FDSN Communications

All food science and nutrition (FDSN) students are automatically enrolled in the “FDSN Communications” Blackboard organization. The department uses this organization to:

  • Send departmental emails to all students
  • Post messages regarding important information and tasks for students
  • Post announcements about upcoming events
  • Store critical department documents and forms
  • Chat about FDSN topics via the organization’s forums
  • Hold video conferences via the Collaborate Ultra function
  • Learn who everyone in FDSN is—including who does what; how to contact faculty and staff; and where faculty and staff can be located on campus

We ask that you check the organization daily for the latest information. We try to send out email notifications when new content is posted but as emails can be lost or inadvertently deleted, the organization is the best place to see what’s happening!

Travel to Moffett Campus

Most of our laboratory space and some of our lab courses are located at Illinois Tech's Moffett Campus. This campus is always reachable by public transportation by using your Ventra UPass. For those conducting research or attending a course at Moffett Campus, the university makes its Uber account available. Please contact Todd Diel if you need access to this Uber account for regular travel to and from Moffett Campus, subject to approval.

Directions to Moffett Campus

Key Locations at Mies Campus

Office of Academic Affairs

  • Dates and deadlines for graduation
  • Graduation requirements

Student Health and Wellness Center

  • Health services
  • Counseling services
  • Immunization/insurance


  • Arcade games/darts/ping pong, and more.

Office of Global Services, McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC)

  • Questions about I-20, CPT, or OPT
  • Program extension
  • Apply for Social Security number (SSN)

Student Recommended Resources Near Mies Campus

Asian Cuisine

  • Grand Palace (Cantonese cuisine), 225 West 26th Street, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Min’s Noodle House (breakfast, Szechwan style), 3235 South Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Potsticker House (Chinese, northern style), 3139 South Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Elitea (bubble tea),  2002 South Wentworth Avenue B9, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Chatime & TTNoodle, 2017 South Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Indian Restaurants

  • Siri Indian Restaurant, 1520 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607
  • Chicago Curry House, 899 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60605
  • Indian Garden Restaurant, 247 East Ontario Street, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Sabri Nihari, 2502 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659

Indian Grocery Stores

  • Metro Spice Mart, 229 South Jefferson Street, Chicago, IL 60661 (downtown; also provides home delivery on orders above $60)
  • Patel Brothers, 2610 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659 (no home delivery)

Chinese Grocery Stores

  • Starlight Market, 2832 South Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Park to Shop, 2425 South Wallace Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Food Industry Resources in Chicago

Other Resources

  • Food Grads
  • The Food Processing Suppliers Association’s Mentor Circle
    • This virtual mentorship program is an opportunity for students to connect with professionals in the food and beverage processing and packaging industry. These seasoned professionals want to work with the next generation professional to help create goals, develop their dream career path, and answer any questions they may have entering the workforce.


Are research projects required for graduation?

Non-thesis students are not required to complete any research (i.e. FDSN 591 or 594) in order to graduate. That said, research projects provide the opportunity to receive invaluable hands-on experience. We highly recommend that non-thesis students take advantage of any opportunity to participate in a research project. Thesis students are required to complete six to eight hours of FDSN 591 to qualify for graduation.

What kinds of research opportunities are available in FDSN?

There are a variety of ways students can participate in research through FDSN.

Thesis projects—thesis students will interview with faculty and be chosen to participate in extended research suitable to the creation of a publishable thesis. This research is for credit via FDSN 591.

Special projects—these are typically more limited than thesis projects, and run for only one or two semesters. Special projects are announced as they become available, and students must interview for the positions. These projects are for credit via FDSN 594. Please note that a student must be registered for FDSN 594 during the semester in which the research is conducted to receive credit for the work.

Graduate assistantships—a graduate assistantship (GA) is a paid position where the student is granted a stipend for working to support research. Each GA has its own time frame and requirements. Students may apply for these positions when they are announced. Work as a GA may be applied toward FDSN 591 or FDSN 594 as appropriate.

Research assistantships—a research assistantship (RA) is a paid position where the student is granted both a stipend and some amount of tuition credit for working on research. Each RA has its own time frame and requirements. Students may apply for these positions when they are announced. Work as a RA may be applied toward FDSN 591 or FDSN 594 as appropriate.

