Online MS Programs in Food Safety - Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance


We’ve all enjoyed a can of coke, a pack of chips, and a chocolate bar, but have you ever wondered about the complex processes that ensure the safety of these food items we consume? Food safety and regulation employs an army of professionals that rigorously check the quality of beverages and other processed foods, and ensure they meet the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory bodies.

Students who wish to pursue a career in food safety can opt for a master of science (MS) program in food safety regulation. On the other hand, those who wish to work behind the scenes in the healthcare industry as a regulatory affairs professional can opt for an MS in regulatory affairs.

A number of these are also offered online, providing flexibility. Often, these programs are developed in collaboration with governmental agencies and organizations such as the National Institutes for Health (NIH) or FDA. Students interested in food safety examine the relevant regulation submissions and statutes, while those opting for regulatory affairs get instruction in the healthcare enterprise, global regulatory affairs, regulatory compliance, and biostatistics for clinical research.

Depending on the degree they choose, students are prepared to develop food safety regulatory plans, understand the roles of regulatory agencies, and take part in clinical trials. Food safety professionals can work in the food industry or as part of the healthcare industry in roles such as regulatory affairs specialist, controls manager, and quality assurance manager.

The following guide discusses six online master’s programs in food safety and regulatory affairs, as well as three notable faculty members teaching them.

Professors to Know in Food Safety & Regulatory Affairs Programs

  • Leslie Bourquin, PhD - Michigan State University

    Dr. Leslie Bourquin is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. He teaches the FSMA/HACCP course. His primary research focus is market development for the food industry and food safety education.

    Dr. Bourquin has published his research in top journals such as the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the Journal of Animal Science, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Notably, he was a Fulbright Research Scholar. He completed his PhD and MS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BS at Oklahoma State University.

  • Thomas Colonna, PhD - Johns Hopkins University

    Dr. Thomas Colonna serves as the director of MS in food safety regulation and MS in regulatory science programs at Johns Hopkins University, where he has been teaching since 2004. Prior to this, he taught at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland as well as the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

    Professor Colonna has co-authored two textbooks on regulatory science and has published several peer-reviewed papers and legal articles. He earned his PhD in molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University, his degree in law from the Georgetown University Law Center, and a BS in microbiology from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

  • Darin Detwiler, PhD, DLP - Northeastern University

    Dr. Darin Detwiler serves as the director of the master of science in the regulatory affairs of food and food industries program at Northeastern University. He teaches courses such as an introduction to regulatory affairs of food; the political, social, and economic influences on food policy; food regulations in the European Union; food and NAFTA; and the economic and social aspects of food.

    Dr. Detwiler’s work has appeared in the Quality Assurance and Food Safety magazine, Food Safety News, and Global Food Safety Resource. He has won numerous awards such as a Distinguished Service Award, an Excellence in Teaching Award, and an Outstanding Educator Award. He holds his PhD from Northeastern University, DLP from Northeastern University, MA from University Of Phoenix, BE and BA from Western Washington University, and AAS from Whatcom Community College.

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