Online Food Safety & Defense, Graduate Certificate | University of Nebraska

Food Safety & Defense, Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Course Delivery
    Fully Online
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Get the same diploma as on campus students

The online Food Safety and Defense, Graduate Certificate program serves the needs of industry and agencies that must protect the human food supply from accidental or deliberate contamination with pathogenic microbes and/or toxicants.

Students choose this program to:

  • Synthesize a current and multi-faceted picture of key food safety and security issues.
  • Apply the scientific principles of microbial and chemical risk assessment and analysis to real world food safety and security issues.
  • Analyze and apply the concepts of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) programs, as well as other safety and security approaches, to the management of food safety and security in food systems.
  • Evaluate food safety and security issues in the food industry using the perspectives of sound science, critical thinking, and ethical reasoning.

The Food Safety & Defense online graduate certificate program is an inter-institutional certificate program being offered as part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA / AGIDEA), in cooperation with Iowa State University, Kansas State University, and the University of Missouri.  

Career Outlook: This online certificate can complement a graduate degree program or allow food industry professionals to advance their careers while working full-time to pursue in-depth specialized training.

 Potential career paths include:

  • Food Safety Analyst
  • Food Safety Engineer
  • HACCP Consultant
  • Plant Manager
  • Quality Control Specialist

Robert Hutkins, Ph.D.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Robert Hutkins studies bacteria important in human health and in fermented foods. He is interested in understanding factors that affect persistence of probiotic lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. 3 letters of recommendation

  3. Resume or curriculum vitae

  4. Statement of purpose

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts 
  • If your native language is not English: Verification of English proficiency. Minimum English proficiency = Internet TOEFL 79 or IELTS 6.5
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Fall Admission
July 15
Summer Admission
April 15
Spring Admission
December 1

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
FDST 805Food Microbiology3

Course Number: FDST 805

Prereqs: Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, or permission.  Nature, physiology, and interactions of microorganisms in foods. Introduction to food-borne diseases, the effect of food processing systems on the microflora of foods, principles of food preservation, food spoilage, and foods produced by microorganisms. Food plant sanitation and criteria for establishing microbial standards for food products.

FDST 871Multidisciplinary Overview Of Food Safety And Security2

Course Number: FDST 871

Topics include food safety policy, ag bioterrorism, border security, animal ID, food defense and site security, risk analysis, crisis communication, epidemiology, HACCP, and more.

FDST 872Principles of HACCP2

Course Number: FDST 872

A comprehensive study of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System and its application in the food industry.

FDST 873Foodborne Toxicants2

Course Number: FDST 873

Mechanisms of action, metabolism, sources, remediation/detoxification, risk assessment of major foodborne toxicants of current interest, design of HAACP plans for use in food industries targeting foodborne toxicants.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
FDST 855Microbiology of Fermented Foods2

Course Number: FDST 855

High speed internet connection required. Contact the instructor for further information. Physiology, biochemistry and genetics of microorganisms important in food fermentations. How microorganisms are used in fermentations and the effects of processing and manufacturing conditions on production of fermented foods.

FDST 874Food Laws, Regulations, and the Regulatory Process2

Course Number: FDST 874

Prereq: Three credit hours in Food Science course work. FDST 874 has presentations by state and federal food regulators. History of the development of the current federal state food regulations. Guidelines that govern the practice of regulating the wholesomeness of red meats, poultry, and eggs.

FDST 875Rapid Methods in Food Microbiology2

Course Number: FDST 875

The different types of rapid microbial detection approaches available for use in foods. Commercial reagents and detection platforms, and the “next generation” approaches currently under development in academia or industry. Challenges to detection posed by the complexity of most food matrices and the sample preparation methods for separating microorganisms from such matrices.

FDST 876Risk Assessment for Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Medicine3

Course Number: FDST 876

Prereq: Three credit hours of statistics or permission. Risk assessment principles as applied to biological systems. Exposure and effects characterization in human and animal health and ecological risk assessment. Risk analysis frameworks and regulatory decision-making. Introduction to quantitative methods for risk assessment using epidemiological and distributional analyses. Uncertainty analysis.

FDST 877Advanced Food Microbiology and Biotechnology2

Course Number: FDST 877

Basic principles in biotechnology and applied food microbiology. Current topics of interest in food biotechnology. Introduction to recombinant DNA techniques and how they are applied to genetically modify microorganisms. The use of nucleic acids as tools of rapid detection of microorganisms in foods, basic enzyme immobilization and down-stream processing techniques and regulatory aspects of food biotechnology.

FDST 878Food Protection and Defense: Essential Concepts2

Course Number: FDST 878

Foundational concepts relevant to protecting the food supply from intentional contamination. Section 1 addresses the nature of the policy and regulatory aspects of food defense, threats to food and agricultural systems, as well as concepts and strategies related to response and mitigation of food protection incidents. Section 2 provides an understanding of the principles required in a food defense program for a food manufacturing, warehousing or distribution center.

FDST 896Independent Study in Food Science and Technology2

Course Number: FDST 896

Individual or group projects in research, literature review, or extension of course work under supervision and evaluation of a departmental faculty member.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $580.00
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1740.00

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $580.00
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1740.00

Questions about tuition? We can help.

What's it like to take a program online?

  • Quality learning experience

    The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.

  • Flexibility

    Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

  • Service you expect from a leading University

    Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

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