PhD in Food and Hospitality Systems

Degree Requirements

  • Minimum of 72 hours of graduate level coursework beyond the Bachelor’s degree.
  • 15 hours must be at the 8000-level or above, exclusive of readings, research, problems and independent study hours.
  • Maximum of 30 hours of post-baccalaureate graduate credits (exclusive of readings, research, problems and independent study hours) from a regionally accredited university may be transferred in.

While a basic goal of the Ph.D. program is to provide students with highly specialized research skills and knowledge in a particular subdivision of Food and Hospitality Systems, the faculty believe that it is important for Ph.D. students to understand the breadth of the discipline as well.

There are three tracks in the Food and Hospitality Systems (FHS) Ph.D. program: Food Science, Hospitality Management and Agricultural Systems Technology. Courses required for all three tracks and those required for each track, respectively, are listed below.

Note: Tracks do not appear on transcripts or diplomas. Emphasis areas appear on transcripts.

Required Courses for Food Science, Hospitality and Agricultural Systems Technology Tracks:
STAT 7110Statistical Software and Data Analysis3
or STAT 7150 Applied Categorical Data Analysis
or STAT 7210 Applied Nonparametric Methods
or STAT 7310 Sampling Techniques
or STAT 7410 Biostatistics and Clinical Trials
or STAT 7510 Applied Statistical Models I
or STAT 7530 Analysis of Variance
or STAT 7540 Experimental Design
or STAT 7560 Applied Multivariate Data Analysis
PLNT_SCI 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
or BIO_SC 8060 Ethical Conduct of Research
or V_PBIO 8641 Introduction to Research Ethics
or MPP 8415 Responsible Conduct of Research thru Engagement, Enactment and Empowerment NIH and other Federal Age
or PSYCH 8910 Responsible Conduct of Research
Career Development1-4
AG_ED_LD 8350College Teaching of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources1-3
or GRAD 9010 Preparing Future Faculty I
or GRAD 9020 Preparing Future Faculty II
or GRAD 9050 Preparing Future Professionals for Post-Graduate Studies Careers
or GRAD 9072 Science Policy and Public Engagement
or GRAD 9082 Science Policy and Public Engagement
Food Science Track Required Courses:9-12
Chemistry and Analysis3-4
F_S 7310Food Chemistry and Analysis3-4
or F_S 7311 Investigation of Food Properties
or F_S 7315 Food Chemistry and Analysis Laboratory
F_S 7160Food Process Engineering3
or F_S 7330 Principles of Food Processing
F_S 7370Food Microbiology3
F_S 7375Food Microbiology Laboratory2
Hospitality Management Track Required Courses:15
HSP_MGMT 7100Hospitality Human Resources Management 3
HSP_MGMT 7110Hospitality and Tourism Marketing3
HSP_MGMT 7180Strategic Management in the Hospitality Industry3
HSP_MGMT 7200Destination Management3
HSP_MGMT 7400Hospitality Finance Management3
F_S 7941Internship in Food Science (Minimum of two internships, 150 field hours each; first internship operational-based, second internship managerial-based)2
Agricultural Systems Technology Track Required Courses:15
AG_S_TCH 7020Agricultural Safety and Health3
AG_S_TCH 7220Material Handling and Conditioning3
AG_S_TCH 7320Agricultural Equipment and Machinery4
AG_S_TCH 7390Optimization and Management of Food and Agriculture Systems3
AG_S_TCH 7420Surface Water Management3

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Plan of Study

The plan of study, completed under the guidance of a FHS Doctoral Degree Program Committee, consists of a list of formal courses and research or problems hours. The signed D2 form listing the committee-approved courses in the student's plan of study must be turned in to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator no later than the end of the student's third semester for submission to the Graduate School. See a Sample Plan of Study at this link:

Minimum Requirements
Hours beyond the baccalaurate degree72
Graduate level courses (excluding Problems, Research or Independent Study)15
F_S 9087Seminar in Food Science (Must be taken in FHS; 2 cr. required; maximum of 4 cr.)1
F_S 9090Research in Foods Science6

Dissertation Requirements

Doctoral Degree Program Committee

A FHS Doctoral Degree Program Committee must be identified by the end of the student's second semester. This committee must include at least four MU graduate faculty members, three of whom must be from the FHS Graduate Program, including the advisor chair. The advisor chair and at least one other committee member must also be members of MU Doctoral Faculty. At least one committee member must be a graduate faculty member from MU but outside the chosen track in the FHS Graduate Program.

