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10 Best Food Science Masters Programs

food science and technology
food science graduate programs ranking

“Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it,” said Alton Brown. He’s an American celebrity chef, author, and actor.

In our food science masters programs rankings, we’ll tell you exactly why that is the case.

Do you ever look at the nutrition facts or ingredients on the potato chips or crackers you are eating? Perhaps you wonder, how is all that information determined? How long did it take to find out how many calories are in this food? How do they find out how much fat is in this food? What about carbs? Sugar? Then, there’s the long list of ingredients. Some of them unpronounceable. You may wonder, what am I even eating?

It’s all about food science. We’ve got your go-to list of the best master’s programs in food science and technology.

Food science is the largest industry in the United States. This ever-expanding field of food science encompasses a wide range of career paths. The food science field brings together multiple scientific disciplines, like chemistry, biology, physics, and biochemistry. It creates into one large area of study.

It may seem overwhelming to think about. But when a student studies food science and technology, they focus on one or two specific areas of research. For example, food production, food engineering, or quality control.

The latest research in Food Science is published every day. It might be published on ScienceDirect, for example. ScienceDaily also publishes the latest findings in food science. Here is an article based on scientific evidence about the Ketogenic Diet and its potential to tame the flu virus. Or this one about how caffeine may offset some health risks from high fat and sugar-filled diets. Interesting stuff!

Food research is conducted by food scientists. These professionals research new ways to ensure food safety. They also work to improve the taste and nutrition of food. They ensure that food products meet safety standards, quality, and nutritional values. They stay current with the latest regulations and research. Food scientists should be able to analyze data and monitor processors, materials, and surroundings. Their work helps to detect any potential problems. Most food scientists work in the federal government, research universities, or private industry. Others may work in offices or food production facilities.

So, how does one become a food scientist, you ask? Are you detail-oriented? Do you excel at gathering and interpreting data? Do you have a strong background in science and math? A career in Food Science and Technology may be for you. You should start with an undergraduate food science program or a related field. Then you will want to pursue one of the best food science masters programs.

A Master’s in Food Science and Technology spans through a variety of applied science fields. These include:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry

In other words, Food Science students study the science and technology related to food. They also study engineering and mathematics. Some advanced sub-disciplines that you can explore with a Master in Food Sciences are:

  • Food chemistry and analysis
  • Food preservation and packaging
  • Food technology

You’ll learn about food safety and ways to produce food that meets the needs of our modern society. The main role of food scientists is to produce quality, nutritious, and affordable food. That’s all while satisfying the complex needs of our society.

Food science is not just about cooking. It is also about conducting intense scientific research, and overcoming genuine challenges. Of course, it also involves unraveling multifaceted riddles.

Ready to learn more about food science – and what a career as a food scientist might offer you? Read more in our food science graduate program ranking.

See Also: 10 Best Master’s in Industrial Engineering


We know that you have educational goals in food science that you’re itching to pursue. You may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:

40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni

30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and national accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year

30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school

At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one. We want to help you reach your goals. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at

Check out our ranking of the 10 Best Master’s Programs in Food Science and Technology!

See Also: Top 50 Highest Paying Masters Degrees

#1. Texas Tech University

Master’s in Food Science Programs

Texas Tech

The first food tech master in our food science graduate program rankings is Texas Tech. Texas Tech University is in beautiful Lubbock, Texas. It bustles with excitement all year long. The school opened in 1923. TTU offers more than 150 undergraduate degrees, 100 graduate programs, and 50 doctoral degrees.

In fall 2019, 38,803 students were enrolled in the university. 32,158 were undergraduate and 6,645 were graduate and law students. Twelve colleges and schools make up the academic areas at Texas Tech University. According to U.S. News and World Reports, TTU  is ranked #218 in National Universities.

It is no surprise then that Texas Tech University offers food science degree programs. This food science major is offered as either a thesis or a non-thesis plan of study. It emphasizes the scientific and technological aspects of pre- to post-harvest food processing and distribution. Research programs involve:

  • Food safety
  • Food security
  • Food processing
  • Food microbiology
  • Food quality and composition
  • Processing

The Master’s in Food Science thesis track requires a thesis. That is in addition to at least 24 semester credit hours of coursework and six thesis hours. The Master’s in Food Science without the thesis also required 24 credit hours of coursework. There is an internship in lieu of a thesis. Some courses are offered online. Others are offered in a traditional classroom setting on campus.

