Master of Science in Food Systems and Society

The M.S. in Food Systems and Society at Oregon Health and Science University combines in-person and online learning about food systems and social change. Our low-residency, cohort-based structure combines online courses with short residencies in Portland, Oregon. You are able to maintain your work and life commitments, while engaging and collaborating in person with inspired, motivated peers and other food system leaders. Below, you will find more information about the program's curriculum, modality, graduates' careers, and application process. If you're ready to start your application now, please click here and select "Food Systems and Society" from the list of programs.

Curriculum: Social dimensions of the food system

OHSU's food systems and society curriculum integrates lived experience and academic scholarship by examining concepts, perspectives, and strategies relevant to social change in the food system. Through lenses of class, gender, and race-ethnicity, you will analyze how social conditions in the food system developed. You will also study how they are addressed, perceived, and portrayed. Students make an impact in their studies by contributing new knowledge to food systems equity and social change through a capstone project. Your coursework will consist of foundation courses, on-ground intensive courses, and a series of capstone courses. In foundation courses, you will engage in thought provoking study, discussion, and reflection of topics including food justice, food policy and politics, food in culture, social theory, and critical inquiry. These courses are primarily online. For the in-person intensives, you will participate in four required on-campus sessions in fall and spring terms of each year. The ideas and issues explored in foundation courses lead to a capstone project, completed through a series of three courses in which you conduct guided work on a topic of interest to you, tailored to your own educational and professional goals, and relevant to equity and social change in the food system. In a final spring course, you consider how to apply your program and capstone learning moving forward. 

Full-time Student Degree Completion Pathway*

Year 1

Fall Term
 Winter Spring Term
 FSS 500: Academic Foundations: Food Systems Inquiry4 FSS 510: Food Policy &Politics 4 FSS 520: Food Systems Theory 4
 FSS 501: Introduction to Food Systems &Society4 FSS 511: Food in Culture4 FSS 598-1: Capstone 14
 FSS 502: Fall Intensive I1 FSS 503: Directed Study in Food Systems &Society I 1 FSS 504: Spring Intensive 11
Total9 9 9

Year 2

Fall Term Winter Spring Term 
FSS 550: Social Movements in the Food System4 FSS 560: Topics in Food Systems and Society4FSS 580: Scholarship for Social Change 4
FSS 598-2: Capstone 24FSS 598-3: Capstone 34FSS 508: Spring Intensive II 1
FSS 506: Fall Intensive II1FSS 505: Directed Study in Food Systems and Society II 1  
Total9 9 5

*Part-time enrollment options available.

Hybrid Format: Online courses with in-person intensive sessions

The OHSU Food Systems and Society program is offered in an accessible, online format, complemented by two short campus sessions per year. The hybrid modality enables you to participate in the program while maintaining personal and professional commitments in your place of residence. Each fall and spring, you will spend time on our Portland campus collaborating with fellow students and faculty and engaging with thought leaders in the field. 


The M.S. in Food Systems &Society serves as a foundation to enhance your current career or to pursue new opportunities in this rapidly growing field. Every day, new policies are forming, businesses are launching, social movements are growing, and nonprofit organizations are expanding. Our graduates are well-positioned to work in the policy arena, create innovative enterprises, lead nonprofit organizations, become food writers, or work in existing food sector businesses. 

How to Apply 

We are welcoming applications for our Fall 2019 cohort! Application requirements include a letter of intent, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation. The deadline for priority admission is June 1, 2019;the final application deadline is August 15, 2019;students will be admitted on a rolling basis, until the cohort is filled. Classes begin on September 23rd, 2019. 

Ready to apply? Start your application here and select "Food Systems and Society" from the list of programs. 

For more information, contact the FSS program coordinator, Zoe Speidel.


The M.S. in Food Systems and Society, developed at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, is in transition to Oregon Health &Science University. We are recruiting our first OHSU cohort for Fall 2019 as we seek reaccreditation through NWCCU and approval from the Statewide Provost's Council.