A food science major might be coming to BYU-Idaho, but that will depend on construction plans.
The addition of the major depends on whether the construction of a new agriculture building is approved by the school.
The majority of the classes required for this major would be held in that building because the facilities needed for this major are not available elsewhere on campus.
If the building is approved, the major is expected to be available the winter or spring semester of 2015.
It would be part of the newly-formed Animal and Food Science Department and the agriculture program.
The food science major would focus on food processing, production and consumption.
Neal Ricks, a food scientist and culinary arts professor, said that if the major is brought to BYU-I, the program will provide students with a background in science consisting of chemistry, microbiology and physics which will enable students to apply those concepts to food.
Students enrolled in the major will take classes like food engineering, food processing and a food sensory course that studies how consumers view and react to food.
“If the major is added, it would give students interested in those types of things good job opportunities,” Ricks said. “Everybody eats, and we will continue to eat even in a down economy.”
Careers for food science majors are fairly broad. They consist of jobs from food production management to food product development.
Ricks said the possible reasoning behind BYU-I adding the new major is because the school already has a good agriculture program and the new major would strengthen it.
“Food science would be a valuable part of our program,” Ricks said. “We’re kind of missing a gap between producing the food and eating the food.”
The addition of the food science major would fill this gap in the agriculture program.
Ricks said the enrollment for the new major, if added, will be about 20 new students each semester.
Also, with the addition of a new major, Ricks said new faculty will need to be hired to help teach the food science classes.
“I think it will be a really neat program that will allow us to focus more on food production, agriculture and processing,” Ricks said.