food-focused as the CIA’s.
    Learn More