Food and Nutritional Sciences (Double Major)

FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES DOUBLE MAJOR

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.

What You Need to Know

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:

  1. 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
  2. Emphasize precision, accuracy, and safety when performing food science laboratory procedures
  3. Employ skills in experimental design, ethical data collection and analysis, and literature interpretation to conduct food science research
  4. Apply sustainability practices, business concepts, and project management principles to food product design, development, or modification
  5. Apply food science principles within a broader, interdisciplinary context of food systems and food security
  6. Communicate food science information, ideas, and data to a variety of audiences using oral, written, and visual means
  7. Identify current issues, novel technologies, potential career paths, governing associations, and service opportunities within the food sector
  8. Model professionalism, integrity, leadership, collaboration, and a sustainability mindset when engaging with academic, industry and community members

Professional Values

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

In the Food and Nutritional Sciences double major you will build a solid science foundation in Years 1 and 2, followed by a comprehensive range of food-specific courses in Years 3, 4 and 5. Double major students have the option to enrol in Co-op, a minor or a dual degree with the UBC Sauder School of Business. More information on these options is available under the Degree Options tab above.

First Year

  • LFS 100 Introduction to Land, Food & Community
  • LFS 150 Scholarly Writing and Argumentation in Land and Food Systems
  • BIOL 112 Biology of the Cell
  • BIOL 121 Genetics, Evolution & Ecology
  • BIOL 155 Human Biology: Physiology & Introductory Anatomy
  • CHEM 121 Chemical Structure & Bonding
  • CHEM 123 Thermodynamics, Kinetics & Organic Chemistry
  • MATH 102 Differential Calculus with Applications to Life Sciences
  • MATH 103 Integral Calculus with Applications to Life Sciences
  • PHYS 101 Energy & Waves

Second Year

  • FNH 200 Exploring Our Food
  • FNH 250 Nutrition Concepts and Controversies
  • LFS 250 Land, Food, and Community I: Introduction to Food Systems & Sustainability
  • LFS 252 Land, Food, and Community: Quantitative Data Analysis
  • BIOL 200 Fundamentals of Cell Biology
  • BIOL 201 Introduction to Biochemistry
  • BIOL 234 Fundamentals of Genetics
  • CHEM 205 Physical Chemistry
  • CHEM 233 Organic Chemistry for the Biological Sciences
  • CHEM 235 Organic Chemistry Laboratory

Third Year

  • FNH 300 Principles of Food Engineering
  • FNH 301 Food Chemistry
  • FNH 302 Food Analysis
  • FNH 303 Food Product Development
  • FNH 313 Food Microbiology
  • FNH 325 Food Science Laboratory I
  • FNH 326 Food Science Laboratory II
  • LFS 350 Land, Food, and Community II: Principles and Practice of Community Food Security
  • BIOC 302 General Biochemistry
  • MICB 353 Food Microbiology Laboratory
  • MICB 202 Introductory Medical Microbiology & Immunology

Fourth Year

  • FNH 309 Food Process Science
  • FNH 350 Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • FNH 351 Vitamins, Minerals & Health
  • FNH 371 Human Nutrition over the Life Span
  • FNH 398 Research Methods in Human Nutrition
  • FNH 413 Food Safety
  • FNH 425 Food Science Laboratory III
  • FNH 477 Human Nutrition & Disease Prevention
  • 1 Unrestricted Elective

Fifth Year

  • FNH 370 Nutrition Assessment
  • FNH 403: Food Laws, Regulations & Quality Assurance
  • FNH 451 Nutrient Metabolism & Implications for Health
  • 1 Business Elective
  • 1 Restricted Elective

The UBC Academic Calendar includes course descriptions for all FNH courses and full details of required courses for the double major.

Co-op

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.

Minors

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
  • FNH 355: International Nutrition
  • FNH 402: Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
  • FNH 405: Microbiology of Food and Beverage Fermentation
  • FNH 415: Business Concepts in Food, Nutrition and Health
  • FNH 474: Sport Nutrition

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.

