University of Illinois Food Science and Human Nutrition

Department Head: Nicki Engeseth, Interim

Contact: Terri Cummings, Director of Student Services, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 260 Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, Phone: 217-244-4498, Fax: 217-265-0925, E-mail


Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D., R.D., M.D./Ph.D.

Science related to Food: Bioactive compounds, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Engineering, Microbiology, Nanotechnology, Packaging, Processing, Sensory evaluation, and Toxicology

Science related to Nutrition: Bioactive compounds, Biochemistry, Metabolism, Molecular genetics, and Toxicology

Program Description

Entrance Requirements: Students with undergraduate degrees in the sciences (chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, chemical engineering, nutrition, food science, etc.) generally have already taken the prerequisite courses for our first year graduate-level classes. If you have a non-science background and are interested in food science, before applying you should take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, physics, statistics, and calculus. Students interested in nutrition should take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, physiology, and statistics before applying.; Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0); GRE examination; three letters of reference; statement of professional interest; Student from non-English speaking countries should submit TOEFL/IELTS scores with their application materials; Must find a faculty member willing to train them and serve as their major professor before they can be accepted into the Department.

Application available at:

Degree Requirements: For the on-campus M.S. program (in Urbana-Champaign), the requirements include a thesis and 32 semester hours with 24 semester hours of course work. The Ph.D. requirements include 96 semester hours (at least 48 must be coursework) or 64 if the student has a M.S. degree (that is, a degree comparable to a M.S. from an U.S. university) and a dissertation. Ph.D. candidates must pass: 1) a qualifying exam, 2) a preliminary exam (thesis proposal defense) and, 3) a final exam (thesis research defense). Graduate students are required to take a program of courses determined primarily by their advisor, but ultimately approved by their thesis committee.

Financial Aid: Research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships are available on a competitive basis.

Unique Aspects of Program: As a FSHN student, you will have access to excellent research facilities including fully equipped chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology laboratories; state-of-the-art animal facilities; support for clinical studies; a food-processing pilot plant complex; a specialized soybean-processing plant; a bioprocessing/fermentation pilot plant; a sensory science lab; and a packaging laboratory. Teaching and research laboratories contain sophisticated analytical equipment, including GC/MS, HPLC/MS, NMR, a supercritical fluid chromatograph, a differential scanning calorimeter, high power ultrasound equipment, cobalt-60 irradiator, and texture analysis equipment. You can also explore many diverse interests at the third largest academic library in the country.

ONLINE Food Science M.S. Program
The University of Illinois Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) department is also proud to offer an online Master of Science degree in food science. All required lecture-based courses are delivered in live synchronous online sessions, using virtual classroom technology. Many of our students are working professionals who are pursuing a Master of Science degree in food science on a part-time basis. The online delivery option makes the program accessible to students in various locations who may also be balancing a travel schedule for their careers, professional growth and personal satisfaction. 

The program offers one to three courses each semester, including summer. A full list of courses is available on the program website listed below. Courses cover topics such as food chemistry, food microbiology, food engineering, food packaging, human nutrition, sensory evaluation, water activity, experimental design, sanitation, biochemistry, and fermented and distilled beverages. 

The off-campus Food Science MS degree program was created in 1973 and hundreds of students have obtained their MS degrees through the program. 

Online & Continuing Education
901 West University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 333-3061 Ext. 

Dawn Bohn
Director of Off-Campus Programs
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
349 Bevier Hall
905 South Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 333-0881
Web page:

Graduate Faculty and Research Interests

J. Andrade, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - International food science and nutrition: applied technologies and strategies to reduce micronutrient malnutrition, food fortification, micronutrient deficiency diagnostics, service and experiential learning, study abroad programs.

I. Baianu, Ph.D., Professor of Food Chemistry. Research Interests: Structure-functionality relationships in foods, with emphasis on food proteins, polysaccharides and lipid complexes.

H.Blaschek, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus; Research Interest - Food and biomass microbiology:  genetic & physiological manipulation of clostridia; plant cell wall deconstruction; fermentation, biofuels.

K. Cadwallader, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Flavor chemistry:  chemistry and analysis of food flavor; development and application of instrumental and sensory methods of analysis; flavor development; physical chemistry of flavor systems.

