This major is one of only 16 academic programs in the world to earn the approval of the Research Chefs Association (RCA). An innovative blend of food science and the culinary arts, it is strong preparation for success in the fast-growing field of food research and product development.

Learn side-by-side with outstanding faculty

In small, hands-on classes, you’ll enlarge your scientific understanding and develop your culinary skills. You’ll study food chemistry, product development, experimental foods, sensory science, food processing, marketing and much more. You’ll find a new home in the Christopher Nutrition Science Center of Parmer Hall—the campus’s newest building—with state-of-the-art labs and research equipment. In a curriculum deeply rooted in the arts and sciences, you’ll expand your capacity for problem solving, critical thinking and effective communication. This program is serious preparation for a career as a culinologist, an emerging profession that is shaping the future of the food industry.

Amazing opportunities for professional development

Practical experience is built into the curriculum. We draw on Chicago’s vast corporate, culinary and research resources to ensure that every culinology student completes an intensive professional internship. We make our connections your connections, so you can test-drive your dream job in the real world. On campus and beyond, the program prepares you for the advanced training and work experience you’ll need to pass the Research Chef Association’s rigorous certifying examinations. You also will get a chance to combine academics with compassionate service to people in need through our Civic Learning Program.

How it works
  • The culinology major starts in the junior year.
  • Students transfer into the program after earning an associate’s degree in culinary arts from an institution that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission, or one that provides written assurance that its curriculum meets ACF standards.
  • At Dominican, you’ll complete the food science and liberal arts coursework you’ll need for the bachelor’s degree, including courses  in microbiology, organic chemistry, statistics and marketing.
  • The major requires a 300-hour internship in the food industry and a civic learning course that includes service to the larger community.
  • The culinology major will prepare you to pursue the advanced training and professional experience you’ll need to take one of the RCA’s two certifying examinations: for Certified Research Chef or Certified Culinary Specialist.
Morganne Schmidt

Dominican Graduate

“I was always interested not only in mastering the art of cooking but also in the science behind it. I really wanted to know, ‘Why does my soufflé keep falling?’ You take a deep dive into both the art and science of food.”

Prepare to lead in a challenging and creative field

The culinology major provides you with the expertise and experience you’ll need to succeed in today’s fast-moving food industry. The curriculum is excellent preparation for a rewarding career as a research chef, product developer, research and development professional, food scientist, and many other professional roles that require the highly marketable combination of scientific knowledge and culinary skill. Our graduates are creative, knowledgeable, open to new ideas, proficient with technology and able to adapt and thrive through long and meaningful careers. They have earned their way into leadership positions in the profession of their choice.

Amazing opportunities
  • Our culinology students participate in a high-profile national competition sponsored by the Research Chef Association. At the 2017 RCA competition in Puerto Rico, the Dominican team won a silver medal for its interpretation of a traditional brazo Gitano (Spanish for “Gypsy’s arm”), a spiced sponge cake filled with guava paste and coquito cream cheese, drizzled with passion fruit gel and topped with coconut meringue and fried plantain.
  • Undergraduate research is a Dominican trademark. You won’t have to wait until graduate school to work side-by-side with a talented scholar. You can even apply for special university funding to support your work. Our annual research expo in April will give you a chance to practice your presentation skills and show your stuff.
  • Dominican offers outstanding opportunities to study abroad. You can choose from among programs in Austria, China, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and Spain. A deep dive into another culture will expand your language and interpersonal skills wherever you go in the world.
Joseph Oh

Dominican Graduate

"Our Dominican team were strong competitors in the Research Chef Association’s annual expo. It was an awesome experience. I met a student who was using grain left over from making beer to produce granola bars. The expo really inspires you to approach food production in creative ways.”

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