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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the Food Science Certificate Program

 Why consider obtaining the Food Science Certificate?

Basically, this certificate program was established as a way to acknowledge individuals who have taken a number of workshops or short courses offered through Penn State Department of Food Science.  There are many individuals who have already taken a number of courses and wanted to be recognized.  So faculty looked at our offerings and felt that if an individual takes particular classes that cover a topic area, such as food safety, they could be awarded a certificate. 

Is the certificate the same as a degree in Food Science?

No, this is not a 4-year degree, but it does show an employer that you have achieved a certain level of knowledge by taking workshops or shortcourses through the Department of Food Science.

So, why apply now? 

There is no cost for applying; the only costs are those associated with signing up for the individual short courses / workshops (although an application fee may be applied for new applicants starting next year).

Are there limits with regard to the length of time that has passed from when I attended a workshop?

We plan to limit the time frame to courses taken in the past three years, although we will make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

How much time can one expect it to take to obtain a certificate?

Much will depend on how many courses you need and how fast you can schedule them.  Certainly, it can take a year or less if your employer is willing to allow you to take time off.  Otherwise, we are hoping that most people will finish within a three year window.

Does the Certificate Program require outside work - Is there any outside work? 

No outside work is required for the specific workshop that you attend.  

Does the Certificate Program require exams? 

Not outside what is required for the specific workshop that you attend.   Some workshops have an exam associated with the class; others just require full attendance at each session of the given workshop.

Are there on-line offerings that one can take as part of the requirements for the certificate?

Unfortunately, we only currently offer one class on-line (Food Safety and Sanitation).

Can attendance at workshops offered by other Universities count towards the certificate?

Unfortunately, we are not able to do this.

Can someone obtain more than 1 certificate (ex. Food Safety and Processing)?

Yes, you can obtain more than 1 certificate as long as you take enough courses to fulfill requirements for both certificates.  In the event there are similar requirements for core courses, there is no need to take the course twice. The course(s) can be credited to the second certificate as well.