BACKGROUND OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
RATIONALE OF THE FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
Several reports indicated that substantial amount (15 to 50 %) of food products are lost before reaching the table in many of the developing countries including Ethiopia. Such substantial loss coupled with alarmingly increasing population calls for an innovative way of processing and preservation of the products. Moreover, the current shift in the feeding habit of especially the urban dwellers to value-added, nutritious, and shelf-stable and convenience food will put the demand for processed foods even higher for the times to come. There is a good market prospect for value added and organic food produced in the country. This, together with the due attention given by the government to develop agro-processing industries, in turn offered a great opportunity and potential for establishing small and large-scale food processing industries in the country as being witnessed in recent years. Besides meeting the consumers’ increasing demand, processing of agricultural and especially organic products enables the farmer to get sustainable and reasonable farm-gate prices. To reduce postharvest losses and add value to agricultural products, the need for appropriately trained human resource is quite vital. According to Institute of Food Technology (IFT), food science and technology is defined as the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; the causes of food deterioration; and the application of food science knowledge and skill to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and use of safe and better quality foods.
To this end, a need assessment survey was carried out on the relevance of launching a food science related program at MSc level. The shortage of qualified personnel in FST was reconfirmed during the need assessment conducted in April, 2017. During the assessment, 252 respondents (Lecturers, Ass./Associate/ Professors, Pharmacist, Clinicians, Food Scientists, Policy makers, Researchers, Company owners, Related professionals) working in private food industries, higher learning institutes, government and non-governmental organizations, producers, employers, graduates of food related discipline who were working in food industries and other stakeholders were asked to identify important subject matter knowledge, skill sets, and competencies that graduates should have for the new program. Furthermore different literatures, government policies and strategies in the area were consulted to verify the assessment study.
OBJECTIVES AND DEMAND FOR THE PROGRAM
The main objective of the MSc program in FST is to produce highly qualified professionals in Food Science and Technology field of study to meet the demand of, among others, the food industry, regulatory agencies, standard organizations and food nutrition, safety and health and agricultural research institutes, universities and colleges. To this end, the program contain several courses which enable the graduates to apply principles of food science and engineering to ensure safety and quality of processed products and develop new consumer-driven products. It is also worth mentioning that the presence of a graduate program strengthens the existing undergraduate program and its research activities through research and related teaching activities.
Graduates of this program are equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge in food analysis, human nutrition, food processing and preservation, food safety, quality control &assurance and postharvest technology of agricultural products, and research skills. Thus, graduates can:
- Utilize the acquired theoretical knowledge and practical skills in FST
- Identify, design, construct and manage food technology systems
- Conduct demand driven research and development projects in the area of FST and disseminate the research results;
- Demonstrate high imagination, creativity, social and environmental consciousness, professional ethics and sense of responsibility to work towards national development objectives; and
- Exhibit entrepreneurial, communication and teamwork skills, and leadership quality
Graduates with MSc in FST are expected to have basic competencies, abilities and skills in the areas of food safety and microbiology, food chemistry and analysis, food processing and preservation, food laws and legislations, food quality assurance, researching and critical thinking, and overall on the science and technology of foods and beverages processing. Thus the graduates will be capable of working in different institutions/organizations and companies as:
- Instructors at universities and colleges;
- Researchers in research institutes and food companies,
- Food science and technology extension experts;
- Food science and technology service providers and product developers;
- Quality controllers and safety inspectors throughout the food value chain;
- Policy advisors in FST system;
- Entrepreneurs in FST product development and small and medium enterprises;
- Consultants in FST and related disciplines
- Applicants for admission to the MSc program should have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in food science, food science and postharvest technology, food engineering, human nutrition, postharvest management, postharvest technology recognized higher learning institutions. Students from, horticulture, plant science, animal science and other agricultural fields, biology, chemistry shall take bridge courses from undergraduate program as per the recommendation of the department academic council. Applicants must pass written entrance exams and fully satisfy the academic rules and regulation of the University.
- The appropriateness of the candidature for admission to the MSc program in FST will be determined by the Department Academic Committee.
- The admission of students shall abide with Arsi University legislation academic rules and regulations.
A graduate student must write a thesis (MSc) on an approved topic under the supervision of an advisor. The thesis shall constitute individual effort to carry out a fairly adequate investigation of a selected problem by generating national/original data on a given FST research project. The graduate student must satisfactorily defend the findings of the thesis before an examination committee that include an external examiner (Legislation of Arsi University Academic Rules and Regulations). The graduate student must also fulfill all other requirements set by the University legislation academic rules and regulations and requirements shown in Table below).
Table the overall summary of graduation requirements
|Major Graduation Criteria||Minimum Requirement|
|Total credit hours required (including Thesis)||39|
|Cumulative Grade Point Average||3.00|
Pass* will be graded as excellent, very good, good or satisfactory
The nature of the problems that MSc candidate can conduct for thesis is geared to generate information for contribution to the food sector development that Ethiopia currently lacks and demanded. Such work normally demands about three months of proposal developments and preliminary exercise, six months of intensive experimental data generation and preliminary analysis and three months of complete data analysis and completion of thesis write-up. The demand for MSc thesis research sometimes involves agricultural cultivations, particularly when varieties are screened for quality purpose, food storage and shelf life studies, laboratory analysis works, field survey, products formulation and characterization, etc. Such activities demand substantial duration.
English naming: Master of Science in Food Science and Technology
Amharic naming: የማስተር ዲግሪ በምግብ ሳይንስ እና ቴክኖሎጂ