Twin Cities campus

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Twin Cities Campus

Food Science M.S.

Food Science & Nutrition
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Food Science and Nutrition 1334 Eckles Avenue Suite 225 Saint Paul, MN 55108 612-624-6753
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2023
  • Length of program in credits: 30
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Food science applies scientific principles to the manufacture, distribution, marketing, and consumer aspects of food. Food scientists apply the basic principles and techniques of many disciplines, including chemistry, physics, microbiology, and nutrition, to food processing and preservation, new product development, and food marketing. Food scientists are concerned with the theoretical and practical aspects of the food chain, from the production of raw materials to the use of food products by consumers. Students may emphasize the chemistry, engineering, microbiology, nutrition, or technology of food products. Students may spend a maximum of five (5) years in this degree program.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Applicants to the program are required to hold a bachelor's degree or its international equivalent in any field.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Applicants to the program are required to have completed the following undergraduate-level classes with a final grade of C- or higher before the first day of their intake semester: General Chemistry (with lab) Organic Chemistry (with lab) Physics (with lab) Biology (with lab) Calculus If preparation appears inadequate, certain additional courses may be required after admission.
Special Application Requirements:
Applicants advancing to the second round of application review (admissible applicants) are expected to secure a faculty advisor prior to admission. Only applicants who have secured an advising agreement shall be recommended to the University of Minnesota Graduate School for formal admission to the Food Science MS Program.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Reading Score: 6.5
    • Writing Score: 6.5
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 20 major credits, 0 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is oral.
Plan B: Plan B requires 30 major credits and 0 credits outside the major. The final exam is oral. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project:The Plan B project is equivalent to 120 hours of work. It should consist of one of the following options, intended to familiarize Plan B students with the tools of scholarship in the field and serving to demonstrate the ability to work independently: 1) The student prepares one paper equivalent to the requirement of 120 hours in one advanced-level course, over and above the normal course requirement, as approved by the course instructor and in consultation with their advisor. This course must be from the major field of interest. -or- 2) The student prepares one paper equivalent to the requirement of 120 hours in some related field or course as approved by the course instructor and in consultation with their adviser. -or- 3) The student demonstrates the equivalent to the requirement of 120 hours of library or laboratory research and writes a research report as approved by the adviser. This may take the form of a research proposal.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 2.80 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Up to 9 credits of 4xxx-level courses are allowed.
Required Courses (11 credits)
All students take the following required courses for 11 credits:
FSCN 4112 - Food Chemistry and Functional Foods (3.0 cr)
FSCN 4121 - Food Microbiology (3.0 cr)
FSCN 8318 - Current Issues in Food Science (2.0 cr)
Food Processing Course
Choose at least one of the following classes. FSCN 5334 is not a prerequisite for FSCN 5335.
FSCN 5334 - Food Processing Fundamentals I (3.0 cr)
or FSCN 5335 - Food Processing Fundamentals II (3.0 cr)
Take one of the following courses for a total of 3 to 4 credits:
FSCN 5131 - Food Quality for Graduate Credit (3.0 cr)
or FSCN 5312 - Food Analysis (4.0 cr)
or If FSCN 5122 is taken, FSCN 5123 must also be taken.
FSCN 5122 - Food Fermentations and Biotechnology (2.0 cr)
FSCN 5123 - Molecular Biology for Applied Scientists (1.0 cr)
Food Science Elective
Take at least 3 additional FSCN credits, in consultation with the adviser.
FSCN 5xxx
or FSCN 8xxx
General Elective(s)
Choose remaining credits in consultation with the adviser to meet minimum credit requirements.
Plan Options
Plan A
Take 10 master's thesis credits.
FSCN 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
Plan B
Plan B students do not have additional requirements.
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· College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

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FSCN 4112 - Food Chemistry and Functional Foods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Most-important food constituents, their occurrence, structures, functional properties, and health benefits. Proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, water. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals, food additives, contaminants. prereq: 3102, BIOC 3021
FSCN 4121 - Food Microbiology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Microorganisms involved in food-borne disease, food fermentations, and food spoilage. Methods for their control/detection. Food microbiology. Foodborne pathogens. Microbial food spoilage. Control of microorganisms in food. prereq: BIOC 3021, [2021 or VBS 2032 or MICB 3301]
FSCN 8318 - Current Issues in Food Science
Credits: 2.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Current issues in Food Science and how they impact the food industry.
FSCN 5334 - Food Processing Fundamentals I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Food processing fundamentals (add heat, remove heat, remove water, add barriers and add preservatives) Overview of mass and energy balances for food process design, fundamentals of fluid flow, heat transfer as applied to food process unit operations such as pumping, heat exchangers, thermal processing, dehydration, refrigeration, freezing and extrusion. Two lecture periods (50 min each) and one laboratory (105 min each) period each week.
FSCN 5335 - Food Processing Fundamentals II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Food processing fundamentals (add heat, remove heat, remove water, add barriers and add preservatives) Overview, energy requirement in food processing, food process plant design, mass transfer fundamentals, mass transfer operations including size reduction, agglomeration, membrane filtration and packaging. Energy in food processing and pilot plant design. Wastewater treatment. Two lecture periods (50 min each) and one laboratory (105 min each) period each week.
FSCN 5131 - Food Quality for Graduate Credit
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Management systems, statistical procedures, regulatory requirements involved with producing quality food/ingredients. Risk assessment/management, good manufacturing practices, hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP), statistical methods for process control, total quality management, food/drug laws. Prereq: Food Science Grad Student Student may select grading basis if instructor approves. A-F registration is required for class to count toward degree.
FSCN 5312 - Food Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Analytical tools needed for investigation in Food Science/Technology, whether by food industry, governmental agencies, or universities. Application of quantitative/ qualitative physical, chemical/instrumental methods used for analysis/examination of food constituents. Sensory evaluation techniques, evaluation of methods/interpretation of results. prereq: 4112, STAT 3011
FSCN 5122 - Food Fermentations and Biotechnology
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Major food fermentations important for today's food industry, with particular focus on microbiological components. Fermentations cover all major commodity food groups of dairy, cereal, meat, vegetables, fruits. prereq: MICB 3301, BIOL 4003
FSCN 5123 - Molecular Biology for Applied Scientists
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Half semester course. Two hours per week for 8 weeks. Basics of molecular biology/how it has been used for biotechnological applications. Origins of molecular biology from discovery of DNA as inheritance material within cells to advent of gene cloning/sequencing technologies. prereq: MicB 3301 or FScN 2021 or instr consent
FSCN 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required [Plan A only]