Graduate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the Food Science Department look for in applicants?
The department of Food Science is looking for candidates with a strong background in science who have excelled in the prerequisite science courses (organic chemistry, statistics, general microbiology with lab, biochemistry, and two semesters of general chemistry).


What are the tuition and fees for your program?
Tuition and fees information is available from the Bursar.  For U.S. applicants, from Financial Aid Services.


How do I get admission for your graduate program?
All admission is based on individual faculty agreeing to direct your graduate study.


What are the opportunities for assistantship/funding?

The Department has limited fellowships available with no TA availability. However, all assistantships, including fellowships and RAs, are administered through the individual faculty. Questions on the availability of assistantships should be directed to individual faculty members.


Can the graduate school application fee be waived?
The Department of Food Science has a number of application fee waivers that can grant to prospective students who have faced adversity, such as societal, economic or academic disadvantages.
We will additionally consider application fee waiver requests from applicants who are first generation students and students who have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education in Food Science and/or have participated in the following professional organizations or conferences. Proof of membership or attendance should be required.

1. Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

2. International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST)

3. Phi Tau Sigma, the honor society of Food Science and Technology

4. International Association of Food Protection (IAFP)

5. American chemical society (ACS)- The Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (AGFD)

6. American Oil Chemists' Society

7. American Society of Nutrition

8. Society of Toxicology

To apply, please contact faculty of your interest. The waiver application has to go through the faculty who is considering your graduate school application.

Should I contact faculty directly?
Yes, it is strongly encouraged to contact faculty to seek an opening and/or funding opportunity.


Which graduate program should I apply for?
Typically students with MS will be admitted for Ph.D. Students with no MS will be admitted for MS. If Students have a non-food science undergraduate degree, she/he can be admitted for 1-year professional MS or MS with thesis options. However, as all admission decision will be based on individual faculty agreeing to direct your graduate study, it is encouraged to discuss the graduate program with the potential faculty advisor.


I have a non-science undergraduate degree, can I enter the program? 
Non-FS BS student will be eligible for 1-year professional MS program. Please note that students in 1-year professional MS program are not qualified for any departmental assistantship and again admission is based on individual faculty.


What are the pre-requisites for your graduate program?
Prerequisites are GPA of 3.0 or above; separate courses in: general chemistry with lab, organic chemistry with lab, biochemistry with lab, general microbiology with lab and statistics.


If I'm missing a requirement, can I take it after entering the program?
The undergraduate statistics requirement can be completed after entering the program but the credits do not count towards the credits required for the graduate degree.

After I complete the 1-year Professional MS program, would I be eligible for the application of Ph.D program?
Admission to the Ph.D. program requires a faculty member agreeing to direct the dissertation of the applicant regardless of  their  background.  Previous laboratory research experience is required for admission to the Ph.D program, typically fulfilled by completion of a M.S. degree.


Are your programs offered in an online format?
No. Our programs are currently campus-based.

Can these programs be done on a part-time basis?
It is possible, although rarely done.  The Graduate School sets time limits on degree programs.


What are your application requirements?
General information on admissions requirements and applying are available at the Graduate School web site. Information for international students is available at the Graduate School web site as well.

What are the application deadlines for your programs?
Visit the Graduate School web site for this information.


How many applicants do you receive and how many are admitted?
The number of applicants varies from year to year. The acceptance rate is <25% .

Does your program have a spring admittance?


What are the minimum and average GPA and GRE scores of admitted students?
The Food Science Department does not calculate this data. Currently GRE is not required for our program.

What is the department code for TOEFL score reports?

What are TOEFL requirements for admission in MS at UMass Amherst?
The minimum TOEFL score is 80. For the IELTS the minimum score is 6.5

Can I have information on your programs mailed to me?
No. All information on our programs is posted on this web site. If you have a specific question that is not answered in the information on our website, submit a question via our information request form. If you have additional questions specific to our graduate program, please contact Prof. John Gibbons ( and Prof. Jiakai Lu (



Updated June 5th. 2023