Master's Degree Program

Admissions Process

To enroll in the CIA master's degree programs, you must meet the following requirements by the program start date:

  • Have a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution, or hold an international equivalent to a bachelor's degree.
  • Complete an English proficiency examination if your first language is not English. See the list of examinations the CIA accepts, along with qualifying test scores, under Application Procedure, step #7.

Application materials will be reviewed by CIA admissions, program administration, and the dean of the School of Business and Management.

Application Procedure

The steps to apply for admission to the master's degree program are as follows:

  1. Complete the application.
  2. Pay your $75 application fee.
    • You can pay by credit card at the end of the online application.
  3. Submit an essay. The graduate level programs are a rigorous course of study requiring commitment and professionalism. Please write an essay that describes your purpose for pursuing this master's degree and why you are a strong candidate for the program. Your response should be 500–1,000 words, and include the following:
    • Any relevant academic and/or professional achievements that allow us to understand you as a professional
    • Specific qualities and/or skills that you possess that can help you excel within this program (Some food and beverage experience is preferred, but not required. Professional experience with transferable skills is highly desirable.)
    • Professional and career goals
    • Your understanding of the program content (indicating which track you anticipate pursuing) and how you perceive the program content will help you achieve your goals

Applications are reviewed and evaluated individually and holistically by a program-specific committee for the ability to benefit from, and contribute to, this cohort-based program. It is important to include all of the requested components of the essay for consideration.

For the Master's in Food Business, our ideal candidates are looking to further their careers in a way that positively impacts the food system and addresses challenges that our industry faces today. This can be within an organization or in an entrepreneurial endeavor, and in a foodservice focused area or in a food product concept area. Please address this in your essay when writing about your professional and career goals.

In addition, please specify which track you may be interested pursuing during the second year of the program—Restaurant/Foodservice Track or Food Product/Concept Track—and note how your track selection relates to your goals.

  1. Provide a copy of your résumé or CV.
  1. Ask for one letter of recommendation. Through the online application, you will be prompted to provide the contact information for one recommender. That person will then receive an electronic request with instructions for submitting a recommendation through the application portal. The e-mail will be sent immediately upon saving your application.
    • The recommendation should be completed by supervisors or professional colleagues who can attest to your professional abilities.
    • A recommendation from a former professor is acceptable for applicants with limited professional experience.
    • Your recommender can submit the recommendation letter before you submit your application.
  2. Request official transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions in the United States from which credit has been earned should be mailed to the CIA Admissions Office. Transcripts should either be sent in an envelope sealed by the school's registrar, or e-mailed to the CIA via an official online transcript provider.
    • If you have already completed your bachelor's degree, your transcript must state your degree and degree conferral date to be considered official.
    • If you are currently completing an undergraduate degree, your degree must be conferred by July 1 in order for you to be granted admission. All U.S. institutions must be accredited through one of the bodies officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions outside of the United States from which credit has been earned must be submitted to the CIA Admissions Office for review and evaluation. Applicants must demonstrate that they have successfully completed a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree before they may be considered for admission to a master's program. Please be advised the CIA will not review graduate applications while a bachelor's degree is in progress at a higher education institution outside the U.S. Applicants applying to a master's program should complete the degree before submitting official transcripts.

  1. Demonstrate English proficiency. Graduate coursework at the CIA is reading-and writing-intensive and requires proficiency in written and spoken English. If English is not your native language, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency through one of the following exams. Your test results must be attached to your application:

In lieu of an English Proficiency exam, you may also enroll and complete a program from one of our approved language schools.

All documentation provided with your CIA application must be in English or be accompanied by a notarized translation of the documents into English alongside the original copies