Food Science Ph.D. Requirements

Below are the minimum course requirements for the Ph.D. in food science.


Minimum Credits Needed on Graduate Plan of Work


Research unspecified (FS 895)
Seminar 1 credit (FS 780)
Research Ethics — A doctoral plan of work must include a course (minimum 1-credit) that has a significant focus on research ethics. Visit the Research Ethics website for suitable classes. Note: Students who can demonstrate equivalent exposure to research ethics topics may petition their advisory committee to waive this requirement. 1 credit
Teaching — You must register for FS 885 (Doctoral Supervised Teaching) and serve as a teaching assistant for two semesters. 1-3 credits (FS 885)
Core FS Courses (with a minor) — Most food science graduate courses are among one of the following categories: microbiology, chemistry-biochemistry, nutrition, engineering, and processing technology. A Ph.D. program must include courses from three types, and each course must be at least two credits. Dual-level courses typically taken in an undergraduate Food Science major (FS 502, 503, 505, 506, and 521) do not fulfill the credit requirement in this category. ¥9 credits
Core FS Courses (without a minor) — see note in “Core FS Courses (with a minor)” ¥15 credits
Optional Minor — Credits for a minor are variable, depending upon the requirements of the minor department or program. Students will select the minor work from a single discipline or field that, in the judgment of the advisory committee, provides essential support to the major area. However, when the advisory committee finds that an interdisciplinary minor will best serve the needs of the student, the committee may develop an alternate program.

Courses that satisfy a minor for an M.S. degree may also count toward a minor in the same program in the Ph.D. plan of work.

Courses that are cross-listed with another department or program (e.g., FSA or NTR) may count toward the major or the minor, but not both.

6-10 credits
Dual-Level FS Courses — Graduate students without a degree in food science must enroll for credit in two of the following courses:

  • FS 231 (Food Engineering)
  • FS 502 (Food Chemistry)
  • FS 505 and FS 506 (Food Microbiology and Food Microbiology Lab)
  • FS 521 (Food Preservation)

Although students cannot include FS 231 in the plan of work, they can use FS 502, 505, 506, and 521 as elective credits to meet the minimum credit hour requirements.

6-8 credits
400-Level Courses — Students may apply up to 6 credits of 400-level courses from other departments toward a master’s plan of work. Students cannot include 400-level courses in a doctoral plan of work. n/a
500 and 700-Level Courses unspecified
Transfer Credits — The 72-credit hour requirement may include up to 36 credits transferred from a relevant M.S. degree taken at NC State (if there was no break between the M.S. and Ph.D. registration). Students may also transfer up to 18 credits from an M.S. degree earned at another university. 18-36 credits

Students sometimes use FS 696 (M.S.) and FS 896 (Ph.D.) because they need summer registration for various reasons, including:

  • New students beginning a research project in the Summer I term
  • U.S. students who wish to avoid deduction of FICA taxes (~7.5%) from their stipend during the summer months

Students cannot include FS 696 and FS 896 the plan of work.

Refer to the NC State Course Catalog for a complete list of food science courses. Browse by subject  FS – Food Science.

Research Areas


  • FS 510- Food Lipids: Issues and Controversies
  • FS 567- Sensory Analysis of Foods
  • FS 765- Polymer and Colloidal Properties of Foods


  • FS 741- Thermal Processing of Foods
  • FS 785- Food Rheology


  • FS 540- Food Safety and Public Health
  • FS 725- Fermentation Microbiology


  • FS 501- Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism
  • FS 555- Exercise Nutrition
  • FS 706- Vitamin Metabolism

Remedial Food Science

For students without a prior degree in the field

  • FS 502- Chemistry of Food and Bioprocessed Materials
  • FS 505- Food Microbiology
  • FS 506- Food Microbiology Lab
  • FS 521- Food Preservation

Processing Technology

  • FS 530- Post-Harvest Food Safety
  • FS 522- Food Packaging
  • FS 553- Food Laws and Regulations
  • FS 751- Food Ingredient Technology In Product Development

General Food Science

  • FS 520- Pre-Harvest Food Safety
  • FS 526- Upstream Biomanufacturing Laboratory
  • FS 550- Food Industry Study Tour
  • FS 554- Lactation, Milk, and Nutrition
  • FS 557- Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods
  • FS 562- Post-Harvest Physiology
  • FS 580- Professional Development and Ethics in Food Safety
  • FS 780- Seminar In Food Science