Food Systems and Society (M.S.)

Earn an M.S. in Food Systems and Society (online) from Marylhurst

Are you inspired to solve food system challenges on an individual or global scale? The Master of Science (M.S.) in Food Systems and Society program at Marylhurst University is an online graduate degree focused on the advancement of equitable food systems through analysis and inquiry.

Food systems are the heart of our societies, providing basic human needs, livelihoods and social connection. In connecting culture, politics, environment, health and economy, contemporary food systems both embody and reveal social problems and possibilities.

Never before have we faced the scope of issues we confront today, and never before have there been so many inspiring people, ideas and organizations working towards social justice and social change in the food system.

In this two-year master’s program, you will focus on food systems and social change using inquiry, experience and reflection to study fundamental challenges and approaches involved in developing more equitable and sustainable food systems.


    • Fall Term 2018 – Classes begin September 24
    • Application priority date: April 30, 2018
    • Apply early to reserve your spot
Go to the Online Application

 WEBINAR: Understanding Equity in the Food System

March 22 | 12:00 – 12:30 pm | Hosted online by Marylhurst Univ.

Listen to Sean Gillion, Assistant Professor of Food Systems & Society discuss equity in the food system. Join us to learn how equity in the food system is specifically addressed in the MS in Food Systems and Society program at Marylhurst University.

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marylhurst, food systems and society degree, residency

Low Residency, Online Format

  Online: Engage with faculty and peers in collaborative online classrooms throughout the year.

   Residency: Attend two 4-5 -day residencies as a community in the fall and spring of each year.

The Marylhurst Food Systems and Society program is offered in an accessible, online format mixed with short, weekend campus sessions. In the two year program, the majority of your courses are online. Each year in the fall and spring, you will spend one weekend on our beautiful campus networking and collaborating with fellow students and faculty. These weekend sessions offer in-depth dives into course content and scholarly research. They also offer you the opportunity to form career networks and partnerships with thought leaders within the food systems community.

View the Full Curriculum

Benefits of the Marylhurst Food Systems and Society Program

Marylhurst University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Courses are offered online. Students in the program come to Marylhurst’s beautiful campus once per year for a weekend residency.

Remain in your community and career while you earn your master’s degree. Choose to study full-time or part-time.

Small classes (even online) develop a collaborative, mutually-supportive, co-learning environment and an extensive alumni scholar activist community of scholars and practitioners in related fields.

Marylhurst offers a wide range of scholarships, including funding reserved for Food Systems and Society graduate students. In fact, the university awards (on average) $1 million in scholarships per year.

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Food Systems Curriculum

Through online, interactive classes and two short residencies on-campus in Portland, you will engage in analysis and develop a thesis that address the magnitude of systems and challenges influencing the food system:

  • Food justice

  • Discourse

  • Food policy and politics

  • Food in culture

  • Social change

  • Critical inquiry

View the Full Curriculum


Food Systems and Society Scholarship

Students earning an M.S. in Food Systems and Society online can benefit from a needs-based scholarship based on eligibility.  Receive up to $1,000 per term.

Food Systems and Society Travel Scholarship

Receive up to $500 toward travel expenses for attending the campus sessions once a year.

Alumni Scholarship

Did you receive your bachelor’s degree at Marylhurst? You’re eligible for our Alumni Scholarship, which means your first class is free (up to $2,600) and the $150 matriculation fee is waived.

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Current graduate tuition for the Food Systems & Society program is $628 per credit. All courses are four credits. The M.S. in Food Systems program is 48 – 52 credits in length for an approximate total program cost of $30,144 – $32,656 (based on current tuition).

Marylhurst has little-to-no fees (so there are no surprises).

Marylhurst offers extensive financial aid management services and help, including scholarships.

What is unique about the Marylhurst’s Food Systems graduate program?

The Marylhurst program provides an inquisitive atmosphere to address the causes and consequences of contemporary food systems. Engaged faculty share a commitment to social justice and social change and challenge students to develop the food systems skills and expertise of most interest and importance to them. 

And above all else, we’re the ONLY online, low-residency food systems program focused on social justice and change.
~ Sean Gillon, Ph.D. – Food Systems Faculty at Marylhurst

Food Systems News and Alumni

Emulating the growing culture in Portland that rewards intentional consumer behavior, communities across the nation are beginning to consider their contributions to the food system. If everyone makes a conscious choice to work in just one area where they are passionate, issues in the food system will dissipate, leaving an equitable solution for all.

// 10 Simple Actions to Positively Impact the Food System

Beth Smoker, Class of 2016, Food Systems and Society, Marylhurst UniversityAt 30, Beth Smoker knew it was time for a career transition. After earning a master’s in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst, Beth effects real change in her local food system – and in people’s lives. Learn more about her work to advance social justice and inspire societal action towards an equitable and sustainable food system.

The M.S. in Food Systems and Society is a graduate degree program designed for individuals who hold a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, with minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.

\\View full details of our admissions requirements and application deadlines

The M.S. in Food Systems & Society program is now accepting inquiries and applications for 2018.

Application Deadlines

Applications to begin the program in the fall are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early for scholarship consideration.

\\ Ready to apply? Get started with our ONLINE APPLICATION.

Explore the Marylhurst Food Systems Degree

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Ready to further discuss whether or not the Marylhurst MS in Food Systems and Society is right for you? Connect with one of our admissions counselors who can answer your questions, email you more information and share steps to get started.

Or, Explore the MS in Food Systems and Society Further