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Nine Degrees of Food & Wine: 9 Academic Food Programs

Does your "I'm-running-away-from-home" daydream involve the countryside and small batch goat cheese or building a giant copper still in an industrial warehouse space? Maybe it's time to take the first step towards making that dream a reality, and maybe the way to go is to get a shiny new degree.

Yes, you'll have to explain to people why you gave up your cushy job with a 401k to do something as extreme as selling pickles for a living (hi Mom!) but this way, you aren't just quitting your job, you're off to learn. Of course, this is assuming you still have a job. If you don't, going back to school is a time-honored way to ride out a bad economy.

So for all of you sitting at your desk, drawing up plans for a revolutionary chicken coop, or designing labels for the wine you'll be bottling some day, here is the roundup -- in no particular order -- of accredited colleges with (non-culinary) concentrations that can set you on your way. Ahhh, academia. No interest is too niche. Turn the page...

9. Cornell University is renown for offering a huge array of competitive food-business options for students. (It's a land-grant university after all.) Get accepted and you can study entymology with a focus on bee-keeping. Who wouldn't want to spend days toiling away in a sweet spot they have called The Honey Lab?

8. Boston University offers a Masters Degree in Gastronomy based on an idea and public push from the one and only Julia Child. How's that for street cred?

7. The most bad-ass choice would be to head to UCSC to get your Ph.D in sustainable agriculture. The world needs more fine folks doing things like that.

6. Elsewhere in the UC system, Davis offers the country's premier undergrad Wine Making degree. We assume you have to be 21 to enroll and that homework may sometimes result in intoxication, but hey, it's educational.

5. Interested in an inexpensive but comprehensive education? How about an Associate of Applied Science in Meat Processing and Food Safety? (That's butchery to you and me.) Or meat merchandising? Check out Hinds College in central Mississippi.

 

4. Up north, Oregon State University has a super well respected fermentation science department, aka, Zymurgy. (OMG, sign us UP.) Wanna make head-way in the beer industry? Apply now.

3. The University of Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese says they are "the nations first and only comprehensive center devoted artisan cheese." You can go to pretty much any good school for a Ph.D in microbiology and become a cheese making fool (or, Nun.) but Vermont is so lovely, why resist.

2. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is the only dairy science school on the West Coast. Who knew? There you can study animal husbandry, military science (what???) or agribusiness. Hopefully for good and not evil.

1. For those with a political bent, enroll in the Master's of Arts Program in Food Studies at NYU and get up close and personal with public health policy expert Marion Nestle. Sigh. Now that's cool.

And last but not least, if you still can't commit, but have an itch to do something, go get an MBA. Anywhere really. (Italy sounds nice.) It's a solid foundation for any new career, and when you decide to start an indoor vertical farm you'll have the business acumen to get it off the ground.

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