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Master of Science

The process of receiving a Master of Science degree in Food and Hospitality System (FHS) from the University of Missouri (MU) can be divided into several distinct steps. This document will serve as a guide through these steps as the FHS faculty applies them. The student must also conform to any of the requirements and regulations of the MU Office of Graduate Studies and the University of Missouri system. Applications are accepted at any time during the year; however, the following deadlines should be followed:  the fall semester deadline is April 1 of the same year and the spring semester deadline is October 31 of the previous year.

Initial Steps – before beginning the program of study

  1. Meeting the minimum academic requirements
  2. Acceptance by an individual faculty member (or members) willing to serve as the student’s faculty mentor

Preparing the M.S. Program of Study

  1. Identification of proficiency areas
  2. Selection of the M.S. Program of Study Committee
  3. Development of a Plan of Study

Finishing the M.S. Degree

  1. Completion of the plan of study
  2. Completion of the research project
  3. Preparation of thesis
  4. Presentation of an exit seminar
  5. Submission of manuscript suitable for publication
  6. Completion of the final oral examination

1. Minimum Academic Requirements

A prospective M.S. student must have completed an approved course of study with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a four-point scale or its equivalent. This generally includes a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program from an accredited university or equivalent experience.

In addition, prospective students must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) no longer than five years prior to application to the M.S. program. The FHS Faculty prefers prospective M.S. students to have received at least a score of 1,000 on the combined score of the verbal and quantitative sections with neither section being below 400, and a minimum of 3.5 on the analytical writing section on the GRE.

Students who did not attend high school (or equivalent) where English was the language of instruction will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Generally, the minimum TOEFL score for acceptance into the FHS M.S. program is 550 for the standard version of the exam, 213 for the computerized version, 80 for the Internet version or 6.0 for the IELTS version. The TOEFL may be waived for students with a B.S. or M.S. degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction. Contact the FHS Program for additional information.

Under unusual circumstances, students with less than the minimum requirements may be accepted on probation without financial assistance at the discretion of an individual faculty member in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Students accepted under these conditions will receive a letter informing them of the terms of their probationary status.

2. Acceptance

Students should assemble the appropriate documents to show that they have met the Minimum Academic Requirements described above. In addition, they must submit an online graduate application. This application can be found at http://gradstudies.missouri.edu.

Please forward the following materials directly to the Graduate Admission Office:

  1. Your official transcripts from every college or university you have attended (sent directly from the college or university).
  2. Your official TOEFL scores (sent directly from the Educational Testing Service) *International Applicants only.

Graduate Admissions
University of Missouri
210 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-1300

Application fees for domestic students are $55 and $75 for international students.

Upon receipt of the documents, the Graduate Admissions committee will examine the application materials. Each application will be circulated to the FHS Program Faculty. Faculty members will decide if they are willing to serve as a mentor for the student. Students will be informed as to their provisional acceptance to the program usually within two months after receiving a complete application packet. Please note that provisional acceptance will only be given to students with an identified faculty mentor. Acceptance is contingent upon your research performance, GPA standing (>3.0), and compliance with the division and university policies for graduate students which will be evaluated at the end of every semester by your advisor.

Beside the Minimum Academic Requirements to the Office of Graduate Studies, students must submit an application form, up-to-date resume, statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation to:

Director of Graduate Studies
FHS Graduate Program
256 William C. Stringer Wing
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-5160.

Please note that acceptance does not imply that the student will receive financial assistance. If financial assistance is provided, the acceptance letter will include that information.

3. Establishment of Proficiency

While a basic goal of the M.S. program is to provide students with highly specialized skills in a particular subdivision of FHS, the faculty believes that it is important that M.S. students understand the breadth of the discipline as well. M.S. students in conjunction with the major advisor and Masters committee will identify suitable courses to be included in the Program of Study as outlined below.

A.  Required courses (up to 22 credits):

  • Research Methods FS 8402 (2 cr.)>
  • Seminar FS 8087 (2 cr.)
  • Statistics (3-6 cr.) – 7000 level or higher
  • Choose four from the following courses*
    • Hotel Finance Management, HSP_MGMT 7400 (3 cr.)
    • Destination Marketing, HSP_MGMT 7200 (3 cr.)
    • Sales & Marketing, HSP_MGMT 7110 (3 cr.)
    • Human Resource Management, HSP_MGMT 7100 (3 cr.)

*Students who have taken these courses as undergraduate or graduate students at MU or other institutions may take alternate courses in place of these required courses as approved by the student’s graduate program committee.

