Earn a Master's degree online while you balance work and family life.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) offers an online non-thesis Master of Science degree. Many of the students in this program are working professionals. The online delivery option makes the program accessible to students in various locations, who may also be balancing important personal and professional commitments. 

Online student poster presentation

Finding Success

The FSHN online non-thesis Master of Science degree features dedicated faculty who have a vision to help you become a leader in your professional career. Studies in food science prepare students to apply the principles of science and engineering to ensure the quantity, quality, variety, attractiveness, and safety of foods. Graduates pursue careers in industry, academia, and governmental agencies.

Areas of Employment

Prepare for an ever-changing mix of career options, including some
of tomorrow’s biggest opportunities in careers that don’t even exist
today. Food science and human nutrition graduates have joined
career positions as:

• Food safety specialist
• Ingredient applications scientist
• Product commercialization scientist or engineer
• Product innovation scientist
• Production plant resource or leadership team
• Quality assurance specialist or quality enabler
• Regulatory specialist
• Sensory scientist
• Supply chain resource
• Technical salesperson

Student in food lab

Online Curriculum

The off-campus master’s degree program was created in 1973, and hundreds of students have obtained their degrees through the program. The online delivery system, initiated in 2010, maintains the high-quality, non-thesis M.S. program for which the University of Illinois is known. The online M.S. food science program offers one to three courses each semester, including summer semester.


Food Science and Human Nutrition Graduate Applicant Requirements

  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0)
  • Pre-requisite expectations: These courses must be completed prior to applying to the program. If you are deficient in any of these courses, you can complete these courses at a community college or other accredited institutions (residential or online). UIUC course descriptions are included in parentheses so that you can find an equivalent course at the institution that is right for you.
    • Calculus (First course in calculus and analytic geometry; basic techniques of differentiation and integration with applications including curve sketching; antidifferentation, the Riemann integral, fundamental theorem, exponential and trigonometric functions)
    • General Chemistry I (Principles governing atomic structure, bonding, states of matter, stoichiometry, and chemical equilibrium)
    • General Chemistry II (Chemistry of materials, including organic and biological substances, chemical energetics and equilibrium, chemical kinetics, and electrochemistry)
    • Elementary Organic Chemistry (Presents structural and mechanistic chemistry with emphasis on applications of this material to closely related areas)
    • Introductory Microbiology (Introduction to the principal activities and properties of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses; consideration of the role of natural processes, such as photosynthesis; and man's use and control of microorganisms in the production of antibodies and vaccines in industrial fermentations, in sanitation and public health, and in agriculture)
    • College Physics: Mechanics and Heat (Newton's Laws, work and energy, rotational motion, fluids, thermodynamics, and waves. A noncalculus-based approach for majors in the life sciences, preprofessional health programs, agriculture, and veterinary medicine)
  • Three letters of reference
  • Statement of professional interest
    • Please focus on your motivation for pursuing a Master of Science in Food Science degree, and how this degree will support your current and future professional and personal goals.

Application Deadlines

The Master of Science in Food Science program that is offered online follows a tradition semester schedule. Students can apply to start their degree program in either the fall or spring semesters. Please complete the online application and the application requirements by the following deadlines to be fully considered:

  • Fall Admission: April 1
  • Spring Admission: November 1

Interim Director of Off-campus Programs

Bianca Xu


Guanying (Bianca) Xu

Additional Information