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Food Science and Human Nutrition (M.S.)


Course Description

Graduate studies in Food Science and Human Nutrition provide an opportunity to be engaged in discovery and to learn from knowledgeable faculty members who conduct cutting-edge research that contributes to our understanding of how to provide a safe, nutritious, and affordable food supply that enhances human health.

To learn more about the research being conducted in FSHN, please browse our faculty directory.

FSHN offers Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in Food Science and Human Nutrition, with concentrations in either Food Science or in Human Nutrition. Master’s degree candidates may choose to pursue a thesis or non-thesis option. The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree is a degree program that is tailored for students who are interested in both science and business.

Students can develop expertise in specific areas of food science and human nutrition. Our graduate training balances the fundamental and applied aspects of food science and/or human nutrition. We also encourage the development of written and oral communication skills through course work, seminars and group meeting presentations. After graduation, students are prepared for scientific and technical careers in industry, educational institutions, government agencies, and health care facilities.

Food Science Graduate Program
Graduate studies in food science prepare students to apply the principles of science and engineering to ensure the quantity, quality, variety, attractiveness, and safety of foods. Graduates pursue careers in industry, academia, and governmental agencies.

Research Areas
FSHN faculty address a wide-variety of research areas related to food science, including these general focal areas of strength: food chemistry, food microbiology, food processing/engineering, and human nutrition. Within the area of food chemistry, faculty members are studying sensory science, flavor chemistry, manipulation of storage components, food safety and toxicology, structure-function behavior, and chemical stability of foods. Students interested in food and fiber (biomass) microbiology may desire to study with faculty members whose research addresses microbial aspects of food safety, quality, and safety or the use of fiber fermentation to produce biofuels. Areas such as genetic and physiological manipulation of bacteria, growth conditions and their effects on microbes, and fermentation can apply to foods or biofuels. Food microbiology related to topics such as food safety, food production, and food preservation are also related to human health.

Food science students interested in food processing and engineering can benefit from studying with faculty members researching topics including the effects of thermal processing on fats and oils, bioprocessing, state-of-the-art novel processing technologies, heat and mass transfer analysis, rheology, the use of acoustic ultrasound in processing, production systems modeling and optimization, and development of bio-based, biodegradable resins, and plastics.

Choosing a faculty advisor
Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in food science should review the list of faculty members and their research areas. Graduate student applicants must have a faculty member willing to train them and serve as their major professor before they can be accepted into the Department.

Human Nutrition Graduate Program
Graduate studies in human nutrition prepare students to conduct and apply research to determine how diet impacts human health. Graduates pursue careers in industry, academia, and governmental agencies.

Research Areas
FSHN faculty address a wide-variety of research areas related to human nutrition. Clinical nutrition, community nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, nutrigenomics, and nutritional toxicology are the general areas of strength for the FSHN human nutrition faculty.

Students focusing on human nutrition will learn from interactions with faculty members whose laboratories focus on research in the following areas:
-pediatric nutrition
-geriatric nutrition
-effects of bioactive compounds naturally found in foods on chronic diseases
-energy metabolism
-epigenetics
-the functions of essential fatty acids
-the influence of diet on cancer development
-molecular mechanisms of food ingredients in disease prevention
-molecular mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance
-nutrition and exercise
-optimization of nutritional support through enteral and parenteral nutrition

Other research topics are related to nutrition education, dietetics, disease prevention and treatment, and general health and wellness practices.

Choosing a faculty advisor
Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in human nutrition should review the list of faculty members and their research areas. Graduate student applicants must have a faculty member willing to train them and serve as their major professor before they can be accepted into the Department.

Applying to the FSHN Graduate Program
Apply online for the Food Science and Human Nutrition graduate program. All supporting materials (transcripts, letters of reference, personal statement, etc.) should be uploaded directly to the online application.

If your internet-based test TOEFL score is between 79-102, you can still be admitted, but on limited status, as per the rules of the University of Illinois Graduate College. Students who remain on limited status are not eligible for financial support from this institution.

Applicants must find a faculty member willing to train them and serve as their major professor before they can be accepted into the Department.
Although applications will be posted for faculty to review, we suggest that applicants take a proactive role by directly contacting faculty members with whom they would be interested in working. A full list of faculty and their research areas is available on the faculty page.

Food Science and Human Nutrition does not require additional information beyond that which is necessary through the online application, but applicants should include a brief phrase that describes their research focus in the ‘other specialization’ section of the application.

To receive full consideration for fellowship support for the fall semester, application materials should be received by January 5.

Deadlines for applying
Fall Admission - May 15,
Spring Admission - October 1,
Summer Admission - February 15.

Pre-requisite Suggestions
Students with undergraduate degrees in the sciences (chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, chemical engineering, nutrition, food science, etc.) generally have already taken the prerequisite courses for our first year graduate-level classes. If you have a non-science background and are interested in food science, before applying you should take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, physics, statistics, and calculus. Students interested in nutrition should take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, physiology, and statistics before applying.

International Applicants
Since we have a large number of international applicants each year, admission is very competitive. We only admit a few international students each year. International students who have attended an English-speaking university and/or who come to visit our campus generally have a better chance for admission.

Entry Requirements

Food Science and Human Nutrition graduate student applicants: Should have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0); Are required to take the GRE examination (additional resources about the GRE interpretation and requirements); Are required to provide three letters of reference; Are required to submit a statement of professional interest; From non-English speaking countries should submit TOEFL/IELTS scores with their application materials.

Course Fees

Please visit http://www.registrar.illinois.edu/tuition-fees for more details.


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Recipient: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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