B.   Elective courses (flexible, 7000 level)

  • Advanced Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Research Methodology
  • Statistics
  • Sport Venue Management
  • Tourism Management
  • Food and Beverage Management

C.  Research, FS 8090 – minimum 6 cr. maximum 12 cr. (must be from MU, not transferred in)

D.  8000 level courses (5-6 cr.)

  • Minimum of two courses within the Program in addition to Research Methods (FS 8402) and Seminar (FS 8087)
  • Suggested courses:
    • Ethnic Foods: Safety, Protection and Defense Challenges, FS 8401 (2 cr., online)
    • Strategic Human Resource Management, FS 8100 (3 cr.)
    • Advanced Marketing, FS 8110 (3 cr.)
    • Agriculture Mechanization System, ASM 8340 (3 cr.)
    • Strategic Management and Competitive Strategy in the Hospitality Industries, FS 8180 (3 cr.)

4. Selection of a M.S. Program Committee

Students, in consultation with their primary faculty mentor, need to select faculty members to serve as their M.S. Program Committee within twelve months of starting the course of study.

An acceptable M.S. Program Committee must include at least three graduate faculty members with at least two of whom must be from the FHS Program including the advisor chair. At least one committee member must be a graduate faculty member from MU, but outside of the FHS Program.

Other members of the M.S. Program Committee may come from outside the MU graduate faculty with special permission of the Graduate Dean. These members are usually individuals with specialized expertise critical to the success of the student’s research program.

The chair of the M.S. Program Committee will be the student’s principal faculty mentor (major advisor).

The members of the M.S. Program Committee, led by the major advisor will actively participate in the education of the student. This committee is responsible for:

  • Evaluating the student’s completion of proficiency requirements
  • Developing the plan of study
  • Guiding the research activities
  • Overseeing the writing and defense of the thesis
  • Administering the final examination
  • Maintaining high standards of scholarship and ethical behavior
  • Administering correction and disciplinary actions when necessary

When the M.S. Program Committee has been chosen, the student should submit a completed “Request for a Thesis Committee” form (form M-2) (PDF) to the Graduate Coordinator. The Coordinator will submit the completed form to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Dean.

Should it become necessary to change the composition of the M.S. Program Committee, the proper paperwork must be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. For more information see:

Office of Graduate Studies forms and downloads

5. Development of the Plan of Study

The student and the major advisor, in consultation with the M.S. Program Committee will prepare a plan of study. This generally should be done within twelve months after entering the program. The sooner the plan of study is prepared, the easier it is to complete in a reasonable length of time. The plan of study includes a list of the formal courses, readings, problems, research hours and seminars that the students will use to fulfill the requirements for the M.S. degree.

MU requires a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree for the M.S. degree. If approved by the student’s M.S. Program Committee, this may include up to six hours of graduate credit transferred from another university or from another campus of the MU system.

Once the Plan of Study has been developed, the student should submit the “Program of Study for the Master’s Degree” form (M-1) (PDF) to the Graduate Coordinator. The Coordinator will submit the completed form to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Dean.

6. Completion of the Plan of Study

A student must substantially complete the course work outlined in the plan of study prepared in step 5 (exclusive of research, problems or readings courses) to the satisfaction of the M.S. Program Committee and the Office of Graduate Studies before taking the final examination (step 12).

In some unusual circumstances, it may become necessary to change a Plan of Study after the student and the M.S. Program Committee have developed it. The M.S. Program Committee must approve any substitutions, deletions or modifications of a student’s Plan of Study. The student’s academic advisor should inform the Graduate Program Coordinator, in writing, of any necessary changes as soon as possible to assure that the proper paperwork is filed with the Graduate Dean. For more information about course substitions see the Plan of Study Course Substitution Form and other forms:

Office of Graduate Studies forms and downloads

Successful academic progress on the plan of study includes an acceptable Grade Point Average (GPA). For graduate work, the FHS Program faculty and the MU Office of Graduate Studies require all students to maintain at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4 point scale). A student receiving a cumulative or semester GPA of less than 2.0 is subject to immediate dismissal from the FHS Program and MU.

Students falling below a 3.0 cumulative GPA in any semester will be put on academic probation for the following semester. If at the end of the first probationary semester the student’s cumulative GPA is greater than or equal to 3.0, the probationary status is removed. If the cumulative GPA has not reached 3.0, the student is allowed one more probationary semester. Failure to achieve a cumulative 3.0 GPA in two successive probationary semesters will result in the immediate dismissal of the student from the FHS M.S. Program. Unsatisfactory academic performance may also result in a student being dismissed from the University.

