Master's in Sustainable Food Systems (MPS) (Online)

Degree Type
Master of Professional Studies (MPS)

Recognizing the need to create leaders who think about sustainability from the field to the fork, including special considerations for the health of their suppliers, employees, and diners and to transform food-centered organizations and institutions into more resilient enterprises engaged in innovation around a range of social, economic, and environmental imperatives, this master’s degree aims to:

  • Equip changemakers with applied knowledge and skills needed to lead positive change in the development of food systems that provide equitable and optimal nutrition for a global population nearing 10 billion (in 2050) while staying within evidence-based planetary boundaries.
  • Build capacity of professionals to identify, design, implement and evaluate food system interventions that address current and future sustainability challenges in communities and organizations, locally and globally.
  • Train professionals to center sustainability around the health of the planet as well as the health of its people, including understanding what makes for a sustainable workforce throughout the food system, from farmworkers and suppliers to restaurant workers and owners—all within sustainable business models for the future.

To qualify for the master's degree, students must successfully complete the entire course of study: five online semesters, two on-site residencies, and a final capstone semester online. The program consists of 30 credits completed over two years. Once students have successfully completed the required 30 credit hours while maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average, they will be awarded the Master of Professional Studies degree in Sustainable Food Systems.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students will apply systems thinking to critical analyses of the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of existing food systems.
  • Students will evaluate food system contributions to climate change and appropriate interventions for decreasing the carbon footprint of a food system.
  • Students will assess current approaches to theories of change and key elements of leadership cultivation relevant to food system transformation within organizational structures and through grassroots action.
  • Students will appraise the nutritional, social, and geographic components of healthy, sustainable, and culturally appropriate cuisines, dietary patterns, and dining choices.
  • Students will examine institutional and public policies that address issues of systemic racism, class disparity, labor justice, and gender bias within the food system.
  • Students will develop and apply strategies to cultivate engagement, collaboration, resource acquisition, visibility, and impact within organizations and communities.
  • Students will illustrate innovative and critical thinking in the development of interventions that address current problems in local, regional, and global food systems.

Graduation Requirements

The Master of Professional Studies Program is offered once per year, with courses beginning in Fall semester (September), and includes a residency in October. 

Students enrolling in the Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Food Systems degree program must complete a specified set of courses, with a cohort, in a particular and set order, to meet the graduation requirements of the degree. All courses are online with the exception of Exploring San Francisco Bay Area Food Systems and Exploring Hudson Valley and New York Food Systems which are in-person residencies.

Total Credits