Food Safety and Defense

In an era of complex food protection challenges within today's global food systems, effective control of foodborne hazards requires advanced education. There is a definitive need for online education for both graduate students and on-the-job food industry professionals who would like to pursue more in-depth specialized training in food safety and defense that is pertinent to their job. The Food Safety and Defense graduate certificate program helps meet the education needs of those charged with protecting the human food supply from accidental or deliberate contamination with pathogenic microbes and/or toxicants.

The online certificate requires a minimum of 12 credit hours, 8-9 credits in core courses and at least 3-4 elective credits, on topics including:
  • food microbiology
  • foodborne toxicants
  • food safety and security overview
  • food laws
  • risk assessment
  • food biotechnology
  • rapid food microbiological methods
  • food allergy
  • food fermentations

Each participating university offers at least one course on a regular basis, and every university cross-lists all courses. Students must meet admissions requirements for the Master of Science degree in Food Science or equivalent degree at their respective universities. International applicants seeking admission to the Food Safety and Defense graduate certificate program must apply at Iowa State University, the University of Missouri or the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Certificate titles vary by institution. Consult each institution for the certificate title as it will appear on the diploma.


Students select one university to be their "home institution", this is the university to which you apply, enroll and pay tuition. Students must meet the admissions requirements of the home institution. Contact the Campus Coordinator at the institution you wish to call "home" for more information.

Iowa State University Michelle Zander
Kansas State University Rachel Ohmes
University of Missouri Nita Smarr
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Diane Wasser


Course Matrix

Review degree or certificate requirements and plan your courses for future semesters.

Course Information

Information regarding program courses, including descriptions, contacts, and textbooks.

Learning Management Systems

Students use the Learning Mangaement System at the teaching university. Contact the campus coordinator for more information.

Iowa State University Blackboard
Kansas State University Canvas
University of Missouri Blackboard to Canvas
University of Nebraska Blackboard to Canvas


Iowa State University
Kansas State University
University of Missouri
University of Nebraska-Lincoln