Each plan of study is research-intensive. Each one includes three major objectives:

  • To be of practical value to the animal and food industries
  • To contribute to the advancement of science
  • To learn technical and reasoning skills conducive to accomplishing research

Research is conducted in a variety of topics. These include:

  • Ruminant nutrition
  • Feed processing and preservation
  • Growth physiology
  • Animal breeding
  • Animal behavior
  • Welfare science
  • Reproductive physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience
  • Genetics of carcass merit and muscle hypertrophy
  • Meats and muscle biology
  • Food processing
  • Human nutrition
  • Preservation and food safety

The Department of Animal and Food Sciences has modern facilities. These support graduate student teaching and research. There are field laboratories for beef cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. These are located on a 980-acre irrigated farm near TTU. The Burnett Center for Beef Cattle Research and Instruction is a world-class research feed mill and feedlot complex. It supports the research needs of the cattle feeding and the feed milling industries.

Many faculty members of this program are leading researchers in their respective fields. These include:

  • Food science
  • Food safety
  • Muscle biology
  • Nutrition
  • Animal wellbeing
  • Breeding and genetics
  • Physiology specializing in cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and swine.

TTU has a holistic admissions policy. It evaluates students on factors other than GRE scores and GPAs.

TTU offers many forms of financial aid. This includes fellowships and scholarships.

 #2.  Iowa State University

Masters Degree in Food Science and Technology

Iowa State

You will find another one of the best food science programs at Iowa State University. Iowa State University opened in 1858. It is a flagship public land-grant and space-grant research national University. It is in Ames, Iowa. ISU includes ten different schools. It represents 100 different majors. In Fall 2019, there were 33,391 students enrolled at ISU. That number doesn’t even include post-doctoral students. ISU Cyclone sports teams play in the Big 12 Conference.

 Over 120 programs offer graduate study at ISU. This includes a food science programs. The Master’s in Food Science and Technology offers a thesis or non-thesis option for the degree. To pursue a graduate degree at ISU, a student must be accepted by both a program and the national University.

Each graduate student must obtain a Program of Study Committee prior to starting their coursework. The Program of Study Committee is chosen by the graduate student and the major professor. It is approved by the director of graduate education (DOGE). This committee directs the course of the student’s degree program.

Each student is required to consult with his or her major professor every term. This is prior to registration for course work guidance. Coursework for the degree program requires the approval of the POS committee. It also requires approval from the Food Science and Technology director of graduate education (DOGE), and the ISU Graduate College, as filed with the program of study (POS) plan.

The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 coursework credits. This includes five to six credits at a 600-level course in food science. The non-thesis option requires 36 total credits. This includes six credits at a 600-level food science course. Research areas for this degree include:

  • Functional foods and packaging
  • Food safety and quality
  • Green and sustainable food
  • Biomaterials processing technologies

Students must maintain or exceed a GPA of 3.0 while in this program.

Those who follow the thesis track must present a summary of their research project to their Program of Study Committee during their last semester. Students who follow the non-thesis course of study must complete a creative component project. This must be presented to their committee during their last semester. Both thesis and non-thesis graduate students must write a manuscript. This is for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. They must also pass an oral examination of their competency in food science subjects in order to graduate.

Read to apply for the Master’s of Science in Food and Technology? Students need an undergraduate degree with a minimum of a 3.0. Their undergraduate degree should emphasize:

  • Chemistry and biology
  • Food science
  • Nutritional science
  • Dietetics.

ISU offers help to students for paying for their graduate degree. This includes financial aid, graduate assistantships, and more.

#3.  Texas Woman’s University

Food Science Master’s Programs

Texas Women's University

Another top master food technology program is at Texas Women’s University. This school has an enrollment of about 15,000 students. Texas Woman’s University is an independent public national university. It is known for its contributions in leadership in the health care professions and nutrition field. It is in Denton, Texas and opened in 1901. TWU offers women (and men, they have been admitted to the University since 1972), quality education. This ranges from certificate programs to doctoral degrees.

TWU is the largest state-supported national university or women in the United States. 90% of the student body identifying as women. The University is divided into six colleges. These include Arts and Sciences, Business, Health Sciences, Nursing, Professional Education, and Graduate School. TWU prides itself on offering small classes. These classes have accessible, knowledgeable, and supportive faculty. There are over 500 full-time faculty. 75% of all classes have 30 students or fewer.

TWU offers food science programs. Courses take place on TWU’s Denton campus. Students will prepare for a degree as a flavor chemist, developing new flavors and reformulating old ones. This food science programs entail that students will study:

  • Food and flavor chemistry
  • Sensory evaluation
  • Food analysis

This degree is offered in a face-to-face traditional classroom setting.

