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10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs

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by Gina DeRose / published 11.20.2019 / updated 5.26.2020

10 Best Master's in Food Science Programs
10 Best Master's in Food Science Programs

This is a ranking of the 10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs in the United States. If you’ve already completed a bachelor’s in Food Science, or in a related field, and you’re looking to elevate your career (and likely your salary), a Master’s degree in Food Science could be the right move.

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Food scientists are more and more in demand, with jobs up across the country. Demand is expected to rise 10 percent in 2020. Master’s students will go more in-depth in their studies than before, learning about every step of food production, from growing food to packaging for consumers.

Coursework covers chemistry, biology, nutrition, and chemical engineering, as students learn what gives flavor and health benefits to the food we consume.

As you move into more advanced research and work in a master’s program, you’ll gain access to high-tech research labs and work with top-notch faculty across the country at your college.

10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs Ranking Guidelines


10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs: School List

1

Michigan State University
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI

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School Type:
Public

Number of Online Programs:
57

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelor's, Master's

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science

At the graduate level, the Department of Food Science offers Master of Science and PhD tracks in Food Science or Human Nutrition. Two online certificate programs are also available through the Department’s Institute for Food Laws and Regulations: Certificate in International Food Law or Certificate in United State Food Law.

The Master of Science in Food Science program is a research-based program where students may focus their studies in Food Safety and Toxicology or Food Processing and Quality Enhancement. Both and Thesis and Non-thesis track are available, each requiring the same number of credits.

Credit requirements: 30 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Engineering

One Processing course such as:

  • Cereal Processing
  • Food Processing: Dairy Foods
  • Food Processing: Muscle Foods

Start dates: Fall, Spring, and Summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit previous transcripts with a minimum GPA of 3.0, Statement of Purpose, and GRE scores. Admissions also takes into consideration any letters of recommendation and previous work experience.

Accreditation: Michigan State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


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2

University of Idaho
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Moscow, Idaho

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
102

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelors, Masters, Certification

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science • PhD in Food Science

The University of Idaho works in conjunction with Washington State University to provide unique access to the Bi-State School of Food Science. Students may pursue a Master of Science or a PhD in Food Science. The graduate programs are multidisciplinary, research-based degrees for student seeking to advance their careers.

Graduate students in the Master of Science in Food Science program receive hands on education through food competitions and participation in grant-funded research. The curriculum focuses on key areas such as improving food safety and quality, creating new foods, and developing safe and sustainable food processing. Graduates of the program have gone on to work for companies including Kraft Foods, Land O’Lakes, and J.R. Simplot Co.

Credit requirements: 31 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Food Chemistry/Analysis
  • Food Microbiology/Safety
  • Food Processing/Engineering

Start dates: Fall, Spring, or Summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit undergraduate transcripts displaying a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE test scores, resume, Statement of Purpose, and a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Admissions will waive the GRE scores if the applying student has a previous graduate level degree.

Accreditation: The University of Idaho receives accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:An application for admission.
Application fee (nonrefundable). No application fee required for Idaho residents!
ACT or SAT test scores.
Official high school transcript showing graduation date.
Official transcripts from any colleges or universities attended.
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:A minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 grade scale equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s degree
TOEFL/IELTS Test Scores
3 Letters of Recommendation


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3

Iowa State University
Ames, IA

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School Type:
Public

Number of Online Programs:
75

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, Certificates

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science and Technology

As part of a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate program in Food Science, Iowa State University offers graduate degrees in Dietetics, Diet and Exercise, Food Science and Technology, and Nutritional Sciences. A graduate certificate program in Food Safety and Defense is also available.

The Master of Science in Food Science and Technology has graduate students select a ‘Program of Study Committee’. The Committee consists of at least three members of graduate faculty who help direct the course of the student’s studies and approve each class. The Committee also determines if the student needs any additional course work. Students must choose between the thesis or non-thesis tracks.

Credit requirements: 30 – 36 credits (Additional credits for students in the non-thesis track)

Selection of required courses:

  • Integrated Food Science
  • Advanced Food Chemistry
  • Advanced Food Microbiology
  • Advanced Food Processing

Start dates: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit previous official transcripts, GRE scores, resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: Iowa State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


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4

Ohio State University
College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences
Columbus, OH

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
20+

Types of Online Programs:
Certificate, Associate, Bachelor, Master, Doctorate

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science and Technology

As the only approved Food Science program in the state, the Ohio State University offers both Master’s and Doctoral level studies in the field. Students have access to fully-equipped laboratories and three pilot plants for meat, dairy, and fruit and vegetable processing. A graduate minor program is also available.

