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Procedures for Master’s Thesis Degree in Food Science

New for Fall 2013 Students

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

Requirements for the M.S. degree are established by the College of Graduate Studies. For additional information please refer to the College of Graduate Studies.

Credit Requirements

All candidates for the M.S. degree in Food Science are required to present a thesis. All master’s degree programs require a minimum of 30 credits. Some master’s degree programs may require more. Additional 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. A maximum of 10 credits in course 500 can be used to fulfill master’s degree requirements. Of the minimum 30 credits required for the degree, at least 18 credits must be at the 500 level; the remainder may include 400 level courses in the major, and 300 or 400 level courses in supporting areas.

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 thrid 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 M.S. degree in Food Science

Students will have a B.S. degree in Food Science or will take during the M.S. degree program at least one food science course in each of the following three program areas (courses that will satisfy each of the requirements are listed after the program area):

  • Food Chemistry – FS 460 and FS 461, FS 462
  • Food Safety and Microbiology – FS 416 and FS 417
  • Food Processing and Engineering – FS 432, FS 570, FS 582
  • Students are required to take 1 credit of FS 518 Seminar during their graduate program.

Thesis Proposal

Students are expected to prepare a written thesis proposal prior to initiation of the research project. This proposal must be presented to the committee within one year of enrolling in the MS program. Format of the proposal is determined in consultation with the major professor, but should include background, justification, objectives and protocol for the proposed studies.

Application for Advanced Degree

The Application for Advanced Degree is submitted to the College of Graduate Studies prior to the last day of the previous semester in which graduation is intended. 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 the next semester.

Final Semester Registration

A graduate student defending and/or submitting a thesis must be registered for thesis 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 Defense

Before the defense, the Authorization to Proceed with Final Defense form is obtained through the “Graduate Handbook for Theses and Dissertations.” The defense is usually oral, but part may be written. The candidate is required to present an open semiar. The candidate then defends his or her work and demonstrates a satisfactory knowledge of the major and supporting fields in front of the committee. A recommendation of a majority of the committee is necessary for a candidate to pass this defense. The defense, if failed, may with departmental approval be repeated once. Following a successful defense of his or her thesis, the candidate must submit the final copies within six months; otherwise, the candidate must defend the thesis again and may be required to revise it or write an entirely new one.


Two copies of approved quality, as well as an additional copy of the title page and abstract, must be turned in to the Graduate College.

The thesis research will typically be submitted for publication in the form of 1-2 scientific articles in professional journals and presented at a scientific meeting.

A “Handbook for Writing a Theses or Dissertation,” which describes the requirements and makes suggestions for the preparation of theses, should be obtained through the Graduate College. Students must conform to current rules and regulations of the Graduate College when preparing theses.

Attendance at Departmental Seminars

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