Animal and Food Sciences Master's Degrees

Professor Kali Kniel with grad students in the lab

Time limitation

The programs are normally completed in 2 to 2 1/2 years of full-time study. All requirements for the master’s degrees must be met within a maximum of ten consecutive semesters.


A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required, of which six credits must be six hours of thesis (869) or three hours of research (668/868) or a combination of both. The student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (4 point scale) in order to receive the M.S. degree.

Core courses

All students pursuing the M.S. degree will complete the following core courses; ANFS 865 Seminar (1 cr.) or ANFS 665 Seminar (1 cr.), and CHEM 527 Introductory Biochemistry (3 cr.) or CHEM 641 Biochemistry (3 cr.), and a statistics course [FREC 608 Research Methods (3 cr.), FREC 806 Research Techniques and Procedures (3 cr.), or equivalent].

Elective courses

The remaining courses, totalling no less than 17 credit hours, will be determined by the student, faculty advisor and the Graduate Committee. These courses will vary among students depending on their specific needs to carry out their research and complete the program. Elective courses taken by students pursuing the M.S. in Animal Science include, but are not limited to, those with the ANFS, ANFS, BISC, CHEM, and FREC/STAT designations. Elective courses taken by students pursuing the M.S. in Food Science include, but are not limited to, those with the ANFS, ANFS, BISC, CHEM, FREC/STAT, CHEG, MATH, MEEG, PLSC, PHYS, AND NDTD designations.

Graduate committee

Each student will have a Graduate Committee consisting of at least three faculty or professional members nominated by the faculty advisor and approved by the Department Chairperson. The advisor, who serves as the chair of the committee, must be a department faculty member. The Graduate Committee’s responsibility is the evaluation of the student’s program, thesis and examination. Participation from individuals from industry, government, or other academic departments on Graduate Committees may be required depending on the student’s area of research and the availability of faculty expertise within the Department. However, the number of “non-University of Delaware” committee members must not exceed 50% of the total number on the committee. Departmental Adjunct Faculty shall be considered as “non-University of Delaware” members in their participation on Graduate Committees. The Department Chairperson is considered an ex officio member of all Graduate Committees.


MS in Food Science (thesis based); MS in Animal Science (thesis based); PhD in Animal and Food Science


  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 overall and 3.0 in the major

  • Appropriate preparatory coursework including general and organic chemistry, general biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and calculus

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Graduate application essay

  • For international applicants from countries where English is not the primary language, demonstration of English proficiency is required by TOEFL or IELTS that meets the minimum requirements set forth by the University of Delaware (

  • In addition to the above conditions, admission to the graduate program is dependent upon availability of appropriate faculty expertise in the student’s area of interest, adequate advisor funding, as well as space in the laboratory of interest. Admission to the Graduate Program is performed by the Chair of the Graduate Committee in consultation with the Graduate Advisory Committee and the chosen advisor. Following admission to the University, a letter of offer is generated by the Department Chair detailing the admission status, advisor, and terms of the graduate contract.


A research topic shall be determined in conference between the faculty advisor and the student. The student will prepare a research proposal containing pertinent background material including a literature review, specific objectives of the research project and methods to be used in the planned studies. The proposal shall be submitted to the student’s Graduate Committee for review and approval of the research project. A proposal review meeting shall be held prior to the completion of the first year following matriculation. The proposal shall be submitted to the committee members at least ten working days prior to the scheduled meeting. The student will give an oral presentation summarizing the proposal. The committee members will question the student to verify that the student understands the research problem and the experimental approaches needed to address it. The Committee will also ensure that the student has the proper training and resources to do the research. As a result of the proposal review meeting, the student may be required to revise the proposal and/or take additional relevant course work.

A thesis reporting the objectives, procedures, results, and a discussion of the student’s research shall be prepared according to the most recent edition of the Thesis Manual prepared by the Office of Graduate Studies. Copies of the thesis shall be submitted to the student’s Graduate Committee at least ten working days prior to the final examination. It is highly recommended that the student present his/her research results at an appropriate scientific meeting and prepare a manuscript(s) based on his/her research results in a form suitable for publication. Published thesis research is acceptable as part of the thesis. At the discretion of the advisor, students may be required to provide a draft manuscript at the time of the defense.

Upon completion of the thesis, the student is required to pass an oral examination covering the thesis and allied areas of study. This examination is administered by the student’s Graduate Committee. The student will give an oral presentation (seminar) summarizing the thesis research. The committee members will question the student about the thesis and related subject areas to verify that the student fully understands the research findings and their implications. A favorable vote of at least two-thirds of the committee members is required for passing.

  • General food safety photo

    Food Safety Experts Avoid These 4 Foods At The Grocery Store

    September 15, 2023 | Written by Anna Rahmanan of Yahoo News
    When it comes to raw milk Dr. Kali Kniel says, “Although it is possible to purchase raw, unpasteurized milk in some states, I recommend people not consume it." Kniel, a microbiologist at the University of Delaware also explained that when a product is actually contaminated with a pathogenic microbe, the food won’t smell or look different for the most part.
  • Urgency for pets

    September 13, 2023 | Written by Kate Zincone
    Pandemic pets blissfully enjoyed more time with their owners as work and school transitioned to a remote environment. Even more lucky animals were adopted. To them, this unexplained increase in company, play and quality time was a treat. But, especially when more households have pets, what happens when all of these animals — new and old — get sick?
  • Equine exploration

    September 08, 2023 | Written by Kate Zincone
    A life-long equestrian competitor, UD student Rebecca Graves was an intern during the summer at the Purina Equine Unit at the Missouri Animal Nutrition Center. She primarily instructed young horses in key skills.