Food Safety

The Food Safety program is designed for working professionals. Its interdisciplinary nature enables students to learn from accomplished faculty across agricultural, food and life sciences. This program expands scientific knowledge in food safety, quality assurance and risk assessment. Program graduates have been promoted into various levels of managerial jobs and executive-level jobs with worldwide companies.

The program is based on U.S. standards including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principals and food safety laws and regulations. It emphasizes preventative processes, problem-solving skills, and the scientific foundations that drive industry standards like food microbiology, toxicology and epidemiology.

The courses are taught by the same U of A faculty who teach on campus.

Required Emphasis Area Courses (18 credit hours)

 FDSC 5823. Principles of Food Microbiology

This web-based course is a study of the fundamentals of food microbiology to include its history, classifications, spores and their importance, and the most common and serious pathogenic food microorganisms. Fermentation, spoilage microorganisms and control methodology are also discussed. Offered fall semester of even years. Instructor: Kristen Gibson.

FDSC 5223. Food Biosecurity

This course is the study of the security of agricultural products and the protection of our food supply from intentional and accidental, domestic and international contamination. Offered fall semester of even years. Instructor: Kristen Gibson.

FDSC 5423. Foodborne Diseases

This course will introduce students to the major pathogens associated with foodborne diseases, their epidemiology, and approaches to outbreak investigation and control of foodborne illness. An emphasis will be placed on understanding the relationships between the host, the etiologic agent, and the environment as they relate to disease causation. The student will gain knowledge through lectures, case studies, readings, and an individual project. Offered summer semester of odd years. Instructor: Kristen Gibson.

FDSC 5503. Safety and Sanitation for the Food Industry

This web-based course will provide an appreciation of the need for sanitation in food processing and increase the students' knowledge of sanitary techniques. Topics will include contamination sources, plant and equipment design, cleaners and sanitizers, HACCP, and food biosecurity. Also covered will be considerations in selecting, establishing and maintaining a sanitation program. Prerequisite: General Microbiology or Food Microbiology; General Chemistry. Offered summer semester of even years. Instructor: Kristen Gibson.

POSC 5113. Food Toxicology and Contaminants

During this course, the student will learn basic concepts of food toxicology, study the different physiological processes involved in food borne intoxications, and learn about potential health problems associated with exposure to these compounds. Offered spring semester of odd years. Instructor: TBD 

AGEC 5713. Food Safety Law

This course provides students with an introduction to food law and policy, history of food regulation, the organization of federal food law and regulatory agencies, government inspection and enforcement powers, food safety standards, food labeling, food advertising and product liability. Offered fall semester of odd years. Instructor: Lauren Stine.

Required Statistics Courses (3 credit hours)

Only ONE of these is required

AGED 5473. Interpreting Social Data in Agriculture

The development of competencies in analyzing, interpreting and reporting the results of analyses of social science data in agriculturally related professions. Students will select appropriate analysis techniques and procedures for various problems, analyze data, and interpret and report the results of statistical analyses in narrative and tabular form. Offered fall semester. Instructor: Don Johnson.

ESRM 5393. Statistics in Education and Health Professions

Applied statistics course for Master's degree candidates. Includes concepts and operations for frequency distributions, graphing techniques, measures of central tendency and variation, sampling, hypothesis testing, and interpretation of statistical results. Offered every semester. Instructor: Xinya Liang.

Additional Elective Coursework (6 credit hours)

Various electives offered each semester. Advisor/Program approval required.

Program Capstone Course (3 credit hours)

FDSC or POSC 500V. Special Problems Research

Original investigation on assigned problems in food safety. Course taken to complete the degree program. Instructor: Student's advisor.


NOTE: Courses and schedule subject to change.


 Helpful information

Application deadlines for this program are July 1st for fall enrollment and December 1st for spring enrollment. All applications will be reviewed after the deadline. 

Detailed Application Information

This program timeline can be shortened. Please contact your academic advisor.

An oral or written examination and exit interview are required to fulfill degree requirements.

This program does not currently accept international students residing outside of the United States.

Program Contact

Cathy Hamilton
Programs Coordinator

 Program Cost

$500 Tuition

Tuition and fees per credit hour reflect fall 2023 rates for students studying completely online. If an online student takes a course on campus, tuition and fees will differ.