Flavor chemists study food and break down food compounds. This is so their taste and aromas can be replicated in the lab. They develop new flavors and reformulate old ones.

Over the past two years, TWU has been awarded more than $700,000 in research studies. This is by national food and beverage companies, including Dr. Pepper Snapple. Food Science and Flavor Chemistry students perform research in the following areas:

  • Evaluate the flavor-associated compounds in strawberries in an attempt to identify attributes associated with U.S. taste preferences
  • Study watermelon to identify the specific agents contributing to flavor
  • Examine mushroom for their flavor notes and role they may play in satiety and their potential role in weight control

This degree requires a total of 30 semester credit hours. That is as well as a thesis project. Students will receive hands-on experience. They will use unique equipment used in industry labs, including gas chromatography/mass spectrometry-olfactometry equipment. There is even a microfluidizer that is one of the few available in the United States. Students may also choose to declare a minor in this program.

#4.  Virginia Tech

Master’s Degree Programs in Food Science and Technology

Virginia Tech

The next top masters in food technology in our food science graduate programs ranking is Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is the home of the “Hokies.” It lies on a plateau between the Blue Ridge mountains and Allegheny mountains in Blacksburg, Virginia. This campus opened in 1872. It is beautiful, scenic, and rich in history. It is also the state’s second-largest national university by enrollment.

VT includes nine colleges and a graduate school. Over 36,000 students attend VT. That’s both on and off the main campus. The main campus includes 213 buildings (including an airport). It spans across 2,600 acres. The VT Hokies sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. Notable Hokie alumni include football player Michael Vick and talk show host Hoda Kotb.

VT offers 110 bachelor’s degree programs . There are 170 master’s and doctoral degree programs. It holds a 14:1 student to professor ratio. It offers experiential learning, future-focused research, and an inclusive, spirited culture. Virginia Tech strives to accomplish the charge of its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Among the 170 graduate-level degrees that VT offers is a Food Science degree. VT’s Food and Science degree has national recognition for its ability to prepare and place students in jobs after graduation. Almost 100% of Virginia Tech’s Food Science and Technology graduates have jobs in:

  • Product development
  • Research
  • Sales and marketing
  • Quality assurance
  • Production management
  • Analytical and technical services
  • Regulatory affairs

The objective of these graduate food science programs is to develop within the student a basic scientific understanding of foods and food processing. This is as determined through:

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Food microbiology
  • Physics
  • Engineering

The program aims to expand a student’s professional and technical knowledge in food science. This is while providing enriching experiences in the classroom and laboratory. Students also create connections with professionals in the career field.

The M.S. Degree in Food Science requires completion of at least 30 graduate credits. This  includes 12 credits of 5000 level courses and five credits of Special Study or Independent Study work. The final semester of this degree is spent conducting research and writing a thesis. Students may choose one of the following topics as their research thesis topic:

  • Food and flavor chemistry
  • Food safety and food microbiology
  • Food processing and packaging
  • Food engineering
  • Aquaculture
  • Education and extension
  • Enology and brewing science
  • Functional foods for health
  • Sensory evaluation

#5.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Master’s Degree in Food Science

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Another one of the best food tech master programs is at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867. It has been thriving ever since! UIUC is located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois. This is only a few hours from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis. The school’s Fighting Illini participates in more than 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports. It is part of the Big Ten Conference.

UIUC has won 29 Pulitzer prizes. It is ranked #14 as a Public University. This public school is one of the best colleges in the country based on the following criteria. It is #28 as a National University, according to U.S. News and Report Ratings. UIUC also invented the very first graphical web browser! More than 47,000 students attend UIUC. They are from all 50 states and over 100 countries. This includes over 16,000 graduate students. The student-faculty ratio at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is 20:1. The school has 38.1% of its classes with fewer than 20 students.

UIUC offers a food science major in Food Science and Nutrition. For this major, students will either focus on Food Science or Nutrition. We will be covering the Food Science degree route.Students may choose from a thesis or non-thesis path. For both options, students must complete 32 hours. This includes a minimum of 12 500-level course hours. Students must also maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to earn this food science major.

The non-thesis Master of Science in Food Science program is offered via live, synchronous online sessions. These use distance education technology. The program ensures the same degree of excellence. Courses are instructed by the same faculty as the on-campus non-thesis program.