The Office of Graduate Studies has a comprehensive policy covering the requirements and procedures to be followed when it becomes necessary to dismiss a student. They also have developed procedures for appeal of any decision by the FHS Program Faculty. Students should consult the “University of Missouri – Graduate Catalog” for further details. A detailed description is available at: Office of Graduate Studies satisfactory progress.

Reasonable Rate of Progress

Every M.S. student will be evaluated annually for satisfactory progress by their major advisor as required by the Office of Graduate Studies (see Office of Graduate Studies Catalog, Dismissal Policy and Appeals Process for Graduate Students.) Satisfactory progress includes adherence to a suitable timeline for completing the M.S. as described in this document, and adequate academic performance as described in Step 6: Completing the Plan of Study (above). Students are required to fill out the annual progress reports available at: http://gradstudies.missouri.edu/academics/progress/graduate-student-progress-system.php by June 1 of each year.  The major professor will inform the Director of Graduate Studies as to the outcome of the evaluation on or before July 1 of each year.

It is important to note that a reasonable rate of progress towards the M.S. degree is required. The M.S. degree must be completed within eight years after beginning. In unusual circumstances, it may be necessary to extend the time required to finish the degree. In these cases, the candidate requiring additional time must submit a request for extension prior to the expiration of the applicable period. On petition of the student together with their major advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies in the FHS Program may endorse an extension of time. A request for an extension of time must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Students who take more than five years to complete the M.S. may be required by the FHS faculty and/or the Office of Graduate Studies to retake some or all of their course work.

7. Completion of a Research-Based Project

All M.S. students are required to develop and execute a research project. Most students will begin their research project shortly after beginning their Program of Study. The research project is a collaborative effort between the student, the major advisor and the M.S. Program Committee. A successful project will involve research and scholarship that will significantly contribute to an increased understanding of Hospitality Management. The project must demonstrate the student’s capacity for conducting research. All M.S. students are required to meet with their committee members to discuss their research project.

Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of ethical behavior while engaged in research at MU. Plagiarism or falsification of data will result in a student being immediately dismissed from the program and MU.

8. Preparation of the Thesis

A thesis based on the student’s own research must be reviewed and approved by the student’s M.S. Program Committee. The thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator and the student’s Program of Study Committee at least two weeks prior to the final examination (step 11). Specific regulations regarding completing and filing the thesis are outlined in “Guidelines for Preparing Theses and Dissertations.” Every candidate should obtain this document, which is available at: Thesis and Dissertation Process

The style of the thesis is left up to the discretion of the major advisor and the student, as long as the minimum requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies are met.

After the major advisor approves the student’s thesis, the document should be submitted to the remaining members of the M.S. Program Committee for their approval. (Note: after successfully defending the thesis (step 11), the student will make any needed adjustments in format and corrections/clarification based on input from the M.S. Program Committee.)

9. Exit Seminar

Shortly before the final examination, the M.S. student must prepare a seminar on their research. The seminar must take place when MU is officially in session and has to be announced at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date and is open to the general university audience. The members of the M.S. Program Committee should attend. The seminar may be scheduled immediately prior to the final examination for convenience.

10. Submission of Manuscript for Publication

All M.S. students are required to prepare at least one manuscript for publication to a refereed journal. The student’s M.S. Program Committee must judge this manuscript acceptable for publication. A copy of the manuscript, signed by the M.S. Program Committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator along with the “Report of the Master’s Examining Committee” (form M-3, see step 11).

11. Final Examination

After the student’s exit seminar has been presented, the M.S. Program Committee will conduct a final examination. The candidate should be prepared to defend their research and discuss any related areas.

A report of the examination, carrying the signatures of at least three members of the committee, must be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies before the deadline preceding the anticipated date of graduation. For the thesis to be considered successfully defended, the student’s M.S. Program Committee must vote to pass the student on the defense with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.

All final examinations are open to the general faculty. The FHS Program will announce final exams to appropriate parties within and outside the Program.

The final examination must take place when MU is officially in session and the candidate must be enrolled at MU at the time of the examination.

A final copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies electronically. A final bound copy of the
thesis must be submitted to the department. Specific instructions are provided in the “Guidelines for Preparing Theses and Dissertations” which is available at: Thesis and Dissertation Process

Finally, the student should assure that the form M-3, “Report of the Master’s Examining Committee” (PDF) is submitted to the Graduate Coordinator as soon as possible. The Coordinator will submit the completed form to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Dean.

Additional Considerations

Credit Toward a Second Master's Degree:

A student who has completed one M.S. degree at the University of Missouri or elsewhere may use a maximum of eight hours of credit earned in the previous program toward a second master's degree. This requires the recommendation of the student’s major advisor and approval by both the Director of FHS Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Studies.

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