Graduate Admission Requirements

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Degree Programs

  1. Masters of Science Degree (M.S.) in Food Science and Technology
    1. Thesis (Option I, research based)
    2. Project (Option II or Option III, non-research based)
  2. Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) in Food Science and Technology (research based, dissertation required)
    1. Specialization Option: Interdisciplinary Bioinformatics

Holistic Application Review

Because each applicant’s background and experience is unique, the Department of Food Science and Technology take a holistic approach evaluating the applicant as a whole individual. Applicants need to follow the directions when submitting their application.

Online Application Review

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses an online application. If applicants do not have a CollegeNET account, they will need to “Create a New Account.”

Deadlines

The Food Science and Technology Graduate Program accepts new students three times a year.

Admission Term Fall (August) Summer (May) Spring (January)
Priority Deadline* December 15
Application Deadline February 15 February 15 September 15

*Top applicants who apply by December 15 for the following fall admission term will be considered for special recruitment fellowships (in addition to assistantship opportunities). If residing in the United States, up to two applicants may be invited for a paid campus visit to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to tour the Food Science and Technology Department and interview with faculty researchers.

Applicants for the Master of Science Degree with Thesis and Doctoral Degree are eligible for graduate assistantships. No additional forms are required to be considered for graduate assistantship. Please check the appropriate boxes in the funding/assistantship question.

Application Fee

All applicants must submit a nonrefundable application fee to the University before their application is processed. The UNL Food Science and Technology Department does not waive the application fee.

Transcripts

Successful applicants have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree with a background in food science, microbiology, biochemistry, engineering, nutrition, biology, chemistry, animal science or other related field. Transcripts are evaluated for course work and outstanding grades in organic chemistry, calculus, and physics.

 Master Degrees

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) or B average.

 Doctoral Degree

Applicants must hold a master’s degree with thesis from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) or B average. 

Although applicants having a bachelor’s degree or MS non-thesis degree may apply for the doctoral degree program, only exceptional applicants will be considered. It is expected that applicants for the doctoral degree program have prior research experience.

Documentation

Applicants must upload one unofficial transcript from each college or university attended to their application. For academic records in a language other than English, both the original-language documents and a word-for-word English translation must be uploaded along with certificates and diplomas. 

Official transcripts are required if admission is offered and accepted so newly admitted students can enroll.

English Proficiency Verification

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores to demonstrate their ability to undertake advanced academic work in an English-speaking institution by providing an English Proficiency test score.

Official scores must be sent electronically to UNL Graduate Studies by Educational Testing Service (Institution Code 6877). TOEFL or IELTS scores are valid for two years.

In response to COVID-19 and closure of testing centers, the Office of Graduate Studies has approved the temporary use of the Duolingo English Test (February 3, 2020-April 15, 2021).

Minimum Requirements
TOEFL, internet-based 79
TOEFL, paper-based 550
IELTS 6.5

Exemptions for the English proficiency requirement are granted for non-native speakers who have received a bachelor's or more advanced degree either from an accredited U.S. institution or from a university outside the U.S. at which English is the official language of instruction.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide critical information about personal attributes and student drive. Applicants should choose three recommenders who are able to evaluate their academic and research experience, work ethic, initiative, and critical thinking skills as it relates to graduate school.

Recommenders should be research advisors, faculty members, instructors, internship supervisors, or colleagues from food science and technology or closely related fields, industry, student groups, or competitions. Recommendations should never come from a family member or close friend.

Applicants may submit their admission application before receiving all letters of recommendation. It is highly encouraged that letters be received within two weeks of the deadline.

Personal Statement

The personal statement should consist of 1-2 pages, and include:

  • A clear and well-defined interest within one of the food science and technology disciplines
  • Care deeply about your discipline. How would you contribute to expand knowledge within that discipline?
  • Describe your long-term professional goals. What do you hope to accomplish after finishing your graduate degree?
  • Include previous research, teaching, and work experiences. How would they contribute to your success in a graduate education?

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Successful applicants show their initiative outside the classroom. As part of their personal statement and resume/CV, applicants should include prior research, teaching, work, leadership, and volunteer experiences.

Experience, Awards and Publications (Additional Information page)

Applicants may upload files or provide a URL for abstracts, publications, documentation of special recognitions or certifications, etc. Do not duplicate information listed on resume/CV or documents uploaded elsewhere in the application. 

