Skip to Content

Program Information

Print Page

Who are our Students?

Over 500 students have been accepted into the Online MS in Food Safety program since offering its first course in the fall of 2002.  Our average student is a 25 to 35 year old, mid-level career professional, working in industry or government regulation. They come to our online program to advance their food safety knowledge without having to leave their home communities and current employment. These 500 plus students represent 33 individual countries, 40 US States, and over 330 employers.

Where they Work and Live

A Unique Opportunity

Who benefits from this program?

  • Students:  designed for mid-career food safety professionals who want an advanced degree, but are unable to leave their jobs to attend class on a university campus
  • Employers:  enhances ability to cope with ever-changing food safety, food protection, and public health concerns, while keeping the best and the brightest of their employees
  • Community: trains leaders to meet the challenges of today, while planning ahead for the changing food safety needs of tomorrow

What will I take away from this program?

  • obtain an advanced degree from an accredited Big-Ten institution
  • effectively manage the broad range of information essential to success
  • evaluate new and emerging technologies as they arise
  • address new concerns, such as food security, emerging foodborne pathogens, zoonotic disease or biotechnology
  • develop organizational and leadership skills 
  • be more effective, efficient, and confident in an ever-changing workplace


Why is this degree program for me?

  • fully online, asynchronous study
  • designed for mid-career/mid-management working professionals
  • consists of ten 3-credit courses to equal a 30-credit hour program
  • average time to degree = 3 years / maximum allowed = 5 years
  • non-thesis professional science master's: Plan-B applied food safety project 
  • accredited through Michigan State University and the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association, and by the AVMA Council on Education (COE) through the College of Veterinary Medicine.

What courses make up the degree?

Five (5) core courses (total of 15 credits)

  • VM 810 Introduction to Food Safety and Professional Development
  • VM 811 Evolution and Ecology of Foodborne Pathogens
  • VM 812 Food Safety Toxicology
  • VM 831 Foodborne Disease Epidemiology
  • FSC 810 International Food Laws & Regulations or FSC 811 US Food Laws & Regulations

Three (3) elective courses of your choice (total of 9 credits)

Two (2) courses which make up the Applied Research Project (total of 6 credits)

  • VM 830 Food Safety Research Methods
  • VM 815 Applied Food Safety

For course details and descriptions, visit the Curriculum page.

What is the time commitment for this degree?

The degree can be completed within 2 to 3 years, depending on the number of credits taken per semester.  

  • plan approximately 9-12 hours of study per week for each 3-credit class*
  • courses are offered during each of MSU's 3 semesters - Fall, Spring and Summer
  • students have 5 calendar years for degree completion

*Note that these are not self-paced courses. Students will have hard deadlines every week.  We recommend students working full time start by taking one course per semester.

Is there a minimum grade point average I must maintain?

  • a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is required for degree certification

Note, students failing to meet standards set by the university, college, and department or school, will not be permitted to continue enrollment.

Can I transfer credits from another program or institution?

Yes.  Students may transfer up to 9 credits of graduate course work (excluding research and thesis credits) into a 30 credit master's program from other accredited institutions or international institutions of similar quality if they are appropriate to a student's program and provided they were completed within the time limits approved for the earning of the degree desired at Michigan State University.

  • the department or school chairperson or director and dean must grant approval
  • only courses in which at least a 3.0 grade or its equivalent was received will be considered for transfer
  • credits earned through another MSU graduate program or Lifelong education which meet these standards also qualify for transfer

Are there additional certifications available as I pursue my Master's degree?

Yes.  Additional certifications can be earned simultaneously while pursuing the MS in Food Safety.  For details, visit the Curriculum page.

Is financial aid available?

Scholarship funding from this program is not available.  Visit the website for the MSU Office of Financial Aid to review graduate school funding opportunities.

Certificate in Food Safety

As an alternative to the Master of Science Degree, our program offers a four-course (12 credit-hour) online Certificate in Food Safety which is achieved through Lifelong Education

What are the requirements to receive the certificate?

  • anyone with at least a Bachelor's degree can apply to MSU as a graduate level Lifelong student
  • a Lifelong student must successfully complete any four approved 3-credit courses within the MS in Food Safety curriculum
  • courses can be taken in any sequence   
  • successful completion of courses requires a grade of 3.0 or better in each course

For course details, visit the Curriculum page

Note:  This certificate is non-transcriptable.

instruction platform

Our program is using an online instruction platform provided by Deaire2Learn Learning Management System. Visit the Instruction Platform page for more information, including course materials, online learning assessment and course screenshots.

People & history

Since it was founded in 2002, food safety professionals and enthusiasts all over the world have been connected through our program. Find out the background stories and current student and faculty information on the People & History page.


Student Residency

Michigan State University will not be offering certain online programs to students based on their residence at the time of application for admission to Michigan State University - see State-By-State Summary

Student Notification

Applicants or students enrolling in any course or program shall be notified if graduates of the program in which they are enrolling qualify to sit for any licensure, licensure exam, third party certification, third party certification exam, or similar credential related to the program’s field of study. This notice shall be clearly stated and given regardless of whether or not the license, certification, or other credential is required for entry into the student’s chosen field of study or occupation. The notification shall be in writing and signed or otherwise acknowledge by the student.

Student Notification - Professional Licensure, Certification & Exams

Professional Licensure. Michigan State University has not determined whether online or hybrid courses or programs meet the requirements for professional licensure outside the state of Michigan. Applicants or students need to contact the applicable licensing board(s) in the states they wish to pursue licensure before seeking admission or beginning study in a course or program.

More Questions?

  • Program Admissions: trommat2 [at] (Peggy Trommater), Admissions Coordinator
  • Academic Advising: ricksh [at] (Heather Ricks), Academic Specialist
Sidebar Image

Jennifer Chin

2012 Graduate