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Master of Science Requirements

The M.S. degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit (includes a minimum of 24 coursework hours and 6 hours of thesis research). At least 15 of the 30 hours must be in courses numbered at or above the 7000 level. The 24 course work hours may include no more than 9 hours of NFS 7030 (Advanced Food and Nutrition Research). The 9 hours of NFS 7030 is the total a student can take while a graduate student in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences; thus, if a student takes 9 hours at the M.S. level, they may not take this course at the doctoral level.

Students without nutrition courses as an undergraduate student may be required to complete selected undergraduate courses which are a prerequisite for graduate study in nutrition. More than 30 hours may be needed to ensure a thorough understanding of the field and this determination is made by the Major Professor and/or the Graduate Advisory Committee.

All M.S. graduate students are required to take the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences core courses:

NFS Required Core Courses

Credit Hours Course
NFS 8000 (Thesis Research)
NFS 7022 (Current Controversies in Food and Nutrition)
NFS 7071 (Seminar in Nutrition and Food Sciences)
EXST 7004 (or EXST 7003 or EXST 7005)1
Concentration Courses or Electives
1EXST 7003 Statistical Inference I; EXST 7004 Experimental Statistics I (4); EXST 7005 Statistical Techniques I (4)


Master of Science Procedures

  1. Graduate Students will be evaluated each year by their Major Professor, the “Annual Graduate Evaluation Form” will be sent out first week in January due February 1st.
  2. Graduate students on assistantships must maintain monthly time records that must be signed by the supervisor and graduate assistant, certifying the hours worked. These are the hours worked for your assistantship not on your research projects. The time sheets are turned in to Administrative Program Specialist in charge of Student Services (Petrie Baker) 297E Knapp Hall the first day of every month.
  3. The Graduate Advisory Committee must be selected by the student and Major Professor during the student’s first semester. A copy of “Academic Course Plan” must be signed by the Major Professor and School of Nutrition and Food Sciences Graduate Programs Advisor (Dr. Erin McKinley) and turned into Administrative Program Specialist in charge of Student Services (Petrie Baker) 297E Knapp Hall.
  4. Research
    An oral and written research proposal must be approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee within the first year the student begins the degree. The Major Professor will advise the graduate student on the proper format for the proposal.

    The proposal normally includes:
    • Justification
    • Objectives, hypotheses, and/or research questions
    • Review of literature
    • Methodology
    • Current Results

  5. A signed copy of the proposal approval sheet and course schedule must be turned into Administrative Program Specialist in charge of Student Services (Petrie Baker) 297E Knapp Hall.
  6. Students are encouraged to submit one manuscript for publication and have one national presentation before graduation. For copyright and ethical matters see the LSU graduate schools “Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.”
  7. Nutrition and Food Science Seminars – graduate students are encouraged to attend all departmental graduate, faculty, and invited speaker seminars.
  8. Assist with teaching (TA 1) in an area of expertise and interest is encouraged for at least one semester at the discretion of the Major Professor after consultation with the Graduate Advisory Committee.
  9. Minor in a related field is encouraged.
  10. Final Examination is a closed door defense of the graduate coursework and thesis by oral examination from the Graduate Advisory Committee. The final examination must be preceded by a public oral seminar on thesis research before the final examination can be administered.
  11. Expected time to complete the degree is two years; however, maximum time allowed by the Graduate School is five years.

NSF Master Degree Proposal and Thesis

MS students should meet with their Major Professor to determine the members of their Advisory Committee within the first semester of program and to discuss courses required and fill-out the Academic Course Plan indicating the expected completion date (semester, year). Students must prepare a written proposal of their research for approval by the Advisory committee. Laboratory areas required by the student should be identified and appropriate laboratory leaders contacted for requirements regarding protocols, supplies, and safety.

The Master's thesis should demonstrate capacity for research, originality of thought, and facility in organizing materials. It must be acceptable in subject matter and exhibit creditable literary workmanship. Inclusion of words, ideas, or data of other researchers must be properly acknowledged and referenced. It is the student's responsibility to know and follow proper citation methods to prevent actual or perceived plagiarism. The thesis style should be discussed and accepted by the student and their Major Professor and must meet Graduate School requirements. Graduating students are expected to attend Graduate School seminars and meetings on thesis format, submission, and approval.

Application for Master’s Degree & Final Examination

Early before each semester or summer term there is a deadline for submitting the "Application for Degree" to the Graduate School. When MS students intend to graduate during a given semester, they should complete and submit their "Application for Degree" and "Request for Final Examination."

The student has the responsibility of scheduling the location, date and time when all committee members can attend the Master's Final Examination. The examination should be preceded by a publicly announced School seminar on the thesis research. The Final Examination and seminar may not be scheduled when LSU is not in session. The "Request for Final Examination” form must be approved by the Major Professor and Department Head or Graduate Coordinator and submitted at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date and by the current semester deadline if the student is a candidate for a degree (see the current "Academic Calendar" for pertinent dates/deadlines). Two originals of this form are forwarded to the Graduate School, one copy to each Examination Committee member and one copy to the Graduate Coordinator. The finished thesis should be distributed to the Examination Committee two weeks prior to the examination date.

The Master's Degree Final Examination is a comprehensive oral examination that will evaluate the thesis, the student's ability to understand, explain and defend the thesis as well as evaluate the student’s broader knowledge of the major field (and minor field, if applicable). Outcome of the Final Examination, as well as acceptance of the thesis, rests with the Final Examination Committee. This committee is nominated by the chair of the student’s major department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School and will ordinarily be the faculty members who served as the student’s thesis committee. The thesis may be accepted at this time but if revisions are recommended, the approval of the thesis will be delayed until those revisions are made. The Major Professor is responsible for providing two copies of the "Exam Results Form" to the Administrative Program Specialist in charge of Student Services (Petrie Baker) 297E Knapp Hall.

After the committee has approved the final version of the thesis, required copies must be submitted to and accepted by the Graduate School. One electronic copy must also be sent to the Major Professor, to each Graduate Advisory Committee member, and one electron copy sent to the Administrative Program Specialist in charge of Student Services (Petrie Baker) in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

NFS Graduate Student Handbook

Other Degree Requirements and Regulations

Graduate students are responsible for knowing the policies, rules, and regulations of the University and the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences found on the LSU website, the General Catalog, and the Graduate Bulletin that are not discussed in the departmental handbook. Each graduate student is responsible for following the LSU Code of Student Conduct, policies on Academic Integrity, safety rules, Policy Statements (PS) of LSU, and Presidential Memoranda (PM) of the LSU System.

Contact Us

  • Dr. Erin McKinley
    Assistant Professor
    Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics
    Graduate Programs Advisor
    285 Knapp Hall
    phone: 225-578-1631
    email: emckinley1@lsu.edu
revised: 24-Feb-2022 10:43