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Sustainable Food Systems, MS

Sustainable Food Systems, MS

Academic Programs / Graduate Degrees / Sustainable Food Systems, MS

Advocacy, Agriculture, Education, Environment, Farm, Food Policy, Food Systems, Governance, Health, Interdisciplinary Studies, Nutrition, Solutions, Sustainability, Water, leadership

Be instrumental in improving the health of people, communities and the planet once you have the necessary policy knowledge, strategic methodology and systems outlook provided by this program.

Program Description
Degree Awarded: MS  Sustainable Food Systems

The MS in sustainable food systems is a research-oriented degree program in which students develop an understanding of present-day health, agriculture and environmental policy; develop strategies to lead policy discussions; interact with a network of food and agriculture policy leaders and mentors; and apply their knowledge and skills to address problems related to food and food systems.

This program also allows students to spend a week meeting with food producers in Arizona and a week meeting with policymakers in Washington D.C. Students participate in research projects and professional presentations that contribute to food policy knowledge among sustainable food system advocates.

Graduates of the program are able to employ solutions-based thinking and a dynamic systems framework to create the inclusive, diverse and resilient food systems of the future.

At a Glance

Degree Requirements

30 credit hours including the required capstone course (SFS 596)

Required Core (21 credit hours)
SOS 508 Pathways to Sustainability (3)
SOS 509 Leading Sustainability Transitions (3)
SFS 560 Tools and Tactics for Food Policy Change (3)
SFS 561 Food and Farm Immersion Experience (2)
SFS 562 Managing Natural Resources for Food Production (3)
SFS 563 Applied Food Policy Immersion Experience (2)
SFS 564 American Agriculture in the Global Context (2)
SFS 565 Organizational Leadership (3)

Electives (6 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
SFS 596 Capstone (3)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the College of Global Futures.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of intent
  4. two letters of recommendation
  5. professional resume
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

The statement of intent should not exceed 600 words and applicants must explain the goals they intend to achieve through their plan of study at the College of Global Futures, specifically in the field of sustainable food systems. Applicants should elaborate on key research questions they wish to address or problems they wish to solve as part of their plan of study. Finally, applicants should describe how their background will contribute to their success in the program.

Letters of recommendation must be from two people who can attest to the applicant's academic and professional achievements. At least one letter should be academic in nature.

Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.

Application Deadlines
Session A/COnline 06/01Priority
Global Opportunities
Global Experience

Study abroad is possible for graduate students, with more than 50 program opportunities spanning six continents. Faculty-directed programs tend to be the best fit for graduate students; taking courses over the summer or during academic breaks with ASU professors offers close mentorship and professional network growth in many fields of study while earning ASU credit. Exchange program participation is also possible with careful planning.

Students may also participate in a School of Sustainability study abroad program ( Many students in the program also conduct research abroad as part of their culminating experience.

Career Opportunities

From the School of Sustainability's 2020 alumni employment survey, 100% of master's degree program graduates are either employed or have gone on to a graduate program. Of those employed, 82% of respondents have jobs directly related to sustainability. Because the sustainable food systems program just launched Fall 2019, the school currently does not have alumni employment data for this specific degree.

Students can use their training in sustainable food systems to advance their career in the food and agriculture sector. Career opportunities include:

  • chief sustainability officer
  • director of regulatory affairs
  • food policy manager
  • policy director
  • senior advisor for sustainable food systems
Contact Information

What are Accelerated Programs?
Accelerated Programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor’s degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

4+1 year programs

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies by combining undergraduate with graduate coursework, which may allow them to earn a bachelor’s and a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students are advised by their academic departments to apply.
What are Concurrent Programs?
Students pursuing concurrent degrees earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. ASU offers students two ways to earn concurrent degrees: by choosing a predetermined combination or creating their own combination. Predetermined combinations have a single admissions application and one easy to follow major map. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor. Either way, concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests.
What are Joint Programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a New Program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are Online Programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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