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Food Science Graduate Program​​

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For the Love of Food

“Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it.” 
                                                                          - Alton Brown, American celebrity chef, author, and actor.            

Food science is an all-encompassing major that is centered on enriching and improving food through increased food safety, novel processing techniques, nutritional benefits, and food functionality. To achieve these goals, Purdue’s Food Science graduate program focuses on four signature areas: Food Chemistry, Structure and Function; Foods for Health; Food Safety and Microbiology; Food Processing and Technology Development. Students from diverse academic backgrounds join the department to conduct research in one of these areas under the mentoring of outstanding faculty members. After earning graduate degrees, they pursue careers in academia, government or industry. Valuable networking opportunities with industry executives along with the department’s placement services often lead to employment with companies such as Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft, and Nestlé. 


Our Reputation

The Food Science graduate program has award winning faculty. Notable is Professor Emeritus Philip E. Nelson, 2007 World Food Prize Laureate, internationally recognized for his pioneering work in aseptic processing and bulk storage. Nelson Hall of Food Science is equipped with outstanding facilities including a pilot laboratory and sensory laboratory, and is home to the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research and the International Food Technology Center. Purdue promotes strong interdisciplinary relationships with Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Nutrition, Horticulture, and Industrial Pharmacy, thus creating a robust research environment. 

  • Top Tier National Research Council Ranking 
  • Excellent Facilities
  • Award Winning Faculty   
  • Strong Ties to Food and Beverage Industry Companies 
  • Extensive International Collaborations

Our Requirements

Since funding is provided for all graduate students admitted to the Food Science graduate program, only top candidates are accepted. The following minimum requirements must be met in order to be considered a prospective student: 

  • GPA: 3.0 or equivalent 
  • GRE: (after 08/2011) Verbal: 146, Quantitative: 144, Analytical: 4.0 
  • Resume and Statement of Purpose 
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • 2 Sets of Official Transcripts 
  • One copy of B.S. diploma



​Graduate Student Spotlight

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Lichti developed advanced statistical approaches for his field research on what tree squirrels and blue jays do with acorns. Both species bury acorns and other tree seeds for a winter food source, and most oak seedlings originate in abandoned caches, he explains. He studied how the animals make decisions about the seeds they eat versus those they store and where they store them. Acorns are an important food source for many animals, Lichti notes, and his research on seed dispersal by wild vertebrates could help scientists understand and overcome barriers to natural oak regeneration in fragmented agro-forest ecosystems. the seeds they eat versus those they store and where they store them. Acorns are an important food source for many animals, Lichti notes, and his research on seed dispersal by wild vertebrates could help scientists understand and overcome barriers to natural oak regeneration in fragmented agro-forest ecosystems.