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Food Chemistry

What is the degree programme about?

How much blood is in black pudding? How does poultry get contaminated? Is spinach really as healthy as people say? Why does a cake turn brown when you bake it? Food chemists are experts when it comes to the chemical composition of food and food ingredients and how they change during production, storage or processing. They also check whether food is contaminated and of the right quality. In addition to food, they test drinking water, tobacco and cosmetics, animal feed and items which come in contact with humans or food (such as cutlery, packaging, washing and cleaning products or toys).

After fundamental training in biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry, the main part of the programme focuses on food chemistry and chemical analysis. You apply basic analysis methods and state-of-the-art bioanalytical processes in various laboratory courses. You learn how to determine natural ingredients but also how to identify unwanted residuals and contamination in food and drinking water. Apart from laboratory work, the effect of food on the human organism is also an important aspect. This means you will also study nutritional physiology and toxicology. Other areas such as microbiology, food technology and food law are also covered.

You obtain fundamental skills in the development of new methods to produce, process and preserve foods and learn about legal compliance,quality assurance or whether food is counterfeited, rotten or harmful.

What can I do with this degree?

Food chemists are needed where expertise in chemical analysis and food law is required. While food chemists usually work in public food control administration they are also in demand in the following areas:

  • commercial food quality laboratories and research laboratories in the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industry
  • forensic analysis
  • research and teaching at universities and state research institutions
What qualities and skills do I need?
  • very good school knowledge in chemistry and an interest in mathematics, physics and biology
  • an interest in analytical questions and experimental laboratory work
  • the ability to work independently, as well as a good amount of determination and perseverance
Good reasons for choosing to study at FAU
  • Modern laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for chemical and biochemical analysis
  • Intensive, personal support due to the small number of students in the degree programme (15-20 new students per year)
  • International collaborations allowing for research stays abroad
Potential challenges
  • Very good previous knowledge in chemistry is advantageous. However, the content of the degree programme can differ considerably from the content of school chemistry. Food chemistry focuses on analysis and reaction mechanisms in organic chemistry.
  • Food law is an integral part of the profession. You might find it dry and boring to study law.
  • Please be aware that lectures and laboratory courses are held in the mornings and afternoons. Some practical modules take place during semester breaks.
Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Food chemistry is a restricted subject (university - NC) and can only be started in the winter semester. You have to apply until the beginning of June until 15th July online via

Further information on NC-application | last NC-values

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Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: State Examination
Type of study: State Examination
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 9 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: Numerus clausus
Size: (1-24 Students)
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: no