Food Science & Human Nutrition: Food Science, PhD

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Human Nutrition: Food Science Concentration

department head: Nicki Engeseth

associate head of graduate programs: Michael Miller

overview of admissions & requirements:

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

department website:

program website:

department faculty:

college website:

address: 260 Bevier Hall, 905 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 244-4498


For the Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Human Nutrition, students are required to select a concentration:

Food Science

Human Nutrition

Graduate Degree Programs in Food Science & Human Nutrition

Graduate Majors:

Food Science & Human Nutrition, MS (on campus & online)


Food Science

Human Nutrition

Food Science and Human Nutrition, MS – Professional Science Master's

Food Science and Human Nutrition, PhD


Food Science

Human Nutrition

Joint Degree Program:

Food Science & Human Nutrition, PhD and Master of Public Health, MPH

Research Areas

 In addition to receiving training in the general field of food science or human nutrition, students have the opportunity to conduct research in the following areas of specialization:

  • Food processing, engineering, and biotechnology
  • Food ingredients, properties, and interactions
  • Food microstructures, micro-carriers, and nanotechnology
  • Food chemistry
  • Food microbiology and biomass conversion
  • Food safety and security
  • Sensory sciences
  • Dietary quality and food and nutrition patterns for optimal health
  • Nutrition and disease interactions, including cancer, metabolic disorders, and gastrointestinal health
  • Nutrition across the life span
  • Biochemical and molecular nutrition
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Community nutrition

For additional information go to

The PSM involves rigorous scientific training in the area of food science and/or human nutrition; additionally, instruction is provided in applied business knowledge and skills. This program is designed for those who seek careers in a science-based setting with significant managerial and leadership responsibilities. For additional information go to


In addition to meeting the Graduate College admission requirements, a student planning to pursue a graduate degree in the department should have a baccalaureate degree in a recognized field of biological, physical, agricultural, or engineering science. Background deficiencies may be removed with graduate credit courses designed for this purpose. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required of all applicants, and those whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the TOEFL or IELTS as evidence of English proficiency. Minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores can be found at Students can be admitted to start in fall, spring, or summer semesters except for the PSM concentration, which admits fall semester only. For information on the role faculty have in the admissions process go to

Internship in Dietetics

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition offers a dietetic internship for master's and doctoral students specializing in human nutrition. Completion of the degree and the internship qualifies the student to take the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. For information on our dietetic internship program please contact Ms. Jessica Madson (

Online Program

A non-thesis Master of Science in Food Science program is offered via live, synchronous online sessions using distance education technology. The program ensures the same degree of excellence, and courses are instructed by the same faculty, as the on-campus non-thesis program. Courses are typically offered in the evening. For requirements and additional information, please contact Dr. Dawn Bohn at

Graduate Teaching Experience

Teaching is neither a Graduate College nor a FSHN requirement. A limited number of teaching assistantships are available to FSHN graduate students. Students are selected to be Graduate Teaching Assistants by the Department Head in consultation with the course instructor.

Financial Aid

Illinois PSM students may not hold assistantships or other tuition and fee waiver-generating appointments; statutory waivers and tuition scholarships are accepted. Financial aid for non-PSM graduate students is available in the form of fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, and tuition and partial fee waivers. Qualified candidates are considered for financial support upon application. Additional information on financial aid for graduate students can be found at

 Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Human Nutrition, Food Science Concentration

If a candidate has a master's degree in a related area, a minimum of 64 graduate hours, including up to 38 graduate hours of thesis research, must be completed. In consultation with the adviser and advisory committee, the remainder of the 64 graduate hours required for the degree consists of courses selected from inside or outside the department that are appropriate for training in the student's field of specialization. Upon completion of all necessary formal courses and special options, the student is required to take an oral preliminary examination. After passage of the preliminary examination, the student's activities are primarily devoted to thesis research. Upon submission of the dissertation, the candidate is required to pass a final oral examination before a graduate faculty committee.