The Master of Science in Food Science and Technology maintains a comprehensive curriculum covering areas such as sensory science, advanced food processing, food chemistry, food packaging, and functional foods for health. Students can tailor their coursework and educational experience to meet their career goals with the assistance of a faculty advisor.

Credit requirements: 30 credits total, including courses and research

Selection of possible courses:

  • Food Quality Assurance
  • Food Fermentations
  • Measurement of Food Perception and Liking
  • Food Product Development
  • Metabolomics, Principles and Practice
  • Flavor Chemistry

Start dates: Primarily Fall, students may apply for Spring or Summer starts as well.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit prior transcripts displaying a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, a Personal Statement, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: Ohio State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: 2.0

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:Graduate applicants must hold a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.


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5

University of Missouri, Columbia
College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
Columbia, MO

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
100+

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, Education Specialist, Certificate

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food and Hospitality Systems • PhD in Food and Hospitality Systems

Students interested in graduate-level study of Food Science at the University of Missouri may apply to the Master of Science or the PhD in Food and Hospitality Systems. A graduate certificate in Food Safety and Defense is also available.

In addition to a comprehensive curriculum that students can tailor to their career goals, the Master of Science program allows students access to several research facilities that advance educational and networking opportunities. These include a Sensory Lab, Nutrition Lab, Dairy and Meat pilot scale Labs, and an Extrusion Processing Lab. Students must maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA throughout the program.

Credit requirements: 30 hours of graduate-level courses

Selection of possible courses:

  • Food Chemistry and Analysis
  • Principles of Food Processing
  • Food Engineering
  • Food Microbiology

Courses must cover the three proficiency areas of:

  • Chemistry and Analysis
  • Engineering/Processing
  • Microbiology

Learning enrollment options: Full or part-time

Start dates: Fall, Spring, or Summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Graduate applicants must submit previous transcripts, a personal statement, resume, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: The University of Missouri receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA requirement: 2.75
Minimum GPA of transfer credit: 2.75

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:In general, graduate students must show a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of course work.
GRE or GMAT requirement: Varies based on the department

Accreditation:
The University of Missouri in Columbia receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission


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6

University of California – Davis
Davis, CA

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
12

Types of Online Programs:
Certfications, Professional Concentrations

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science and Technology

The Department of Food Science and Technology offers a Master of Science or a PhD in the field. Graduate students in the Master’s program receive a balanced experience of classwork and research. Students have access to fully-equipped facilities such as the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, the California Processing Tomato Industry Pilot Plant, or the Milk Processing Laboratory.

Students gain a thorough foundation in the key curriculum areas of Chemistry/Biochemistry, Microbiology, Processing, and Sensory Science.

Credit requirements: Varies

Selection of possible courses:

  • Food Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Food Processing
  • Flavor Chemistry of Foods and Beverages
  • Food Perception
  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Food Microbiology
  • Diet and the Gut Microbiome

Program length: Average, two years

Start dates: Fall entry only

Admissions and transfer credit information: Prospective students must submit previous transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: UC Davis receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).


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7

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

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School Type:
Public, Research

Number of Online Programs:
93

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, Certificates

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science

Graduate students enrolled in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition have several engaging programs to choose from including Professional Science Masters, traditional Masters and Doctoral Studies, and an online Masters in the field of Food Science.

In the Master of Science in Food Science degree students gain foundational knowledge in scientific processes and engineering as they relate to food. Students have several research areas to participate in such as flavor chemistry, sensory, food safety and toxicology, food chemistry, food microbiology, fermentation, bioprocessing, and heat and mass transfer analysis. Successful graduates of the program are able to pursue careers in industry, academia, and governmental agencies.

Credit requirements: 32 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Food Processing
  • Advanced Food Chemistry
  • Advanced Food Microbiology
  • Seminar in Foods and Nutrition
  • Nutrition for Food Scientists

Start dates: Fall and Spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit previous transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of professional interest. Students applying for traditional thesis-based programs must find the support of a faculty member before the Department will accept the student.

Accreditation: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)

Accreditation:
The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


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8

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
9

Types of Online Programs:
Master's

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Life Sciences • Online Master's in Agriculture and Life Sciences • PhD in Food Science and Technology

Virginia Tech offers several degree options for graduate students including an Online Masters in Agriculture and Life Sciences, a PhD in Food Science and Technology, and several graduate certificate programs.

At the Master’s level, students study Food Science and Technology through the Master of Science in Life Sciences program. The curriculum integrates a solid foundation in chemistry, microbiology, engineering, mathematics, and statistics into the student’s studies of food and nutrition. Available areas for thesis research include Aquaculture, Enology and Brewing Science, Food and Flavor Chemistry, and Functional Foods for Health.

Credit requirements: 30 credits minimum

Selection of required courses:

  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Microbiology OR Advances in Food Microbiology
  • Food Processing OR Food Safety and Quality Assurance
  • Professionalism in Food Science

Program length: Two years

Start dates: Fall and Spring

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applying graduate students must submit all previous official transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, a personal statement, resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: Virginia Tech receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

Should have a 3.0 GPA (4 point scale), unless there are documented extenuating circumstances.


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9

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Twin Cities, MN

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
102

Types of Online Programs:
Undergraduate Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, Graduate Certificates, Licensing Programs

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science

Graduate students at the University of Minnesota interested in the study of Food Science have the Master or Doctoral programs to apply to. Students also have access to a variety of research centers including the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center, and the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.

The Master of Science in Food Science program offers several areas of specialization including Product Development, Quality Assurance, Regulatory Work, and Packaging. Students gain a broad foundation in the sciences and how they relate to the safety and research of food and nutrition. The program encourages students to remain interdisciplinary in their studies by interacting with other disciplines as they relate to food science. Students complete the program with a comprehensive knowledge of Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology, Food Processing, Food Technology, and more.

Credit requirements: A minimum of 20 course credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Food Chemistry and Functional Foods
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Processing Operations

Program Length: Typically, two years

Start dates: Fall, Spring, and Summer

Admissions and transfer credit information: Interested applicants must submit previous transcripts, GRE scores, resume, three letters of recommendation, and complete the FScN Department Application.

Accreditation: The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:GRE or GMAT requirement: Yes, for most programs


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10

Penn State World Campus
College of Agriculture Science
Centre County, PA

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School Type:
Public University

Number of Online Programs:
150+

Types of Online Programs:
Undergraduate Certificate, Associate, Bachelor, Master, Doctorate, and Graduate Certificate

Degree Information:
Master of Science in Food Science

Penn State offers both undergraduate and graduate study of Food Science. The graduate level programs, including the Master of Science in Food Science program, maintain a heavier emphasis on collaborative research and provide training in the core areas of chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and processing as they relate to food. Additionally, students have access to nine state-of-the-art research laboratories covering numerous aspects of the Food Sciences.

Students in the Master of Science in Food Science program must complete a thesis as part of the curriculum.

Credit requirements: 30 credits

Selection of required courses:

  • Fundamentals of Food Science – Microbiology
  • Fundamentals of Food Science – Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Food Science – Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Food Science – Nutrition
  • Research Methods in Food Science

Learning enrollment options: Full or part-time

Program length: Maximum of eight years from admission

Admissions and transfer credit information: Graduate applicants must submit previous transcripts, GRE scores, the Background and Interest Form, a two to three-page personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

Admissions does accept up to 10 transfer credits.

Accreditation: Penn State receives accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:SAT or ACT requirement: Yes
Minimum GPA requirement: 2.0
Total transfer credit accepted: Must have a minimum of 12 transferable credits
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:The average graduate school applicant has a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5.
GRE or GMAT requirement: Yes, for most programs


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10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs: End of Schools


10 Best Master’s in Food Science Programs Ranking Guidelines:

This ranking was developed in part from referencing our sister site AcademicInfluence.com* which ranks schools based on the academic influence produced by their faculty and alumni in the field of Food Science, in publications and citations. Successful Student then looked at the programs themselves to determine the final order of the programs, and ranked schools based on types of degrees offered, variety of coursework, and academic reputation.

*See here for more information on the ranking process at AcademicInfluence.com.

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