May 11, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Food Science and Human Nutrition

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The School of Food and Agriculture provides students with the opportunity to obtain a M.S. degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition, and a Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition Sciences. The faculty in food science and human nutrition conduct both basic and applied research, using human and animal nutrition models, as well as studies in the areas of food processing and preservation, food safety and quality, seafood quality, sensory evaluation, and product development.


The M.S. program includes three tracks: 1) Food Science; 2) Human Nutrition; 3) Dietetic Internship. All tracks have thesis and non-thesis options. Applicants selecting the Food Science area must have successfully completed undergraduate training with either a major or minor in one of the biological or physical sciences with courses in organic chemistry and biochemistry or an undergraduate degree in food science, food technology, food engineering or processing. Those selecting the Human Nutrition area should have an undergraduate degree in nutrition (or approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), human ecology, chemistry, biochemistry, or in an appropriate combination of biological sciences with courses in nutrition, organic chemistry, biochemistry and human physiology.


The Food Science and Human Nutrition thesis tracks for a Master of Science degree require:

  • 30 credit hour minimum, typically taking two years to complete
  • 12 credit hours of FSN formal coursework minimum (see list of  applicable courses below), with no more than 4 credits at the 400 level, exclusive of seminars and special problems courses
  • 2 credit hours graduate seminar, FSN 571 and FSN 671
  • 3-4 credits of statistics at the 400 or higher level
  • one approved Responsible Conduct of Research course (see list below)no more than 6 credits as FSN 581, Problems in Food Science & Human Nutrition
  • minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduation

The non-thesis option Master of Science degree requirements are the same as those listed above except for:

  • 36 credit hour minimum, typically taking two years to complete
  • 15 credit hours of FSN formal coursework minimum, with no more than 4 credits at the 400 level, exclusive of seminars and special problems
  • 3-4 credits of statistics at the 400 or higher level
  • no thesis

The Dietetic Internship and Master of Science degree, thesis or non-thesis, requirements are the same as those listed above except for:

  • 34 credit hour minimum, typically taking two years to complete
  • FSN 650, 651, 652 and 681 in addition to the 12 or 15 FSN credit hour requirement.  The 12 or 15 FSN credit hour requirement must include both FSN 506 and 540.
  • 3-4 credits of statistics at the 400 or higher level
  • 21- month continuous enrollment to complete FSN 650, 651, 652 and 681. FSN 681 is completed as 1 credit in the summer and 5 credits in the fall or spring, depending upon an individual student’s program
  • An Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Verification Statement from a Director of an ADA accredited undergraduate program, indicating completion of undergraduate requirements


Accelerated Graduate Programs in Food Science: 4 + 1 (nonthesis) and 4 + 2 (thesis)

Students in the food science concentration of the B.S. program in Food Science and Human Nutrition may apply for “early admission” to the combined degree program in their third year of the food science curriculum. Interested students should have completed their organic chemistry/biochemistry sequence and BMB 300/305 by the end of the semester in which they apply for the  4+  program. Students are encouraged to discuss the program with faculty members and identify a potential advisor who may be different from the undergraduate advisor. A minimum GPA of 3.0 with no grades below C in FSN courses is required. Applications for the 4 + 1 program will not be accepted after the senior year has commenced or if 100 credits hours have already been earned towards the B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition.  An application form and two letters of reference from faculty members including the future graduate advisor and a third letter written by a work supervisor or a faculty member should be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator for Food Science and Human Nutrition by February 15 of the student’s third year of matriculation in the food science concentration. The faculty advisor will work with each student to create a plan of study that leads to graduation in 15 months (nonthesis) or 21 months (thesis) after matriculation in the master’s program. The program of study and the provisional admission must be communicated to the Graduate School by the Graduate Coordinator.

The formal application for admission to the graduate program through the Graduate School can occur anytime during the fourth (senior) year of the undergraduate program. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores must be submitted with the Graduate School application. Students should apply for graduation when B.S. requirements are completed. The nine credits of 500-level coursework will be automatically transferred to the M.S. program.

Once admitted to the combined degree program, students may not enroll for more than 15 credits per semester. Grades of B- or lower may not be used towards the M.S. A total of nine credits of 500-level FSN classes required for the B.S. degree can be applied towards the combined degree. These classes are  FSN 502 Food Preservation, FSN 520 Food Product Development, and  FSN 585 Sensory Evaluation I.

