Nov 26, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Food Science, M.S.

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As a student of the Food Science program, you will apply scientific principles to study the properties of food and to develop innovative ways to process and package foods resulting in safe, sustainable and nutritious food choices. The Food Science program at Chapman University prepares students for a variety of careers in the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and related industries, in government and regulatory agencies, and for service organizations and academic institutions. 

Students can pursue the following degree options:

Admission to the program and prerequisites

An undergraduate degree in food science is not required for admission; because of its basic orientation, the program encourages applicants from a broad range of disciplinary interests. Recently admitted applicants have degrees in chemistry, biology, pharmacy, business, chemical and mechanical engineering as well as food science and nutrition.

Admission to the program may be achieved by completing the following requirements:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students with a B.A. or B.S. degree in any of the physical or biological sciences will generally have the necessary prerequisites in chemistry, biology and mathematics. Students with an inadequate background will be required to take prerequisite courses without credit toward their graduate degree. Prerequisite courses must be completed within the first year of enrollment.
  2. Have achieved a minimum required admission grade point average of 3.000. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required. (GMAT scores may be accepted in lieu of GRE.) Applicants must achieve a minimum score of 680 or 153 (revised test) on the quantitative section, 500 or 153 (revised test) on the verbal section and a score of 3.5 on the analytical writing section of the general test.
  3. Applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree outside of the United States are required to achieve an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), minimum of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based).

For further information, please contact the Office of Admission.

Transfer policy

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Food Science degree program with an earned master’s degree may transfer up to six credits of graduate coursework upon approval of a petition by the program director and the dean of the school. (See Academic Policies and Procedures  for transfer policies.)

Continuous enrollment requirement

Continuous enrollment is required throughout the master’s program. Students who are in the thesis option and have not yet successfully defended their thesis and are not enrolled in any other courses must register for FSN 698A  or FSN 698B  for a minimum of one credit each term to fulfill the continuous enrollment requirement. The maximum time allowed for completion of the master’s degree is seven years.


  1. General chemistry with laboratory (two semesters)
  2. Organic chemistry with laboratory (two semesters or one semester organic and one semester biochemistry)
  3. Microbiology with laboratory
  4. Statistics
  5. Human nutrition

Requirements for the Master of Science in Food Science degree

Students pursuing the Master of Science in Food Science are held to the University’s Academic Policies and Procedures . In addition these specific degree standards apply:

  • Minimum grade 2.300 “C+” is acceptable towards the degree (although the food science program will allow a 2.000 “C” in a single class to count towards the degree).
  • Maintain 3.000 GPA in the degree.
  • Complete the thesis or non-thesis option.

The following courses make up the M.S. in Food Science curriculum:

1. coursework

34 semester credits in food science and nutrition-related courses must be completed. Students entering the program without a degree in food science or a food science background will be required to take the food science core courses (12 credits) as part of their 34-credit degree requirements. If the core courses have been taken as an undergraduate at Chapman University or at an Institute of Food Technologists approved academic institution, they may be waived. The student would then build a program by selecting courses from the approved list of electives for graduate students in consultation with their advisor. Thus, a typical student will take the 12-credit core, 7 credits of required coursework (listed below), and 15 elective credits.

total credits (excluding prerequisites) 34

2. thesis and non-thesis options

Students must choose either a non-thesis coursework option or a thesis option, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.000 “B” to earn a M.S. in food science. Students may not change options once begun. (See Academic Policies and Procedures .)

A. non-thesis option: Students pursuing the non-thesis option need to complete one semester of either FSN 594 - Food Product Development  or FSN 691 - Student-Faculty Research  or FSN 699 - Independent Research . Students must also successfully pass a comprehensive exam after completing 25 credits in the program, including all core courses. The comprehensive exam will gauge the ability of the student to coherently and analytically integrate knowledge gained from coursework and apply it to real world situations. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.000 and must have completed all core courses with a minimum grade of “C+” to meet the minimum eligibility requirements to take the comprehensive examination. Students who fail the comprehensive exam can make a second attempt after a minimum interval of three months.

B. thesis option: Students must be accepted by a faculty member as a research advisee to enroll in the thesis option. Students in the thesis option must complete 34 credits to graduate, including 28 credits of coursework and six thesis credits (FSN 698 ). On average, thesis projects take 3-4 semesters to complete. Students should consult with their advisor before embarking on thesis projects to map out how the 6 thesis credits will be distributed over the time frame needed to complete the project, and set clear expectations for each term. If additional time is required to complete the thesis beyond the 6 credits of FSN 698 , students must register for one credit of FSN 698A  or FSN 698B ​ in each semester the thesis remains outstanding. Successful completion of a thesis project includes passing the thesis defense with their thesis committee, submission of the finished and signed thesis to the library, and preparation of a manuscript for publication.

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