Doctoral Degree/ Ph.D in Food Science and Technology

A graduate student at a computer in a lab.

Doctoral Degree consists of original research that contributes to new knowledge. It is the highest research degree in Food Science and Technology and designed to prepare students for careers in research. Doctoral students pursue postdoc and faculty positions in college or university or hired as scientists and researchers in industry and government agency.

Annual Progress Report and Supervisory Committee Meetingcomplete at least once a year

Annual Progress Report (Word)

At least two weeks before their supervisory committee meeting, students need to email the completed Student Progress Report form to their supervisory committee members and FDST Graduate Coordinator. It is your responsibility to call meetings with your committee.

Supervisory Committeecomplete by end of 2nd semester

Ph.D. Supervisory Committee OGS Form (PDF)


  • Minimum of four committee members. Five are recommended in the event one member is on sabbatical or is otherwise unavailable.
  • Faculty advisor from the Department of Food Science and Technology serves as chair
  • At least three must be Food Science and Technology faculty
  • At least one must be outside the Department of Food Science and Technology but within the University of Nebraska System (UNL, UNMC, UNO or UNK)
  • If pursuing a minor: required to have a graduate faculty member from the minor program on their Supervisory Committee

Program of Studiescomplete by end of 2nd semester or at least 45 credit hours remaining to be taken

Program of Studies OGS Form (PDF)
Plan of Study Calculation Spreadsheet (Excel)

Minimum of 90 semester credit hours

  • At least one-half (45 hours), including dissertation credits, must be in Food Science and Technology (FDST)
  • 12-55 hours of FDST 999 Doctoral Dissertation credit hours
  • Minimum of 2 credit hours of FDST 896-002 Teaching Assistant
  • Minimum of 3 credit hours of FDST 951 Seminar if admitted with a master’s degree OR minimum of 4 hours if admitted with a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of 3 credit hours of FDST 952 Professional Communication if admitted with a master’s degree OR minimum of 4 hours if admitted with a bachelor’s degree

Transfer Credit
All graduate credits to be counted toward the satisfaction of the doctoral degree requirements, including all transfer credits, must be approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Not less than 50 percent of the course work required for any graduate degree must be completed at the University of Nebraska.

Mid-Program Comprehensive Exam and Research Proposal Defense (Candidacy)complete by the end of 4th semester (or at least 30 credit hours remaining to be taken)

Proposal Defense Evaluation Form (PDF)

Proposal Defense Summary Form (PDF)
Application for Admission to Candidacy OGS Form (PDF).

A student pursuing a Doctoral Degree must complete a mid-program comprehensive exam. Areas to be evaluated include the student's knowledge of the science and methods to be used in the project and the student's ability to express their ideas orally and to answer questions related to the proposed project.

Written Research Proposal Requirements

  • Written format as a grant proposal for USDA, NIH, or NSF
  • USDA:
  • NIH:
  • NSF:
  • UNL Office of Research & Economic Development Checklists:

Oral Research Proposal Defense Requirements

  • 30-minute seminar presentation with Supervisory Committee members
  • Followed by oral examination by the Supervisor Committee

Final Semester and Graduation

Please follow the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) Steps to Completion in order to meet OGS deadlines and complete the necessary forms.

Applying for Graduation

Graduation Application
Hooding Participation form

Dissertation and Final Oral Defense

Application for Final Oral Examination Form (PDF)
Report of Completion Form (PDF)

Written Requirements
Office of Graduate Studies Written Format Guidelines (link to

Oral Defense
45-minute public seminar presentation with 10 minutes for questions, open to faculty, graduate students, and guests; followed by oral examination by the Supervisor Committee (please allow 2 hours)

Last Day and Departure Checklist

Departure and Offboarding Checklist (Word)

Submit a departure checklist before you leave UNL to Julie McManamey, FDST Graduate Program Coordinator. Your last day for FIC building access is commencement day. If you are on a graduate assistantship, your last workday is commencement day.