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Master of Science in Food Science

Thesis Option

The FDSC MS thesis program requires 30 or more graduate hours of coursework. A minimum of one-half of the total hours required for a master’s degree must be taken at UTK. Transferred courses must have been completed within the six-year period prior to receipt of the degree. The courses must be listed on the Admission to Candidacy form and will be placed on the student’s UT transcript only after admission to candidacy.

Course requirements.

Course requirements for a MS degree in FDSC with a thesis are listed as follows. To help you plan your course work, a worksheet is given in Appendix G.
  • Registration for 6 hours of FDSC 500 Thesis is required. See page 18 for policies of registering FDSC 500.
  • In addition to the thesis requirement, a minimum of 24 credit hrs of graduate coursework is required. The course work must be approved by the student’s GAC and a minimum of 14 hrs must be taken from courses numbered above 500. The GAC may require additional coursework if the student’s progress or background indicates such a need.
  • All students are required to take 1 hr ANSC 525/PLSC 525 Research Ethics. All students are also required to take 2 hrs of FDSC 501 Seminar in their program and are expected to attend this course and participate in discussions during their master’s program even though they are not registered for the course.

Thesis proposal

Each student must develop a detailed written research proposal for his/her thesis and defend the thesis proposal by his/her GAC at least one semester before the graduating semester. For example, if a student plans to graduate in Spring semester, the thesis proposal must be defended by the end of previous Fall semester. Rubrics of assessing a MS thesis proposal in FDSC are available on the departmental website and are included in Appendix H.

Master of Science in Food Science, Non-Thesis Option

  • In lieu of a thesis, students are required to complete a project in cooperation with their employer (company or governmental agency) and/or their major professor or take a written comprehensive exam. Students must register for 6 hours of FDSC 503.
  • In addition to the requirement for 6 hours of FDSC 503, a minimum of 24 hours of graduate course work is required. This work must be approved by the student’s GAC and a minimum of 14 hours must be in courses numbered above 500. The GAC may require additional course work if the student’s progress or background indicates such need.
  • All students are required to take 1 hour ANSC 525 or PLSC 525 Research Ethics and 2 hours of FDSC 501 Seminar during their program. Students are expected to attend FDSC 501 and participate in discussions during their master’s program.
  • Students not working on a project will be required to take a written comprehensive examination covering their course work. In addition, an oral final examination covering the project or contents in the written comprehensive exam, and course work is required. The oral examination must be held on the Knoxville campus. In case of failure, the candidate may not apply for reexamination until the following semester. The result of the second examination is final.

Accelerated Five Year BS-MS Program, Food Science Major

For qualified students, the Department of Food Science offers an accelerated 5-year BS/MS program with a BS major in Food Science and a thesis-based MS major in Food Science. Central to this program is that a qualified student may take up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate courses for their senior undergraduate electives and have them count toward both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students will be considered for conditional admission to the program during, or immediately following junior year of undergraduate study at UT.  Because the MS program requires that students write a thesis based on their original research, students in BS/MS program must start working on their research project not later than immediately following junior year of undergraduate studies. For each student in the program, a graduate advisory committee composed of a minimum of three faculty members must be established before completion of BS degree.

To be considered for conditional admission to the program:

  • A student must be a declared Food Science major with a minimum GPA of 3.4, must have completed at least 15 credit hours of Food Science courses, and must have completed at least 90 credit hours of the 120 credit hours of coursework required for the BS degree with a major in Food Science.
  • A student must provide three letters of recommendation and complete a personal interview with individuals comprising the Graduate and Undergraduate Committees in the Department of Food Science.
  • A student must obtain a commitment from a Food Science graduate research faculty member to serve as their graduate mentor-advisor (i.e., major professor) and at least two other graduate research faculty members to serve on their graduate advisory committee.
  • Applicants are required to have completed FDSC 241 – Food Preservation and Packaging. The Department may consider other relevant factors such as an applicant’s work experience and level of maturity before conditionally admitting a student to the BS/MS program. Conditional admission of a student into the 5-year BS/MS program must be approved by both the Department of Food Science and the Graduate School. Students will be typically informed of the outcome of their application before the beginning of their senior year of undergraduate study.

Any course taken for graduate credit before satisfying all requirements for the BS degree must be approved both by the Graduate Director and by the Graduate School. These courses must be identified in advance, in consultation with the undergraduate advisor, proposed master’s graduate advisor, and advisory committee members. UT’s Senior Privilege rule imposes a maximum limit of 9 credit hours on the number of graduate-level credit hours that an undergraduate student may complete before completing an undergraduate degree and being formally admitted to the Graduate School. The form “Senior Requesting Graduate Credit” is found on the Graduate School website and must be completed, signed, and submitted to the Graduate School for approval and processing.

Conditional admission into the BS/MS program does not guarantee acceptance into either the Graduate School or the MS program. Students in the BS/MS program must apply for admission to the Graduate School and to the MS program during their senior year of undergraduate study, following the same procedures of all other student applicants. A GRE score must be submitted as part of the application for admission into any graduate program in the Department of Food Science. Students will be fully admitted to the MS program after they have been accepted both by the Graduate School and by the Food Science Department. Students will not be eligible for graduate assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate-level students in the Graduate School.

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