Master’s Programs: Department of Nutrition & Food Science

Updated September 2016

The M.S. program requires 32 semester hours of course work including a thesis based on research conducted by the student. Research interests of faculty can be found here: NFS Faculty Interests

The M.A. program requires the same number of credits with completion of an essay. An M.A. program leading to a degree with an emphasis in Food Service Management is also available.

For a list of graduate courses, please visit the Wayne State Graduate Bulletin.


Admissions Criteria for the Master’s Program:

--Is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School

--Successful completion of an undergraduate degree, preferably in a Science/Health related field.  Exceptional applicants outside these fields will be considered.

--A minimum undergraduate grade point of 3.0.

--GRE test scores are not strictly required, but are recommended.

-- For applicants whose primary language is not English, completion of the English proficiency requirement, scores from TOEFL (79 internet-based and 550 paper-based), MELAB (85), or IELTS (6.5), are required. 


Master’s Degrees offered:

Both a Master of Science degree (M.S.) and a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) are offered.  The M.A. degree can be combined with a Master’s in Public Health, combined with a graduate certificate in Public Health (see below), or can have an emphasis in Food Service Management (see below). 

Graduate Professional Scholarship:

Students may apply by March 1, 2018, for a Graduate Professional Scholarship (GPS).  The Department will be awarding 3 GPS awards to NFS graduate students for the 2018-19 academic year.  The GPS provides for 6-10 graduate credits of resident tuition assessment in each of the Fall and Winter semesters. 


All incoming students are expected to have the following undergraduate courses or their equivalent:

NFS 2130/2140 Intro Food Science and Lab4 credits
NFS 2220 Nutrition Laboratory 1 credit
NFS 3230 Human Nutrition3 credits
BIO 2200 Intro Microbiology4 credits
BIO 2870 Anatomy and Physiology 
One semester of Organic Chemistry 
Courses in biochemistry and statistics are recommended 


Effective September 9, 2011, following approval by the graduate faculty of the department, a new Graduate Student Code of Ethics was implemented. ALL departmental graduate students must adhere to this. The form can be accessed here NFS Graduate Student Code of Ethics and is also available in the departmental office. A signed copy of the form must be turned into the departmental office. Forms can be turned in at the student orientation meeting in September.

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Degree Requirements for ALL Master's Students

All Masters students must take the required component of courses (13 credit hours). Additional courses will depend on whether a M.S. or M.A. degree is sought. Since NFS 6000 Nutritional Biochemistry has an undergraduate biochemistry/metabolism prerequisite, it is highly recommended that new students take NFS 5130 Food Chemistry and NFS 5230 Nutrition and Metabolism (or their equivalent courses), prior to taking NFS 6000. 

Required Component of Courses13 credits

NFS 6000 Nutritional Biochemistry

AND at least 3 of the following

3 credits
NFS 6020 Nutrition Gene Interaction3 credits
NFS 6030 Microbiological Safety of Foods3 credits
NFS 6230 Nutrition and Physical Performance3 credits
NFS 7000 Nutritional Metabolomics and Bioinformatics3 credits
NFS 7240 Nutritional Epidemiology3 credits
NFS 7850 Seminar/Journal Club1 credit

And active participation as long as the student is in the graduate program.

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Degree Requirements for the M.S. Degree (Plan A)

Successful completion of 24 credit hours of course-work plus a master’s thesis (NFS 8999, 8 credit hours). The course-work must include the departmental required component of courses (13 credits) plus NFS 7060 and NFS 7140. The thesis involves a minimum of one semester of full-time research. The M.S. is recommended for those interested in positions involving laboratory work or in pursuing a Ph.D. degree.

Required Component of Courses

13 credits
NFS 7060 Research Problems in Nutrition & Food Science2 credits
NFS 7140 Advanced Lab Techniques in Nutrition & Food Science4 credits
NFS 8999 Master’s Thesis8 credits
Optional courses – any courses offered for graduate credit5 credits

See departmental website for complete listing of graduate courses.

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Degree Requirements for the M.A. Degree (Plan B)

Successful completion of 29 credit hours of course-work plus a master’s essay (NFS 7999, 3 credit hours). The course-work must include the departmental required component of courses (13 credit hours). The M.A. is suggested for those planning to be in non-laboratory aspects of nutrition or food service.

Required Component of Courses

13 credits

NFS 7999 Master’s Essay

(See departmental website for complete listing of graduate courses.)

16 credits
Students desiring an M.A. in Nutrition and Food Science with an emphasis in Food Service Management
will take a minimum of 6 hours in the School of Business Administration, to be selected from the following:
BA 6010 Markets & Marketing 2 credits
BA 6020 Management Principles and Organizational Processes2 credits
BA 7040 Managing Organizational Behavior3 credits
BA 7070 Social Perspectives  on the Business Enterprise3 credits

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Requirements for the M.A. Degree With a Graduate Certificate in Public Health


Required Component of Courses

13 credits

NFS 7240 Nutritional Epidemiology

3 credits
NFS 7999 Master’s Essay3 credits
In addition, students must complete the following courses in the
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences:
FPH 7010 Seminar in Public Health1 credit
FPH 7015 Biostatistics4 credits
FPH 7240 Epidemiology3 credits
FPH 7420 Principles of Environmental Health3 credits
Optional courses - any courses offered for graduate credit.8 credits

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Attendance at departmental seminars is required for all graduate students.


Selection of an Advisor

During the first semester in the program, admitted students will be advised by the NFS Graduate Officer or be assigned a temporary advisor. A permanent advisor will be selected by the student or recommended by the Graduate Officer as soon as the research interests of the student have been identified. For the M.S. thesis option, students must write and defend their research proposal, prior to starting the research. Students may not work under the supervision of an Adjunct Faculty in another department, unless written authorization is granted by the departmental Graduate Officer or Departmental Chair. A copy of the authorization must be attached to the student’s plan of work and filed with the departmental office. In addition, the student must have a NFS faculty member collaborate on the project.

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Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the entire program. A minimum “B” average is required for NFS 6000, 6020, 6030, 6230, 7000, and 7240. Students failing any of these courses (below B-) will be allowed to repeat them once. In addition, department policy allows for one C grade over the course of the entire program.

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Plan of Work

Students are required to submit 3 copies of their plan of work after completing 8 credit hours. Failure to do so will result in a hold on their registration. Students should consult with the Graduate Officer or their Advisor in planning their course work.

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Theses and Essays

The completion of a thesis or essay is required for the M.S. and M.A. degrees, respectively. The thesis or essay must show evidence of scholarly study and writing and be related to the student’s major. Students should consult their advisor regarding requirements for theses and essays.

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AGRADE – Accelerated Graduate Enrollment

Qualified senior undergraduates in the Department of NFS having a GPA of not less than 3.5 may enroll simultaneously in the undergraduate and graduate program and apply a maximum of sixteen credits towards both the bachelor and master’s  degrees in Nutrition and Food Science. Students may apply for the program as soon as they complete ninety credit hours towards the undergraduate degree. Graduate courses taken as part of the AGRADE program are assessed undergraduate tuition rate. All application materials should be sent to the department address.

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See also Graduate Bulletin for the latest information.

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