MSc in Food Science and Human Nutrition


Program Description

The University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is proud to offer an online non-thesis Masters of Science degree. Many of the students in this program are working professionals. The online delivery option makes the program accessible to students in various locations, who may also be balancing a travel schedule for their careers.

The off-campus MS degree program was created in 1973 and hundreds of students have obtained their MS degrees through the program. The live online delivery system, initiated in 2010, maintains the high-quality non-thesis MS program for which this respected University is known.


Admission to the Online Food Science MS Program

Students interested in seeking the online MS in Food Science degree must apply for admission to the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  It is possible to take a specific online course without being in the degree program or making progress towards an M.S. degree.

COVID-19 temporary changes for the application process

Due to the COVID-19 impact on testing centers, FSHN will temporarily waive the department GRE requirement for all Spring/Fall 2021 applicants. 

Also, the Graduate College will now temporarily accept Duolingo English Test examination results for tests taken between February 1 and August 1, 2021. The Duolingo English Test will be accepted as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS for proof of English proficiency for impacted applicants.

For Admission to the Graduate College

A baccalaureate degree is required. It is desirable, but not required, that this degree be related to physical, biological, agricultural, or engineering sciences.

Required background courses include general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, physics, and calculus. If you are deficient in these areas of study then you may take correspondence courses, other distance education courses, or traditional classroom courses (at a community college or four-year institution) to satisfy the necessary prerequisite requirements.

The TOEFL is required of all students who have studied in a non-English speaking institution prior to attending the University of Illinois AND have not had 2 of the last 5 years of full-time study at an English speaking institution, or are receiving an advanced degree (MS equivalent or better) from an English speaking institution. 

Information about Applying

When applying online, please select 10KS0037MSU [Food Science and Human Nutrition (Online)-MS].

All supporting materials (transcripts from all universities attended, three letters of reference, and personal statement) must be received by the posted application deadline to be fully considered for acceptance in that term.  Supporting materials submitted after the deadline may result in the application delayed to a future semester.

Application deadlines: Spring - Oct. 1; Fall - May 1

Online Course Offerings

Online courses are coordinated through the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Please visit the site to learn more about online courses and to register for current courses. You do not need to be admitted to the Graduate College before enrolling in courses; however, for course credit to count towards your MS in Food Science degree, you must have been admitted to the graduate program, or petition to have the course credits transferred after you have been admitted.  

The online MS Food Science program offers one to three courses each semester, including the summer semester.  All online courses are LIVE and the student must be available to attend during the class time listed.  

A full list of courses is available below. All online courses are LIVE.

FSHN 414 Food Chemistry

Examines the chemical aspects of major food components: water, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids; properties of pigments, salts, and food dispersions. Prerequisite: Organic chemistry. 3 hours.

FSHN 440 Applied Statistical Methods

Statistical methods involving relationships between populations and samples; collection, organization, and analysis of data; and techniques in testing hypotheses with an introduction to regression, correlation, and analyses of variance limited to the completely randomized design and the randomized complete block design. Prerequisite: Algebra. 4 hours.

FSHN 460 Food Processing Engineering

Examines the application of process engineering principles to the conversion of raw agricultural materials into finished food products. Topics include units and dimensions, materials balances, energy balances, thermodynamics, heat transfer, psychrometry, refrigeration, and mechanical separations. Prerequisites: Physics and calculus. 3 hours.

FSHN 461 Food Processing I

Principles, unit operations, and applications of food preservation and processing by high temperature, refrigeration, and freezing processes; include heat transfer, kinetics, chemical, and microbial changes in food as a result of the processing; lecture. Prerequisite: Food chemistry, microbiology, and food engineering. 4 hours.

FSHN 464 Beverage Science & Technology

Explores the research, science, and technology of the production of safe, high-quality beverages through the application of food chemistry, food microbiology, and food processing principles. 2 hours.

FSHN 469 Package Engineering

Cross-disciplinary study of the materials, machinery, research, design, techniques, environmental considerations, ethics, and economics used in the global packaging industry with an emphasis on the implementation of improved technologies for the problems unique to food packaging. An emphasis on the broad, systems-based nature of packaging will be maintained throughout the course. Prerequisite: chemistry, physics, calculus. 3 hours.

FSHN 471 Food and Industrial Microbiology

Relationship of microorganisms to food manufacture and preservation, to industrial fermentation and processing, and to sanitation. Prerequisite: Organic chemistry and experimental microbiology. 3 hours.

FSHN 517 Fermented and Distilled Beverages

The production technology, microbiology, and chemistry (including the compositional chemistry, flavor chemistry, and chemistry of aging) of fermented and distilled beverages. Prerequisite: Graduate student status, or a food microbiology course and food chemistry or biochemistry course. 2 hours.

FSHN 518 Chemistry of Lipids in Foods

Detailed examination of the chemical and physical properties of lipids in foods. Prerequisite: food chemistry. 3 hours.

FSHN 519 Flavor Chemistry & Analysis

Provides graduate students with the tools and understanding necessary for the study of complex food flavor systems. Students will learn: 1) modern techniques of analysis used in the chemical evaluation of food flavor systems, 2) acceptable techniques for the sensory evaluation of food flavor, 3) approaches for combined sensory-analytical evaluation of food flavor, and 4) principles of food flavor chemistry with emphasis places on some well-understood flavor systems. 4 hours.

FSHN 595 Food Science Advanced Topics

Detailed lectures and/or laboratory studies of selected topics in Food Science. The study may be specialized topics in anyone of the following fields: (A) Food Chemistry; (B) Food Microbiology; (C) Nutrition; (D) Food Processing/Engineering. 1 to 4 hours. Topics to be offered include (but are not limited to:

Advanced Topics in Sensory Science

This course will deal with more in-depth and current topics in Sensory Science beyond the scope of an undergraduate introductory sensory course. The main course topics to be discussed are the physiological and psychological basis for sensory evaluation, Thurstonian Modeling in Difference Tests, multivariate statistical methods for sensory studies. Students will discuss and critique current research papers in sensory science and develop a proposal for sensory evaluation research. 3 hours.

Food Enzymology

Principles of enzymatic reactions, factors affecting enzyme activity, and use of enzymes in analytical and food processing applications. Discusses the influence of parameters such as the concentration of substrate and enzyme, pH, temperature, and inhibitors on enzymatic activity. Provides specificity and mechanism of action of enzymes in the context of their roles in foods by considering examples selected from enzymes of importance to food science. involve lectures and exercises commonly used in basic and applied research in food enzymology. Regular discussions of recent peer-reviewed papers dealing with major classes of enzymes. Prerequisite Biochemistry. 3 hours.

Food Safety for Global Food Security

How can food safety promote availability and access to culturally appropriate foods for all people? Students will explore that question by engaging with literature on the burden of foodborne disease, risk assessment and management technologies, and commodity-specific food safety risks.

Nutrition for Health & Fitness

Students will examine macro- and micro-nutrient needs, energy systems, nutrition, and sports supplements, weight management, health enhancement, and disease prevention. The course will emphasize nutrients and food components available or in development designed to enhance health and sports performance with a focus on how to integrate this information into food science industries. Produce & Vegetable Technology. Students will explore the safety and utilization of fruit and vegetable raw materials from harvest to incorporation into a final consumable good.

Water Relations in Foods

Advanced study of the behavior of water and solids in ingredients and real food systems, specifically in relation to food safety and stability. Major topics covered include properties of water, water activity, water mobility, and solids mobility (for example, the glass transition). Practical techniques to measure these parameters, including sorption isotherms, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and imaging, and differential scanning calorimetry, are discussed in detail. 4 hours.

FSHN 598 Advanced Special Problems

Supervised research on special problems in Food Science. The project must be approved by the topic advisor prior to the beginning of the semester.

Program Requirements

To earn the online non-thesis MS degree, students must complete 32 hours of coursework and successfully pass an oral examination. Students who have earned up to 12 hours of graduate credit while enrolled as a non-degree student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may petition those hours and up to 12 hours of graduate credit taken at another institution. All students must earn a grade of B or better to transfer any course towards a graduate degree.

On average, students take one course per semester, which translates into approximately 11 semesters of coursework. The oral examination is given after a student has completed all 32 hours of coursework, and it is highly recommended that a student prepares for approximately 2-3 months before taking the oral examination.

Thus, for students taking one course at a time, the degree takes approximately four years to complete. Students can register for more than one class each semester; however, it is the recommendation of the Department that a student does not participate in more than two classes in any one semester.

Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

ACES is a diverse college with top-rated programs in engineering, agricultural sciences, economics, nutritional science, and more. While our faculty and student body have various specialties and areas ... Read More

ACES is a diverse college with top-rated programs in engineering, agricultural sciences, economics, nutritional science, and more. While our faculty and student body have various specialties and areas of interest, we are all working toward a common goal of improving daily life for people around the world. Read less