UIUC faculty are some of the best in the country. The food industry researchers address a wide variety of research areas related to food science, including:

  • Food chemistry
  • Food microbiology
  • Foodborne pathogens
  • Food industry concerns
  • Food processing/engineering
  • Human nutrition

Within the area of food chemistry, faculty members are studying:

  • Sensory science
  • Flavor chemistry
  • Manipulation of storage components
  • Food safety and toxicology
  • Food industry trends
  • Structure-function behavior
  • Foodborne pathogens.
  • Chemical stability of foods

Graduate students have varied options for financial support. This includes Research Assistantship Teaching Assistantships and Fellowship. These provide a stipend, along with a tuition and partial fee waiver. Stipends often range from $7,500 to $23,000/year.

#6.  University of Idaho

Master’s Degree in Food Science

University of Idaho

The University of Idaho is a public school. It is one of the best colleges in the country. It has another excellent food science program. This school occupies the northwestern part of the state. It is in the city of Moscow. It lies in a rural setting. The campus spreads across 810 acres. Since 1889, U of I has provided students with a transformative education. This is to prepare them to solve real-world problems and achieve success in their career paths. It is one of the nation’s land-grant research universities. U of I is a prominent national leader in student-centered learning and interdisciplinary research. It promotes public service. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1. That provides each student with the individual instruction they need in order to succeed.

This school has almost 12,000 enrolled students. U of I offers 94 undergraduate degrees and 62 graduate degrees. This includes the food science programs. In this program, students will gain advanced technical knowledge and independent research skills to create their own food innovations.

Students will spend much time in food science labs:

  • Investigating foodborne pathogens
  • Collecting taste-sensory data
  • Examining the processing and packaging of fruit, vegetable, meat, dairy, and cereal products.
  • Exploring food processing, food microbiology, and food chemistry courses

Much of this food safety and food processing degree is spent conducting hands-on research. There are also international research projects that students can get involved in. There is even a Food Science club.

The Master’s in Food Science requires that students complete a minimum of 31 credit hours. This includes the research thesis element. Students will complete 10 hours of research for their thesis.

There are over 400 scholarships given to the College of Agricultural and Life Science students. These  are based on GPA and other qualifications.

#7.  Kansas State University

Master’s Degree in Food Science

Kent State

Kansas State University has another top food science, food safety, and food production program. Since opening in 1863, Kansas State University has been thriving. That’s all while providing students with a quality education that prepares them for their chosen careers. The Princeton Review’s 2020 edition of “Best 385 Colleges” features K-State in different impressive ratings. This national student survey showcases 13% of the nation’s best four-year colleges. It does this by reviewing more than 140,000 students’ responses and ranking colleges in 62 categories. The Princeton Review ranked K-State:

  • Number two in the nation for the best quality of life and great relationship with the surrounding town and best health services
  • Number three for happiest students and students love these colleges
  • Number seven for best run colleges and best athletic facilities.

It also has some of the best research facilities. This is a top public school for food industry majors, according to U.S. News & World Report. According to the survey comments, Kansas State University students said the atmosphere is “very personable and really focused on the student.” Instructors “go above and beyond” for students.

The school serves more than 22,000 students. K-State offers over 250 undergraduate academic programs and over 165 graduate degrees and certificates. There are 1,437 full-time faculty. This national University accommodates classroom learning with an 18-to-1 teacher-student ratio.

Among the graduate degrees offered is the nutrition and food science major. This degree can be completed on-campus or online. It features both a thesis and a non-thesis option. The Master of Science in Food Science program at K-State provides cutting-edge training in:

  • Developing
  • Processing
  • Manufacturing
  • And marketing safe, wholesome, and attractive food products.

The curriculum focuses on the:

  • Microbiology of food
  • Principles of HACCP
  • Quality assurance of food products
  • Food analysis
  • Advanced food chemistry

Moreover, The Institute of Food Technologists recognizes Kansas State University as having “the most comprehensive” food science program in the United States.

Students conduct research in the Food Chemistry labs are located in Call Hall. One is designated as an instrument laboratory. The other is a wet laboratory used for sample preparation and analytical studies. These facilities are used to determine the chemical and physical properties of food.

The Food Science degree requires that graduate students complete a minimum of 30 credit hours. This includes six hours of credits for the thesis option or two credit hours for the report option. This degree is offered in a traditional classroom or online.

