Jun 18, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Food Science Major, PhD

A PhD degree is the highest degree awarded in FDSC. Students entering the PhD program typically have already earned a master’s degree in FDSC, or a closely related field. Students admitted to the PhD program without a MS degree will have to demonstrate promise to complete a doctoral dissertation by the third semester before continuing further doctoral studies, which will be determined by the GAC based on progresses such as submitting manuscripts to refereed journals, presenting papers at scientific meetings, or independently developing and proving research hypotheses. Students not meeting the expectations are advised to switch to the MS program. Commodity interests (meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, bakery products) can be emphasized in any of the areas by careful selection of courses and the research topic. Minors are available in cognate fields. For detailed information, contact the department head or director of graduate studies.


Food Chemistry
Food Microbiology
Food Processing
Sensory Science

Campus Code

Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures

  • Admission requirements of the Graduate Council of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, apply.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for applicants whose native language is not English.
  • In addition, applicants must submit a written statement of educational and career goals, and Graduate Rating Forms or letters of recommendation from at least three people familiar with the applicant’s scholastic ability and professional potential.
  • Admission to the program is contingent upon faculty evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate/graduate grade point average, GRE scores, rating forms, relevant work experience, and TOEFL or IELTS score, if applicable.

Academic Standards

  • Students are on probation if they earn less than a 3.0 semester GPA, or less than a C in any course, or NP in FDSC 600, or if they withdraw from a course without pre-approval from your GAC.

Credit Hours Required

A minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, excluding credit for the master’s thesis, is required.

Required Courses

Additional Course Requirements

  • At least 21 additional credit hours beyond MS, or 35 additional credit hours beyond BS, of course work numbered above 500, exclusive of FDSC 500 , FDSC 502 , FDSC 503 , FDSC 504 , FDSC 600 , and FDSC 603 , are required.
  • At least 4 additional credit hours must be courses numbered above 600.
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of courses for graduate credit must be taken outside the Department of Food Science.
  • At least 9 of the 21 additional credit hours beyond MS or 27 of the 35 additional credit hours beyond BS must be taken from courses with A-F grades.
  • Courses specific to the Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology, Food Processing, and Sensory Science concentrations are determined in consultation with the major professor and the doctoral advisory committee.

Non-Course Requirements

  • In addition to extra course work beyond the MS degree, students must pass a comprehensive exam to become a doctoral candidate, which is based upon developing and defending a proposal with unique hypotheses from that of their dissertation research. The PhD candidate must pass the defense of their dissertation before being awarded a PhD degree.
  • All students are required to have teaching experience in FDSC Department for at least one term.
  • Each student must pass a comprehensive examination no later than two semesters before the graduating semester.
    • Satisfactory scores of both written and oral components of the comprehensive exam, as determined by the graduate advisory committee, are required prior to admission to candidacy.
  • Each student must develop a detailed written research proposal for his/her dissertation and defend the dissertation proposal by his/her advisory committee at least one semester before the graduating semester.
  • A final oral examination is required that includes a defense of the dissertation and subject matter that the student’s advisory committee considers appropriate.