The faculty in the Food Science Graduate Program believe that all students who complete a graduate degree in Food Science, regardless of their background, should know and understand certain basic topics important to Food Science. It also is believed that in preparation for productive careers, graduate students will gain from the experience of working in teams and working on problems that require application of knowledge gained. To meet those needs, the Basic Food Science Course Series and a Case Study Course are required of all M.S. and Ph.D. students. Students are required to pass each course in the Basic Food Science Course Series with a grade of C or above, just as they are for all other courses on their Plan of Study. However, it is possible for incoming graduate students to test out of any one of the Basic Food Science Courses.
Purdue University was my top choice for pursuing an advanced degree in food science because of the unique concept of the mini-courses. Since my B.S. is in chemistry, I knew that the mini-courses would help bring my academic background in food science to a high level, making me competitive with my peers who do have a background in this area. Beyond academia, my time at Purdue has afforded me many professional and personal development opportunities, for which I am very grateful. The Department of Food Science at Purdue University and all of the wonderful people here truly have made me a better student, scientist, and human being.
Devon Durkee, Current Ph.D. Student
Each course in the Basic Food Science Course Series is intended to expose students to selected basic concepts related to the topic of that course, and then give them an opportunity to apply that knowledge. Each course relies in part on independent learning by the student. With some direction by the instructor, students are expected to make use of available resources and seek out needed information. Since the courses move at an accelerated rate, students must spend the time necessary to meet the course objectives. With direction from the instructor, students have to integrate information and apply knowledge gained through vehicles such as a problem, project, or report assigned by the instructor. They also learn to recognize the nature of the problem and suggest possible solutions. While some experience in problem solving and working as teams is gained in these five courses, those skills are the primary focus of the Case Study course.
The intent of the Case Study course is for students to work as teams to solve a problem, drawing on what they learned in the Basic Food Science Course Series, and from their specific areas of expertise. The teams develop solutions to a problem supplied directly by a food company.
Some advantages and unique attributes of the Basic Food Science Course Series and the Case Study Course are as follows: 1) All students completing the program should have some basic understanding of Food Science, 2) Students meet many of the Food Science faculty (10 are involved in the teaching), 3) Many faculty get to know all the incoming graduate students, 4) All incoming students get to know each other well from taking the courses together, 5) Students obtain experience in problem solving and in working as a team member, and 6) Students are exposed to problems encountered in the food industry.
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