To qualify for this program, prospective students need a Bachelor of Science Degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition, students must have completed the following pre-requisite courses:

  • Biology, Botany, or Zoology
  • Physics
  • Microbiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus
  • Statistics

#8.  Purdue University

 Graduate Food Science Majors


Purdue University has another great nutrition and food science program. This school is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It first opened its doors in 1874 with six instructors and 39 students. Today, PU serves 33,646 undergraduate students and 9,963 graduate students. This is based on the enrollment data from Fall 2019. Purdue is made up of 13 schools and college. These serve both undergraduate and graduate students. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University the 6th most innovative national university in 2018. It was the 57th of National Universities in the 2020 edition. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was a Purdue graduate!

PU offers a Food Science degree. The food industry degree is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. This program requires that graduate students choose one area of focus:

  • Food Chemistry, Structure and Function
  • Foods for Health
  • Food Safety and Microbiology
  • Food Processing or Technology Development

This degree path is an interdepartmental program. It includes all 20 of the faculty in the Department of Food Science and 11 select faculty in the following departments:

  • Agricultural & Biological Engineering
  • Animal Sciences
  • Nutrition Science

On average, there are 75 graduate students in the program. They are divided between M.S. and Ph.D. students. There’s an equal division between U.S. and international students. All graduate students are supported on assistantships (or fellowships).

After students graduate, valuable networking opportunities with industry executives. That is along with the department’s placement services often lead to employment with companies such as:

  • Cargill
  • ConAgra
  • General Mills
  • Hershey
  • Kellogg’s
  • Kraft
  • Nestlé

So far, PU reports a 100% job replacement rate among the Food Science degree graduates.

PU’s Master’s in Food Science program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. This includes coursework and research credit hours combined. Beyond the basic Food Science courses, students will select additional courses based on their specialization. In addition, students will take a Case Study Course. They will complete a research project pending graduation.

Funding for the Food Science graduate program is also offered. This includes endowments and resources provided by The Fellowship Office.

#9.  Clemson University

Master’s in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science

Clemson University

Clemson University has a fantastic food science and food safety program. The school is ranked as the 27th Best National Public University by U.S. News & World Report . It is among the “Best Value Colleges” by Princeton Review for 2020. Clemson is dedicated to teaching, research and service. It opened in 1893 with 556 students and 15 faculty. CU has evolved into what it is today: a prestigious university committed to world-class research. It also serves the second largest student population in South Carolina.

The beautiful college campus sits on 20,000 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is along the shores of Lake Hartwell, South Carolina. There are seven colleges that comprise CU. There are also research facilities and economic development hubs throughout the state of South Carolina. The student to faculty ratio is 16:1. This provides personal, customized learning to each Clemson student. 87% of faculty hold a Ph.D. degree or equivalent. CU alumni are pleased with their choice to attend this national university. 92% of Clemson graduates say they would pick Clemson again if they had to do it over.

Among these programs is a Food Science degree. There is either a thesis or non-thesis option. The Food Science degree thesis option requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework and six credit hours of thesis research.

The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. 15 hours must be from 8000-level or above courses. The final written exam is required for the non-thesis path. It is a two-day exam that covers four major categories:

  • Food Engineering/Processing
  • Food Microbiology/Safety
  • Food Chemistry/Analysis
  • Human Nutrition

#10.  North Carolina State University

Master’s Degree in Food Science

NC State

Last but not least on our list of food science programs for aspiring agricultural and food scientists is NC State. NC State University began in 1887. It was a land-grant institution grounded in agriculture and engineering. Today, NC State University is a leading public research national university. It is still a land grant institution that is highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. It excels across disciplines, including food products and the food industry. It is one of the best colleges in the country. North Carolina State University is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is and is a good match for those seeking a vibrant city atmosphere. At the same time, it is good for those who don’t want to be too far away from the rural country, the mountains, or the beach. The state of North Carolina provides everyone with their favorite scenery.

NC State’s motto, “Think and Do,” is evident in all of their academic programs. More than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students at NC State University learn by doing. Ten colleges represent all major academic fields. State educates more North Carolinians than any other national University in the state. On the sports fields, NC State University is known as The Wolfpack. It competes in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. NC State University  is also ranked #1 in the state for the cost. It is ranked  for best value, according to U.S. News and Report.

NC State University offers a Food Science degree. This degree trains the next generation of leaders in food, bioprocessing, and nutrition science. NC State graduate students gain the necessary knowledge and skills for improving food quality, safety, and food-related public policy. They also gain a comprehensive understanding of nutrition and nutrition-related behaviors. The faculty in the Food Science Department are a team of scientists, researchers, and teachers. They are committed to guiding students through this graduate degree. At the same time, they prepare them for job placement when they graduate.

