University of Massachusetts Amherst

Food Science

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PhD Requirements

The actual program will be determined by students in conjunction with their advisor and dissertation committee.

A total of 21 graduate course credits, 2 Seminar credits, and 18 dissertation credits are required to complete the degree.

Basic Science Subjects

Ph.D. candidates are expected to have a background substantially equivalent to the B.S. degree in Food Science at UMASS.

Food Science Core Subjects

At least one senior-level course from each of the main areas of Food Science:

  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Processing


Candidates who have completed these core courses elsewhere need not take them again. Students who complete the courses at UMASS will be able to count up to 6 credits towards the total course credits required to complete the degree program.

The written portion of the Comprehensive exam covers the whole of the undergraduate Food Science curriculum, i.e., Food Chemistry, Food Processing, Food Analysis, Food Microbiology.

After Ph.D. students pass the written portion they need to take the Oral portion of the Comprehensive exam.

Graduate Courses


1. At least 9 credits (600-level or above, not including Seminar) within the Department during the degree program.

2. At least 6 credits (500-level or above) outside the Department in fields directly related to food science.

3. The remaining 6 credits are graduate courses (500-level or above) taken within or outside the Department.

4. 2 credits of Graduate Seminar. One credit may be from a seminar presented in the M.S. degree program.

Note: up to 12 graduate course credits (500-level or above) from the M.S. degree at UMASS or another university (or senior-level courses taken in another subject in a non-food science program) can be counted towards #2 or 3, provide they are from a science or engineering department.