Nutrition and Food Sciences M.S.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Master's Degree


The department mission is to study the relationship between nutrition, food science, health and fitness (preventive nutrition), and between diet and disease (therapeutic nutrition). Faculty research encompasses both basic and applied aspects of human nutrition, food science, food safety and food systems. 

The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences offers thesis-based and non-thesis Master of Science degrees. The thesis-based M.S. degree, which requires the writing and defending of a thesis, is a course and research based program with 15-24 credits in course work and 6-15 credits of research. The minimum number of credits required is 30. A non-thesis M.S. degree also requires 30 credits: 24-27 credits in course work, and in consultation with their faculty mentor, the student chooses their final project for 3-6 credits. The non-thesis M.S. does not require a thesis or a thesis defense.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science

An undergraduate major in nutrition, dietetics, food science or a science-related field, and an undergraduate course in biochemistry.  A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is recommended.  Students need to complete the Graduate College Application form that must include three letters of recommendation.   Students must be admitted through the Graduate College before taking any courses that will be applied to the master’s degree requirements. 

Minimum Degree Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

A minimum of 30 credits and successful completion of a written comprehensive exam are required for completion of a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences.  Students enrolled in the thesis-based program must also write, present and successfully defend their research thesis.

Students must meet the UVM Graduate College Requirements for the Master’s Degree. A minimum of  15 graded credits must be taken after matriculation into the graduate program. Required courses for both the thesis and non-thesis M.S. are as follows:

STAT 211QR: Statistical Methods I3
NFS 350Nutrition&Food Science Seminar1
NFS 391Master's Thesis Research6-15
NFS 362Intro to Research Methods3
STAT 211QR: Statistical Methods I3
NFS 350Nutrition&Food Science Seminar1
NFS 390Master's Project Research3-6
NFS 362Intro to Research Methods3

Remaining elective courses for both the thesis and non-thesis courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor and must be approved for graduate credit. 

Comprehensive Examination

Thesis M.S. candidates will present a seminar before the end of the second semester of the degree program. This seminar will focus on the background to the proposed M.S. thesis research and experimental design.  The candidate will be expected to provide an abstract of the seminar and a link to one pertinent online article related to the seminar topic. The abstract (electronic version) and link to a pertinent article must be submitted to the course instructor no later than one week prior to the seminar date. The course instructor will distribute the abstract and link to the NFS faculty and students. Within 2 weeks following the seminar date, the candidate will meet with his/her thesis defense committee to discuss the student’s performance with the seminar and provide feedback. This seminar and the committee meeting that follows will constitute the student’s M.S. Comprehensive Examination.

Non-Thesis M.S. candidates will present an oral presentation on their final project by the end of the semester for which the final project credits have been assigned. The oral presentation will be attended by the Faculty Mentor and at least 2 additional members from the NFS Graduate Program.  These 3 people form the student’s Faculty Project Review Committee.  1 Graduate College faculty member from another department can substitute for one NFS faculty member. The student must create a flyer announcing the oral presentation 2 weeks before the presentation date and send it to their committee and to the NFS administrator for distribution.  The following information should be included: project title, student’s name and degree program, presentation date, time and location, and project description. This oral presentation and the Faculty Project Review Committee meeting that follows will constitute the student’s M.S. Comprehensive Examination.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Advancement to candidacy requires satisfactory completion of the comprehensive exam.