School of Food Science

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science

NEW for Fall 2013 students

PhD in Food Science info sheet – Courses, Committee, Examination
Expectations for Graduate Students

Master of Science (M.S.) degree demonstrates the ability to conduct and report research and is generally required for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Food ScienceHowever, in exceptional cases, a student admitted into the M.S. degree program may apply to by-pass the M.S. degree once a strong academic record and potential research ability is demonstratedAfter completion of at least two (2) semesters of courses at WSU and a minimum of four (4) courses from the approved MS Program of Study, the student can request admission into the Ph.D. programThe faculty who consent to serve on the Ph.D. Research and Dissertation Committee will serve as a recommendation to the GAC and Food Science Chair who will confer and make a decision to approve or defer admission to the Ph.D. program in Food Science.

*****  The information below is for current students (pre-Fall 2013).

Minimum Degree Requirements


General Requirements

Course(s) fulfilling requirements
500-level courses
Includes FS and/or supporting courses. Students are strongly encouraged to take all 500-level food science courses.
Total graded courses
Of the 34 hours, up to 9 credits of 300- and 400-level courses may be used.
FS 800

Specific Courses

Course(s) fulfilling requirements
Food chemistry*
FS 460 and FS 461
Food microbiology*
FS 416 and FS 417
Food processing*
FS 303, 304, 432, 433, 489, 529, 530, 565, 570
Advanced food science
FS 501, 510, 511, 512, 513,516, 522, 564, 565, 570, 582, 583
Seminar (written)
FS 517
Seminar (oral; 2x)
FS 518
400 level or above
Preparation for college teaching
UNIV 590

*Equivalent courses taken as an undergraduate will satisfy these requirements.


Research Proposal

  • All candidates will present a 50-minute seminar in defense of his/her research proposal, preferably before the completion of the 3rd semester of study. The seminar will be presented to faculty and graduate students. A short time will be reserved following the seminar for constructive discussion of the research proposal with faculty alone. The proposal must be presented before the Qualifying Examination can be scheduled.


  • Qualifying Examination
    The written Ph.D. Qualifying Examination will be administered by the Ph.D. Research and Dissertation Committee after the completion of the coursework toward the Ph.D. no sooner than the third semester of study and no later than the sixth semester of enrollment leading to the Ph.D. in Food Science.

    • the Qualifying Examination shall take place at the convenience of the student and Research and Dissertation Committee;
    • the Qualifying Examination shall consist of a written examination, the purpose of which is to assure comprehensive knowledge of the overall field of food science. The student will be examined in the areas of (i) food chemistry, (ii) food microbiology, and (iii) food processing. The exam will include evaluation of the students ability to (a) recall factual information and apply information to the resolution of problems, (b) demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge and the ability to integrate major areas of emphasis, (c) communicate effectively in writing, and (d) propose and define relevant research ideas;
    • the examination will be assembled by the advisor (co-advisors) in collaboration with the Research and Dissertation Committee;
    • the Faculty on the committee has the option to submit closed or open book questions;
    • the Qualifying Examination will be administered for 8 to 16 hours during working hours for 2 to 3 days within a 5-day workweek;
    • each response to a question will be evaluated by the faculty member submitting the question with a grade of exceptional, pass, or fail;
    • the grades for all questions and exams will be compiled by the Chair of the Research and Dissertation Committee, and Committee consensus will determine if the student has successfully qualified for the oral preliminary exam;
    • if the student should fail the qualifying exam, he/she will be required to repeat the exam later, but no sooner than 90 days or beyond 180 days from the initial qualifying exam. Two consecutive failures of the Qualifying Examination will result in a review of the students’ continuance in the program by the Research and Dissertation Committee, the GAC, and the Food Science Chair.

    Preliminary Examination
    The student gives a short 30-minute presentation to all Faculty regarding their research and schedules it within one month of successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.  All Faculty shall be invited to attend. The Preliminary Examination cannot be scheduled until the student has successfully passed the Qualifying Examination.

    Final Examinations
    The Final Ph.D. Research and Dissertation defense must be more than 90 days after successfully passed the oral preliminary exam.

    Thesis Seminar/Defense
    After completing the research and prior to the final dissertation examination, the candidate will present a seminar describing the research and discuss the relevance of the results obtained. Faculty, staff, and students shall be invited to the seminar. The candidate will defend his/her dissertation research at the final examination. Members of the student’s committee must be present at the examination and all must vote. The Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures should be consulted for additional information regarding who may attend the examination and vote.


Other Requirements

Teaching Requirement
All candidates will have a teaching component of their degree. This requires the student to: (a) enroll in UNIV 590 and (b) prepare and present three lectures and two laboratory sessions in food science course(s) of his/her choosing with the consent of the instructor(s). The instructor will evaluate the student’s presentations and certify satisfactory completion by letter to the student and advisor.Minor
The Ph.D. in Food Science no longer requires a minor as of January, 2005.

Thesis Committee

  • The Ph.D. in Food Science Research and Dissertation Committee will be chaired by a faculty member from WSU and consist of a minimum of four faculty, three faculty from (WSU) or FST (UI) and one faculty member from outside the School of Food Science.
  • If co-chairs are desired for the committee, the student must consult with the Academic Coordinator for procedures.

Transfer Credits

  • A maximum of 17 credits of courses at graduate level (grade B or better) may be transferred from universities other than WSU. There is no limit on the number of credits a student can use from M.S. degree toward Ph.D., if the M.S. degree was awarded from WSU.



While the Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550, 213 or 81 (depending on type of test taken) for non-English speaking applicants, the student may be required by his/her advisor or thesis committee to take additional English courses and/or arrange for tutoring, if needed.

Teaching/Research Assistantships Information:

Assistantships in the School of Food Science are available from both grant and state funds. Grant funds are awarded at the discretion of individual faculty members. We award our assistantships on a competitive basis counting heavily on academic performance, the three letters of recommendation, and other information.

As a policy, we do not award state-funded assistantships to students for whom English is a second language during their first year of study. If you are not currently studying in the US, you should be prepared to finance your first year of graduate studies. After your first year at WSU, you can apply for state assistantship support, but this is not guaranteed. To apply for an assistantship, use the Graduate School On-line Application filling out pertinent assistantship questions.

(page last updated on 10/1/08)

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