This 40-credit Master of Science degree is composed of 7 Required Core Courses and 3 Elective Courses.

Core Courses - Required

Complete these 7 courses:

This introductory course is designed to provide students with a high-level understanding of the complex legal and regulatory requirements for foods. The United States will be the primary focus, but other country regulations will be discussed as contrasts. The history of food regulations will be presented along with the progression to current regulations. Discussions regarding the multitude of agencies overseeing regulations and how they interact will be covered. Regulatory impact on product development, supply chains and food safety culture with be among several topics to introduce foundations for effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure brand and consumer trust.

Food microbiology encompasses the study of microorganisms that have both beneficial and deleterious effects on the quality and safety of raw and processed meat, poultry, and egg products. Food microbiology focuses on the general biology of the microorganisms that are found in foods, including their growth characteristics, identification, and pathogenesis. Specifically, areas of interest that concern food microbiology are food poisoning, food spoilage, food preservation, and food legislation. Pathogens in products, or harmful microorganisms, result in major public health problems in the United States and worldwide, and are the leading causes of illnesses and death. SCI

Good Food Production Practices are production and farm level approaches to ensure the safety of food for human consumption. Good food production and post-harvest guidelines are designed to reduce the risk of foodborne disease contamination. These good food production procedures can be tailored to any production system and are directed toward the primary sources of contamination: soil, water, hands, and surfaces. Good food production protocols were developed in response to the increase in the number of outbreaks of foodborne diseases resulting from contaminated food. Students will learn to develop good food production regulatory protocols using case studies.

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, which amended the FD&C Act, requires most foods to bear nutrition labeling and requires food labels that bear nutrient content claims and certain health messages to comply with specific requirements. The NLEA and the final regulations to implement the NLEA provide for a number of fundamental changes in how food is labeled, including requiring that nutrition labeling be placed on most foods, requiring that terms that characterize the level of nutrients in a food be used in accordance with definitions established by the FDA, and providing for the use of claims about the relationship between nutrients and diseases or health-related conditions. These changes apply to virtually all foods in the food supply, including, in large measure, to foods sold in restaurants. Food labeling is required for most prepared foods, such as breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc. Nutrition labeling for raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and fish is voluntary. SCI

Food toxicology is the study of the nature, properties, effects, and detection of toxic substances in food, and their disease manifestation in humans. This course will provide a general understanding of toxicology related to food and the human food chain. Fundamental concepts will be covered, including dose-response relationships, absorption of toxicants, distribution and storage of toxicants, biotransformation and elimination of toxicants, target organ toxicity, teratogenesis, mutagenesis carcinogenesis, food allergy, and risk assessment. The course will examine chemicals of food interest, such as food additive mycotoxins and pesticides, and how they are tested and regulated. SCI

Risk analysis is composed of three separate but integrated elements, namely, risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication. Risk communication is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion on risk among risk assessors, risk managers, and other interested parties. Risk management is the process of weighing policy alternatives in light of the results of risk assessment and, if required, selecting and implementing appropriate control options, including regulatory measures. Students will learn how to integrate risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication using case studies.

Food safety audits provide a credible verification system to the entire food processing industry, including retail environments, meat, fish, and poultry, vegetable, and produce suppliers. Having a HACCP plan in place is often the first step to a successful food safety program, but is not entirely enough to ensure that food safety standards are being adhered to on a consistent basis. In this course, students will learn how to adequately plan for a food crisis situation.

Elective Courses

You will choose 3 electives from the list of more than 100 general biotechnology electives and science elective courses. Pay close attention to whether the electives you are considering include any prerequisites, and speak with your adviser should you have any questions.

Course Waiver

If you have extensive experience or relevant coursework you may request a waiver for a Required Core Course. If the waiver is granted, you must replace the course with an elective course. Please include the request in your application.


Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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