Professional Development Supplemental Form

Applicants are required to fill out the Professional Development Supplemental Form for their respective Master of Science or Doctoral degree application. Applicants are asked to identify:
• Top research interests within Food Science and Technology
• Career Plans

Identify a Faculty Mentor

Applicants must have faculty willing to accept them and serve as their faculty mentor.

After submitting their application, applicants should start communicating with faculty mentors with shared research interests to learn about faculty research, how the applicant would fit into the lab and if assistantship funding is available.

A strong applicant identifies a clear and well-defined interest within one of the food science and technology disciplines. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact faculty with similar interests. Please do not contact every faculty member with a general interest. Take the time and explore our faculty profiles and read their published papers to see if what they do also sparks an interest.

Programs

MS


Food Science and Technology Master's Program

Description

PhD


Food Science and Technology Doctoral Program

Description

Financial Support

Graduate Assistantships

Applicants for the Master of Science Degree with Thesis and Doctoral Degree are eligible for graduate assistantships. No additional forms are required to be considered for financial support. The applicant’s letter of recommendation, personal statement and resume/CV are used to determine if a faculty mentor is willing to accept applicants into their lab and offer a graduate assistantship.

Sponsorship for a graduate assistantship is dependent on funding and an open position in a faculty mentor’s lab. Most funding come from outside funding agency grants. When a grant is approved, the faculty mentor searches for a well-qualified applicant to work on a specific research project. They try to match research assistantships with individuals whose interests and expertise are suited to the research project.

Graduate assistantships are annually renewable based on satisfactory performance. 

Graduate assistantships include a monthly stipend, tuition waiver, and 79% of the University health insurance premium. Students are responsible for ALL student fees plus the student portion (21%) of the University health insurance premium. Student fees run approximately $1,500 per semester but will vary depending on the number of courses are taken. Student fees include access to the UNL library, campus recreation and student health center.

Our Food Science and Technology graduate research and teaching assistantships are awarded on a very competitive basis. With these assistantship awards come the expectation that applicants will be fully committed to completing their graduate academic program and contributing to the faculty mentor’s research project. 

Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities

Applicants are encouraged to apply for educational, government, professional organization, and other fellowships. International students are often supported through government scholarships or Fulbright fellowships. Domestic students have opportunities to apply for NIH Research Training or Development Programs and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or Research Traineeship. 

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

If applicants are currently employed in the food science and technology industry, they should check with their employer for professional development opportunities that provide tuition reimbursement.

Special Consideration for Master of Science Degree with Project 

Applicants for the Master of Science Degree with Project are not eligible for graduate assistantships. The Master of Science Degree with Project is considered a terminal degree, meaning applicants do not intend to participate in research or go onto a Doctoral Degree.

Once admitted, applicants may not change to a Master of Science Degree with Thesis option. Dr. Rossana Villa Rojas currently serves as our faculty mentor for the Master of Science with Project.


Special Consideration for Employees (Industry and University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Graduate Students Employed in Industry

Graduate students currently employed in the food science and technology industry and receiving employer tuition reimbursement may pursue a Master of Science Degree with Project, Master of Science Degree with Thesis or Doctoral Degree. The Department of Food Science and Technology primary works with industries within Nebraska where the student can come to our Nebraska Innovation Campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The project shall be selected cooperatively by the student, the student’s Food Science and Technology faculty mentor and the student’s employer. During active research in the laboratories of their employers, it is expected the student submit a monthly written report of research activities, if not weekly contact with faculty mentor.

Graduate students currently employed are expected to follow the graduate student expectations, including all degree requirements, meeting annually with their supervisory committee, attending seminar, and participating in teaching experience.

Graduate Students Employed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln employees may be eligible for employer tuition reimbursement to pursue a Master of Science Degree with Project, Master of Science Degree with Thesis or Doctoral Degree.

 The project shall be selected cooperatively by the student, the student’s Food Science and Technology faculty mentor and the student’s University of Nebraska-Lincoln work supervisor. To reduce conflict of interest, University of Nebraska-Lincoln employees must identify a Food Science and Technology faculty mentor other than their immediate University of Nebraska-Lincoln work supervisor. Their University of Nebraska-Lincoln work supervisor may service on their supervisor committee as a committee member.

 Graduate students currently employed are expected to follow the graduate student expectations, including all degree requirements, meeting annually with their supervisory committee, attending seminar, and participating in teaching experience.