Volunteer work—students may volunteer to work on existing research projects subject to approval by the project’s principal investigator. Volunteer work is unpaid and not for credit, but provides the student with valuable experience that may lead to GA/RA/special project opportunities in the future. The volunteer activity may also be recorded on a résumé and or contribute to a letter of recommendation from the project leader.

How many credits can one take for a special project (FDSN 594)?

Up to six credit hours of FDSN 594 can be applied toward graduation. The number of FDSN 594 credits in any given semester is determined by the project’s principal investigator, according to hours per week spent on the project.

When is the best time to register for special project credits?

Students should apply for special projects as soon as possible. Students must be registered for FDSN 594 in the same semester that research is being conducted in order to receive credit. Because the special project usually involves laboratory work, students must complete safety and laboratory training first.

How can I receive credit for a course I want to take at Illinois Tech that isn’t on my program’s approved course list (i.e. course substitution)?

All course substitutions must be approved by the adviser, the department, and academic affairs. Course substitutions should be completed prior to beginning the course. Please work with your adviser to determine if the course you want to take is an acceptable replacement for a food science and nutrition elective. FDSN policy does not allow students to substitute for a core course, except under special circumstances that require the review of the department chair.

What happens if my grade-point average falls below 3.0 (i.e. academic probation)?

Graduate students at Illinois Tech are expected to maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.0. Any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 is placed on academic probation with the university. Students on academic probation have two semesters to bring their GPA back to at least 3.0 or risk dismissal from the university. FDSN requires that such students work with their adviser to develop a plan for improving their GPA. For more information on academic probation, read more on Illinois Tech's Bulletin.

How do I transfer credit from another university?

Students are allowed to transfer a certain number of credits from another academic institution to Illinois Tech. All such transfers are subject to approval by the department. Illinois Tech's policy on transfer credit for undergraduate students can be found on the undergraduate admission site. The policy for graduate students can be found on the graduate admission site.

Graduate students who want to transfer credit will need to submit an e-form via Graduate Degree Works. Please contact your adviser for assistance.

How long does it take to obtain a master’s graduate degree from FDSN?

Non-thesis master’s degrees in food science and nutrition typically take two years to complete—the fall and spring semesters of two academic years. Thesis degrees may take a semester or two longer, depending on the requirements of the individual thesis research project.

Thesis degrees typically require working on research during the summer term, which contributes to graduation being closer to two years.

What types of funding are available?

Graduate and research assistantships are occasionally available. Teaching assistantships are available each semester. All of these provide stipends and/or some tuition credit. Student employment is available across the campus for students who would like to work part-time for the university while attending Illinois Tech.

As an international student, how do I maintain full-time student status?

F-1 visa students must be registered for at least nine credit hours each fall and spring semester in order to maintain their visa status. International students taking less than full-time hours must apply for full-time equivalency with the Office of Global Services to remain in compliance with SEVIS requirements. For more information, visit the Office of Global Services' Reduced Course Load page. International students who meet the Office of Global Services’ criteria for full-time equivalency are reported as such by the Office of Global Services and do not have their actual student time status adjusted on their academic record.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of thesis vs. non-thesis?

There are many jobs in the food industry for which having or not having a thesis makes little difference. For these positions, the non-thesis program is ideal—in that you can finish your master’s degree quickly and are able to take a wider variety of courses. The non-thesis degree also lends itself better to Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as the CPT experience won’t get in the way of completing the required thesis research.

The thesis option is advantageous when you look at industry research positions, or especially if you intend to continue on into a Ph.D. program. If you want to be competitive when applying to United States schools for a Ph.D., they will want to see your research experience. They will want to see that you could take a research project from beginning to end and defend it. They will want to know that you can communicate effectively and demonstrate problem-solving skills to achieve quality results. The thesis is a written demonstration of your accomplishments and competencies. This is further enhanced if you publish a paper and present at a major scientific meeting. It is unusual for a non-thesis student to have this opportunity. It is usual for a thesis student to have this experience and opportunity.

How do I get help for things like sexual harassment/assault or psychological issues?

FDSN believes that the physical, emotional, and psychological health of our students is paramount to a good educational experience. Resources for help with any of these can be found on the Student Health and Wellness Center website.

If at any time you believe you need help, we encourage you to make use of these services with all haste. We also encourage you to reach out to us. Talk to a trusted professor, your adviser, or the FDSN staff. You don’t have to tell us everything that’s happening, but informing us that you’re struggling allows us to do whatever is in our power to help you through it. We are here for you.