Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Program Description

Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

About the Program

The Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology program trains students with scientific, engineering, food, and agricultural backgrounds for leadership and management roles in the dairy foods manufacturing industry. This innovative, one-year master's degree includes coursework in dairy chemistry, dairy microbiology, plant management, project management, leadership, sustainability, and other areas critical to effective dairy plant management. Through the use of experiential and project-based learning, students will develop the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the international dairy foods industry.

Program of Study

Graduate students in the MPS in Dairy Products Technology program are required to complete a prescribed course of study designed to give them an understanding of dairy science and manufacturing, industry structure, unit operations, sanitation, quality control, and regulatory requirements. In addition, students will develop the leadership skills and experience needed to manage and guide teams in a dairy processing environment. Three-quarters of on-campus coursework are followed by a one-quarter internship related to dairy foods manufacturing. To graduate with the MPS in Dairy Products Technology, students must then pass a comprehensive examination.

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Dairy Products Technology program is designed to prepare students with analytical and critical thinking skills for careers in supervision or management at large-scale dairy processing operations.

The MPS is not a research program. Many of our students have minimal exposure to dairy science but have exhibited an interest in dairy and have demonstrated management potential.


The MPS is a one-year graduate degree program. Our objective is to train managers rather than career scientists. We provide our students with nine months of intensive coursework in dairy science, on campus in San Luis Obispo, and then match students with our industry partners for a three-month paid internship.

The MPS is a non-thesis masters degree program. Students must pass an oral examination to graduate.

Graduates of the MPS program might begin their careers on the processing floor or within departments such as Research and Development, Sensory Evaluation, or Quality Assurance, but their ultimate roles will likely be supervisory.

Employers might rotate our graduates through a variety of departments and business units to help them gain an understanding of the organization as a whole. For graduates of our program, technical skills and knowledge will be important early in their careers, but over time, "people skills" and leadership abilities will play an increasingly important role.

If your goal is to develop a career as a scientist focused on research and development, food safety, sensory evaluation, or quality assurance, you might instead consider Cal Poly's excellent MS in Agriculture program with the specialization in Dairy Products Technology. The MS is a more traditional research-focused program that culminates with a thesis project.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor's degree obtained in a field with substantial analytical and critical thinking, such as an engineering discipline, chemistry, physics, biology, or other scientific or agricultural discipline is preferred. At a minimum, applicants must have completed at least one year each of college-level chemistry and biology. Questions about academic requirements should be directed to Program Manager Tom Johnson at 970-215-3459 or

Those who do not possess a Bachelor's degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.

The TOEFL must have been taken within the last two years with a minimum score of 550 (paper version), 213 (computerized version), or 80 (internet-based). The minimum score for the IELTS is 6.0.

Completed applications must include the following:

  • A formal application made through CSUMentor (online or using a downloaded application form). See the CSUMentor Application Instructions for a detailed guide on how to apply.
  • In addition to your CSUMentor application, you must establish an Interfolio account following this Interfolio Link 30539. Interfolio is the online provider that we use for prospective students to create an ePortfolio.
  • Through Interfolio, upload your unofficial transcripts and self-reported GRE scores. Official transcripts from ALL colleges previously attended (except Cal Poly), should be sent directly from your university to Cal Poly's Admissions Office. Your official GRE scores should be sent to Cal Poly's Admissions office. Scores may also be sent directly to Cal Poly using institution code 4038.
  • A minimum of two letters of recommendation (three are recommended) from faculty members or professional references on institutional/company letterhead, addressed to: Thomas W. Johnson, Program Manager, Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0358. Interfolio will provide instructions to help your references upload their letters of recommendation directly to Interfolio.
  • See the ePortfolio Guidelines document for a detailed walkthrough of the Interfolio application process.

International applicants, including anyone who would attend Cal Poly while in the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa, must also submit results of the TOEFL test taken within the past two years. The TOEFL results must be directed to institution code 4038. Go to Cal Poly's TOEFL website for additional TOEFL instructions.


The MPS in Dairy Products Technology program prepares students for managerial and supervisory roles in the dairy foods manufacturing industry. This one-year program includes training in applications of dairy ingredients, plant operations, manufacturing processes, dairy chemistry, dairy microbiology, sensory evaluation, and other areas critical to the dairy processing sector. In addition, the program emphasizes leadership training through special study and group/team collaboration.

Program Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete the twelve-month curriculum and graduate with the degree of Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology:

  • Have obtained mastery of the technical foundation knowledge necessary to enter a management role in large-scale global dairy foods manufacturing organizations, including:
    1. Chemistry, biochemistry and the chemical changes that occur in dairy foods induced by processing
    2. Analytical chemistry and instrumentation
    3. Microbiology and its roles in both food processing and food safety
    4. Dairy foods ingredient functionality
    5. Food safety, quality assurance, and control
    6. Sanitary design and cleaning
    7. Raw materials receiving and control
    8. Food laws and regulations
    9. Food sensory evaluation and process quality
    10. Unit operations in dairy food processing
  • Can employ leadership principles and recognize leadership's role in management.
  • Are able to use critical thinking and analytical skills to solve problems, evaluate alternatives and predict outcomes in a large dairy food production environment.
  • Have developed a strong awareness of the dairy foods industry's place in society and can apply that awareness to formulate plans that benefit their company and society.

Cost & Fees

$20,000 per student for 2016-2017. Please note that fees are under review for Fall 2017 and may change without prior notice.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated November 20, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
Full time
20,000 USD
USA - San Luis Obispo, California
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
USA - San Luis Obispo, California
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info