4 + 1 Program

What is the 4 + 1 option?

It’s a program designed to allow a well-qualified Purdue Food Science student to begin the Master’s requirements during senior year. It combines an honors-caliber undergraduate program with a traditional two-year M.S. program, i.e., the senior year and first year of the Master’s program are combined into one.  4 + 1 students can expect to take 1-3 graduate-level classes during both semesters of his or her senior year, in addition to meeting the remaining undergraduate requirements and starting a thesis research project.

Who is it for?

You must be a Purdue undergraduate with a strong academic record. Preferably, you will complete an internship or co-op in the food industry prior to your senior year. You should be interested and enthusiastic about expanding your Food Science knowledge. You must be a self-motivated person comfortable carrying a full and challenging load of classes while making progress on a research project.

What are the advantages of the 4 + 1 option?

You could be finished in five years, compared to a total of six years for a B.S and traditional M.S. degree.  4 + 1 students complete requirements that are identical to those a traditional M.S. student must complete. The only difference is the combination of the final year of undergraduate study with the first year of the graduate program.  A wider variety of career options becomes available to you with a graduate degree. Many food companies will not consider a B.S. candidate for an R&D or product development position. With an M.S., you can pursue these positions, or continue on to obtain your Ph.D.

What are the disadvantages of the 4 + 1 option?

It can be stressful and frustrating at times and requires a lot of sacrifice of your time. Every graduate student has to work crazy hours at some point in the program, however,  4 + 1 students can expect to start working those long hours sooner.  You will need to work long days during the week, a lot of weekends, and even sacrifice some holidays, e.g., you may not have time for a spring break.

Undergraduates interested in the 4+1 program should speak with Dr.  Lisa Mauer.

4 + 1 Schedule

Summer after Year 3:

Have GRE completed
Summer Internship

Year 4:

Apply to Graduate School
Take related Food Science graduate courses (minimum 3 credits)
Take required Responsible Conduct in Research course (1 credit)
Start research project
Complete B.S. degree

Summer after Year 4:

Continue graduate courses (3 cr.)
Continue research project

Year 5:

Take required Graduate Seminar Course (1 credit)
Take required Case Study Course (1 credit)
Take other graduate courses
Continue research project

Summer after year 5:

Complete research project
Write and defend thesis
Total 16-20 credits


Department of Food Science, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-8256

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