Hands holding quality brewing grains

Fermentation Science Major

Explore our innovative fermentation science major!

This multidisciplinary field of study focuses on the metabolic processes and methods involved in fermentation.

Our fermentation science major leverages several of our science programs – biology, chemistry, and biochemistry – providing experiential training in fermentation and microbiology to ensure food and beverage safety and quality, consistency in the outcomes of the fermentation process, and applied learning relative to bio-manufacturing, biofuels, and biopharmaceuticals.

While the growth of industries involving familiar fermentation products such as craft beverages like beer, wine, and distilled spirits has increased in recent years, so too has the application of fermentation to non-beverage products. There is a growing need for trained and academically prepared scientists to fill these positions in rapidly growing industries.

Fermentation can lead to career opportunities in such areas as:

  • Brewing
  • Wine Production
  • Food Production
  • Food and Beverage Processing and Sustainability
  • Distillation Technologies
  • Applied Biotechnology
  • Bio-manufacturing
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetics and Skin Care

Interested? Request Information!

Beyond Beer- and Wine-Making

This multidisciplinary field of study will focus on the metabolic processes and methods involved in fermentation. While most cells – from human to bacteria – are capable of fermentation, the applications differ. The processes in food and beverage production have been studied for centuries but these same processes, under different conditions, are now being exploited to synthesize industrial and pharmaceutical products and even have medical implications.

Lab glassware and fermented creams

A truly specialized degree

Fermentation Science is a specialized area of food science, uniquely applicable to the location of our campus, surrounding industry, and local history. The brewing industry has long been a symbol of Wisconsin and, more specifically, the Milwaukee area. In addition to the area’s historic brewers, craft brewing has recently experienced a resurgence, with more than 700 new craft breweries opening in the United States between 2019 and 2021 and sales crossing $100 billion in 2021. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales grew by 7.9% in 2021, and sales are projected to grow even faster in the next few years.

While you’ll experience coursework in brewing science and wine production, brewing is not the only application for fermentation. You’ll also explore relevant and direct applications of fermentation to fields such as food production, biofuel and chemical synthesis, and medicine.

Few college and universities are offering a fermentation science degree, opting instead for a broader exploration of food science or a certificate program that isn’t as robust. A Bachelor of Science degree in Fermentation Science from Wisconsin Lutheran College will help you stand-out, giving you a foot in the door to interesting internships and capturing the attention of prospective employers.

Select courses for fermentation science majors

In addition to coursework in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry, you'll explore courses specific to areas of fermentation science currently in demand. 

Introduction to Fermentation Science

Explore basic concepts of fermentation and its many important uses. You'll also study the legal, moral, and medical ramifications of fermented beverage use. Additionally, the responsibilities of those that produce and distribute these beverages will be examined.

Principles of Fermentation Science

Investigate the biological and chemical requirements to make fermentation work. Topics studied include fermentative organisms, metabolic pathways, fermentation products, regulation and limitations, and enzyme mechanisms.

Principles of Brewing Science

Study the process of brewing beverages. You'll study the four main ingredients of brewed beverages and how such a wide variety of beverages can be made from them. The chemical properties of these beverages will be compared and small scale experiments will be performed.

Principles of Wine Production

Study the process of wine production. You'll examine the main ingredients of wine and how they produce the many varieties. The chemical properties of wine will be compared and small scale experiments will be performed.

Distillation Products and Technology

Study the process of distillation in regards to beverage production and other commodities. You'll examine the chemistry and technology used to develop distilled products and the variety of uses of these chemicals. Small scale experiments will be performed.

Biofuels and Bioprocessing

Study the uses of fermentation to create chemicals that are necessary to make our current world run. This will include examining different methods that have been used to create biofuels and other useful products. The biological and chemical processes will be studied along with their practical usages.

Fermented Food Production

Study the process of producing foods that require fermentation to produce the final products such as bread, cheese, sauerkraut, and many others. This will focus on why fermentation is necessary for the preparation and preservation of these foods and how fermentation creates the different flavors that people enjoy.

Fermentation Internship

You'll work with the internship coordinator and Fermentation Science faculty to arrange an internship appropriate for your interests.

Career opportunities

Your fermentation science degree can open the door to such careers as:

  • Distillery Operations Manager
  • Experimental Brewer
  • Fermentation Microbiologist
  • Fermentation Scientist
  • Fermentation Technologist
  • Food Technologist
  • Lab Technician
  • Manager, Food Research and Development
  • Microbrewery Owner
  • Product Development Director
  • Production Chemist
  • Quality Assurance Analyst or Technician
  • Research Scientist
  • Scientist, Bioprocessing
  • Scientist, Microbial Fermentation and Recovery
  • Wine Maker
  • Zymologist

Let Us Know You're Interested!