Why This Program


Why is this degree program for me?

Who benefits from this program?

  • Students:  designed for mid-career food safety professionals who want an advanced degree, but are unable to leave their jobs to attend class on a university campus
  • Employers:  enhances ability to cope with ever-changing food safety, food protection, and public health concerns, while keeping the best and the brightest of their employees
  • Community: trains leaders to meet the challenges of today, while planning ahead for the changing food safety needs of tomorrow

What will I take away from this program?

  • obtain an advanced degree from an accredited Big-Ten institution
  • effectively manage the broad range of information essential to success
  • evaluate new and emerging technologies as they arise
  • address new concerns, such as food security, emerging foodborne pathogens, zoonotic disease or biotechnology
  • develop organizational and leadership skills 
  • be more effective, efficient, and confident in an ever-changing workplace

What courses make up the degree?

Five (5) core courses (total of 15 credits)

  • VM 810 Introduction to Food Safety and Professional Development
  • VM 811 Evolution and Ecology of Foodborne Pathogens
  • VM 812 Food Safety Toxicology
  • VM 831 Foodborne Disease Epidemiology
  • FSC 810 International Food Laws & Regulations or FSC 811 US Food Laws & Regulations

Nine (9) credits from the elective courses of your choice

  • more than 25 elective courses to choose from

Two (2) courses which make up the Applied Research Project (total of 6 credits)

  • VM 830 Food Safety Research Methods
  • VM 815 Applied Food Safety

For course details and descriptions, visit the Food Safety Degree Courses page.

What is the time commitment for this degree?

The degree can be completed within 2 to 3 years, depending on the number of credits taken per semester.

  • plan approximately 9-12 hours of study per week for each 3-credit class*
  • courses are offered during each of MSU's 3 semesters - Fall, Spring and Summer
  • students have 5 calendar years for degree completion

*Note that these are not self-paced courses. Students will have hard deadlines every week. We recommend students working full time start by taking one course per semester.

Is there a minimum grade point average I must maintain?

  • a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is required for degree certification

Note, students failing to meet standards set by the university, college, and department or school, will not be permitted to continue enrollment.

Can I transfer credits from another program or institution?

Yes. Students may transfer up to 9 credits of graduate course work (excluding research and thesis credits) into a 30 credit master's program from other accredited institutions or international institutions of similar quality if they are appropriate to a student's program and provided they were completed within the time limits approved for the earning of the degree desired at Michigan State University.

  • the department or school chairperson or director and dean must grant approval
  • only courses in which at least a 3.0 grade or its equivalent was received will be considered for transfer
  • credits earned through another MSU graduate program or Lifelong education which meet these standards also qualify for transfer

Are there additional certifications available as I pursue my Master's degree?

Yes. Additional certifications can be earned simultaneously while pursuing the MS in Food Safety. For details, visit the Curriculum page.

Is financial aid available?

Scholarship funding from this program is not available. Visit the website for the MSU Office of Financial Aid to review graduate school funding opportunities.

Certificate in Food Safety

As an alternative to the Master of Science Degree, our program offers a four-course (12 credit-hour) online Certificate in Food Safety which is achieved through Lifelong Education.

What are the requirements to receive the certificate?

  • anyone with at least a Bachelor's degree can apply to MSU as a graduate level Lifelong student
  • a Lifelong student must successfully complete any four approved 3-credit courses within the MS in Food Safety curriculum
  • courses can be taken in any sequence
  • successful completion of courses requires a grade of 3.0 or better in each course

For course details, visit the Curriculum page

"The program is designed to educate leaders, not only for today's problems but for those that will arise tomorrow and in the future."

– Dr. Melinda Wilkins
  • Former Program Director
  • Online Food Safety