What Is the Curriculum of a Master's Degree in the Culinary Arts?

Master's degree programs in the culinary arts are extremely rare. Most students interested in the field earn an undergraduate degree in culinary arts or a master's degree in either gastronomy or hotel and restaurant management. This article describes the curricula for various culinary arts degrees.

Culinary Arts Degrees Overview

Usually, people prepare for a career in the culinary arts by earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field. While there generally aren't advanced degree programs for cooking, there are master's degree programs available in similar fields like gastronomy and restaurant management.

Rarely, schools may offer a master's degree program in culinary arts. However, such schools may not be accredited, so exercise caution and seek information about a program's credentials if you find a culinary arts master's degree program. This type of program could include courses like food safety and sanitation, baking and pastry, beverages, European cuisine, Latin cuisine, cost control and restaurant planning, and it may include a thesis.

Important Facts About Culinary Arts Programs

Common Courses (Undergraduate degree) Nutrition, meat preparation, baking, food preparation
Concentrations Entrepreneurship, baking and pastry arts, cake decorating
Possible Careers Chef, cook/head cook, food preparation worker, pastry chef, baker, caterer
Programs Certificate programs provide basic food preparation skills and food safety and sanitation education for professional certification
Median Salary (2018)$48,460 (Chefs and Head Cooks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% (Chefs and Head Cooks)

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

Undergraduate Degree in Culinary Arts

Curricula for undergraduate degrees in culinary arts normally focus on cooking and food preparation. Some common topics covered include cooking fundamentals, creating sauces, cooking with different heating methods and baking. Some programs offer separate classes that explore cooking methods for different types of international foods, while other programs offer one course that covers popular international cuisines.

Master's Degree in Gastronomy

Some schools offer master's degree programs in gastronomy. Those who study gastronomy learn about food's history and influence on society. Students can earn a master's degree in gastronomy with an emphasis on food's relationship to business, policy, history or communications. Classes on culinary history, theory and anthropology are common. Programs often include classes on the sensory perception of food in the curricula as well. Examples of classes required for various specialties are those about food writing and reviews, restaurant marketing and the sociology of food.

Master's Degree in Restaurant and Hotel Management

Individuals who want graduate-level training in a related field can study restaurant and hotel management. Curricula for these degree programs generally cover the human resource marketing and budgeting aspects of running restaurants and hotels. Students learn about various health code regulations, general management principles and basic accounting practices.