Aug 25, 2019  
2013-2014 General Catalog (Summer, Fall 2013) 
2013-2014 General Catalog (Summer, Fall 2013) [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Food Safety and Quality- MFSQ

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College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences

(Plan C)

Welcome to the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences. We, the faculty, sincerely hope that your experiences will be stimulating and rewarding; and that you will experience the thrill of discovery and the satisfaction of learning and service during your graduate studies. Progress toward the Master of Food Safety and Quality is outlined below.

About the Program

The Master of Food Safety and Quality is a professional (Plan C) graduate degree designed to provide indepth training in food science and food safety. This program is flexible to meet the needs of most students who desire to enhance their careers.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The MFSQ program does not provide financial aid (assistantships). The MFSQ program participates in the WICHE ( exchange program providing in-state tuition rates to students from the western US states of AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, ND, OR, SD, WA, and WY.  Despite the fact that this program does not provide assistantships, there may be a few opportunities for workstudy or graduate assistant stipends.  Assistantships are arranged with individual faculty members.


The MFSQ program of study has been tailored for students with undergraduate training in food science or majors closely related. It is preferable if candidates have some background in chemistry, statistics, and microbiology. Prior course work in food science is desirable. Students may be accepted into this program with deficiencies with the understanding that their supervisory committee will require they achieve minimum food science competencies.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

40th percentile on both the Verbal and Quantitative tests

Bachelor's degree

Completed before the student enters the program or Utah State University students can file a split form that allows MFSQ courses to be taken in the final year of their BS/BA degree.

Grade point average

≥ 3.0 (out of 4) on last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits

Letters of recommendation

Satisfactory letters from 3 people

(International Students) English proficiency

Computerbased TOEFL ≥ 213, internetbased TOEFL ≥ 79, or ≥ 6.0 on the IELTS.


Application, review, and acceptance

Applicants are encouraged to contact the MFSQ program coordinator prior to or after completing the University online application for graduate studies.  Other food science faculty can also provide assistance in determining if the MFSQ program is a good fit for your career goals. The School of Graduate Studies will hold your application until it is complete, and it will then be reviewed by the NDFS department. If you have not received notification within 3 weeks of completing your application please contact the NDFS Department (1-435-797-2126) to inquire on your status.  When students are accepted into the program, they will be assigned a supervisory committee within the food science group in NDFS. 

Defining a Program of Study

Students register for their first semester based on advice from their major professor. Students then prepare in conjunction with their major professor a Program of Study, such that they fulfill the requirements of the MFSQ Program. The student needs to schedule to meet with their supervisory committee to discuss the proposed Program of Study by the end of the first semester.  A copy of the proposed Program of Study should be given to each committee member several days prior to the committee meeting. The committee will review and approve the students program of study by addressing:

  •  MFSQ core course requirements
  •  MFSQ optional course selections
  •  MFSQ program special projects/topics selections

Students select a Program of Study for the MFSQ that compliments their BS studies and their career goals.  In general;

  • Food science students with a BS from USU cannot include in their MFSQ program any courses that are dual listed1with courses in their BS program.
  • Food science students with a BS From another university can select dual-listed courses that are distinctly different from those included in their BS program.
  • Students should bring a copy of the BS transcript to their meeting with their supervisory committee if dual-listed courses are to be included in their Program of Study.

All members of the committee and the department head must sign the Program of Study form before it is sent to the School of Graduate Studies. Registration for all subsequent semesters should be based on the approved Program of Study. Changes in the Program of Study requires a letter written by the major professor to the School of Graduate Studies (with copies to all members of the committee and the department head) justifying the change. The student may register for courses not listed on the Program of Study with approval of their major professor.

Program Requirements

The MFSQ program of study requires 33 credit hours minimum that consists of a core of courses that all MFSQ students are required to complete, with the remaining courses being selected based on the student's background and career interests from the list of elective courses.  Other elective courses can be included with the supervisory committee's approval.

Students are required to take the following core courses (unless they have received a grade of B or higher in a similar course in their BS studies).  Students need to make a written request to their supervisory committee explaining why they are requesting a waiver of any of the core courses.

Core Courses (All of the following):

Students select optional courses based upon their field of interest and past experiences.  For example, students may choose courses that provide emphasis in microbial aspects of food safety and quality, or other various science aspects related to foods. Courses that are dual listed (e.g. NDFS 5000/6000 level courses) or were included in the student's undergraduate program cannot be retaken at the graduate (6000) level.

Choose remaining credits from other courses:

Students select other coursework in consultation with their supervisor according to their career goals. 


Students may include additional graduate level coursework (other than listed) in their program of study through a written request to the supervisory committee that includes a description of the course and justification for how this course enhances their learning as part of their career objectives.

Capstone Report

The MFSQ program of study requires the production of a formal written capstone report.  There are two options: (a) literature review or (b) special projects portfolio.  The depth of the report is reflected in the number of credits taken from of 1-3 (NDFS 6900 ).  Expectations and credits should be discussed with the major professor.  If a literature review is chosen it must be written in a similar style as a thesis.  The literature review should be appropriately scientific with conclusions drawn.  Since this program is a Plan "C" the literature review is not submitted to the graduate school.  The second option is a special projects portfolio.  This document should reflect the experiential development of the student based on the "Special Problem" courses the student will be engaged in during their MFSQ program of study at USU.  Students should make use of the University Writing Center to correct formatting, grammar and presentation for either capstone report. The capstone report is submitted to the supervising professor for approval by the 5th week of the student's final semester.

The NDFS graduate seminar (NDFS 7800 ) is held from 3:30 to 5:00 pm each Wednesday of Fall and Spring semesters. During the student's final semester in the MFSQ program, the student will make an oral presentation of their literature review or experiential portfolio.  This needs to be scheduled with the NDFS graduate seminar instructor as well as the members of the supervisory committee who are invited to attend this presentation.

  2. 1Dual listed courses include:  NDFS 6020 , NDFS 6030 , NDFS 6100 , NDFS 6110 , NDFS 6170 , NDFS 6500 , NDFS 6560 
  3. 2The MFSQ capstone involves, e.g., a literature review or situational report of an area of food safety or quality that is relevant to the student's interests and requires approval from the supervisory committee
  4. 3Occupational Experiences can be designed to enhance the student's study of the quality and safety of food and requires supervisory committee approval
  5. 4Prerequisite courses are not included in the 33 credits of the MFSQ Degree.  For example, BIOL 3060  is a prerequisite course for BIOL 5300 


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