Food Science and Technology (MSc, PhD)

As a graduate student in Food Science, you'll work closely with our researchers on exciting and collaborative projects in areas such as food and water safety, brewing science, biotechnology and the development of new health-promoting and nutraceutical products.

This program offers graduate level class work and research opportunities related to food process technology, food microbiology, edible oils, engineering design, post-mortem biochemistry of muscle foods, proteins and enzymes, food rheology, and beverage science. A wide range of food processing equipment, a pilot plant, and well-equipped laboratories offer unique opportunities for graduate training and research. Students with degrees in food science, engineering, chemistry/biochemistry, microbiology or biology are invited to apply. The graduate degree programs share some facilities with the Canadian Institute of Fisheries Technology, a specialized resource centre for graduate education and research in food science and food process engineering with emphasis on seafoods.

Program requirements

The Food Science Program requires a minimum of four graduate level courses for master's programs while four additional course credits are required for PhD candidates who have already completed a Master's program. One senior level undergraduate course may be counted toward the Master's degree provided the course standing is at least a 'B' grade.

The courses required for the degree may vary from student to student according to the student's academic background. Students whose background is considered to be deficient in one or more undergraduate courses would be required to successfully complete such courses with a minimum of a 'B' average.

In certain instances, students may be required to complete an entire "makeup" year of undergraduate courses. These courses would be selected by the student's supervisor and the graduate student advisor. Students will not receive stipends while taking an entire makeup year of undergraduate courses. Only in unusual circumstances will a student take the minimum number of courses.

It is expected that most students will be advised by the graduate student advisor, thesis supervisor, and thesis committee on the selection and numbers of courses to be taken for the completion of the degree.

It is expected that most of the course work can be completed within the first academic year. This arrangement leaves a Master's student with two or three terms to complete the research project.  

Thesis requirements

The thesis project is initiated by the completion of a research proposal. The proposal is typewritten and submitted to the supervisor prior to starting the research. The proposal should include an introduction, literature review and definition of the problem. A description of the materials and methods as well as a tentative timetable for completion of the various stages of the project should also be included.

The thesis guiding committee, selected by the supervisor will meet with the student and discuss the proposal and the project before the student carries out the research.

The thesis guiding committee may meet several times throughout the project to discuss the student's progress. Upon completion of the project to the satisfaction of the guiding committee, the student will prepare the thesis and defend its contents during an oral examination.

Length of program

  • MSc - typical time to complete is 2 years
  • PhD - typical time to complete is 3-4 years


In some instances, funding is available to qualified students through an individual faculty member's research grants. Funding in such cases may include a graduate student stipend paid to the student on a monthly basis. The student is expected to pass all courses according to the academic regulations described in the Calendar and remain on campus throughout the entire year to carry out the research project described in the thesis proposal. Arrangements for annual vacation leave are to be discussed with the supervisor involved in the project.

Students may be required to perform teaching assistant duties for which remuneration will be provided through part-time teaching assistantships (PTTA's). Students receiving a PTTA are paid to assist the course instructors with lab preparation, cleanup and marking. Qualified students with scholarships or fellowships may be accommodated more readily, however, than those who rely on the research supervisor for complete funding.

The research supervisor is responsible for the funding for necessary materials and supplies required for completion of the project. It should be noted that international agencies which fund foreign students may be asked to pay a laboratory fee to offset costs of materials and supplies. The research supervisor may also agree to supply partial funding for student travel to annual scientific meetings or conferences either abroad or in Canada. Such funding would generally include economy transportation, conference registration and reasonable costs for accommodation. Such funding is generally only available to students presenting scientific papers at such meetings.

Graduate students are responsible for all other expenses. This includes tuition, books, stationery supplies, thesis, etc.

Research facilities

  • Fish & food processing pilot plant
  • Food analysis labs
  • Food chemistry lab & instrumentation room
  • Marine oils lab
  • Rheology/texture lab

Our researchers are actively involved in collaborative projects in such areas as food and water safety, brewing science, biotechnology and the development of new health-promoting and nutraceutical products.

View more detailed information on research areas and facilities, see Food Science research areas and labs.

Admission requirements

Contact information

Subject Code: FOSC
Tel: 902-494-1288
Address: Faculty of Engineering, Graduate Studies & Research Office, Sexton Campus, 1360 Barrington Street,
Halifax, NS, Canada, B3J 2X4
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Suzanne Budge
Graduate Coordinator Tel: 902-494-4593
Graduate Coordinator Email:
Website & Fact Sheets: