The Food and Nutritional Sciences double major at UBC integrates your interests in science, nutrition, health and food into an undergraduate degree that is comprehensive, rigorous and relevant. A professional program approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the double major provides extensive laboratory experience, experiential learning and industry engagement, ideal for employment in the food and nutrition industries or future graduate study.
The Food and Nutritional Sciences double major includes all required courses from both Food Science and Nutritional Sciences with just one additional semester of study. You will learn about food chemistry, analysis, quality and safety alongside the nutritional composition of food, nutrient metabolism and nutritional assessment. This integration of content uniquely positions graduates to contribute to the development of healthy foods for optimal living — an exciting frontier to be working on in today’s world.
UBC’s Food and Nutritional Sciences double major has the added distinction of being approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the internationally-respected governing body that sets the standards in Food Science education. As an IFT member, you’ll be eligible to apply for Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) scholarships and other food science-specific student funding. Additionally, you’ll have access to IFT Student Association events and opportunities to collaborate with peers across North America.
In the Food and Nutritional Sciences double major, you will apply biology, chemistry and physics knowledge to food and nutrition. You will learn how foods change during processing, how food is preserved and how to assess food’s sensory qualities. You will study the role of food in human development, disease prevention and public health. On top of this deep disciplinary foundation, you’ll build essential workplace skills through practical laboratory experience, collaborative work and industry-specific written and oral communication.
Over the course of your studies, you will have the opportunity to be involved in industry projects, Co-operative education, industry mentoring programs, community partnerships, career development events and site visits, each of which will hone your ability to collaborate with industry professionals.
UBC’s Food and Nutritional Sciences double major emphasizes a strong science foundation, strength in research, cultivation of communication skills, and sustainability emphasis. Notably, the unique Land, Food, and Community core course series grounds learners in the broader context of local and global food systems, building an interdisciplinary, collaborative mindset. The double major has the distinction of being approved by the Institute of Food Technologists, the internationally-respected governing body that sets the standards in Food Science education.
In addition to the learning obtained through their Nutritional Sciences coursework, students will cover all of the Food Science Program-level Learning Outcomes, which include the ability to:
Apply foundational sciences, food chemistry and analysis, food microbiology, food safety and quality assurance, food processing and engineering, sensory science, and food regulation knowledge to address food science challenges
Emphasize precision, accuracy, and safety when performing food science laboratory procedures
Employ skills in experimental design, ethical data collection and analysis, and literature interpretation to conduct food science research
Apply sustainability practices, business concepts, and project management principles to food product design, development, or modification
Apply food science principles within a broader, interdisciplinary context of food systems and food security
Communicate food science information, ideas, and data to a variety of audiences using oral, written, and visual means
Identify current issues, novel technologies, potential career paths, governing associations, and service opportunities within the food sector
Model professionalism, integrity, leadership, collaboration, and a sustainability mindset when engaging with academic, industry and community members
Our program aspires to cultivate graduates who will:
Lead academic and professional lives with high ethical standards
Leverage food science knowledge to advance health and sustainability in the food sector
Contribute toward the betterment of the field and society through ongoing service
Augment your studies with full-time, relevant work by applying your academic skills in food and nutrition-related employment settings. Program graduates consistently listed Co-op placements as a highly valuable component of their education. Application details are available on the Science Co-op page.
You may choose to supplement your Food and Nutritional Sciences double major with a minor, which involves taking courses in a subject area outside of your specialization. As a Food, Nutrition and Health student, you are eligible to apply for a minor in Arts, Commerce, Science, Fermentations, Sustainable Food Systems or Kinesiology. Learn more about minors, including application timelines, on the LFS minor page.
Dual Degree with Master of Management
If you are interested in complementing your LFS degree with a strong foundation in management, consider applying for the Bachelor of Science (Food, Nutrition and Health) – Master of Management Dual Degree. Admission to this degree is primarily available to students coming directly out of high school. Depending on enrolment, the UBC Sauder School of Business may release a limited number of spaces on a competitive basis to students who are going into their third year at UBC. Learn more about this dual-degree option and how to apply in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration section of the UBC Academic Calendar.
The UBC Academic Calendar is the authoritative source for degree requirements and course equivalencies. Please refer to it throughout your degree prior to making course selections. The Academic Calendar also contains information about minors offered and course requirements to assist with course planning.
The heavy science emphasis and extensive laboratory work make the double major curriculum a challenging one. Students who commute, have part-time jobs or other significant responsibilities may wish to take summer courses to help spread out their course load. While summer offerings differ each year, some courses are consistently offered between May and August. FNH 200 and 250 are available in the summer term, as are many courses offered through the Faculty of Science.
As a double major student, your unrestricted elective can be chosen from among UBC’s extensive course selection. In consultation with a faculty advisor, your restricted elective is chosen from a curated list of courses in sustainability, business, science, food science specializations and nutrition. More information is available on the LFS restricted electives page. Sample Electives
FNH 342: Critical Perspectives on Consumer Food Practices
The Food and Nutritional Sciences Double Major is competitive, which means you will need to apply if you wish to be considered. Both your academic performance and a letter of intent count toward UBC’s assessment of your fit for the major. You can find details about admission requirements and timelines in the UBC Academic Calendar.
The Food and Nutritional Sciences double major is a professional degree approved by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), an association which evaluates undergraduate Food Science programs to ensure they attain IFT’s high standards. Recognized worldwide, IFT certification demonstrates your competency to potential employers upon graduation. To amplify your learning, IFT provides student leadership opportunities, competitions, scholarships and internships. UBC’s Food Science faculty have a strong relationship with IFT’s education division. More information on these opportunities is available on the IFT website or by contacting Dr. Patricia Hingston.
IFT undergraduate program requirements
The Institute of Food Technologists sets standards for IFT-approved undergraduate Food Science degrees. They require foundational knowledge in chemistry, physics, mathematics, biological sciences, nutrition, statistics, and oral and written communication. For food science-specific courses, IFT’s essential learning outcomes (ELOs) indicate the knowledge and skills required for program approval. Full details of IFT’s undergraduate guidelines are available as a brief report.
In addition to meeting the IFT ELOs, the double major covers additional content to help set our graduates apart. In response to industry needs, we include competencies in business, sanitation, product development and sustainability.
The structure and properties of food components (water, carbohydrates, protein, lipids, other components and food additives); the chemistry of changes occurring during processing, storage, and utilization.
Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:
FC.1. Discuss the major chemical reactions that limit shelf life of foods.
FC.2. Explain the chemistry underlying the properties and reactions of various food components.
FC.3. Apply food chemistry principles used to control reactions in foods.
FC.4. Demonstrate laboratory techniques common to basic and applied food chemistry.
FC.5. Demonstrate practical proficiency in a food analysis laboratory.
FC.6. Explain the principles behind analytical techniques associated with food.
FC.7. Evaluate the appropriate analytical technique when presented with a practical problem.
FC.8. Design an appropriate analytical approach to solve a practical problem.
Microorganisms in food including beneficial, pathogenic, and spoilage; the influence of the food system on their growth, survival, and control.
Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:
FM.1. Identify relevant beneficial, pathogenic, and spoilage microorganisms in foods and the conditions under which they grow.
FM.2. Describe the conditions under which relevant pathogens are destroyed or controlled in foods.
FM.3. Apply laboratory techniques to identify microorganisms in foods.
FM.4. Explain the principles involved in food preservation via fermentation processes.
FM.5. Discuss the role and significance of adaptation and environmental factors (e.g., water activity, pH, temperature) on growth response and inactivation of microorganisms in various environments.
FM.6. Choose relevant laboratory techniques to identify microorganisms in foods.
Organization and project management; skills necessary to work and interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Upon completion of the required course work and additional and leadership activities provided from the program, students will be able to:
PL.1. Demonstrate the ability to work independently and in teams.
PL.2. Discriminate tasks to achieve a given outcome.
PL.3. Describe social and cultural competence relative to diversity and inclusion.
PL.4. Discuss examples of ethical issues in food science.
Professional associations aren’t just for those working in the industry, they are outstanding resources for students too. Most associations have positions for student representatives where you can grow your leadership skills and expand your network. Some memberships are free for UBC Food Science students while others require an annual fee.
Connect with peers by joining the student-run UBC Food Science Club, a chapter of the IFT Student Association. The club enables participation in IFTSA international opportunities and organizes educational events for students to attend. Food plant tours, food-making workshops and food science trivia nights are examples of past events. For more information, contact the UBC Food Science club student leadership and subscribe to the club’s social media accounts:
This double major prepares you for impactful careers in the food and nutrition sectors. Here are just a few:
Food product development specialist
Quality assurance manager
Consumer product officer
Nutraceutical sales representative
Food safety specialist
Of course, your learning can continue beyond a bachelor’s degree. Many of our students pursue an MSc or PhD in Human Nutrition or Food Science or a professional Master of Food Science.
If you are a prospective or current student with questions about the double major, or if you have questions about how your transfer credits apply, get in touch! One of our academic advisors in LFS Student Services will be glad to help you.
If you are already in the double major and have specific questions about restricted electives and directed studies, please contact an FNH Advisor.
If you are a prospective or current student with questions about planning for or choosing this major, or if you have questions about how your transfer credits apply, get in touch! One of our academic advisors in LFS Student Services will be glad to help you.
If you are already in the Food Science major and have specific questions about restricted electives and Directed Studies, please contact an FNH Advisor.
Marley Blok is an alumna of the Applied Biology program and currently volunteers with Veterinarians Without Borders in their Volunteers Engaged in Gender-Responsive Technical Solutions Program, or VETS for short. Working with local Ghanaian organizations, Blok's goal is to create sustainable socioeconomic change in rural communities through improving health in animal production systems.
Meet Jennifer Appiah, our student spotlight! Jennifer is a 2022 recipient of the Freybe Award in Nutrition and Dietetics and is currently completing her first year as part of UBC’s Master of Nutrition and Dietetics’ first ever cohort.