Culinary Arts Bachelor's Degree Program

Find out what to expect from a bachelor's degree program in the culinary arts. Read about what kinds of courses you can take, and find out how you can gain some real-life experience in a professional kitchen. Review what types of industry certifications are available. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Culinary Arts Bachelor's Degree Programs Like?

Most culinary arts bachelor's degree programs include a lot of hands-on instruction, and you usually must participate in at least one internship during the course of the program. Some schools also operate on-campus restaurants, cafes or bistros that provide you with the opportunity for extensive real-world learning. You can learn how to lead and be part of a kitchen team while preparing nutritious meals, efficiently serving customers and running a business.

Many culinary arts bachelor's degree programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) accrediting commission. Your school may require you to adhere to a uniform code and purchase tools, like knives and other kitchen utensils. Online programs in the culinary arts aren't generally offered due to the hands-on nature of the learning.

Online Availability Online programs are typically not offered
Common Courses Food presentation, knife techniques, baking, cultural cuisine, sanitation guidelines
Certification Options The ACF offers certification pathways to graduates of accredited and non-accredited programs; the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals also offer certifications
Practical Experience Opportunities Internships, study abroad and on-campus restaurant work may be offered; some programs may require you to bring your own equipment

What Courses Could I Take?

In your program, you'd study foundational and advanced practices in food preparation. This includes knife techniques, cultural cuisines, baking, beverages, garde manger (cold dish preparation) and presentation. You could also learn how to create menus with an eye toward nutrition and food cost. Specific food-preparation courses often cover meat and fish, breakfast and brunch, pastries and regional cuisines. Your elective course options might include sugar art, culinary history, beers, cheeses or buffet decoration.

Bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts are also usually designed to give you a strong foundation in health, safety and business practices. Courses in these areas discuss sanitation guidelines and practices, management, leadership, project management and first aid. You also learn how to keep accurate financial and other business records.

What Other Learning Opportunities Might I Have?

Many culinary arts bachelor's degree programs give you the opportunity to engage in real-world, off-campus learning experiences. These might include paid or unpaid internships, study abroad programs or regular work in on-campus restaurants. Some internships allow you to learn through observation and participation in a restaurant's kitchen or management operations. You're often able to practice plate presentation techniques, plan menus and serve real customers. Supervisors may require you to work breakfast, lunch, dinner and special-event service shifts.

Do I Need Certification?

If your culinary arts program is accredited by the ACF, you can often get certified after you've completed the first two years. The ACF also provides pathways to certification for you if your program isn't accredited, but you typically must provide proof of education and work experience.

Other certifying organizations, such as the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation or the International Association of Culinary Professionals, offer credentials for various professions and levels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that top jobs in the culinary field are competitive, and certification might give you an advantage when seeking employment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Cornell University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Ithaca
  • University of Nevada

    Campus Locations:

    • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • University of Cincinnati

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Cincinnati
  • University of Charleston

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Charleston
  • The Art Institutes International-Minnesota

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Minneapolis
  • The Art Institute of Seattle

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Seattle
  • The Art Institute of Phoenix

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Phoenix
  • The Art Institute of Philadelphia

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • The Art Institute of Michigan

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Novi
  • The Art Institute of Las Vegas

    Campus Locations:

    • Nevada: Henderson