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Food Science Institute

Food Safety and Defense Certificate

The Food Safety & Defense graduate certificate program will prepare you to help with protecting the human food supply. This certificate can complement a graduate degree, or provide working professionals in the food industry the tools needed to advance their career.

The Great Plains IDEA is a consortium of universities offering fully online graduate programs. Each university brings a unique strength to the multi-institution academic programs. In a multi-institution degree program, you apply, and are admitted at one university; enroll in all your courses at that university; and, graduate or receive a certificate from that university. However, your online courses are taught by the best faculty in the discipline from several universities including Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, and University of Nebraska.

Currently, ONLY students that reside within the United States and American Military members on active duty (with an APO or FPO address) are eligible for admission into the certificate program at K-State. This distance program is not available to students residing outside of the Unites States. Additionally, if an international student takes this distance program while residing in the United States, it does not qualify international students for study in the United States.

Certificate Requirements and Courses

Each student must complete a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours within the program including required Core Courses and selected Elective Courses.

Food Safety and Defense Graduate Certificate - Graduate Catalog

A list of course offerings by semester can be found at the Great Plains IDEA website.


Admission Requirements

Must meet entrance requirements of the K-State Graduate School, which include:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), or GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework.
  • English proficiency requirements (for applicants whose native language is not English): minimum score of 79 for iBT TOEFL (internet based), 550 for TOEFL (PBT), 6.5 for IELTS, or 58 for Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Must have completed the following pre-requisite courses:

  • Biology, Botany, or Zoology
  • Physics
  • Microbiology
  • Organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus
  • Statistics

Must reside within the U.S. or Canada. Currently, only students who reside within the United States or Canada are eligible for admission into the Food Science Online Graduate program.

GRE scores are not required. However, if you ultimately wish to apply the graduate credits earned in this non-degree certificate program towards an MS degree, you will need to apply to and be accepted by the K-State Graduate School as an MS degree-seeking student before you complete 9 hours of credit. Application to the MS program does require submission of GRE scores.


Application Materials and How to Apply

To apply, complete the online application process via the Graduate School website.* Note that a non-refundable application fee will apply. You will be required to submit the following materials as part of the application process:

  • Official transcripts of all previous college work.
  • Three letters of recommendation (see note below).
  • A brief statement of objectives (see note below).
  • English proficiency scores – for applicants whose native language is not English


* If you have already been admitted to the K-State Graduate School and are currently pursuing a K-State graduate degree, a full application is not required. Contact the Food Science Graduate Program Chair.

For the three letters of recommendation, ideally aim to include representation from both academic and professional (i.e., employer) references.

Brief statement of objectives:

  • One to two pages is sufficient.
  • Describe why you want to pursue a graduate degree in Food Science at Kansas State University.
  • Indicate your general area of interest (i.e., food chemistry, food microbiology, cereals, meat science, sensory analysis, etc.). This allows the application to be directed to the appropriate faculty. Terms such as "food processing" and "food technology" are too general and may result in rejection because of lack of specificity.
  • Indicate any prior contact you have had with faculty.
  • Indicate faculty you desire to work with as a graduate student, if known.


Application Deadlines

Applications for the non-degree certificate program are accepted on a rolling basis; however, applicants are encouraged to apply by the deadlines indicated here. Currently, only students who reside within the United States or Canada are eligible for admission into the Food Science Online Graduate program. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Please allow at least 8 weeks for processing of your application materials.

To be admitted for FALL (classes begin in August):

  • International Students apply by January 8
  • Domestic Students apply by April 1
  • Online Masters Students apply by August 1

To be admitted for SPRING (classes begin in January):

  • International Students apply by August 1
  • Domestic Students apply by December 7


Application Review Process

Once you have submitted the required application, your application materials will be reviewed by an admission committee composed of the Food Science graduate faculty. Upon acceptance for admission into the program you will be assigned an advisor. Your application will then be forwarded to the Graduate School to review your official transcripts, verify that you have a valid degree from an accredited institution, and determine official approval into the graduate program. Please allow at least 8 weeks for your application materials to be processed.


Program Costs

Cost information for this program is available here:

Great Plains Idea - Cost


Great Plains IDEA Student Excellence Award

The Great Plains IDEA Cabinet is pleased to announce applications are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 Great Plains IDEA Student Excellence Award. The Great Plains IDEA Cabinet will grant five (5) $1000 awards annually for a total of $5000. Students can apply annually, however preference will be given to students who have not received previous financial support from Great Plains IDEA. Application materials should be submitted through the online application system.

Details and application


If you would like to apply the credits earned in this graduate certificate program towards a Master's degree you will need to apply to and be accepted by the Graduate School as a M.S. degree seeking student before you complete 9 hours of credit.

Apply today

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Contact GPIDEA

For more information about the Great Plains IDEA program at Kansas State University, please contact:

AgIDEA Coordinator
Kansas State University
119 Ice Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506

Contact FSI

Nicole Marple
Program Assistant
Food Science Institute
216 Call Hall
1530 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone : 785-532-4057

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