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Procedures for Master’s Non-Thesis Degree in Food Science

A non-thesis degree is designed to provide students with a broad perspective in food science. Students are not eligible for the non-thesis degree if they have been supported on a graduate assistantship for more than one semester.

Every effort has been made to ensure departmental requirements concur with requirements in the UI Graduate College.  If differences arise, the policies set forth by the UI Graduate College take precedence.

Credit Requirements

All candidates for the non-thesis M.S. degree in Food Science must meet the general requirements established by the Graduate School, plus additional requirements outlined below. The non-thesis master’s degree program in food science requires a minimum of 33 credits. At least 18 credits must be in 500 level courses with a maximum of 5 credits in FS 599, non-thesis project. Some degree programs may require more. Additional course work may be stipulated in individual cases to meet particular objectives or need for additional background. Courses listed on an undergraduate record or courses on a professional degree transcript are not available to be used toward a graduate degree. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.00 as stipulated by policies of the College of Graduate Studies.

Appointment of Major Professor and Committee

The major professor, a member of the Graduate Faculty, is usually chosen prior to the student’s arrival on campus, but should be  chosen no later than the  student’s first semester. The guidance committee is recommended by the major professor and the student and approved by the departmental administrator and College of Graduate Studies. At least one-half of the members of the committee must be members of the UI Graduate Faculty. Except for an interdisciplinary program, which requires at least four members, the committee for a thesis degree will consist of at least the major professor as chair, a second faculty member from the SFS administrative unit, and a third faculty member from outside the major department’s administrative unit. A department faculty member who has an adjunct appointment to another department cannot be considered an outside committee member for a student in the faculty member’s primary department. The committee advises on the thesis research and conducts examinations as required. Any changes in the committee membership must receive the approval of the Graduate College on a Change of Committee form.

Preparation of Study Plan

Before the end of the second semester, the student prepares in conference with the major professor (and committee, if applicable) a master’s degree study plan outlining all course work to be completed to fulfill the requirements for the degree. Normally the study plan will include some work to be taken outside the major department. The study plan is approved by the student’s committee, and submitted electronically via the VandalWeb for sign-off by the major professor, departmental administrator, and College of Graduate Studies. Any subsequent changes in the study plan must be submitted for approval to the Graduate College on a standard form for study plan changes (Study Plan/Degree Audit Change form).

Core Curriculum for the non-thesis M.S. degree in Food Science

Background courses (14 credits). Background courses are required to ensure students have a common base of knowledge in key disciplinary areas. Equivalent courses taken as an undergraduate may satisfy these requirements.

  • Food Chemistry – FS 460 and FS 461
  • Food Safety and Microbiology – FS 416 and FS 417
  • Food Processing and Engineering – FS 432
  • Food Product Development – FS 489

Core courses (11 credits). Students will take 11 credits in core food science courses at the graduate level, including:

  • FS 518 Seminar (1 cr). Students will take FS 518 to learn how to prepare and present oral and poster technical presentations.
  • Other FS coursework (9 cr).  Other required core FS course work will be determined by the student’s major professor and graduate committee.

Broadening courses (3 credits minimum). Students will take at least 3 credits of course work outside the discipline in a supporting area. Broadening courses, generally at the graduate level, may be taken in a variety of disciplines including microbiology, biochemistry, engineering, nutrition, and statistics.

Non-thesis project (FS 599, maximum of 5 credits). A substantial project, paper or presentation is required to demonstrate the student’s ability to do independent work and to critically analyze the scientific literature.  The student must prepare a formal work plan that is approved by the major professor and graduate committee prior to beginning the project.  The project proposal must be presented to the committee within one year of enrolling in the M.S. program.

Attendance at Departmental Seminars

 All graduate students are expected to attend and participate in all departmental seminars even thought they may not be registered for the seminar course.

Application for Advanced Degree

The Application for Advanced Degree, obtained through the Graduate College, is completed at the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. The date for filing this application is stated in the calendar in the Time Schedule.  Before filing the application, the candidate and the major professor must jointly ascertain that the candidate has met all degree requirements or will do so by completion of current registration. A student who files an application and does not graduate, but does not request that the application be withdrawn, must pay an additional fee to reinstate the application.

Final Semester Registration

A graduate student taking a final oral exam must be registered for credit.  A student who was registered during a term and did not complete all requirements by the end of that term, but does so before the official opening date of the new term, is awarded the degree at the end of the following term without further registration.

Final Oral Examination

A final comprehensive oral exam administered by the graduate committee is required.  This exam will evaluate competency in core food science subjects and the student’s ability to integrate knowledge in related disciplines.  The defense is usually oral, but part may be written.  A recommendation of a majority of the committee is necessary for a candidate to pass this exam. The final oral examination, if failed, may with departmental approval be repeated once. The interval before the second attempt may not be less than three months or longer than one year.  The student is automatically moved to unclassified enrollment status and is no longer in the degree program if a student fails the final oral exam twice, or the department does not allow the student to repeat the defense after the first failure, or the student does not repeat the final oral exam within a year.