2019-2020 Course Catalog

Master of Arts in Food Studies & Master of Business Administration (MAFS/MBA)

Through this program, students earn both the Master of Arts in Food Studies and the Master of Business Administration. It includes core courses in both business and food studies, and courses that provide breadth and depth in food studies, business, and sustainable business. The degree requires 51 credits, and is designed to be completed by full time students in five semesters (includes fall, spring, and summer semesters). An optional first summer is offered for students who require prerequisites or simply want more time to take classes.

Students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment.

Each student also completes a thesis or project in Food Studies. The common preparatory courses provide all students with disciplinary training in natural and social sciences and business. Students gain a holistic understanding of food systems and traditional business skills. Internships and directed study in community settings are encouraged. Graduates will be uniquely prepared to work in various aspects of food systems in the real world.

Students meet all of the requirements for both the Master of Arts Food Studies and the Master of Business Administration. Please refer to those programs for details.

Admission Requirements

Priority Deadline for Fall - February 1 (all application materials must be received by this date for first consideration of fellowships/assistantships)
Regular Application Deadline for Fall: June 15
Regular Application Deadline for Spring: November 1

Admission to the Dual Degree MAFS-MBA program will be based on:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale (Applicants with less than a 3.0 who show extreme promise through other achievements may be granted conditional admission)
  • Proficiency in written and oral communications, college level math, and computer usage including word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and the Internet are required
  • Completed application form, including:
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Curriculum vitae, résumé and/or additional information concerning professional or volunteer activities
    • Nonrefundable application fee of $45 (unless application is completed online)
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty and direct work supervisors that describe the applicant's:
    • Capacity for independent thinking
    • Written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to thrive in a collaborative, interdisciplinary academic setting
  • In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
  • Students must complete pre-requisite courses in Financial Accounting, Business Statistics and Introduction to Microsoft Excel prior to beginning the program

Learning Outcomes

Food Studies

Interdisciplinary breadth: Graduates will have the ability to articulate and integrate knowledge and skills across and within a variety of disciplines, particularly as these skills relate to the historical and contemporary organization of food provision and consumption.

Systems knowledge: Graduates will have a command of food systems as a conceptual and practical tool for understanding the connections between agriculture and food production, social configurations, cultural meanings, and environmental conditions. This goal includes understanding and applying various research methods to real-world problems.

Experiential learning: Graduates will form a direct relationship with the subject matter – the production of food – by participating in a wide variety of practical and applied situations. Mastery of technique, while significant in its own right, will connected back to intellectual growth by evaluating its benefit to specific communities and by incorporating the experience into project outcomes.

Community building: Graduates will work as liaisons and collaborators in community-based projects, both in directed coursework and in internship and field experiences. Emphasis will be on task negotiation, network development, social interaction, and cultural acumen.

Communicative competence: Graduates will demonstrate ability to use history, ethics, culture, and empirical data to document and evaluate food systems through oral, written, and multi-modal means of representation.

Methodological depth: Graduates will design and carry out research projects after evaluating the effectiveness and applicability of various social scientific methods. By implementation, students will articulate research questions, assess the strengths and weaknesses of different research design and collection methods. Includes the ability to address cultural and ethical issues, evaluate existing studies and

Applied scientific literacy: Graduates will grasp basic scientific principles, empirical methods, and evaluative criteria in the biological and physical sciences. The goal is for students to analyze and evaluate empirical research for context-specific applications and communicate that data for a variety of audiences.

Technical competence in food production: Students will gain basic experience in growing, producing, and cooking food. From soil testing to knife skills, graduates will grasp the specific material competencies related to agriculture and cooking.

Comprehensive awareness of sustainability: Graduates will be versed in the complexities of defining and enacting sustainable practices related to food production and consumption. Using a systems analysis, they will be able to map the relationships between environment, social life, and sustenance.

Business Administration

In master’s level programs, knowledge of the key content areas of business is assumed. Students without previous business courses take the Foundation Courses. Graduates of master’s level programs acquire a depth of knowledge in these areas that exceeds that of the typical bachelor’s degree graduate. Graduates of the MBA program are able to demonstrate that they possess business–specific content outcomes and business–related professional skills outcomes.

Graduates of the MBA program will be able to:

  • Recognize problems in business settings and propose solutions
  • Use strategic analysis and integration
  • Apply creativity and innovation in business practice
  • Apply quantitative methods to real–world business situations
  • Evaluate the impact on business of the global environment
  • Identify and understand the ethical obligations and responsibilities of business
  • Communicate effectively in written materials to relevant publics
  • Communicate professionally in spoken words in one–on–one or business presentation situations
  • Work with a team of colleagues on projects
  • Demonstrate project management skills
  • Demonstrate leadership skills through the ability to set direction and work with others
  • Understand a specific area of business practice in depth



Students must meet all of the admission requirements for both the MAFS and MBA programs, and complete any prerequisite associated with either program. A total of 51 credits are required to earn the dual degree:

The MBA portion of the program consists of the following 24 credits
BUS576 Sustainable Human Capital

Cultivate theoretical understanding and ethical and practical skills for managing human capital. Explore individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis focusing on topics of motivation, communication, group dynamics, decision making, culture, power, and politics. Analyze the effectiveness of tools for talent acquisition and development, such as compensation, feedback, and assessment.

BUS570 Global Business

This course introduces students to international business and management by studying cultural influences, government, and business structures in our global economy. Students also learn about trade relations, international finance and legal and labor agreements. Also covered, are topics on information needs, production systems, marketing and promotion, and career planning.

BUS577 Information Systems and Analytics

This course explores the strategic management of technology, information, and people from a Chief Information Officer's (CIO) perspective. The business value and organizational challenges of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data warehouses, analytics, and Big Data are critically examined through cases and hands-on projects.

BUS652 Managerial Accounting

This course examines accounting information that is used in managerial decision making within the organization. Focus is on interpretation of financial statements, cost accounting, financial planning and analysis, the development of internal controls, and constructing budgets.

BUS672 Corporate Finance

This course deepens an understanding of financial analysis tools and concepts. Students will learn how and when to use the financial-analytical tools required to make effective business and policy decision. Functional areas addressed are assessing financial health, planning financial performance, interpretation of data and recommendations, supply-chain management.

BUS671 Marketing Management

This course takes the Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) perspective to explore marketing as a core business practice. Discussions focus on theories and principles for interfacing with customers, competitors, partners, and the external environment. Concepts are applied to planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods and services.

BUS698 Strategy and Entrepreneurship

"Develop strategies to gain and sustain competitive advantage. Examine the goals of an organization, the social, political, technological, economic, and global factors in the business environment, industry structure, market dynamics, and firm strengths and weaknesses. Develop and implement strategy across industries, and as an entrepreneur, through case analyses and simulations. "

BUS618 Economics for Managers

This course teaches how economic tools and techniques can be used to solve business problems. Economics describes why firms do what they do and points to business strategies. The course focuses on economic applications. The course provides an understanding of how economics influences marketing, management, and other business-related decisions.

Required Core Total: 24
The FST portion of the program consists of the following 27 credits
FST502 Essential Readings in Food and Agriculture

This class provides grounding in essential texts in the contemporary understanding of food and agriculture. Readings include key food histories, journalism, critical nutrition and food industry writers, and agriculture and environmental treatise. Class will meet monthly to analyze texts. Students will contribute to forum and blog discussions throughout the year.

FST508 Food Systems

Examines philosophical, sociological, economic, and cultural issues related to the production and consumption of food. From Agrarianism to the Green Revolution, explores the transformations of industrialization, technology, and migration. Provides foundation in food systems and commodity chains as concepts and methodological tools for uncovering the relationship between communities, agriculture, markets, and consumers.

FST509 Food Access

If food is a basic human right, how do societies create universal access to food? What is the moral ethical basis for making citizens food secure in an age of global inequality? To what extent does providing food access need to consider culturally appropriateness, nutrition, and sustainability, and justice?

FST620 Research in Food and Agriculture

This course assists students developing a research, educational, public policy, or advocacy project in sustainable farming. Participants study a practical and current sustainable food and/or farming problem, review the literature related to the problem, develop management tactics and strategies to address the problem, and communicate their conclusions. Goal is to develop a research plan and project outcomes for a Masters thesis or project.

FST510 Food, Culture, History

Provides an overview of food and diet in transnational history, emphasizing cultural impact of modernity of food gathering, farming, plant biology, the body and consumption, health, taste, and cuisine. Topics include the development of agriculture, the causes of famine, the disruptions of colonialism, global exchange, industrialization, migration, and commercial economic dominance of the food system.

FST520 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Campus farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, effects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

FST520L Growing Sustainably Lab

This course is a co-requisite to FST520, Growing Sustainably, and comprises the experiential lab component of the course. Students will engage in sustained research on sustainable agricultural projects, from biodynamic methods to soil or pest management comparatives. Course may be taken up to four times for credit.

FST518 Business of Food and Agriculture

In this class the student will learn both history and current practices related to food and agriculture as economic enterprises in the United States and the world. Skills include ability to understand strategic management principles including identifying target markets, niche marketing, SWOT analysis and diffusion of innovation theory. Students will be able to develop a business plan including understanding barriers of entry, compiling demographic data, developing feasibility studies, long and short term business goals, define and calculate a breakeven point, and budget formulation.

SUS607 Applied Green and Social Innovation

The class helps students develop skills for managing innovation focusing on Food, Agriculture, Environmental and Social Product and Service innovations. Students will work with actual ideas and or start-ups from local incubators and entrepreneurs. The class focuses on helping students to develop skills to use innovations for solving major social and environmental problems.

FST698 Thesis/Project

Course provides supervision and research guidance for Masters thesis or projects in Food Studies. Students will have instruction in data analysis, writing for public presentation and publication, professional development workshops, and community development issues.

Required Core Total: 21
Electives (choose 6 credits)
FST607 Sustainable Consumption

Sustainable Consumption

FST531 Sustainable Fermentation

Through hands-on production, tastings, lectures, students learn basics of fermentation, winemaking principles and practices, sensory evaluation through tastings, viticulture history, wine regions and types, winemaking methods, chemistry and winery operations. Local production includes root beer, beer, sake, local mead and vinegar. Emphasis will be on sustainable viniculture practices and local/global links.

FST614 New Product Development

This course will explore the new product development process from ideation to market. Students will study the methodologies and practices of product development in a traditional Consumer Packaged Good firm and apply modified methods to manage the new product development process for a start-up local distiller. Over the course of an academic year, students will develop and bring to market a liqueur to be sold by Pittsburgh Distilling Co.

FST622 Advanced New Product Development

This course explores new product development process from ideation to market. Students study methodologies and practices of product development in a Consumer Packaged Goods firm. Focus for the advanced course includes consumer testing, packaging development, and production process to develop and bring to market a liqueur sold by Pittsburgh Distilling.

FST603 Food Journeys

Food Journeys

FST625 U.S. Agricultural Policy

This graduate multi-disciplinary course examines a range of philosophical, socio-economic, health and political issues related to agricultural policy in the US. It provides a foundation and introduction to U.S. farm policy as a means of exploring how political dynamics and choices impact the nature of food, agriculture, and communities at local, national and global scales.

SUS581 Entrepreneurial Alternatives

The class examines alternative paths to entrepreneurship for students interested in owning and operating an existing business. There is an emphasis on food-related businesses (production/processing, distribution, retail). Students will learn about acquiring an existing business or franchise. Skills covered include selecting targets, evaluation, appropriate financial valuation, deal structuring, arranging financing and post-closing operations planning.

FST608 Culture and Culinary Grains

Culture and Culinary Grains

FST609 Dairy: From Pasture to Plate

This multi-disciplinary graduate course examines a range of agro-ecological, philosophical, socio-economic, health, and political issues related to dairy production in the US. Key course themes include: dairy history; sustainable and conventional production; raw milk and consumption debates; livestock care; milking; cheese-making; dairy policy; international issues; and popular representation of dairy.

FST624 Chocolate: Politics and Pleasure

This course will explore chocolate as a global product including history and culture, agriculture (growing trees, processing beans), direct/fair trade, labor and justice, health, chocolate production, sales, marketing, and sustainability. Experiential components include chocolate making, tempering; culinary practices, and site visits to chocolate manufacturers, culminating in the design and marketing of a sustainable chocolate product.

FST532 Sustainable Meat Production

As part of sustainable agriculture and culinary knowledge, understanding meat production outside the conventional large scale processing facilities is a critical skill for students who will work with restaurants, farm markets, and other distribution venues.

FST515 Writing About Food

Students will develop technique and skills for writing about food and culture by studying ethics; journalism; advertising, multimodal and new technology venues; recipe writing; food criticism; writing about food in a variety of genres from history to fiction, magazines, and websites. Course emphasizes both print and online media.

FST683 Special Topics

Special Topics

FST505 Food and Representations

Food is elemental to survival, culture, home, and subjectivity - to rituals of love, loss, and celebration. Focusing on representations of food and eating in spiritual narratives, epic texts, myth, novels, and film, this class examines the cultural work food performs along with the varying meanings assigned to food and eating.

FST615 Food, Labor, and Inequality

In this course, we will focus on theoretical and applied frameworks for thinking about the labor of growing food, transporting it, transforming it into comestibles, and finally, serving and cleaning related to food consumption. The course considers how global labor shapes the availability and appropriateness of food for different populations and therefore includes a substantial analysis of gender, race, and social class. Readings and discussion will touch on migrant labor, domestic cooking, waiting and serving, agriculture, cooks and chefs, and food professionals.



Peter Walker
Dean/Program Director
(412) 365 - 1842

James Pierson
Program Director/Department Chair
(412) 365 - 1615