» Master of Science in Food Science

The demand for food scientists is projected to increase 10% until 2020* and job prospects in Southern California especially continue to grow steadily. Chapman University’s Master of Science in Food Science is the perfect graduate degree program to help turn your passion, knowledge and experience into a rewarding career.

  • Earn your degree in as little as 18 months
  • Convenient evening classes for working adults
  • Excellent graduate and alumni career placement rates
  • Plentiful internships provide valuable experience
  • The food industry is economically stable – people must eat!

With over 1,500 food-processing companies within a 90-minute drive, Orange County is the ideal location for food science careers and internship opportunities. Take a look at the recent Economic Impact of Food and Beverage Processing in California report prepared for the California League of Food Processors. For the latest industry salary information, view the IFT Employment and Salary Survey Findings.

*According to the 2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

+ - What is Food Science?

Food Science is the discipline in which scientists use biology, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology and engineering to study the properties of foods. They develop innovative ways to process, preserve, or package food, thereby making our food supply safer, sustainable and more nutritious.

Faculty members are also working scientists engaged in a variety of research, including the examination of using irradiation in place of harmful chemicals to eliminate insects from fruit, as well as the study of food antioxidants and whether or not they can also be used to make food safer against disease causing bacteria.

Read food science-related articles by our students.

+ - Food Science Alumni Success Stories

Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Law '12 journeys from China to Chapman and shares her experience about her education.

Alumni Spotlight:  Rhondi Shigemura ’90 now works at Jenny Craig as the Director of Research and Development. 

+ - Career and Internship Opportunities

Today, food science represents one of the healthiest industries in the world, with the various food industries – from processing to sales – contributing close to $42.2 billion to our national economy. Locally, more than 1,500 food-processing companies are located within a 90-mile radius of our Orange campus. Most of our students obtain work experience via internships and our job placement rate is close to 100%.  Some of the companies graduates are employed by include, but are not limited to:

  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Bloomfield Bakers
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Con-Agra
  • Contessa Foods
  • Dean Foods
  • Dole
  • Dr Pepper/Seven-Up
  • Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc.
  • Fresh Express
  • Golden Cheese Company
  • Hain Celestial
  • Jamba Juice
  • Kellogg's
  • Kraft
  • Masterfoods USA
  • Mastertaste
  • Nestle, USA
  • Nutrilite
  • Ready Pac
  • Royal Crown Company, Inc.
  • Sunkist Growers, Inc.
  • Senomyx
  • Taco Bell
  • Unilever
  • Ventura Foods

Graduate students also readily gain admission into graduate programs of their choice, including medical school. The program is also beneficial for students who are about to attain medical or dental degrees, as they can complete the food science coursework in the same year that they are applying to medical school and taking exams.

+ - Admission Requirements

Prerequisite Courses

Recently admitted applicants hold degrees in chemistry, biology, pharmacy, business, chemical and mechanical engineering as well as food science and nutrition. We encourage applicants from a broad range of disciplinary interests. If you hold an undergraduate degree in anything other than food science, you must provide evidence of satisfactory coursework in the following areas:

  • General Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters or one semester organic and one semester biochemistry)
  • Microbiology with Laboratory (one semester)
  • Statistics (one semester)
  • Human Nutrition (one semester)

Any of these courses can be completed at other accredited institutions such as your local community college and/or other four-year colleges and universities. If you have not completed some of your prerequisite course/s prior to applying, it is possible to enroll in these courses at Chapman University. However, in order for your application to be considered for review, you are required to have successfully completed one year (two semesters) of General Chemistry with Laboratory. All other prerequisites must be met by the end of the first academic year. Please contact us for more information.

Application Requirements

  • Online application for admission (including $60 non-refundable application fee)
  • Official transcript from degree granting institution.  If prerequisite courses have been taken at schools other than the degree granting institution, those transcripts must also be submitted.
  • Applicants must have earned a minimum grade point average of 3.00
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required (GMAT scores may be accepted in lieu of GRE); Applicants must achieve the following minimum GRE scores which are listed as previous version test scores and new version comparative test scores, respectively:

                                 Verbal: 500/153
                                 Quantitative:  680/153
                                 Analytical Writing: 3.5/3.5

  • Letters of recommendation; two letters of recommendation are required which describe your professional and academic abilities
  • Statement of Intent; an essay addressing your reasons for wishing to attend Chapman University and the M.S. Food Science program
  • Resume; a resume or curriculum vitae is required
  • TOEFL (International Students Only) – applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree outside of the United States are required to achieve an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), minimum 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based)
  • Financial Certification Form (International Students Only)

+ - Degree Requirements & Graduate Course Catalog

The MS Food Science program is a 30 unit program comprising an 11 unit core, 4 units of required courses, and 15 elective units.  Full time students (3 classes per semester) can complete the program in three semesters.  Evening classes allow students to pursue internships or work full time. Students may pursue a thesis or non-thesis option.

Check the graduate catalog for complete details.


+ - Learning Outcomes

  1. Knowledge of core food science concepts.
    • Identify core concepts in food chemistry and analysis, food safety and microbiology, and food processing and engineering.
    • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the factors that impact the safety, quality, and nutritional value of foods.
  2. Critical thinking.
    • Through individual research projects, students will apply the scientific method to solve problems in food science.
    • Students will be able to effectively evaluate and critique professional papers and reports in the field of food science and nutrition.
  3. Communication.
    • Students will be able to communicate scientific and technical knowledge in food science to professional audiences using written, visual, and oral means.
  4. Problem Solving.
    • Students will function effectively in the food and allied industries to solve practical, real world problems.
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Contact Us

Monica Chen
Graduate Admission Counselor
(714) 289-3590
Anuradha Prakash, Ph.D.
Professor and Program Director
(714) 744-7826
Hashinger 212

Robyne Kelly
Administrative Assistant
(714) 289-2040
Hashinger 224