Food Science

About the Food Science Graduate Program

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition administers the Food Science Graduate Program.  This program involves the application of the principles of chemistry, microbiology, processing technology, and consumer issues to the production of high quality, safe, and wholesome foods.

Specific Objectives of the Program

  1. To provide graduate level education for post-baccalaureate students interested in applying science and engineering principles to the theoretical and practical aspects of the entire food chain - from raw material production to product utilization by the consumer.
  2. To provide a focus for graduate study and research in Food Science at the University of Minnesota.
  3. To aid in promoting interactions with other disciplines which relate to the study of food science. 

food science studentWhile students in our Food Science Graduate Program may specialize in any one of the specific areas given above, they are also required to have a comprehensive knowledge of other areas.

  • Food chemistry is concerned with the analytical, biochemical, chemical, physical, nutritional, and toxicological aspects of food and food ingredients.
  • Food microbiology focuses on food safety (the prevention of foodborne disease and biosecurity), microbiological aspects of food production, food spoilage, food fermentations/biotechnology, genomics, processing, preservation, and storage.
  • Food processing deals with the application of scientific, engineering, and economic principles to food processes and food processing equipment.
  • Food technology involves the application of modern scientific and engineering principles to the preservation and distribution of food.
  • The consumer issues area is concerned with the attributes of a food that influence its success or failure in the marketplace.

Why Choose the University of Minnesota?

Choosing a graduate program of study can be a difficult task, but here are a few reasons why choosing the University of Minnesota will be one of the best choices for your future career:

  • Our prestigious faculty members have received numerous accolades for their teaching, excellence in advising, leadership and academic performance.
  • We are unique in our integration of Food Science and Nutrition. By hosting two disciplines within our department, students have the opportunity to share discoveries in the same laboratories, attend many of the same classes, and share common goals. With the food industry trending towards healthier living, we can provide students a unique interdisciplinary learning opportunity. 
  • Most of our graduates accept positions in food or related industries. With Minnesota serving as the headquarters for several large international food companies including General Mills, Cargill, Land O'Lakes and many more, we are uniquely positioned to form close working relationships between students, faculty and industry professionals. These relationships prove invaluable in guiding research focuses, access to facilities and eventually post-degree employment. 
  • We have a dynamic Food Science and Nutrition Club that is active locally and nationally. Locally, members help organize and participate in the Minnesota sections of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), Minnesota Chromatography Forum, and American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC). Nationally, club members have served in and chaired the national IFT Student Association (IFTSA). They have won or placed near the top in the IFTSA Food Product Development and College Bowl competitions, and have received Chapter of the Year awards.


The Food Science Graduate Program is administered by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who is responsible to the Department Head, the Graduate School, and the Food Science graduate faculty for the operation of the program.  An elected Associate DGS serves as the DGS when needed.

There are 21 faculty members in the program. Membership in the graduate faculty is separate from departmental membership. Several members of the Food Science graduate faculty have appointments outside the department. 

Faculty committees carry out the functions of the graduate program. The Graduate Studies Committee implements the wishes of the graduate faculty in Food Science. The Committee oversees the approval of the evaluation of applicants for admission, graduate student programs, thesis titles and abstracts, petitions, and associated matters.