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Fermentation Science

Purdue University in West Lafayette

Fermentation Science harnesses microbes and their unique biochemistry to sustainably solve challenges.

An interdisciplinary field by nature, Fermentation Science lies at the intersection of microbiology, chemistry and engineering. The goal of fermentation science is to discover and implement ways to design and use microbes to add value across diverse industries — from foods to biofuels to pharmaceuticals.

Students enrolled in the program will master the concepts of diverse fermentations and develop hands-on skills, including designing and engineering microbes, operating fermentation reactors, and harvesting bioproducts. These skills will position graduates for employment in broad industries or to launch their own entrepreneurial opportunities in fermentation.

Because similar concepts apply across different fermentations, Purdue Fermentation Science students will be trained to design and operate across diverse industries. Graduates will be prepared for industrial positions in biotechnology, fermentation, research, development, marketing; or to pursue graduate studies in biotechnology, bioengineering, and related fields.

Student Testimonial: Madison Mehringer

Portrait of Madison Mehringer

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to attend Purdue University. My dad went to school here, but what really solidified my decision to come to Purdue was my visit to campus and to the Food Science department.

During my visit, every professor, faculty, and student was very interested in me as an individual. Everyone wanted to know my unique dreams and aspirations and how they could help me achieve those dreams. I never felt like a number, but rather as a valued individual, even though I was still a high school student. The supportive and welcoming community made Purdue feel like home and I could truly see myself living here.

The opportunities at Purdue are limitless. I was selected as the first student lead of the new Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute (FEMI) where I’ve had the opportunity to work with Food Science faculty and staff to manage student projects, and learn about many diverse aspects of the food industry. I am still growing in this role, and the opportunity has made a big difference in my career goals. I have also served as the Event Coordinator of the Food Science Club where, among other duties, I planned, organized, and ran the department’s Spring Fest events. Giving back to the community through these roles has been very rewarding and fulfilling.

The summer between my junior and senior year, I was a Supply Chain Operations – Dairy Manufacturing intern for Land O’Lakes. Cheese is a fermented product, and I was able to leverage my fermentation education during this internship. My project involved tracking pH development during the cheese making process to optimize starter culture usage and reduce the amount of time needed to drain the whey from the cheese curds. I used my knowledge of microbiology, starter cultures, fermentation indicators, chemical reactions, and fermented food processing during my internship. My education gave me critical background and insight into my project and helped me solve complex problems. It is so fascinating to see how microorganisms can completely transform initial ingredients into vastly different, and more shelf stable, end products.

My Fermentation Science background has opened many doors for me. I loved cheese before, but after completing my internship, I appreciate it and the fermentation process a lot more. My time in the Department of Food Science has set me up for a promising career and fulfilling future.

Plan of Study

Fermentation Science Webpage

Transfer to Fermentation Science

Purdue admits to individual majors. Transfer students must meet Purdue's overall transfer criteria, as well as any major-specific requirements. Before you apply, check the closed programs page to confirm this major is open to transfer students. If it is, refer to the information below for major-specific transfer criteria.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Contact Information

Department of Food Science
(765) 494-2766

College of Agriculture

Careers in Fermentation Science

  •   Biotechnology business
  •   Craft fermentation & entrepreneurship
  •   Graduate or professional school
  •   Production
  •   Research & Development

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