The Culinary Institute of America awards the degree Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) upon completion of the required curriculum in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The degree programs expose students to the different styles and experiences of the college's faculty members, acquaint them with a wide variety of foodservice equipment, and prepare them for whatever area of the foodservice and hospitality industry they choose to enter.
The AOS degree program in baking and pastry arts provides a broad foundation and understanding of baking and pastry making, along with independent and critical thinking, analytical and technological, applied problem solving, and effective communication skills, and an appreciation for lifelong learning. The program prepares students for entry-level positions such as baker and pastry chef, as well as more advanced levels such as baking and pastry arts researcher, bakeshop supervisor, and owner/operator that come with more experience.
To qualify for the degree, baking and pastry arts majors must successfully complete the entire course of study: four on-campus semesters of about 15 weeks each, plus one externship semester of a minimum of 14 consecutive weeks or 550 hours during which students are employed in the foodservice industry. Externship is taken between the second and fourth semesters at CIA-approved sites. All students follow the same sequence. Students need to earn a total of 66 credits for either the culinary arts program or the baking and pastry arts program. They also need to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 to graduate from the associate degree programs.
In addition, to be considered for a degree, CIA students must (a) receive National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe® certification upon completion of the Food Safety course and (b) adhere to food safety certification standards throughout the curriculum.
Program Learning Outcomes
The mission of the School of Baking and Pastry Arts program is to prepare students to become leaders in the food world by providing the world's best professional baking and pastry education. The program emphasizes proficiency in traditional and contemporary baking and pastry techniques, basic culinary competencies, and food and beverage service methods. Students will learn the interpersonal skills and management principles needed for success in the foodservice industry. Additionally, students will acquire a series of general education skills at the core of most college programs, including critical thinking, information literacy, problem solving techniques, quantitative literacy, and the foundations for lifelong learning.
- Students will be able to demonstrate skill in baking and pastry methods and techniques including knowledge, and organization (mise en place*).
- Students will apply scientific knowledge and principles of nutrition, product knowledge, ingredient functionality, sanitation, and food safety.
- Students will demonstrate strong teamwork and collaboration skills while exemplifying professionalism and leadership.
- Students will apply basic management principles and practice service techniques and use of service equipment.
*Definition: Mise en Place a culinary process in which ingredients are prepared and organized (as in a restaurant kitchen) before cooking. At the CIA this refers not only to equipment and ingredients but also to a state of mental preparedness and a way of life.
Instructional Programs and Schedule
While enrolled in the freshman and sophomore years, students will be assigned to small instructional groups. These groups of normally up to 20 students are scheduled for all laboratory courses, which integrate culinary theory and practice.
Within each group, students will actively participate in learning assignments related to the cleaning and sanitizing of laboratory areas and equipment. Personal hygiene and proper food-handling procedures are emphasized to minimize potential food contamination. Strict sanitation and safety regulations are practiced and enforced. This reflects the college's concern that such practices be an integral part of all foodservice and hospitality operations, for the health and safety of personnel and guests alike.
The college's academic schedule of in-person, online, and hybrid courses ensures that students will progress from basic to intermediate to advanced subject matter in proper sequence. The CIA reserves the right to modify course sequence, content, and offerings.