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)
  • The FSS program welcomes students from anywhere. An English-language proficiency test may be required for English-language-learners who do not have a Bachelor's or Master's degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English.
  • The FSS program does not have a recency of education requirement.
  • GPHN does not offer conditional acceptance

Making the choice to apply to graduate school is a big decision. We’re glad you’re ready to move forward and apply for our Master of Science in Food Systems and Society – an in-depth, connection-building program in which you join a network of students and faculty who want to impact the world through food equity, social justice, and advocacy in food systems. 

Below is a list of items you will need to submit to formally apply to the M.S. in Food Systems and Society program at OHSU. As you review the list, know that we are here to help you if you have any questions about the required materials for admissions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at fss@ohsu.edu or (503) 494-7823.

We have extended our application due date to August 2020 (date coming soon). Classes start September 28, 2020. 


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

Don’t worry about finishing the application in one session. You can save your work, log out and return to the application at a later time. Your information will be saved.

Within the online application, you will be directed to submit: 

  • OHSU Graduate Studies Application
  • Letter of Intent
  • Official transcripts
  • Writing Sample
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Supplemental Questions

OHSU graduate studies online 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.

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 transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended, including trade schools, community colleges, and four-year universities. Unofficial transcripts can often be obtained from a school’s website, usually through something like 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 obtain and send your official transcripts. 

Writing sample

Submit a sole-authored writing sample (5-15 pages), preferably on a topic related to food systems and society. We are looking for evidence of your potential or ability to develop key questions and focused writing, construct reasoned arguments based on evidence, and assess or analyze the significance of what you have presented. Your sample may be something you have already written or write for the purpose of this application. 

Letters of recommendation

Two confidential recommendations from individuals acquainted with your potential for success in graduate studies are required. Recommendations from family members or personal acquaintances are not appropriate and will not be considered. 

You will need the names and email addresses for your two recommenders to submit 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. 

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. 


After you have submitted your online application, you may be invited for an interview with program faculty. Interviews are scheduled once we receive and have reviewed your completed application.