FSS Admissions and Applications

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the food systems field, we do not require that your major or degree be in a particular area. In fact, students come to our program from a wide variety of majors, from environmental sciences and biology to history and English.
  • A cumulative grade-point average of all undergraduate courses of at least 3.0 (based on a letter grade system of A-4 points, B-3 points, C-2 points, D-1 point, F-0 points), or its equivalent in other grading systems)
  • As an online program, we welcome applicants who are U.S. citizens who reside within the U.S 
  • The FSS program does not have a recency of education requirement, meaning applicants may have earned their Bachelor’s degree at any time.
  • The FSS program does not offer conditional acceptance. While you may complete an application before having earned a Bachelor’s degree, you will not be accepted in the program until degree conferral.
  • Compliance with the OHSU COVID-19 Vaccine Policy.
  • Compliance with the OHSU Immunization Policy.

Background checks

Prospective students are not required to disclose criminal convictions prior to receiving an offer of admission. Following a conditional admission offer, prospective students will undergo a pre-matriculation background check pursuant to policy and procedures available on the OHSU Public Safety website.  However, OHSU is a university of health professions, and it is possible that professional and occupational licensure requirements may prohibit individuals with criminal convictions from ultimately obtaining a professional license. Licensure requirements vary by state and prospective students are encouraged to consult their state licensing agency for more information.

If a prospective student is denied admission due to a criminal conviction, they may appeal the final admissions decision to the Office of the Provost at provost@ohsu.edu.

Below is a list of items required for application to the M.S. in Food Systems and Society program at OHSU. As you prepare your application, know that we are here to help you if you have any questions about the required materials for admission: reach out to us at fss@ohsu.edu .

Important Dates for Fall 2023 Admission

Applications accepted until August 15, 2023

Fall term courses begin September 25, 2023.

If you are thinking of applying, we encourage you to reach out to us via email at fss@ohsu.edu.


Create an online account; select “Food Systems and Society” from the program list.

Within the online application, you will be directed to submit the following, each of which is described in more detail below: 

  • OHSU Graduate Studies Application
  • Letter of Intent
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Supplemental Questions

Note that you are not required to finish the application in one session. You can save your work, log out, and return to the application at a later time.

OHSU Graduate Studies Application

The Graduate Studies application has four sections – the first three sections are required for all students applying to any graduate program at OHSU, and the fourth section is specifically for the M.S. in Food Systems and Society. The short answer questions are intended to be informal and help us get to know you better.

Letter of intent

In 1,000 words or less, please tell us why you are interested in learning to think more critically about food systems and society. Explain your motivation to create social change in the food system and the personal and/or professional experiences that have contributed to your interest. In addition, you may address your reasons for pursuing graduate study and/or how a low-residency, online program contributes to your goals.


As part of your application, you will need to submit unofficial or official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended, including trade schools, community colleges, and four-year universities. Transcripts can often be obtained from a school’s website, usually through a student portal or the registrar’s website.

If you are admitted into the program, you will be required to submit official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Typically, students order official transcripts and the university or college sends them directly to OHSU. If you are admitted, your offer letter will provide details on how to send your official transcripts. 

Letters of Recommendation

The application requires two confidential recommendations from individuals who can speak to your potential for success in graduate school. These can be from teachers, supervisors or colleagues at work, or other contacts from professional, civic, and volunteer contexts. 

Provide the names and email addresses for your two recommenders in the application portal. Your recommenders will then be emailed a link to the online recommendation form and can submit the recommendation online. You will be able to see in your online application checklist if the recommendation has been received. 

Please note that we are able to review your application even if your recommendations have not yet been received. We understand that the people writing your recommendations are busy and may not be able to submit their letters prior to the application deadline. 

Supplemental Questions

This portion of the applications asks questions that help us learn a little bit more about you. Some questions are multiple choice (Yes/No/Decline to answer) and some require a short answer. The questions ask for additional demographic information and about your past professional experiences and future professional goals. 

Application Fee Waiver

If you need to request a waiver of the application fee required through the application portal, please contact SOMgrad@ohsu.edu prior to submitting your application. 

Application Review and Admissions

After you have submitted your online application, we will review it and respond to you shortly thereafter. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you to schedule it, providing a short list of interview questions and suggested times for the interview.

We typically notify candidates of admission decisions soon after the interview. If you are admitted into the Food Systems & Society Program, we will guide you through the enrollment process and OHSU and FSS program orientations.

Again, we are here to support you through the application process! If you have questions regarding any of these elements, please reach out to us at fss@ohsu.edu