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.
Featured MS in Food Safety – Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance
Johns Hopkins University offers an online master of science (MS) in food safety regulations, as well as an online MS in regulatory science. The former program helps students understand the processes of labeling, distribution, and food production, while the latter focuses on the development of clinical drugs and other biologics.
Admission requirements for the programs include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US college or university in the life sciences or in engineering, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, one semester of biochemistry and one of organic chemistry at the undergraduate or graduate level, a completed online application, a statement of purpose, a current resume, official transcripts, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for students whose native language is not English. Students who do not have the required science prerequisites (but meet all other requirements) may be admitted provisionally.
The MS in food safety program, comprising ten courses, helps students gain practical experience with food safety by way of assignments and case studies. Some of the courses include an introduction to food safety regulation, food microbiology, the regulation of good food production practices, food toxicology, food labeling and packaging regulations, and risk assessment and management.
Students develop critical thinking skills, learning how to design and implement food safety regulatory submissions. At the end of the program, they are able to analyze the regulations and statutes governing food safety. Food safety regulatory professionals generally work with government agencies, conducting inspections and promoting compliance with food safety regulations.
- Location: Baltimore, MD
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $4,495 per course
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences offers an online master of science in health sciences (MSHS) in regulatory affairs program. This program is offered entirely online and does not require any campus residencies. Healthcare professionals looking to break into the field of regulatory affairs and lead product development can opt for this program.
Admission requirements for the program are as follows: a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, previous work experience, a statement of purpose, a completed online application, a current resume, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, and TOEFL, or PTE, or IELTS test scores for international students.
The program consists of 36 credit-hours in topics such as healthcare leadership, issues and trends in health systems, the healthcare enterprise, biostatistics for clinical and translational research, epidemiology for clinical and translational research, an introduction to global regulatory affairs, and clinical research for regulatory affairs.
Students learn how to analyze public health data and clinical trials, manage the regulatory aspects of product development, and ensure that a firm’s business needs are being met as well. In addition, they become adept at gauging the scientific as well as economic value of new products.
On successful completion of the program, graduates can take up roles such as regulatory affairs specialist, consumer officer, medical affairs associate, technical engineer, regulatory affairs manager, and quality assurance engineer.
- Location: Washington DC
- Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $35,280 for the program
Northeastern University offers an online master of science (MS) in regulatory affairs of food and food industries. This is a fully online program, providing maximum flexibility for working professionals.
In order to get accepted, applicants must have an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S, a statement of purpose, a professional resume, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and English language proficiency scores (for international students).
The program, comprising 45 credit-hours, is a blend of theoretical and practical training. Courses include an introduction to regulatory affairs of food and food industries, food law in the United States, an introduction to food science, risk analysis and hazard analysis in the food industry, nutrition entrepreneurship, and international surveillance and regulation of food.
The program provides students with a good understanding of the basics of food production, the tools to handle regulatory projects in companies of all sizes, and a grasp of US and international food regulations. Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue leadership roles in the food and regulatory industry.
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts
- Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Expected Time to Completion: 18 to 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: $35,856 for the program
The University of Arkansas offers an online master of science (MS) in food safety program. The program provides students with a strong understanding of risk assessment, food safety, and quality assurance.
The program’s admission requirements include a completed online admission application, a strong background in science, official transcripts with degree confirmation, a current resume, a statement of purpose, and an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0. GRE scores and letters of recommendation are not required. Currently, the program does not accept international students residing outside of the United States.
The program consists of 30 credit-hours and helps students develop problem-solving skills and knowledge of toxicology, food microbiology, and epidemiology. Some of the topics in the curriculum include statistics in education and health professions, the principles of food microbiology, food biosecurity, foodborne diseases, safety and sanitation for the food industry, food toxicology and contaminants, and food safety law.
Through the coursework, students learn about the major pathogens associated with foodborne diseases, the fundamentals of food microbiology, and the basic concepts of food toxicology. They also become aware of food laws and policy, the history of food regulation, and the organization of federal food law and regulatory agencies. The program prepares students to take up executive level roles in food-related companies all over the world.
- Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Expected Time to Completion: 36 months
- Estimated Tuition: $500 Tuition per credit-hour
Michigan State University offers an online master of science (MS) in food safety degree. This is a fully online program for mid-career working professionals. The program helps students understand dynamic food safety laws, food protection, and public health concerns.
Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree, professional degree, or an equivalent degree from an accredited university, at least six credits of college-level biological sciences (three of which should be in microbiology), a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, work experience in a food-related field, a professional letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, an original transcript from each institution attended, and proof of English proficiency (for ESL students). This program does not require GRE scores.
The 30-credit program addresses a number of issues related to food safety and regulation. A few of the courses include the ecology of foodborne pathogens, food safety toxicology, foodborne disease epidemiology, international food laws and regulations, an introduction to food safety and professional development, and food safety research methods.
Students learn how to examine foodborne pathogens, understand the properties of toxic substances in food, and investigate the outbreak of disease. They also learn how to apply basic research methods. Graduates of the program are well-equipped to work in leadership roles in food regulation.
- Location: East Lansing, Michigan
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Expected Time to Completion: 36 to 60 months
- Estimated Tuition: $814 per credit-hour
The Illinois Institute of Technology offers an online master of science in food safety and technology. Courses in this program are offered at the Mies Campus or online with the exception of the “Food Microbiology Laboratory” course. The faculty for the program includes professionals from the FDA, industry scientists, and professors from the renowned Illinois Tech.
Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0. They must also submit TOEFL scores (for international students) and GRE scores (can be waived), among other documentation.
The curriculum consists of 32 credit-hours. Some of the courses include food microbiology, food analysis, food process engineering, the principles of food packaging, the fundamentals of food science, and food product development.
The program places an emphasis on sanitation, microbiology, food safety, food engineering, and the analysis of food toxins. They also learn about common food-related operations such as sterilization, freezing, drying, and radiation.
At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities in food manufacturing operations, research and development, food safety, compliance, and regulatory affairs. They can also take up positions with federal, state, or local health and agri-food agencies.
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission.
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 to 36 months
- Estimated Tuition: $1,575 per credit-hour
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.