Pennsylvania State University Graduate Programs in Food Science

Program Director: Dr. Robert Roberts, Professor and Department Head

Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Gregory Ziegler

Contact: Application materials can be obtained online at or by contacting Mr. Svend Pedersen, Administrative Assistant, Department of Food Science, Penn State University, 207 Food Science Building, University Park, PA 16802, Phone: (814) 865-5444. E-mail:

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

Program Description

Entrance Requirements: Completed application form available at: Non-refundable application fee. Two copies of your official current transcript for all baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate studies. You should have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 for your junior and senior years of undergraduate study. One page statement of interest explaining your interest and reasons for choosing food science as a career and your plans for the future. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (an original report of scores form is required). For international applicants, official TOEFL scores are required. Three letters of recommendation. A completed departmental "Background and Interest" form indicating your interest in research of specific Food Science faculty members. Personal statement (2-3 pages) describing reasons for choosing food science as a career, research interests and career goals, means of financing graduate work, hobbies or other special interests, previous graduate work or experience, and if applicable, internship or co-op experience or previous experience in food industry.

Program of Study: Both M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs are offered.

Graduate Requirements: M.S. degree requires 30 credits. The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 90 credits, a candidacy examination, a comprehensive examination, and a defense of thesis research. Although the Graduate School of The Pennsylvania State University has standards that every Penn State graduate student must satisfy for admission and the awarding of a M.S. or Ph.D. degree, the faculty for each graduate major has considerable flexibility in setting course requirements, controlling thesis research, and establishing policies that are appropriate to the program.

Statement of Costs: The current tuition rates for students are available at: Application fee of $65.00 nonrefundable. Information on other graduate student costs, health benefits, etc. are available from the Graduate School’s website at:

Financial Aid: Teaching and research assistantships are available on a competitive basis.

Faculty and Research Interests

Ramaswamy C. Anantheswaran, Professor of Food Science & Graduate Program Coordinator, Ph.D., Cornell University
Research interests: Microwave processing of foods; dielectric properties of food materials; Ingredient interactions during microwave heating of foods; moisture and fat migration in confectionery products; modified atmosphere and modified humidity packaging of fresh produce; rapid cooling of shell eggs.

John Coupland, Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Leeds
Research interests: Physical chemistry of foods; food emulsions and biopolymers and their behavior during processing; ultrasonic sensors.

Catherine N. Cutter, Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., Clemson University
Research interests: Controlling the microbiological quality and safety of muscle foods; HACCP for meat processors; intervention technologies for reducing pathogens; application of food grade antimicrobials, including bacteriocins; investigating the association/attachment of bacteria to surfaces.

Stephanie Doores, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Research interests: Thermal resistance of microorganisms and microwave inactivation of pathogens; characterization of Sporolactobacillus and other Bacillus-Lactobacillus intermediates; growth and survival of Listeria in dairy foods; influence of cold shock proteins in survival at refrigeration temperatures.

Edward Dudley, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research interests: Molecular biology and genomics of foodborne bacteria, with emphasis on pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. Molecular mechanisms of bacterial survival and persistence in the environment and in foods; mechanisms of E.coli pathogenesis.

Ryan Elias, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Research interests: Free radical chemistry of foods: Metal-catalyzed lipid and protein oxidation in complex foods; development and evaluation of novel antioxidants; oxidative stability of wine and beer.

Hassan Gourama, Associate Professor of Food Science at Berks Campus, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research interests: Food microbiology and mycology with emphasis on teaching and extension activities associated with food pathogens and their control.

Federico Harte, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D. Washington State University. 
Research Interests:  Structure-function properties of milk proteins, with a strong emphasis on casein proteins, Nonthermal technologies for fluid foods: valve homogenization, and Industry-University effective collaboration

John Hayes, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Research  interests:   Flavor  perception, behavioral  genetics and food choice; impact of genetic variation on sensation  and reward;  understanding  factors that  influence  consumption  of food or  beverages  with  potential health impact; acquisition of preference for initially aversive stimuli  (chiles, coffee, alcohol).

Kerry Kaylegian, Dairy Foods Research & Extension Associate, Ph.D. Cornell University.  Research Interests:    Providing technical support and outreach programs to improve the safety and quality of value-added dairy products. 

Kathleen Keller, Assistant Professor of Nutritional Science and Food Science, Ph.D. Rutgers University. 
Research Interests:  Eating behaviors in young children, in particular, how do they develop and how are they related to risk for obesity later in life.  Using techniques such as brain imaging and genetic screening of taste polymorphisms to provide insight into the biological underpinnings of eating behaviors and food preferences in children.  Additionally, the impact of food marketing and branding on these eating behaviors.

Stephen J. Knabel, Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Research interests: Heat resistance of Listeria monocytogenes; role of heat shock proteins in thermotolerance; recovery of injured foodborne pathogens; novel, rapid methods for the detection of foodborne pathogens; control of foodborne pathogens in meat, poultry, egg and dairy products.

Luke LaBorde, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research interests: Patulin degradation and detoxification of apple juice. Functional food products from coffee pulp. Quality and safety of minimally-processed and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables. Development of food safety Extension programs for fruit, vegetable, and mushroom producers.

Joshua Lambert, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., The University of Arizona
Research interests: Prevention of obesity, fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome by dietary components; potential toxicities of high dose dietary polyphenols and dietary supplements; bioavailability and cancer preventive activities of dietary components.

Edward W. Mills, Associate Professor of Dairy and Animal Science, Ph.D., Purdue University
Research interests: Applications of ingredients and procedures to improve performance of reduced fat meat products. Fat separation technology for preparation of reduced fat meat ingredients. Preparation and packaging to assure flavor and safety of meat products.

Robert F. Roberts, Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Research interests: Understanding the relationship of processing parameters to microstructure and sensory attributes of cultured dairy products and ice cream, exopolymer-production of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus; application of colicins as preservatives in food systems.

Jairam Vanamala, Associate Professor of Food Science, Ph.D.  Texas A&M University
Research Interests:  Understanding the the anti-inflammatory properties of plant foods, particularly after processing.  Connecting gut health, plant foods, phytonutrients, storage and processing.  Optimizing health profiles of plant food products.

Gregory R. Ziegler, Professor of Food Science, Ph.D., Cornell University
Research interests: Foods as composite materials; physical properties and processing of polymeric and particulate foods, with an emphasis on chocolate and confectionery products.