MSFSS Admissions and Application

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution. Applicants may have earned their Bachelor’s degree at any time and in any field.
  • Cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of at least 3.0
  • We can only accept applicants who are U.S. citizens who reside in the U.S. 
  • Compliance with the OHSU COVID-19 Vaccine Policy and OHSU Immunization Policy.


To begin our online application, first create an account and select “Food Systems and Society” from the program list.

Within the online application, you will be directed to provide the following application components, 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 resume to the application later.

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. The fourth section is short answer questions relevant specifically to 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 and thinking critically about food systems and society. Explain your motivation to better understand and advance social justice 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 indicate how participation in the Food Systems and Society program contributes to your goals.


Please submit either 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 prompted to submit official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions you have attended before registering for courses. Instructions will be provided. 

Letters of Recommendation

The application requires letters of recommendation from two individuals who can speak to your potential for success in graduate school. These can be from course instructors, advisors, supervisors, or colleagues at work, or from professional, civic, and volunteer contexts. 

To initiate the process in your application, provide the names and email addresses for your two recommenders in the application portal. Your recommenders will then be emailed a link to submit the recommendation online.

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 prior to submitting your application. 

Application Review and Admission Process

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.

If you are admitted into the Food Systems & Society Program, we will guide you through the OHSU enrollment process.

If you have questions regarding any of these elements, please reach out to us at 

OHSU 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

While the M.S. in Food Systems and Society does not result in or require a professional license, please note that 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

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Tuition & Fees

The tuition rate for the academic year 2023-2024 is $729 per credit; university fees are assessed on a quarterly basis. Tuition rates are updated annually.  

The total cost of attendance is publicly available through OHSU’s Estimated Cost of Attendance webpage. For a detailed breakdown of the FSS program tuition and fees, navigate to the 2023-2024 OHSU Tuition and Fees dropdown and click the Tuition and Fees document. The FSS program is on page 3. OHSU’s tuition and fee schedule is updated annually.

In addition to current estimated OHSU tuition and fees for graduate programs, the Estimated Total Cost of Attendance webpage contains other useful information such as estimated living expenses and the cost of books and supplies while attending OHSU.

OHSU Scholarships

We realize that graduate school is a major financial commitment. All students enrolled in the Food Systems and Society program are eligible to apply for Federal financial aid. More information and application details are available on the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

OHSU Provost Excellence Scholarship (FSS-DI applicants only): OHSU offers the Provost Excellence Scholarship to students whose backgrounds are underrepresented in the health profession. This diversity is vital to serving the health care needs of Oregonians. The scholarship covers half the tuition and required fees for the standard duration of this program. Those who apply to the FSS-DI program are automatically considered and nominated for this award if eligible, no separate application is required. 

Center for Diversity and Inclusion: The Center for Diversity and Inclusion also compiles a list of scholarships available to graduate students interested in areas of the health and sciences. 

Be Midge's Hero Scholarship: This award is offered to select GPHN students, including FSS students who demonstrate evidence of a personal commitment to a plant-strong, whole foods-based lifestyle, and a sustained interest in promoting this lifestyle in future professional pursuits. Details on the scholarship and how to apply will be sent to current GPHN students; including FSS students, while they are in the program.  

Promising Scholar Award: Funded by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at OHSU and the School of Medicine, Promising Scholar Awards are made to outstanding scholars who have been admitted to any graduate program in the School of Medicine that results in a Master’s level degree or Ph.D., and who also show great potential to contribute to the intellectual richness and diversity of the OHSU student community. Students are nominated internally by their Program Directors. The awards are generally for $1,500 and are contingent upon the student accepting OHSU’s offer of admission into a graduate program and their matriculation into the program before a specified deadline each year. These funds are intended to help reimburse moving expenses to Portland, Oregon, but may be used for any purpose.  

Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC): Students attending OHSU fall 2024 through spring 2025 may now apply for scholarships through Oregon's Office of Student Access and Completion. This one OSAC application covers more than 600 scholarship programs valued at more than $10 million. While various scholarships are available, some are related to health profession students. There are also scholarships that do not require Oregon residency. All materials must be submitted to OSAC.

External Scholarships

We also encourage prospective students to seek outside funding that may be relevant to their areas. Below is a sample of food systems-related scholarship opportunities.  

We also encourage prospective students to seek outside funding that may be relevant to their areas. Below is a sample of food systems-related scholarship opportunities. 

Career-Specific Scholarships (list)

The Asparagus Club (for students interested in independent retail grocery industry) 

Brower Youth Awards 

Byron Hanke Fellowship 

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund 

Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program 

Food Science and Human Nutrition Scholarships (list) 

Garden Club of America Scholarships (for students whose interests span plant science) 

Human Rights Careers Scholarships (list) 

National Garden Clubs Scholarship 

National Grocers Association Scholarships (list for students interested in independent retail grocery industry) 

Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative Scholarship Program 

North American Food Systems Network (list) 

Organic Crop Improvement Association Scholarships 

Public Health Scholarships (list)