Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Two wooden spoons, one full of grain and one nearly empty.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates of the MS in Food Systems and Society program will be able to:

  • Identify and analyze societal factors in and perspectives on food system equity.
  • Employ critical thinking, collaboration, and synthesis skills for engaging social change.
  • Communicate effectively about foods system equity and social responsibility.
  • Assess approaches and develop solutions to improving equity, health, and sustainability at multiple levels.
  • Carry out research-based projects that addresses social change in the food system.


The courses in the Food Systems and Society program fall into three main categories: Foundation Courses, Intensives, and Capstone. 

Foundation Courses (34 credits)

As a part of your foundation course requirements, you will engage in thought provoking study, discussion and reflection of topics including food justice, discourse, food policy and politics, food in culture, social theory and critical inquiry.

  • FSS 500 Food Systems Inquiry
  • FSS 501 Food Systems and Society
  • FSS 503 & 505 Directed Study in Food Systems and Society, I and II
  • FSS 510 Food Policy and Politics
  • FSS 511 Food in Culture
  • FSS 520 Food Systems Theory
  • FSS 550 Social Movements in the Food System
  • FSS 560 Topics in Food Systems and Society
  • FSS 580 Scholarship and Social Change

In-person Program Intensives (4 credits)

Students participate in four required on-campus residency sessions throughout the two-year program. These sessions take place in the fall and spring terms of each year. Each residency takes place over a weekend, lasting approximately four days. While on campus you will meet with peers to engage in critical analysis and collaborate on topics related to food systems and society. Many students also enjoy opportunities outside of courses to explore the food cultures and activism of the Portland area.

Capstone (12 credits)

Through a sequence of capstone courses, you will explore contemporary issues in food systems and society and conduct guided work that addresses a subject or topic of interest to you that is relevant to equity and social change in the food system. As a student, you will benefit from faculty advisor support throughout the development of your capstone project. See examples of student capstone projects.

  • FSS 598-A Capstone 1
  • FSS 598-B Capstone 2
  • FSS 598-C Capstone 3

Minimum credits required for degree: 50

Course Descriptions & Degree Pathways

For more curriculum information, see our Course Descriptions & Degree Pathways page