Qualifying Exam

To fulfill the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, a proposal of the Ph.D. dissertation research or a critique and expansion of an assigned research article, must be presented to and approved by the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee before the start of the student's third semester.  The D1 form must be submitted to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator for submission to the Graduate School by the same time to indicate the results of this Qualifying Exam, along with the proposal or critique. The student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee shall determine the course of action for students who do not pass the Qualifying Exam. Students are allowed one attempt to remediate a failing result of the Qualifying Exam.


Students are expected to begin their research once their proposal has been approved by the FHS Doctoral Degree Program Committee at their Qualifying Exam. Students are required to conduct periodic committee meetings to update the Doctoral Degree Program Committee on his/her research progress throughout their Ph.D. program.  Significant modifications of the research following initial approval of the proposed Ph.D. research during the Qualifying Exam must be approved by the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee. Upon completion of the research, a dissertation based on original research must be reviewed and approved by the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee. All Ph.D. candidates are required to prepare at least one manuscript, judged acceptable by the major advisor and at least one additional member of the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee, for submission to a refereed journal, prior to the final dissertation defense. An electronic copy of the manuscript must be submitted to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator at the same time as when scheduling the Defense.

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Comprehensive Examination Process

The comprehensive examination must be completed at least seven months prior to the dissertation research defense. Students must be enrolled in order to take this exam and MU must officially be in session. This examination is comprised of a written and an oral portion, and is designed to measure the student's knowledge of food science, hospitality management, agricultural systems technology and related areas. In addition, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to think clearly and critically, and to express themselves adequately in both written and spoken English. After completion of the written exam, the student, in consultation with the major advisor and Doctoral Degree Program Committee should schedule the oral exam. The oral exam is designed to determine whether the student can think clearly on their feet and express themselves well in English. During the oral exam, the student will be expected to defend their answers on the written portion of the comprehensive exam as well as any other related  areas the committee wishes to explore. Both the written and oral sections of the Comprehensive Exam must be completed within one month.  For the Comprehensive Exam to be completed successfully, the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee must vote to pass the student on both the written and oral sections of the exam with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote. Students who fail the Comprehensive Exam may not retake the exam for at least 12 weeks.  Failure to pass two Comprehensive Exam automatically prevents candidacy. Results of the Comprehensive Exam (D3 form) with signatures from all committee members must be turned in to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator for submission to the Graduate School.

Exit Seminar

Immediately before the defense of the dissertation, the student must present a formal dissertation exit seminar on his/her Ph.D. research. The seminar is open to the general university audience. The FHS Graduate Program Coordinator will announce the seminar dates to appropriate colleagues within and outside the program at least two weeks prior to the seminar date. The dissertation defense must take place when MU is officially in session and the candidate must be enrolled at MU at the time.  

Final Examination

After the seminar has been presented, a final defense oral examination will be conducted by the FHS Doctoral Degree Program Committee. The candidate should be prepared to defend his/her research and to discuss any related areas. Together with the dissertation, at least one published manuscript or a manuscript for publication submission based on the student's Ph.D. research must be submitted to the Doctoral Program Committee for review and to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator at least two weeks before the final exam.

A report of the examination (D4 form), carrying the signatures of all members of the committee, must be turned in to the FHS Graduate Program Coordinator for submission to the MU Graduate School before the deadline preceding the anticipated date of graduation. For the dissertation to be considered successfully defended, the student's Doctoral Degree Program Committee must vote to pass the student on the defense with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote. 

A final copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the MU Graduate School electronically. A bound hard copy of the dissertation and electronic copies of all manuscripts, must be submitted to the FHS Graduate Program.


Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the Ph.D. in Food and Hospitality Systems Graduate Program and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Because requirements vary, you must refer to the degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process. Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Graduate School and the degree program to which you've applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

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