MSFSS Curriculum

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

The Master of Science in Food Systems and Society (FSS) program examines the social conditions that enable and constrain the development of equitable food systems.

Food System and Society students develop and apply knowledge to address social problems in the food system through critical inquiry. In other words, you’ll read, write, and think with the aim of uncovering the causes and effects of inequity in food systems in order to reduce or eliminate it.

The program’s learning objectives are to:

  1. Explain how social, political, and economic systems condition opportunities and outcomes in food systems and society. 
  2. Explain concepts, theories, and processes of social justice in food systems and society. 
  3. Apply scholarly practices to analyze social problems in food systems and society and evaluate solutions. 

Curricular Structure and Modality

The 49-credit online Food System and Society curriculum is cumulative and consistent in its design and delivery. Knowledge developed in each course is foundational to each subsequent course. Consistent course structure, assignment types, and expectations enable students to better focus on learning.

Since coursework is primarily asynchronous, students are able to complete it according to their own schedule.

Students in a cohort typically take the same courses at the same time, though part-time options are available to those who need a modified course schedule.


Graduation requirements for the Food System and Society program include 49 credits of coursework and the completion of a Capstone Research Synthesis.  The Food System and Society curriculum includes the following course types:  

  • Foundation courses address subject matter relevant to food systems and society as well as approaches to critical inquiry and scholarship.
  • Capstone courses support student research on a topic of particular interest to them. All students create a Capstone Research Synthesis report that asks and answers questions relevant to social justice in food systems and society.
  • Practicum courses focus on scholarly skills for critical inquiry and communication, complementing the Foundation and Capstone courses taken concurrently. Each Practicum course is one credit and may be repeated.

Read course descriptions and degree pathways.