FAQs about Applying to the MPS in Dairy Products Technology Program

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Note: this is an updated version of an article published January 8, 2015.

We hope Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program is in your plans. If it is, you’ll need to take some initial steps toward applying. If you have questions about the application process or need assistance, I’m here to help! Please feel free to contact me at:

Tom Johnson, MPS Program Manager
Email: tjohns47@calpoly.edu
Cell: (970) 215-3459

In the meantime, here are the answers to questions I frequently receive from students considering applying to the program:

I am interested in applying. How do I get started?
The first step is to send me a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae. You can send it to me at tjohns47@calpoly.edu

You will also need to complete our online application. 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.

When is the application deadline?
All applications must be submitted by April 1. You will have an additional 30 days to submit test scores, transcripts, and recommendations.

Should I wait until I have GRE scores to submit my application?
No – there is no reason to wait to submit your application. We review applications as we receive them, so it is in your interest to submit your application before the class fills.

Is the GRE always required? Can I submit other test results instead?
We require that all applicants submit GRE scores.

How important are GRE scores?
We use GRE scores to ensure that our students have a level of proficiency that suggests they will be successful at the graduate level. That said, GRE scores are no more important than other factors, such as grade point average, recommendations, career objectives, and leadership experience.

Is there a minimum GRE score?
We look for students to score in the upper 50th percentile of all GRE test takers.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?
We require that students have a minimum GPA of 2.75, with above-average performance in science courses. However, we have made exceptions for students who exhibit significant leadership potential or other attributes the program seeks.

Will you require an interview?
We may request the opportunity to communicate with you, either in person (if you’re on campus) or by Skype (if you are not). This will help us get to know you and better understand how the MPS program will help you reach your career goals.

How soon will I know whether I am accepted to the program?
We use a rolling admissions process. Once your application file is complete, we aim to get you a decision within 30 days.

How should I submit my letters of recommendation?
Please have your references address their letters to Program Manager Tom Johnson and upload them through Interfolio (see above for instructions).

Where should I send my transcripts?
Official transcripts from all universities attended should be sent to:

Cal Poly State University
One Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Do I need to submit transcripts for classes I completed in community college, junior college or summer school?
Cal Poly requires submission of transcripts for all college-level courses taken. Failure to request transcripts from all schools you attended may delay your admission to the program.

Is food or dairy science experience required?
We do not require applicants to have prior experience in food or dairy science. It is important that you have have had at least some college-level biology and chemistry in order to prepare you for the concepts you will be exposed to in the MPS program. If you would like to discuss whether you are sufficiently prepared for the program, please contact me. There may be time to take “refresher” courses prior to beginning the program.

Do you welcome “nontraditional” students?
We welcome students of all ages and backgrounds. We strive for a mix of students, including some who are returning to school after gaining experience in the military or in the workplace.

For answers to other common questions, please visit our FAQ page here: http://mpsdairy.calpoly.edu/frequently-asked-questions

Stay tuned for important program updates by visiting the MPS blog at: http://www.calpolydptcareer.com.

Tom Photo 2015
Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell





A Highly Ranked University in a Picture Book Setting

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In this blog, I often discuss the quality of Cal Poly’s MPS program and the high prospects it affords our graduates. However, I rarely mention the quality and reputation of the university as a whole.

Last night, I came to understand the importance of doing both. While recruiting at a graduate school fair at North Carolina State University, I was surprised to learn that some students there not only were unfamiliar with Cal Poly’s strong academic reputation – they had never even heard of Cal Poly.

We in the West know the weight of the Cal Poly brand and sometimes take it for granted that everyone else does, too. For those unacquainted, allow me to introduce you to an outstanding university in a picture book setting.

California Polytechnic State University – ​San Luis Obispo (there is a sister campus in Pomona) is considered the flagship campus of the 23-school California State University system. The 20,000 student campus resides within the City of San Luis Obispo, a quaint, 50,000-resident mission town halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along California’s spectacular Central Coast. Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, public university best known for coupling a rigorous academic environment with the “Learn by Doing” philosophy. Learn by doing is a practical, hands-on educational experience that prepares students for working in the modern scientific and technical world.

