Application for Admission for Master and Doctoral Degree


Admission Term Fall (August) Spring (January)
Application Deadline December 1 August 15
Application Review Period December-January August-September

Holistic Application Review

Because each applicant’s background and experience is unique, the Department of Food Science and Technology take a holistic approach evaluating the applicant as a whole individual. Applicants need to follow the directions when submitting their application.Because each applicant’s background and experience is unique, the Department of Food Science and Technology take a holistic approach evaluating the applicant as a whole individual. Applicants need to follow the directions when submitting their application.


Our program is extremely competitive. We only accept 20 students or 20% of all applicants who apply each year. Advisors and funding are limited, and not guaranteed to all applicants.

Required Application Materials - see details below

  1. Online Application 
  2. Application Fee 
  3. Transcripts from each college-level institution attended 
  4. English Proficiency Verification if the applicant’s native language is not English 
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation 
  6. Personal Statement 
  7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae 
  8. Professional Development Supplemental Form 

Finding a Faculty Advisor

Applicants are not automatically assigned an advisor. After submitting their application, applicants should begin contacting potential faculty advisors with shared research interests to discuss their background and why they are interested in working with them.

To be fully admitted, applicants must have faculty willing to accept them and serve as their faculty advisor. You are not admitted into the graduate program until you receive an official offer of admission from the Office of Graduate Studies. If an applicant is unable to find an advisor, the application is denied for lack of an advisor.

Successful applicants:

•    Take the time and explore our faculty profiles and read their published papers

•    Care deeply about a well-defined interest within one of our primary areas of research

•    Only contact faculty advisors with similar research interests

Financial Support

Graduate Assistantship
Applicants for the Master of Science Degree with Thesis and Doctoral Degree are eligible for graduate assistantships. No additional forms are required to be considered for graduate assistantship. To be eligible for graduate assistantships, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) or B average.

Full-time Employees
Applicants who plan to be full-time employees are not eligible for graduate assistantships. Often full-time employees receive tuition benefits through their employers.

Governmental and Outside Funding
Examples of governmental and/ or outside funding include, but not limited to Fulbright, Chinese Scholar Council, King Saud University Scholarship or NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Please upload the fellowship or scholarship agreement to your application.

For MS Project Students Only - No Financial Support
If a faculty member offers to advise an applicant without financial support and the applicant agrees to those terms, the applicant must not expect that graduate program funding will become available to the applicant at some later date. Instead, the applicant should seek to secure independent funding for the full duration of your graduate studies.

Admission Requirements

Online Admission Application

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses an online application. If applicants do not have a CollegeNET account, they will need to “Create a New Account.” Once you set up your account, you may log in to check your application status.

Application Fee

All applicants must submit a nonrefundable application fee to the University before their application is processed.

While we understand the economic issues around the world, the UNL Food Science and Technology Department does not waive the application fee.

Transcripts and Academic Requirements

Applicants must upload one unofficial transcript from each college or university attended to their application. Transcripts must include the student’s name, school name, courses completed, marks earned, and degrees conferred. For academic records in a language other than English, both the original-language documents and a certified word-for-word English translation must be uploaded along with certificates and diplomas.

Minimum Academic Requirement

A four-year U.S. bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university or an equivalent degree as evaluated by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Expected Academic Background Experience

Successful applicants have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree with a background in food science, microbiology, biochemistry, engineering, nutrition, biology, chemistry, animal science or another closely-related field. Transcripts are evaluated for course work and outstanding grades in biology, microbiology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus.

PhD Expected Independent Research Background Experience

It is expected that applicants for the doctoral degree program have prior independent research experience outside of the classroom and submit a superior letter of recommendation from their research advisor. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree or MS non-thesis or course-based degree will be competing against applicants with MS thesis or research-based degrees.

If you do not have independent academic research experience outside of the classroom, we highly encourage you to apply for the Master of Science Degree with Thesis option to gain experience and ensure original research is right for you. Once you complete your master’s degree, you have the option to apply for the PhD degree.

English Proficiency Verification

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores to demonstrate their ability to undertake advanced academic work in an English-speaking institution by providing an English Proficiency test score.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide critical information about personal attributes and student drive. Applicants should choose three recommenders who are able to evaluate their academic and research experience, work ethic, initiative, and critical thinking skills as it relates to graduate school. Recommenders should be research advisors, faculty members, instructors, internship supervisors, or colleagues from food science and technology or closely related fields, industry, student groups, or competitions. Recommendations should never come from a family member or close friend.

Applicants may submit their admission application before receiving all the letters of recommendation. It is highly encouraged that letters be received within two weeks of the deadline.

Personal Statement

In two pages or less, include a description of (1) your motivation for pursuing a graduate degree in Food Science, (2) your relevant experiences (research, teaching, internships/work, volunteering) that have prepared you for graduate school, and (3) what you want to gain during graduate school. Where appropriate, please include examples of your ability to overcome obstacles, your initiative, and communication skills. Although you do not need to identify an advisor to apply, please also indicate if there are specific faculty members you are interested in working with and why. Students interested in the Master of Science Degree-Project Option should clearly state in the personal statement that they are interest in the project option.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Successful applicants show their initiative outside the classroom. Be sure to include prior educational, research, teaching, internship/work, and volunteer experiences. Applicants are also encouraged to include information about awards, publications, and presentations and highlight any extra-curricular and/or leadership activities.

Professional Development Supplemental Form

Applicants are required to fill out the Professional Development Supplemental Form for their respective Master of Science or Doctoral degree application. Applicants are asked to identify their career goals, research experience outside of the classroom, teaching experience, and top two interests within food science and technology.

Master of Science Professional Supplemental Form (PDF)

PhD Professional Supplemental Form (PDF)

Publications and Awards

Applicants are not required to have publications in order to apply for our graduate program. If you do have publications, presentation abstracts or documentation of special recognitions or awards, you may upload files or provide a URL on the “Additional Information Page” of the online application. Students who have completed thesis or project papers are encouraged to upload it to their application as evidence of your previous success in critical thinking. Only use the “Additional Information Page” of the online application to provide uploads or URLs. Do not duplicate information listed on resume/CV or documents uploaded elsewhere on the application.