If you are a college or university student interested in pursuing this major at UBC, you should apply for both the Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition and Health (the degree that you will be working towards) and the Food and Nutritional Sciences Double Major (the specific major within the degree program).

If you are a high school student interested in pursuing this major at UBC, you should first apply for the Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition and Health. Once within the FNH program, you can apply for the Food and Nutritional Sciences Double Major as early as the end of Year 1. Applications for competitive majors are due by March 31st each year.

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

IFT Logo

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.

Hazards (physical, chemical, biological) associated with foods and the food system; their transmission and control.

Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:

   FS.1. Identify potential hazards and food safety issues in specific foods.

   FS.2. Describe routes of physical, chemical, and biological contamination of foods.

   FS.3. Discuss methods for controlling physical, chemical and biological hazards.

   FS.4. Evaluate the conditions, including sanitation practices, under which relevant pathogenic microorganisms are commonly controlled in foods.

   FS.5. Select appropriate environmental sampling techniques.

   FS.6. Design a food safety plan for the manufacture of a specific food.

Food engineering principles; food preservation and processing; packaging materials and methods; cleaning and sanitation; water and waste management.

Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:

   FE.1. Define principles of food engineering (mass and heat transfer, fluid flow, thermodynamics).

   FE.2. Formulate mass and energy balances for a given food manufacturing process.

   FE.3. Explain the source and variability of raw food materials and their impact on food processing operations.

   FE.4. Design processing methods that make safe, high-quality foods.

   FE.5. Use unit operations to produce a given food product in a laboratory or pilot plant.

   FE.6. Explain the effects of preservation and processing methods on product quality.

   FE.7. List properties and uses of various packaging materials and methods.

   FE.8. Describe principles and practices of cleaning and sanitation in food processing facilities.

   FE.9. Define principles and methods of water and waste management.

Analytical and affective methods of assessing sensory properties of food.

Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:

   SS.1. Discuss the physiological and psychological basis for sensory evaluation.

   SS.2. Apply experimental designs and statistical methods to sensory studies.

   SS.3. Select sensory methodologies to solve specific problems in food.

Principles of food quality control and assurance.

Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:

   QA.1. Define food quality and food safety terms.

   QA.2. Apply principles of quality assurance and control.

   QA.3. Develop standards and specifications for a given food product.

   QA.4. Evaluate food quality assessment systems (e.g. statistical process control).

Government regulations required for the manufacture and sale of food products.

Upon completion of the required course work in this topical area, students will be able to:

   FL.1. Recall government regulatory frameworks required for the manufacture and sale of food products.

   FL.2. Describe the processes involved in formulating food policy.

   FL.3. Locate sources of food laws and regulations.

   FL.4. Examine issues related to food laws and regulations.

Collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data.

Upon completion the required course work and additional research activities provided from the program, students will be able to:

   DS.1. Use statistical principles in food science applications.

   DS.2. Employ appropriate data collection and analysis technologies.

   DS.3. Construct visual representation of data.

Scientific reasoning through uncertainty in scientific and technical situations.

Upon completion of the required course work and additional activities provided from the program, students will be able to:

   CT.1. Locate evidence-based scientific information resources.

   CT.2. Apply critical thinking skills to solve problems.

   CT.3. Apply principles of food science in practical, real-world situations and problems.

   CT.4. Select appropriate analytical techniques when presented with a practical problem.

   CT.5. Evaluate scientific information.

Oral and written communication.

Upon completion of the required course work and additional activities provided from the program, students will be able to:

   CM.1. Write relevant technical documents.

   CM.2. Create oral presentations.

   CM.3. Assemble food science information for a variety of audiences.

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

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.

UBC Food Science Club

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 video clip highlights how the combination of Food Science and Nutritional Science expertise delivers additional value to the consumer and to society.

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
  • Nutrition educator
  • Consumer product officer
  • Food technologist
  • Nutraceutical sales representative
  • Microbiology technician
  • 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.

Got Questions?

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.

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