Degrees Offered

The Food Science program at the University of Minnesota offers both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.  Qualified students with strong foundations in the sciences are eligible for admission. 

The Master's program offers two plan options: Plan A entails producing a thesis; Plan B substitutes a special project and additional coursework for a thesis. A M.S. normally requires a minimum of two years of full time effort to complete, dependent on the student’s preparation, course of study, motivation, and research program. 

A Ph.D. is typically completed in about four years based on similar criteria. See the Food Science Graduate Student Handbook for complete program information.

Plan A - Master’s Degree with Thesis

All Plan A Master's students must meet the minimum Graduate School requirements of 20 credits in the major and 10 thesis credits. Specific course requirements are listed under Degree Requirements. The student must pass a final oral examination that includes the defense of an acceptable thesis and general questions in food science.

Plan B - Master’s Degree without Thesis

The general requirements for the Plan B Master's degree are the same as noted above, but 10 additional course credits are required in place of 10 thesis credits. The Plan B project is done in lieu of a Master’s thesis. It is equivalent to 120 hours of work of research and writing. The student must pass a final examination which may be oral, written, or both.

Ph.D. Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted, not on the basis of successful completion of a definite amount of prescribed work, but rather in recognition of the candidate’s notable accomplishments and abilities in a specialized field in food science. This is shown, first, by passing the required examinations covering both the general and the specialized fields of the candidate and second, by preparing a thesis. The degree requires a minimum of 48 credits (24 course and 24 thesis) and a maximum of 72 credits. Specific course requirements are listed under Program Requirements.