Students can choose from a thesis or non-thesis Graduate Degree in Food Science. Both the thesis and non-thesis degree prepare students to gain employment in food or allied industries. They are capable of conducting, analyzing, and communicating research findings. This is in either academic or industrial settings. The thesis route qualifies students for acceptance into a Ph.D. program. The non-thesis program prepares students for immediate job opportunities.

Both the thesis and non-thesis graduate program require 36 credit hours of course work. This includes:

  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Processing Technology
  • General Food Science

International students in this program are from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. Three-quarters of the graduate students come from the US. One-quarter are from elsewhere in the world.


What do agricultural and food scientists do?

Food Scientists and Technologists are common career choices of those with a master’s degree in Food Science Technology. These professionals have extensive knowledge in chemistry and biology. They study the basic elements and nutritional value of food sources. They also conduct research on how to make food production safer.

What are the best food science programs?

You will find some of the best food science programs at the national universities listed above, including at schools like California State Polytechnic University (California State Polytechnic University just barely missed our list!). Other top graduate programs and food science degrees can be found at leading national universities. The best colleges for food science degrees and working in the food industry include:

  • California State University Los Angeles (California State University is another one that just barely missed the list)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • California State University Long Beach

Other top national universities for food science degrees, according to U.S. News & World Report, include:

  • American University
  • National University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Whether you choose to study these graduate programs in food science online or on the main campus, there are a few things you should look for when exploring a food system degree. Whether it’s California State University or other national universities, look for graduate programs that will provide you with research experience. Look for a program in food science that will let you get hands-on internship experience with a real food scientist or at real government agencies.

Pursue food science degrees that will let students choose concentrations of their choosing, such as:

  • Research methods
  • Food law
  • Foodborne pathogens
  • Food microbiology
  • Applied nutrition
  • Food industry
  • Food products
  • Quality control
  • Food system quality assurance

Many of the best food science degrees and national universities overall are nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report as well. The best food science degrees, as far as graduate programs go, offer more hands-on experience beyond the bachelor’s degree level. If you want to be a food scientist, choosing a state university that lets you get an in-depth look at food law and the overall food system is essential.

How do I get admitted to a food science program?

Most Master’s food science degrees look for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Common bachelor’s degrees requirements for Food Science and Technology Master’s Programs are science-related degrees. Some common prerequisite courses are:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Statistics
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry

The GRE is often the standard graduate study entrance exam.Students need to provide an average of three letters of recommendation. These letters should be from professional and/or academic recommenders. Past college professors, school counselors, or supervisors are good choices.

Prospective students will need to either submit a resume or a curriculum vitae (CV).

A statement of purpose is also referred to as a letter of intent or research statement. It introduces your academic and professional experience. 

Most universities have a non-refundable application fee. These fees can range from $50 to $100.

The following are common grad school application questions that you should consider:

  • Why do you want to pursue these graduate programs, as opposed to other programs?
  • What are your research interests?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What will you contribute to the program?

What can I do with a food science degree?

A Master’s Degree in Food Science  can prove to be a lucrative career path. This degree prepares students with the necessary lab skills and knowledge of food and nutrition. It equips them to work in several different professions. The projected growth of this field is 9% from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than average. 

Food product developers work behind the scenes to test and develop new food products. They often create and test recipes. They might work for companies to develop the packaging of these foods.

How much money can I make with a food science degree?

According to PayScale and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Food scientists and technologists make a median salary of around $67,178 to $71,460 per year. Product developers make around $58,204 per year, depending on where they work.

Safety inspectors often work in manufacturing plants. They make sure that the products made for human consumption are safe. These professionals follow all safety regulations. They ensure that the employees do as well. Safety inspectors can earn around $59,019 or more. This depends on where they work.


#11. Cornell University

Location: Itaca, New York

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $28,890


#12. Arizona State University

Location: Tempe, Arizona

Degree: Master’s in Nutrition

Net Price: $13,731


#13. Oregon State University

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $18,625


#14. Washington State University

Location: Pullman, Washington

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $17,297


#15. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $17,315


#16. University of Akron

Location: Akron, Ohio

Degree: Master’s in Food and Environmental Nutrition

Net Price: $16,269


#17. Mississippi State University

Location: Starkville, Mississippi

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $16,640


#18. Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $16,227


#19. University of Maine

Location: Orono, Maine

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price: $16,984


#20. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Degree: Master’s in Food Science Technology

Net Price:$14,169



Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor