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Food Science Graduate Program

Degree Offered: MS in Food Science

Quick Links: Admission Requirements, Degree Requirements, Research Facilities, Financial Aid

Program Overview

Interest in nutrition, food, and the relationship of food to human health and fitness has never been greater than today. The Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences offers a MS degree in food science. The areas of concentration include food safety and quality, food processing and engineering, food chemistry and biochemistry, food microbiology, food science education, and special area. Cooperating departments include Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, and Microbiology.

The learning objectives of the Food Science program are that students will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of fundamental knowledge in the field of food science.
  • Demonstrate advanced scholarship in their specialty area in the field of food science.
  • Communicate both orally and in writing at a high level of proficiency.
  • Conduct and interpret food research.
  • Function as a professional in their chosen discipline.

Students majoring in any of the curricula options are prepared for diverse careers in the food industry, health-care and fitness facilities, hospitals, nutrition education and communication enterprises, government or private-sector food and nutrition agencies, and scientific research laboratories. Graduates have found employment as college instructors, technical personnel in the food industry, regulatory or other governmental agencies, and researchers. Others have pursued further postgraduate studies.

Admission Requirements
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To be considered for admission to the MS program in Food Science, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • hold a bachelor's degree (BA or BS) from an accredited institution of higher learning
  • have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above
  • have taken one course each in organic chemistry, microbiology, biological science (in addition to microbiology), college physics, and biochemistry
  • arrange for two confidential recommendations (utilizing departmental recommendation MS Word or Acrobat PDF forms)
  • submit GRE scores
  • obtain admission clearance by the Graduate Division.

Foreign students must obtain TOEFL scores of 580 minimum (600 recommended, 250 computer, iBT 100). Admission may be possible without prerequisites, in which case the student must complete deficiencies in the first year. Application deadlines and materials may be found at Graduate Division - Food Science.

Degree Requirements
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Course requirements and other degree requirements are subject to change.  For up-to-date requirements contact the Graduate Chair.  A more complete description of degree requirements can be found in the UH Food Science MS Guide 2008 . An overview of basic program requirements is given in this section.

Two MS degree options are available: Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis). Generally, students are expected to follow Plan A unless the Plan B option is approved by the graduate chair and the student's advisor.

Plan A
Student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, including:

  • At least 18 credit hours of course work, at least 12 credits numbered 600-798, excluding credits in FSHN 699 Directed Reading and Research and FSHN 700 Thesis Research.
  • Two credits of FSHN 699 Directed Reading and Research
  • Ten credits of FSHN 700 Thesis Research with at least 1 credit taken in the final semester.
  • Two credits of FSHN 681 Departmental Seminar
  • One credit in FSHN 701 Topics in Food Science

Plan B
Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, including:

  • At least 18 credit hours of course work must be in courses numbered 600-798, excluding FSHN 699 Directed Reading and Research.
  • Six to nine credits of FSHN 699 Directed Reading and Research
  • Two credits of FSHN 681 Departmental Seminar
  • One credit in FSHN 701 Topics in Food Science.

Both options require passing an oral candidacy exam to advance to candidacy for the MS degree, and a final examination based on the thesis (Plan A) or Directed Reading and Research (Plan B).  All students are also required to have one semester of teaching assistant experience either as a paid TA, or by participating in a graduate student instructional experience.

Research Facilities
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The Food Science Graduate Program is housed within the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, located in a newly constructed state-of-the-art laboratory and teaching facility, Agricultural Sciences III. The building contains teaching and research laboratories, an experimental kitchen, taste panel and sensory evaluation rooms, food processing facilities, computer laboratories, state-of-the-art classrooms, graduate student cubicles with ample computer access, faculty offices, conference and seminar rooms.

Financial Aid
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A limited number of tuition waivers, teaching and research assistantships are available, depending on the availability of funds. Financial aid is awarded on a competitive basis based on scholarship and need.  To apply, indicate in your application materials that you are seeking financial aid and why.

Related Links

Contact Information

Dr. Yong Li

Food Science Grad Chair

1955 East-West Rd.
Agricultural Sciences 216
Honolulu, HI 96822

phone: 808-956-6408

fax: 808-956-4024

liyong@hawaii.edu