Food Science and Human Nutrition

Head of the Department: Sharon Nickols-Richardson
Correspondence and Admission Information: Terri Cummings
264 Bevier Hall
905 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 244-4405

Major: Food Science and Human Nutrition
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentrations: Food Science (all degrees), Human Nutrition (all degrees), Professional Science Master’s (M.S. only)

Off-Campus Program: Food Science and Human Nutrition
Degree Offered: M.S.

Joint Degree Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Master of Public Health
Degrees Offered: Ph.D. and M.P.H.

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition offers traditional graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with either a food science or human nutrition concentration. 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 department also offers a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) concentration. 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 (

Off-Campus 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

Medical Scholars Program

Please note the Medical Scholars program is not accepting applications at this time.

The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including Food Science and Human Nutrition. Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both the doctoral graduate program and the College of Medicine. Students in the dual degree program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees. Further information on this program is available by contacting the Medical Scholars Program, 125 Medical Sciences Building, (217) 333-8146 or 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

Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition, no concentration, Online

FSHN 414Food Chemistry3
FSHN 461Food Processing I4
FSHN 471Food & Industrial Microbiology3
Electives from departmental list22
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

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 minimums listed above.
Final Exam Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0

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