Food and Agricultural Sciences, M.S.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Food and Agricultural Sciences

Center for Food Science and Technology


The Departments of Agriculture and Human Ecology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore offer a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Science (M.S.) in Food and Agricultural Sciences.  Concentrations include: Agricultural Economics, Agriculture and Extension Education, Animal and Poultry Science, Food and Nutrition, Natural Resource Science, and Plant and Soil Science.  In typical situations, the prerequisite to graduate work is the completion of a curriculum substantially equivalent to that required of undergraduate students enrolled in the Departments of Agriculture and Human Ecology at UMES.  A student may qualify for graduate study, however, even though his/her undergraduate degree has been earned in a discipline other than agriculture or human ecology.  Supporting or prerequisite work may be required, depending upon the student’s background and area of interest.  A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0) is required for regular acceptance, but at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, a student with a lower grade point average may be admitted on a provisional basis. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (general test only), three letters of recommendation and a completed application form are required of all applicants.  Foreign students must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score a minimum of 550 or 213 (computer test).

The program offers a thesis or non-thesis option for completion of degree requirements.  The thesis option is designed for students who wish to conduct a research project and is required of all students holding graduate research assistantships. Students are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis credits for a total of 30 hours.  The non-thesis option is designed for students who do not wish to complete a thesis research project. Students who choose this option must complete a minimum of 36 hours of course work which includes a “creative component” (e.g., scholarly paper). 

Each student is assigned an advisor/major professor according to his/her area of concentration.  Major professors may be either regular or associate members of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Graduate Faculty.  The student, in consultation with the major professor, selects his/her Graduate Committee no later than the end of the second semester following enrollment.  Each student’s program of study is planned in conference with the major professor and Graduate Committee. For additional information on completion of degree requirements, students should consult the booklet, Guidelines for the Graduate degree programs in Food and Agricultural Sciences andFood Science and Technology.  All students, regardless of the area of concentration or program option chosen, must maintain an overall 3.0 grade point average, complete degree requirements within 5 years of initial enrollment and pass a final oral examination.


Core Courses:

Research Methodology          3 credits
Statistics                             3 credits
Seminar                              Three 1‐credit courses

Areas of Concentration:

  • Agricultural Economics
  • Agriculture and Extension Education
  • Animal and Poultry Science
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Natural Resources Science
  • Plant and Soil Science  

Thesis Option – Minimum of 30 credit hours:

  • Core courses – 9
  • Concentration courses – 12
  • Electives – 3
  • Thesis – 6 

Non‐Thesis Option ‐ Minimum of 36 credit hours:

  • Core courses – 9
  • Concentration courses – 18
  • Electives – 6
  • Creative Component – 3


Fall Semester     – April 15

Spring Semester  – October 30

Summer Sessions  – April 15


Faculty in the Departments of Agriculture and Human Ecology conduct basic and applied research in each of the concentration areas. Annual appropriations by the Cooperative State Research Extension and Education Service (CSREES)/USDA and extramural grants support research activities by faculty and graduate students. Faculty in the Departments of Agriculture and Human Ecology maintain close working relations with faculty at the University of Maryland College Park and other 1862 land-grant institutions, the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station.  A number of UMES faculty have access to and utilize facilities of the various units that comprise the Agricultural Experiment Station.  Scientists with agricultural expertise from other University System of Maryland campuses, the USDA and the Co-op Fish and Wildlife Service may serve on graduate committees for students enrolled in the program. Faculty, staff and students also collaborate with scientists from USDA, as well as from universities outside the University System of Maryland. 


Faculty in the Departments of Agriculture and Human Ecology maintain office space in Trigg Hall, the Crop and Soil Science Research Building, the Poultry Science Research Building, The Richard A. Henson Center, and the Food Science and Technology Building. 

Biotechnology and radio-immunoassay laboratories and Nutrition laboratories are fully equipped with instrumentation for both basic and applied research.  Laboratories in the Crop and Soil Science Building accommodate research efforts in agronomy, plant genetics and breeding, soil science, host-insect interactions, plant pathology and plant-environment interactions. 

The UMES teaching and research farm possesses over 200 tillable acres for crop use. 

State-of-the-art animal facilities include a totally confined 60-sow farrow-to-finish swine unit (which is the only swine research facility operated within the University System of  Maryland), a beef cattle farm, a 10,000 and 100,000 bird commercial broiler house, a closed-loop re-circulating aquaculture system and a 2.5 acre greenhouse facility. 

Two computer laboratories (Trigg Hall and Richard A. Henson Center) are equipped with Gateway or Gateway compatible computers, laser jet printers, a color printer, color scanner, an auto-cad system, and various software for word processing, desktop publishing, graphics, spreadsheets, econometrics and other statistical work.  These laboratories and the new Food Science and Technology Building are connected to the UMES mainframe with capabilities for networking throughout the campus, state, region and nation.

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