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Fermentation at Oregon State University

Learn to design and brew your own beer. Talk knowledgeably about wine color and aroma. Sound like fun? Then the Food Science and Technology program at Oregon State University may be right for you! With a focus in fermentation science, you can learn both the science and art of making fermented foods.

Key Stats
Program: B.S. in Food Science, fermentation option
Program Type: 4-year undergraduate degree
University: Oregon State University
Department: Food Science and Technology
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Students: 175 in Food Science and Technology, with about 122 focusing on Fermentation Science
Program URL: http://oregonstate.edu/foodsci/fermentation-science-option


Not only can you learn to make beer and wine, you can also learn to bake bread and create cheeses. You’ll discover the history and culture behind these foods and learn to identify why things like foam, color and aroma can vary.

Your classes will also teach you about industry standards, including analytical measurements and regulations.

 

How does it work?

You’ll get a bachelor’s of science degree in Food Science and choose from one of three specializations: food science, fermentation science, or enology and viticulture.

Fermentation science is by far the most popular of the three options– about 70% of students choose this option, and most of them plan to enter the brewing industry after graduation. About 25% percent of students choose the food science specialization, and about 5% focus on enology and viticulture.

What kind of classes would I take?

Class examples include Brewing Science; Wine Production, Analysis, and Sensory Evaluation; and Fermentation Microbiology. In addition, you would take core courses in areas like math, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physics, and engineering.

Is the program hands-on?

Yes! OSU has what they call “boots in the brewery” or “boots in the cellar” experiences.

That means that you’ll take your classroom education and put it to practice. You’ll get to make beer, wine, coffee, baked goods and more. And you’ll get to analyze them.

What facilities do they have on campus?

There is a brew house, a winery, a cheese-making plant and a baking lab. These state-of-the-art facilities help to enhance classroom learning. They are used for workshops and classes as well as student research.

There is also a sensory science laboratory that is used for evaluating beer and wine.

What if I’m not 21 years old?

No problem! Students under 21 can participate in all aspects of the degree. That includes sensory exercises and brewing/winemaking.

What kind of careers can this degree lead to?

Typical careers include: Brewer and Brewing Process Manager, Maltings Manager, Lab Manager, Packaging Manager, and Enologist/Winemaker.

You could work for a small or large company. You could even go on to create your own brewery or business.

Of course, you are not limited to working with fermented foods. This degree is certified by the Institute of Food Technologists, which means you can work in pretty much any aspect of the food industry– from manufacturing and product development to technical sales and regulations.

Love studying? You could also go on to get a graduate degree in Food Science or Chemistry.

Which minors make sense with this degree?

If you are interested in starting your own business, a minor in Business & Entrepreneurship may be a good choice. You could also complete a concurrent bachelor’s degree in Innovation Management.

Other popular minors include Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Nutrition, and Agriculture Business Management.

When was this program created?

The Food Science and Technology program began in 1918– making it the second oldest in the nation! The Fermentation Science option began in 1996.

How much does it cost?

Beyond tuition and fees for Oregon State University, there are no additional costs for this program. However, some lab courses have a small fee– if you took every single beer and wine class, the additional fees would be less than $200 altogether.

Why is this program unique?

There are three faculty members that are 100% dedicated to the science of brewing, as well as a full-time Fermentation Science instructor/advisor.

“OSU has more brewing-specific faculty than any other program in North America.”
— Jessica Just, Fermentation Instructor/Advisor

There are also faculty members who dedicate their time solely to wine science and distilled spirits.

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