Students who take a dual-numbered course such as FSN 438/528 Food Microbiology are prohibited from taking both the 400- and 500-versions  of those classes for credit.  In addition to the nine credits shared by the B.S. and M.S. degrees, students must complete the following classes for the M.S.:

  • FSN 571 Technical Presentations (1 credit)
  • FSN 671 Advanced Graduate Seminar (1 credit)
  • FSN 695 - Food Science and Human Nutrition Practicum (3-6 credits) or FSN 699 Graduate Thesis (6 credits)
  • A minimum of 3 credits of statistics at the 400- or 500-level such as PSE 509 Experimental Design, FSN 524 Responsible Design, Conduct & Analysis of Research, STS 434 Introduction to Statistics, or STS 437 Statistical Methods in Research.
  • Additional graduate (500-600 level) FSN classes (2 (6-7 credits) for thesis students, and 3 (9-10 credits) for nonthesis students) such as FSN 501 Advanced Human Nutrition, FSN 508 Nutrition & Aging, FSN 510 Trace Minerals, FSN 512 Current Food Safety Systems, FSN 517 Food Safety and Quality Control, FSN 530 Integrative and Functional Nutrition, FSN 555 Organic and Natural Foods, FSN 565 Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity and Food, FSN 586 Sensory Evaluation II, FSN 603 Nutrients & Food Processing, or SFA 551 Infectious Diseases and Food Safety- From Plants to Humans.
  • Thesis students and non-thesis students who want to work on federally-funded research project must also complete a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course before or during the first semester of graduate research.The following courses may be taken to satisfy the RCR requirement:
    • FSN 524 - Responsible Design, Conduct and Analysis of Research (3 credits) (may also be used to fulfill the statistics requirement)
    • INT 601 - Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit)
    • BIO 505 - Professionalism in Biology (2 credits)
    • CMJ 600 - Introduction to Graduate Study in Communication (2 credits)
    • PSY 603 - Ethics and Professional Problems (3 credits)
    • SFR 521 - Research Methods (3 credits)
    • SMS 691 - Marine Science Seminar (1 credit)
  • Professional electives (not more than 4 credits at the 400-level, and no more than credits as FSN 581 Special Topics in Food Science and Human Nutrition) selected by the student’s graduate advisory committee to total 141 credits for the combined degrees.


Program Timetable



Fall, third year of food science curriculum

Students identify potential graduate advisor and thesis topic

Feb. 15 of third year

Application due to Graduate Coordinator

June 1, third year

Students provisionally admitted to the graduate program

Summer, third year

Completion of FSN 398 Field Experience

Fourth year

Formal application submitted to Graduate School

Completion of three 500- food science classes with grades of at least “B.” One or more of the required 500-level classes may be taken during the third year.

May, fourth year

B.S. in Food Science & Human Nutrition awarded

Summer, fourth year

FSN 695 Food Science and Human Nutrition Practicum or  FSN 699 Graduate Thesis 

November 1, fifth year

Graduate plan of study submitted to Graduate School

Fifth year

FSN 571, FSN 671 and remaining graduate classes

May-August, fifth year -December, sixth year

M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition awarded. An additional semester may be required for thesis completion, so students are encouraged to begin thesis projects early.



An M.S. program in Food Science and Human Nutrition may include supporting courses from Chemical and Biological Engineering; Molecular and Biomedical Sciences; Biological Sciences; Economics; Mathematics and Statistics; Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences; Psychology; Communications and Journalism; and the Colleges of Business, Public Policy and Health and Education and Human Development.

The interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Food and Nutrition Sciences has variable credit hour requirements. It usually requires an additional 60 hours and an additional 3-4 years beyond the Master’s to complete. Students may pursue a terminal M.S. degree or sequential M.S. and Ph.D. degrees; students with a Master’s degree from another institution may enter the Ph.D. program directly. Students who have not completed a Master’s degree with thesis may not enter the doctoral program. Courses in statistics are required as part of the program of study. Doctoral students must document a professional competency (“special skill”) unrelated to their dissertation research; this competency may be demonstrated via course work or other practical activities. Competencies may include languages, research techniques such as electron microscopy, innovation engineering, marketing, or distance education. Although Ph.D. students are encouraged to publish manuscripts with their advisors, there is no minimum number of publications required for graduation.

The student’s program is planned in accordance with needs for competence according to the departmental faculty areas of expertise. Graduate thesis research is under the supervision of the student’s advisor in the area of the student’s interest. Current research includes projects directed toward community nutrition, trace mineral and lipid nutrition, diet assessment, health benefits of phytochemicals, development of improved procedures for the prediction and control of food quality and safety, extrusion technology, product development, and sensory evaluation.

