Master's Programs

Graduate students in our department can choose from several different types of Master’s degrees in Food Science and Nutrition Science

M.S. in Food Science: Thesis

The Master of Science degree program is the more common route to a master’s degree for students in food science who expect to continue on for a Ph.D. degree. Students completing the Master of Science program who decide not to continue at the Ph.D. level are sufficiently prepared in the fundamentals of food science to assume a variety of food-related positions in industry or regulatory agencies.

Graduates with this degree possess a general knowledge of food science and related disciplines enabling them to gain employment in food or allied industries. They are capable of conducting, analyzing, and communicating research findings in either academic or industrial settings with minimal supervision, or qualify for acceptance into a Ph.D. program.

Master of Food Science: Non-Thesis

This program is ideal for anyone who is interested in working in an industrial setting that must communicate core product and quality concepts. Potential jobs include food safety compliance officer, quality assurance manager and quality control technician, product development and modification, and work with companies or agencies that conduct food company audits. Some companies may require the masters level technical knowledge and skills associated with this degree for sales and technical representative positions.

M.S. in Nutrition: Thesis

A Master of Science in Nutrition (thesis option) is recommended for students who are interested in gaining research experience related to any one of the numerous areas of study in nutrition. Students who receive a MS in Nutrition (thesis option) often use their training to obtain a research technical position within a company and/or as a step to obtaining a PhD in Nutrition Science.

Master of Science students are advised in their thesis research by faculty from the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition sciences, the Department of Animal Science, or the Prestage Department of Poultry Science who are members of the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program. Research projects are designed to further the faculty member’€™s research plan or meet the needs of industry and government sponsors. Course work provides funadmental knowledge in animal nutrition, human nutrition, or a combination, and supporting sciences.

Master of Nutrition: Non-Thesis

The Master of Nutrition is the most popular degree within the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program. It offers options for Distance Education or on-campus learning locations, a Professional Science Masters option, and course concentrations in the feed science and animal nutrition, or human nutrition, food, and bioprocessing areas. The Master of Nutrition can help prepare students for other health careers and jobs in industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

A Master of Nutrition (non-thesis option) is recommended for students who wish to expand their knowledge in science of nutrition while developing related useful in jobs in public health, health and wellness promotion firms and departments, and food and pharmaceutical companies that emphasize the nutritional health of their products. Many students continue for other degrees and certifications in varied allied health fields, or complement prior health and nutrition licenses and certifications for jobs that require a Master’s degree.

Graduate Admissions Procedures

Students must use the on-line application procedure on the Graduate School home page. Food Science should be listed as the desired major on the application. A research speciality may also be listed as an option.

The application must include:

  • A personal statement including the area of research interest or long term goals and a summary of the student €™s background and experience
  • Transcripts from all universities attended (unofficial copies my be uploaded)
  • Three letters of recommendation (can be submitted electronically from contact information you provide)
  • Graduate Record Examination score (no minimum score is used in isolation to disqualify applications)
  • Foreign applicants must also provide a TOEFL score (80 total with all sections, at least 18 on Internet-based test being the lowest acceptable, 213 on computer-based test) or IELTS (score of 6.5 on all parts)

Action on admission will not occur until all documents have been received. If an applicant qualifies for admission, the Director and the Graduate Admissions Committee will circulate the application to the faculty in the applicants research interest area to find any who are willing and able to serve as an adviser. Applicants for M.S and Ph.D. degrees are encouraged to contact faculty with similar interests to discuss research advising prior to application and list those individuals in their personal statement. The adviser €™s agreement or recommendation is needed prior to the department making a recommendation to the Graduate School for final admission. Qualified applicants who are not selected for Ph.D. admission due to lack of space in the program may defer their application to the next semester.

The number of qualified applicants to our program generally exceeds the number of students we are able to admit. Qualified applicants are notified of the following options:

Contact Faculty in Your Area of Interest
Brief descriptions of our departmental research programs are available on our webpage. We encourage you to contact faculty in your area of interest and ask if they are seeking new graduate students. In some cases a faculty member may be willing to advise a student who is able to support their own living and tuition costs. Often faculty are not looking at applications if they do not have full funding and your contact may get their attention

Visit Campus
We would be happy to arrange for you to meet with our faculty and tour our facilities. The faculty can provide additional information about their research, their expectations, coursework, and the availability of an assistantship in their program. Contact Juliebeth Briseno at to coordinate a visit.

Consider a Non-Thesis Degree

Students who are not able to identify a research program for the thesis may consider admission to our non-thesis Master of Food Science/Nutrition graduate program. The program requires 36 credits of coursework and completion of a 4 to 6 credit independent project. Some students in this program are able to change to the M.S. program if they connect to a faculty member research project. However, we cannot guarantee that outcome. Contact us if you are interested in this option.

Assistantships and Fellowships for research degrees are awarded on a competitive basis of M.S. and PhD degrees. No separate application is required for assistantships from the department. Asssistantships are usually awarded on an annual basis with renewal based on satisfactory progress and availability of funds. Faculty usually seek candidates for their research assistantship positions when they are sure of the award, but most commonly between February and May. Note that this is earlier than the our preferred application deadline€ for US students for Fall admission posted on the Graduate school website.

A Diverse Student Body

Graduate students in our department come from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. Approximately three-quarters of our graduate students come from the US and one-quarter from the rest of the world. Students have the opportunity to enrich their knowledge of other cultures and gain insights into scientific inquiry at the international level.



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