Online Food Safety & Defense Graduate Certificate

Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2022-2023: $600
2023-2024: $600
Learn more about Tuition and Cost

12 Hours

The Food Safety & Defense graduate certificate program will prepare you to help with protecting the human food supply.  This certificate can complement a graduate degree, or provide working professionals in the food industry the tools needed to advance their career. 

Is this program right for me?

Students in this program come from various areas in the food supply industry.  You may be right for this certificate program if you:

  • Work in the food industry.
  • Have a bachelor of science degree in food science or closely related field.
  • Have a job title such as Quality Assurance Associate or Food Safety Technician.
  • Need additional education to advance your career.
  • Are in the middle of a master’s degree or Ph.D. program and looking for supplemental courses.

This unique 12-credit hour certificate pulls together researchers and students from various parts of the food industry, giving you the opportunity to interact with others from all over the country.  This in-depth, specialized training in food safety and defense is offered completely online, so you don’t have to rearrange your life.

What will I learn in this program?

You will learn how to:

  • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate food safety and food defense information.
  • Design and assess food safety and food defense assurance strategies, especially in food-related industries.
  • Communicate professionally about food safety and food defense.

Course topics include:

  • Food microbiology
  • Foodborne toxicants
  • Food safety and security overview
  • Food laws
  • Risk assessment
  • Food biotechnology
  • Rapid food microbiological methods
  • Food fermentations

How do I get started?

Students must meet admissions requirements for the master of science degree in food science or equivalent degree at their respective universities.  Contact a campus coordinator at your home university to learn more about admission requirements.

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.

AG IDEA Student Handbook

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

This graduate certificate will prepare you to help with protecting the human food supply. 

Course List for Food Safety & Defense Certificate

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Dawn Risdal
Ashley Schultz
Janice Clawson
Melissa Sailors
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Sarah Hidalgo Cook received the Student Excellence Award in 2021.Getting a master's degree is an opportunity I never thought I would take part in since I lost 65% of my vision in the fall of 2017.  I spent over 2 years in occupational therapy to ensure that I could continue working in the transit industry that I love.  The chance to attend graduate school and work towards a degree is what I needed to begin feeling “alive” again.

Starting graduate school in the middle of the pandemic, with my husband having lost his employment due to the pandemic, and with the various health issues I have regarding my vision, I found the GP IDEA experience to be what I mentally needed to motivate me not only in my career but also in my personal life.  It gave me a challenge and a purpose during the dark pandemic, and this type of motivation is what I needed to feel constructive again.

– – Sarah Hidalgo Cook, Community Development Student,
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