The faculty in Food Science and Human Nutrition are located in Hitchner Hall. A chemical food safety laboratory contains a variety of chromatography instrumentation (HPLC, UPLC and GC) equipped with an array of detection systems (MSD, DAD, FLD, RI, UV/Vis, CAD, ECD and FID). Research facilities are equipped for food safety and microbiology, food processing, food composition and food quality evaluation. The Sensory Evaluation Center offers computerized sensory evaluation services. A pilot plant for processing fruits and vegetables, seafood and dairy products is available on site. There is a fully-equipped laboratory for food product preparation, and several research laboratories for applied human studies or animal research. Special facilities and equipment are available in the College and University, including atomic absorption spectrophotometers, electron microscopes, and an animal care facility.

Graduate Faculty

Alfred A. Bushway, Ph.D. (Purdue, 1978), Professor Emeritus. Fruit and vegetable post-harvest quality and safety, and product development. Dr. Bushway is no longer accepting graduate advisees.

Jason Bolton, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2012), Associate Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist. Food safety; food processing; product development

Beth L. Calder, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2003), Associate Professor and Extension Food Science Specialist.  Assisting the food industry with research, food testing and educational programs in the areas of food safety and technology. Director of the Process and Product Review Testing Services.

Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D. (Texas Woman’s University, 1989), Professor.  Development, evaluation, and consumer acceptance of healthful foods; sensory science and consumer research, healthy aging, nutrition education and behavior; dietary fiber; whole grains

Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University, 1982), Professor. Cholesterol, lipoprotein, trace mineral nutrition and metabolism as related to chronic diseases. Berry bioactives and their role on inflammation and vascular function, metabolism and gene expression related to chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome). Trans-cultural studies on the role of Mediterranean diet(s) on chronic diseases..

Robson Machado, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University, 2016), Assistant Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist. Helping Maine farmers and food entrepreneurs develop safe foods, while assisting processors to address changing regulations when commercializing local food and beverage products.

Angela D. Myracle, MPH, Ph.D. (Purdue University, 2010) Assistant Professor. Phytochemicals and plant bioactives, bioavailability and their impact on chronic disease (diabetes, inflammation and oxidative stress).

Balunkeswar (Balu) Nayak, Ph.D. (Washington State University, 2011), Associate Professor. food processing and engineering applications on seaweed for novel products, extraction and reuse of food bioactives using nanotechnology, process development for encapsulation and delivery of food nanomaterials using biomaterials, Novel active and smart food packaging materials from bioresources.  

L. Brian Perkins, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2002), Research Assistant Professor, Instructor and Program Coordinator,. Chromatographic (HPLC, GC) method development for bioactive compounds phytonutrients, and toxic substances (naturally-occurring & synthetic) in food and environmental matrices.

Jennifer Perry, Ph.D. (The Ohio State University, 2010), Assistant Professor. Microbial food spoilage; non-thermal technologies, biocontrol and biopreservation; food safety; food processing.

Denise I. Skonberg, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1997), Associate Professor. Crustacean by-product utilization, quality evaluation of wild and farm-raised aquatic products, seafood product development.

Mona Therrien, D.CN., R.D, L.D. (Rutgers 2013), Lecturer and Dietetic Internship Director. Nutrition in chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Adrienne A. White, Ph.D., RDN, FAND (University of Tennessee, 1988), Professor Emerita. Nutrition education, interventions, and theory-driven behavior change strategies. Community based participatory research. Food behavior across the life cycle. Dr. White is no longer accepting graduate advisees.


Associate Graduate Faculty

Neil Greenberg, MSc. (University of Maryland, 1992),  Assistant Director of Aquatic Operations. Aquaculture.

Kathleen Halpin, M.S., R.D., L.D. (University of Southern Maine, 1978), Manager, Clinical Nutrition & Patient Services, Maine Medical Center. Portland, ME. Clinical nutrition.

Lawrence Leblanc, Ph.D. (SUNY Stony Brook, 2001), Research Scientist. Environmental organic chemistry.

Lisa Phelps, Ph.D.,  Program Administrator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 4H.

Kathleen Savoie, M.S., R.D. (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1991), Associate Extension Professor. Community nutrition; food security; food safety; food preservation.

Susan S. Sullivan, D.Sc., R.D. (Boston University, 1995), Associate Director, School of Food and Agriculture. Clinical nutrition topics and vitamin D.

Sharon Tate, M.S., R.D., L.D. (Montana State University, 2002), Clinical Dietitian, Maine Medical Center. Portland, ME. Clinical nutrition.

Kathryn L. Yerxa, M.S., R.D. (University of Maine, 2003), Associate Extension Professor. Nutrition education; obesity prevention; food security.

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