Cal Poly is the largest land-holding public university in California. The university’s Swanton Pacific Ranch, a 3,200-acre working ranch, provides educational and research opportunities and encompasses rangeland, livestock, and forestry operations for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences.

The university offers 147 bachelor’s degrees, 49 master’s degrees, and 7 teaching credentials.

A Cal Poly degree is highly sought after by employers and commands among the highest average salaries for graduates at the lowest average net price.

Below is a compilation of some of the university’s recent accolades:

  • Last month, Cal Poly was deemed the best public master’s university in the West for the 23rd consecutive year, according to the latest edition of the U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook.
  • Forbes recently ranked Cal Poly as the No. 1 Public Master’s level university in the U.S.
  • Cal Poly was ranked one of the “Best Colleges” for overall value among U.S. four-year colleges and universities, according to a survey by Money magazine. The university rated in the top 5 percent of 1,500 colleges and universities reviewed by Money as part of its “Best Colleges for Your Money” list.
  • Cal Poly ranks No. 7 among the nation’s public universities and No. 33 among all institutions for return on tuition investment, according to a recent listing from PayScale.com. The list includes the weighted total cost for a graduate based on in-state tuition rates along with the 20-year net return on investment.
  • Cal Poly is Among Business Insider’s 20 Public Colleges with the Smartest Students.
  • Cal Poly’s Bachelor of Architecture program moved to the No. 1 spot in DesignIntelligence’s latest rankings of the country’s top 20 architecture and design schools. The university’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program ranked fourth in this year’s listings.
  • For the second consecutive year, Cal Poly ranked in the nation’s top 20 public universities for college tuition return on investment, according to PayScale. Additionally, Cal Poly’s overall ranking among all universities jumped to 37 from 62.
  • Business Insider ranks Cal Poly students among the top 40 at Public Universities in the Country.
  • According to PayScale.com’s new 2014-2015 College Salary Report, Cal Poly bachelor’s degree graduates rank 13th in the nation, and among the top three in the state, for median salaries among public-university bachelor’s degree recipients. More statistics from the survey: 13th highest salary potential of 445 state schools ($56,200 starting salary, $100,100 mid-career salary)
A surfer catches a wave at Morro Bay, a short drive from the Cal Poly campus.

So there you have it. Not only is Cal Poly a great school; a Cal Poly degree is a great investment. While not as well known as some schools, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers a world class education that carries tremendous weight with employers. Most importantly, a Cal Poly degree provides students with the skills and credentials needed to find the jobs they want at the salaries they deserve.

And if none of that matters to you, consider this: Surfline magazine voted Cal Poly the Third Best School for Surfers!


Tom Photo 2015
Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell

MPS Application Period is Open!


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The application period for Cal Poly’s MPS in Dairy Products Technology program opens today and will remain open until April 1, 2016.

The program utilizes a rolling admission process, whereby applicants are evaluated and notified about admission status throughout the application period.

In order to apply, applicants must create an Interfolio account and submit:

  • Online application, including statement of purpose
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • resume
  • GRE scores (subject test scores are not required)
  • International students must submit TOEFL or EILTS scores unless their most recent degree was taught in English

More information about the application process can be found at http://mpsdairy.calpoly.edu/how-apply

Questions about the application process should be directed to Program Manager Tom Johnson at (970) 215-3459 or tjohns47@calpoly.edu.

Cal Poly’s Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology program trains students with scientific, engineering, and agricultural backgrounds for leadership and management roles in the international dairy foods industry. This innovative, one-year master’s degree program includes coursework in dairy chemistry, dairy microbiology, plant management, project management, leadership, sustainability, and other areas critical to effective dairy plant management. Students complete nine months of coursework, on campus in San Luis Obispo, followed be a three-month paid internship with one of the program’s industry partners. Our partners include Land O Lakes, Starbucks, Tillamook, Kraft, Leprino, Hilmar, Dean Foods, DFA, and others. No dairy or food experience is required. Starting salaries for our graduates average $65,000-75,000.

Tom Photo 2015
Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell