2019-2020 Course Catalog

Master of Arts in Food Studies (MA)

The Masters of Arts in Food Studies emphasizes a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption, providing intellectual and practical experience from field to table. Graduates gain analytical and experiential knowledge of global and local food systems. Academic courses provide a critical framework, emphasizing the ways people relate to food within a cultural and historical context. Analyses of global, environmental, and gender issues are centralized in the study of the food system as a cultural, economic, and geographic entity. The 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, with its organic gardens, apiaries, orchards, kitchen and root cellar, provides a working environment for engagement with the practice and pedagogy of sustainable agriculture and culinary arts.

Food Studies is the interdisciplinary domain that includes agricultural and culinary history as well as sociological, cultural, political, economic, and geographic examinations of food production and consumption. At the heart of the curriculum model are a number of common preparatory, experiential, and core courses, which allow students to develop a shared knowledge base and community-based networks. The common preparatory courses provide all students with disciplinary training in both natural and social sciences, linking real world problems with ethics, theory, history, communication, research skills, and experiential learning. Internships and directed study in community settings are encouraged.

Admission Requirements

The following are requirements of admission to the Master of Food Studies program:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with less than a 3.0 who show extreme promise through other achievements may be granted conditional admission.
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation preferably from an academic source
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • 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? 
  • Additional writing sample submission encouraged but optional
  • Completed Application Form, which can be found at http://apply.chatham.edu.

Admission Deadlines

  • 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

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.

Learning Outcomes

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.


+Core Courses

24 credits

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?

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.

FST511 Research Methods

Introduction to social science research methods applicable to the study of food and culture. Practicum includes ethnography, interviews, focus groups, survey research, oral history, textual analysis, cultural mapping, and visual methods. Applied approach to research: students will produce data for practical use in existing community or commercial projects.

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.

FST621 Applied Methods

This course is designed to help the student deepen their facility with qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to better understand diverse issues in the interdisciplinary field of food studies. The student will design, conduct, and/or analyze research as part of a thesis or other large project.

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.

FST530 Sustainable Gastronomy

This course covers the history of cooking as a profession and a skill set. Emphasis on gastronomy and culinary arts as both integrative creative enterprises and structured labor in specific contexts. The history of public cooking and dining, restaurants, communication of culture and cuisine, and procedures will be covered.

Internship in any combination, totaling 3 credits:
FST691 Internship

Internship placement will focus on local nonprofits, advocacy group, community projects, food companies, farms, co-ops, food producers, and policy agencies. Directed experience can include developing products, community knowledge, food system data, or promotional materials (course requires instructor signature).

FST692 Internship

Internship placement will focus on local nonprofits, advocacy group, community projects, food companies, farms, co-ops, food producers, and policy agencies. Directed experience can include developing products, community knowledge, food system data, or promotional materials (course requires instructor signature).

FST693 Field Work Practicum

Students engage in semester long field work and internships. Class meetings address ethical, logistical, and intellectual issues of community-based work in Food Studies. Site-based project development and implementation occurs in supervised and collaborative settings. Individual meetings with professor provide career development and advance research proposal skills.



18 credit hours

From the list of potential electives, students may design an area of concentration with their advisor, including Communication and Writing; Food Politics; Sustainable Agriculture; and Markets.
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.

FST512 Practical Nutrition

Course provides an overview of nutrition as an evidence-based research field, focusing on groups and communities where research is conducted and then applied. Topics include science and politics of food categories; supplements and functional foods; weight and disordered eating, commercial, local, organic, and conventional foods; cuisine, culture, and diet.

FST504 Food Science Principals

We will study scientific literature on nutrient availability before and after cooking, learn about chemical and physical and visual changes to food through various storage and cooking methods and investigate our sensory responses to certain foods in various types of physical and cultural settings.

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.

FST514 Wine, Ciders and Meads

This course provides a detailed study of wines, grape varieties, ciders and mead. Offers an exploration of global wine regions and regional traditions for ciders and meads. Experiential components utilize local fruits and honey to produce experimental batches of wines and meads. Includes lab at Eden Hall and fieldwork component.

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.

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.

FST522 GIS: Food and Agriculture

This course provides students with a solid foundation of the principles and applications of GIS, an introduction to the desktop software ArcGIS, and demonstrates its use in the public sectors related to food, agriculture, and resource use. Students will have the flexibility to focus on their particular area of interest through project work.

FST527 Permaculture

Course explores natural systems, aboriginal knowledge and best practices for designing human systems, which reflect care of the earth. It integrates findings of agriculture, horticulture, ecology, alternative energy, community design and green building. Students learn methods of growing and living sustainably, with local examples and applications of permaculture design for Eden Hall.

FST528 Tree Care

This course provides an introduction to arboriculture, tree climbing and pruning. The class will teach proper tree pruning and the basics of climbing, as well as basic equipment safety, applicable to tree work in urban or agricultural settings, and an introduction to work as an arborist.

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.

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.

FST602 Global Agriculture

Examines how contemporary agricultural era is characterized by the simultaneous existence of radically different farming systems within the same region. Course explores prior examples historically and regionally. Focus is then on what makes the contemporary agricultural age different, including respect for 'traditional' approaches as viable 'alternatives'; social and scientific research supporting alternatives; farmers/practitioner awareness of options ;and consumer-citizens driven awareness and advocacy.

FST603 Food Journeys

From the Columbian Exchange to eco-tourism food travels the world, the traveler journeys through food, and the citizen consumes place and goods in a journey towards selfhood. This course examines food and geographic movement with an applied emphasis on culinary tourism and writing about food in global and local contexts.

FST607 Sustainable Consumption

Eating "sustainably" considers environmental health, local economies and social justice issues. The course explores 3 viewpoints: consumers', including eating behaviors, access and marketing; growers' and producers', including supply chain concerns and food safety; and the institutions' or food business' challenges of incorporating regionally and sustainably sourced food in their operations.

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.

FST611 Religion, Community, and Food

This course explains the ways in which sustainability and communal religious life have Intersected in the U.S. from the 17th century to the present. Using lecture readings, film, and independent research, we will study ethical farming practices, food sustainability, and moral food choices through the lens of American religious communities.

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.

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.

FST616 Cultivating the Midwest: Corn and Soybeans

Combined with field experiences in western Minnesota, this course explores food and agriculture in the Midwestern U.S. Classroom work and field experiences will explore historical, cultural, agronomic, economic, and geopolitical issues, including corn and soybean production, processing and distribution, alternative agrifood networks, and other food systems issues in the Midwest.

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.

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.

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.

FST640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

FST683 Special Topics

Special Topics



Alice Julier

Program Director


(412) 365 - 2473