Undergraduate training must include statistics (ACE 261, CPSC 241, ECON 202, MATH 161, PSYC 235, SOC 280, or STAT 100), nutrition (equivalent to FSHN 220), and systemic physiology (equivalent to MCB 246). These undergraduate courses are not required for admission, but must be completed early in the graduate program and do not count toward concentration requirements. M.S. degrees require at least 12 hours of 500-level course work (including thesis research), and at least 8 of these 12 hours must be in the major field for graduation. 

Additional courses may be required beyond the concentration minimum, per Advisory Committee recommendations, depending upon student/advisor learning objectives. A student whose prior education includes course work with identical or similar content to those specified above will be guided by their advisor and Advisory Committee regarding the selection of additional course work needed to meet the minimum hours of the HN concentration.

Students are encouraged to take new courses, rather than retake required courses they have already taken. If you have already taken a required course at the University of Illinois, it is highly recommended that you do not retake it. No petition is required. If you have taken a very similar course at another university, you are strongly encouraged to petition for acceptance of that course in lieu of the required course. Courses should be selected to expand and strengthen your knowledge in core and related disciplines, and/or to increase your research capabilities. Retaking a course does not meet that objective. For additional advice on this topic, contact your advisor and faculty advisory committee.

Students are required to enroll in another seminar course if they have a conflict that precludes their enrollment in FSHN 597 or NUTR 500. The seminar course may be offered by another department.

Course selection is flexible beyond this list if decided in consultation with advisor/advisory committee.

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's graduate handbook and the Graduate College Handbook 

 Entering with approved M.S./M.A. degree

Concentration-specific coursework selected in consultation with advisor26
FSHN 599Thesis Research (max applied toward degree)0 to 16
Total Hours in residence64

  Entering with approved B.S./B.A. degree

Concentration-specific coursework selected in consultation with advisor26
FSHN 599Thesis Research (max applied toward degree)70
Total Hours96

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum Hours Required Within the Unit: 8
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall 12
Additional courses may be required beyond the concentration minimum per Advisory Committee recommendation
Qualifying Exam Required Yes
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Final Exam/Thesis Defense Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Total Hours for Concentration in Food Science26-27
Required Courses:16-17
FSHN 481Food Processing Unit Operations I2
FSHN 483Food Processing Unit Operations II2
FSHN 514Advanced Food Chemistry3
FSHN 573Advanced Food Microbiology3
FSHN 593Seminar in Foods and Nutrition2
FSHN 595Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Section: Nutrition for Food Scientists)4
FSHN 597Graduate Seminar0-1
or NUTR 500 Nutritional Sciences Seminar
Food Processing and Engineering
ABE 498Special Topics (Section: Engineering Application of Nano-scale Biology)1 to 4
FSHN 460Food Processing Engineering3
FSHN 482Food Processing Unit Operations I Lab1
FSHN 484Food Processing Unit Operations II Lab1
Food Chemistry
FSHN 595Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Section: Advanced Food Processing)1 to 4
FSHN 416Food Chemistry Laboratory3
FSHN 517Fermented &Distilled Beverages2
FSHN 518Chemistry of Lipids in Foods3
FSHN 519Flavor Chemistry and Analysis4
FSHN 595Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Section: Transport in Food Biopolymers)1 to 4
FSHN 595Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Section: Water Relations in Foods)1 to 4
Food Microbiology
FSHN 574Value Added Biotransformation3
FSHN 595Advanced Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Section: Food Safety for Global Food Security)1 to 4
Others (of interest to many)
FSHN 424Biopsychology of Ingestive Behavior3
FSHN 440Applied Statistical Methods I4
FSHN 502Advanced Sensory Science3
FSHN 592Graduate Internship Experience2
FSHN 598Advanced Special Problems (Up to 2 hours of FSHN 598 for thesis degrees.)1-8
or NUTR 593 Individual Topics in Nutrition
CPSC 541Regression Analysis4
CPSC 5425
NUTR 550Grantsmanship and Ethics3