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Culinary History Degree Programs

Learn about programs offering culinary history classes. Get information about degree levels and concentrations as well as commonly offered courses and career options.

What Kinds of Culinary History Degree Programs Can I Pursue?

As of March 2016, there is no such thing as a dedicated culinary history degree program; however, you can study the field through a program for food studies, gastronomy or food anthropology. Most of these programs are offered at the graduate level and result in a master's degree, graduate certificate or Ph.D. All these programs will provide you with in-depth study of the history and cultural implications related to the production and consumption of food. Undergraduate programs are available in food sciences, but those relating directly to food history are not common.

Ph.D. programs are geared toward preparing you for an academic career in the field. A graduate certificate or minor is ideal if you are in or have recently completed a graduate studies program in a related field such as anthropology, history or sociology and would like food studies as a specialization. A graduate certificate program may also be a good choice if you aren't interested in or able to complete a full graduate degree program.

Program TypesDegrees specifically in culinary history do not exist; related programs in food studies, gastronomy and food anthropology exist
Online AvailabilitySome programs offer blended study options
Admission RequirementsA bachelor's degree is required for admittance into a graduate program; some programs may require food-related work experience
Common Course TopicsCulture and cuisine, economics of food, agricultural history, food writing, food marketing
Median Salary (2018)$48,460 (Chefs and Head Cooks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (Chefs and Head Cooks)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Can I Study Online?

None of these programs are available completely online, but many of them do offer a blended-study program that offers you both traditional, campus-based classes and online classes. The Ph.D. programs are strictly campus-based because they require you to fulfill a teaching requirement and have regular meetings about your dissertation.

Will I Need Any Prerequisites?

For entrance into the graduate certificate or master's degree programs, you must have an undergraduate degree. Your degree does not have to be in a food- or history-related field, but that may be helpful. Some programs also require you to have at least six months of experience working in a food-related field. The graduate minor requires you to be already enrolled in a master's degree program.

What Types of Courses Will I Take?

Your specific coursework depends on the specialization you choose or create within your program. This focus may be achieved through independent research or elective courses and would also relate to your master's degree program thesis or doctoral dissertation. Common topics include food politics, food business, food writing and food culture. Other subject areas you may cover include:

  • Nutrition
  • Food marketing
  • Food history
  • Culture and cuisine
  • Anthropology and food
  • Food writing
  • History of the global food system
  • History of wine
  • Economics of food
  • Agricultural history