Food Science & Human Nutrition

Major Description

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) integrates chemistry, biology, business, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, psychology, sociology, and physics with behavioral, consumer, and economic sciences to understand the basic nature, composition, and action of foods and nutrients as applied to food systems and human health and wellness. Students develop a deep understanding of the properties and characteristics of food and ingredients, and the bioactive compounds and nutrients within them that promote health and prevent chronic disease, as well as how to create novel foods and meals for sensory appeal and eating pleasure. Students focus on creating foods, exploring diets, and identifying food and nutrition patterns for optimal health.



There are four concentrations to choose from. 


The application of food and nutrition knowledge for maintaining good health and treating illness. The Dietetics Concentration meets the requirements set by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association and qualifies students for competitive dietetic internships. Upon completion of a postgraduate internship, graduates may take the Registered Dietitian examination. Students choosing this concentration who do not complete an internship will be prepared for entry-level supervisory positions in food service facilities and in the food and pharmaceutical industries. To learn more about a concentration in dietetics visit

The integration of several life and engineering sciences to create and market new foods, enhance food safety, and manage food supply chains. The Food Science Concentration exposes students to all components of food production: harvesting and raw-product handling, food-processing procedures and techniques, packaging, and food storage. The Food Science Concentration meets the approval requirements set by the Institute of Food Technologists. Students selecting this concentration are prepared for careers in the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products industries, as well as government research laboratories.

    The combination of complex principles of business with biological and social sciences to prepare emerging professionals for careers in the hospitality industry. Courses include production, purchasing, sanitation, and safety, as well as organizational management, along with classes in food and nutrition sciences. The Hospitality Management includes a 21-hour concentration in business courses in the College of Business. Experiential learning laboratories allow students to operate the Bevier Café and Spice Box fine dining facility. Students are prepared to become restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, food service supervisors, and quality assurance managers.

    The pre-professional school option for students planning to attend medical, dental, nursing, law, occupational or physical therapy, or graduate schools on their pathways to becoming physicians, dentists, registered nurses, lawyers, therapists, and nutrition scientists. The Human Nutrition Concentration integrates chemistry, biology, physiology, physics, social sciences, and nutrition to understand the impact of genes, diet, and lifestyle on human health. Emphasizing core sciences with applied nutrition concepts, students are provided a unique degree option not available elsewhere on campus.

    Courses That Introduce the Major:
    • FSHN 101—Introductory Food Science & Nutrition
    • FSHN 120—Contemporary Nutrition
    • FSHN 140—Introduction to Hospitality
    • FSHN 145—Introduction to Hospitality Management
    • FSHN 150—Introduction to Dietetics

    Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

    Possible Career Opportunities:
    • Critical thinking
    • Problem solving
    • Analytical decision making
    • Numeracy
    • Networking
    • Team building, working, and managing
    • Dietician, registered
    • Nutritionist
    • Physician; Physician's Assistant, Physical Therapist
    • Senior Researc Scientist
    • Corporate Dietician/Nutritionist
    • Food Scientist/Product Developer
    • Sensory Scientist
    • Food Systems Engineer
    • Senior Processing Technologist
    • Marketing Specialist/Researcher
    • Food Service/Human Resources Manager
    • Regional Restaurant Manager
    • Restaurant Owner/Operator/Partner
    • Event Planner
    • Food Critic
    Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
    • Participating in undergraduate research
    • Applying for a study abroad experience
    • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
    • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
      • Association of Food Technologists: fosters a close relationship among the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition students and faculty and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
      • Hospitality Management Association: strives to provide students of any major the opportunity to learn more about the hospitality industry, make contacts within the industry and provide opportunities to meet new people interested in hospitality.
      • Student Dietetic Association: Advocate of the dietetic option in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, serving the students and local community through promotion of optimal nutrition, health, and well being.
    Further Information:

    There are several professional organizations dedicated to Food Science and Human Nutrition.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Food Science and Human Nutrition.  These organizations include American Dietetic Association and Institute of Food Technologists.