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.
  • Compliance with the COVID-19 Vaccine Policy
  • GPHN does not offer conditional acceptance

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.

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 (COVID update: this is our office number and everyone is currently working from home, so email is the best way to get a hold of us).

Important Dates for Fall 2021 Admission

Our application opens December 1, 2021. We will interview applicants as we receive applications and will send out early decision notices after February 1, 2022. We will continue to accept applications until August 15, 2022, though we encourage people to apply earlier. 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.

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
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Supplemental Questions

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 very 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 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 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. 

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. 

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. 


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. 

Application Fee Waiver

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

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