K. Chapman-Novakofski, Ph.D, Professor of Nutrition; Research Interest - Community nutrition:  nutrition education intervention and evaluation; osteoporosis and diabetes.

Hong Chen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Nutrigenomics and epigenetics:  nutrient regulation of epigenetic modifications during human development and carcinogenesis.
E. de Mejia, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Bioactive peptides and proteins in foods with health benefits focusing on reduction of inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular risk; modulation of toxicity and functional properties of food components especially flavonoids in ethnic teas and berries.

S. Donovan, Ph.D., Professor; Director of the Graduate Dietetics Program; Research Interest - Pediatric nutrition:  human milk and infant formulas and neonatal intestinal development.

N. Engeseth , Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Food Chemistry:  impact of environmental growing conditions, processing and storage on oilseed and fruit and vegetable quality and nutritional value, with emphasis on enzymatic action, lipids and natural antioxidants.

J. Erdman, Jr. Ph.D., Professor Emeritus; Bioactive food components and carotenoids:  dietary and non-dietary factors affecting absorption, utilization, and bioavailability of carotenoids; carotenoids and prostate cancer; soy and health.

H. Feng, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Research Interest - Food engineering and processing:  novel food processing technologies, acoustic energy (ultrasound) and its use in food and bioproduct processing, food safety intervention technologies for fresh and fresh-cut produce, biomass deconstruction for production.

T. Garrow, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Nutrition, biochemistry and genetics of folate, vitamin B-12 and sulfur amino acid and one carbon metabolism.

W. Helferich, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Nutritional toxicology:  food safey and toxicology; effect of natural chemicals present in foods on chronic diseases such as breast cancer.

Y. Jin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Microbial genomics:  microbial bioconversion of biomass into value-added products, microbial genomics for linking genotypes and beneficial phenotypes

J. Kokini, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Rheology and food processing:  numerical simulation, rheological and thermal properties of foods; food extrusion ,food nanotechnology; structure, texture relationships; encapsulation of flavors and  bioactive nutraceuticals.

S. Lee. Ph.D., Associate Professor; Research Interest - Food chemistry and sensory evaluation:  assessment of properties of food consumer products using sensory methodologies; use of soy protein edible coatings to enhance quality and shelf-life of foods.

Y.S. Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Food processing, rheology, and microencapsulation:  microencapsulation of bioactive compounds and probiotics, rheology and texture of  food, soy protein processing, and extrusion.

M.Miller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Food microbiology:  functional genomics of lactic acid bacteria (LAB); food and industrial fermentations; gastrointestinal microbiology; food microbiology and safety.

S. Morris, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Research Interest - Food engineering:  nanoscale defect imaging and detection, and nanofluidic microbial transport; production systems modelling and optimization; food security and data-driven encryption and indication technologies.

M. Nakamura, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Research Interest - Nutritional biochemistry:  function and metabolism of essential fatty acids; molecular mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance; nutrition education for prevention and treatment of obesity.

G. Padua, Ph.D., Research Professor; Research Interest - Food engineering:  nanostructured foods and biomaterials. Food materials science.

Y.X. Pan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Nutrigenomics and epigenetics:  nutrient-gene interaction and chronic diseases.

S. Schmidt, Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Food chemistry:  characterization of water and solids mobility, typically using water activity, isotherms, glass transition temperature and NMR, in food materials and their relationship to the physical, chemical, and microbial stability of food systems.

P. Takhar, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Research Interest - Porous media modeling of food and biological systems; multiscale modeling of biopolymers; transport processes such as frying, drying and sorption; biopolymer expansion during extrusion; modeling at the nanoscale; continuum thermodynamics based fluid-biopo.

K. Tappenden; Ph.D., Professor; Research Interest - Nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology:  regulation of intestinal function through optimization of nutrition support.

M. Teran-Garcia, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Research Interest - Nutrigenomics, pediatric and adolescent nutrition:  obesity and related diseases; nutrigenetics and gene-enviroment interactions. Retired

C. Argoudelis, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus

W. Artz, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor Emeritus

M. Brewer, Ph.D., Professor, Emerita

M. Cheryan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

E. Jeffery, Ph.D., Professor Emerita

B. Klein, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Food Chemistry & Sensory Evaluation

A. Siedler, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus