Fermentation Science Major

Program Director: Sara Kao, sarakao@umd.edu

In addition to providing competencies for several areas of work, the fermentation science major is designed specifically for certain professional industrial careers including the fermented food, alcoholic beverage and pharmaceutical products.

The Fermentation Science major is concerned with the application of the fundamental principles of the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences and processing to understand the complex and heterogeneous materials recognized as the raw precursors or/and final food products and beverages of fermentation. The fermentation science major prepares students for careers not only in traditional food and alcoholic beverage industries but also the biotechnology fermentation industry for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical production.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Careers and opportunities in fermentation science - Graduates of fermentation science undergraduate program will be well prepared for at least four career options in beverage (beer, wine, distilled spirits and kombucha), vegetable foods (kimchi, tempeh and miso), dairy foods (cheese and yogurt) and biotechnology industries (biofuels, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals) based upon their UMD fermentation science training, experience and interests.
  2. Fermentation science - Graduates of the undergraduate program will be able to apply fermentation science knowledge and research to enhance fermentation process, propagation and modification of fermentation microbes, fermenter design and downstream processing including effluent treatment. Students will demonstrate mastery of the manufacturing steps involved in various fermented products and gain hands-on experience in making these products at pilot scale and evaluate their quality and safety.
  3. Fermented food, feed and pharmaceuticals - Graduates of the fermentation science program will be able to correctly apply their knowledge in the use of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms in the fermentation of dairy, vegetables and fruits, meat, and grains (food), feed, and pharmaceuticals. Students will be able to describe fermenter design and scale-up, fermentation byproducts and downstream processing, and different types of fermentations.
  4. Fermentation science literacy - Graduates of the program will be able to select, understand, and critically evaluate scientific studies in fermentation science disciplines such that they employ research that is applicable, timely, accurate, and useful for their fermentation production and management needs.
  5. Knowledge of major issues in fermentation science - Graduates of the program will be well-versed in the issues related to fermentation science such that they contribute to societal debates around the future of farming, the use of microbes and phages in fermentation, sustainability of our fermentation industry, the worker needs, and scaling fermentation enterprises up and down to meet our growing population’s fermented product needs.

Students enrolled in Fermentation Science Major are required to earn a grade of "C-" or better in courses applied toward satisfaction of the major. This includes all the required and elective courses.

Curriculum for the Fermentation Science Major

Course Title Credits
BSCI170Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology3
BSCI171Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology Laboratory1
BSCI223General Microbiology4
CHEM131Chemistry I - Fundamentals of General Chemistry3
CHEM132General Chemistry I Laboratory1
CHEM231Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM232Organic Chemistry Laboratory I1
CHEM241Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM242Organic Chemistry Laboratory II1
CHEM271General Chemistry and Energetics2
CHEM272General Bioanalytical Chemistry Laboratory2
ENGL101Academic Writing3
ENGL393Technical Writing 13
MATH120Elementary Calculus I3
NFSC112Food: Science and Technology3
BCHM463Biochemistry of Physiology3
NFSC421Food Chemistry3
NFSC423Food Chemistry Laboratory3
NFSC430Food Microbiology3
NFSC431Food Quality Control4
PLSC110Introduction to Horticulture3
or PLSC112 Introductory Crop Science
PLSC130Did Yeast Create Civilization?3
AGST3XX (Viticulture and Enology)4
AGST3XX (Brewing and Distilling)4
NFSC412Food Processing Technology4
NFSC2XX (Fermented Food, Feed, and Pharmaceuticals)3
NFSC4XX (Fermentation Science Laboratory)4
NFSC4XX (Cheese and Fermented Dairy Products)3
NFSC386Experiential Learning3-6
NFSC4XX (Sensory Analysis Lab)3
Total Credits87-90

Total Credits for Degree: 120

Course Title Credits
The following courses are suggested electives:
Elements of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Introduction to the Business Value Chain
Principles of Accounting I
Strategic Management of Human Capital
Managing People and Organizations 1
Critical Thinking and Speaking 1
Agricultural Marketing
Agricultural Business Management
Agricultural Business Law
Elements of Nutrition
Food Product Research and Development
Food Microbiology Laboratory
The Gut Microbiome and its Roles in Health and Disease
Food and Nutrient Analysis
Selected Topics
Crafty Beverage Crops

High-demand course. For non-major students, these seats are assigned as "first-come, first-served".  Students are encouraged to register as early as possible for a seat in these courses.

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