Marylhurst’s food systems curriculum examine concepts, perspectives and strategies relevant to social change in the food system. The program integrates lived experience and academic scholarship. 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 master’s thesis. This thesis project analyzes problems and proposes solutions.
The M.S in Food Systems & Society program is now accepting inquiries and applicants for 2017.
Food Systems Curriculum & Degree Requirements: What You Will Study
To earn your Master of Science in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst, you complete 48-52 quarter credits in a sequence of graduate courses that include a thesis. The food systems curriculum includes:
Foundation Courses (20 credits)
As a part of your foundation course requirements, you will engage in thought provoking study, discussion and reflection of topics including food justice, discourse, food policy and politics, food in culture, social theory and critical inquiry.
Discuss the history, drivers and context of contemporary food system issues. Review the roles of discourse, ideology and epistemology in our understanding and shaping of the food system.
Discuss the roles of policy and politics in determining who eats, what we eat, and who benefits and loses in the current food system. Examine literature, policy and practice at various scales, focusing on social justice in the food system.
Discuss with peers the role of cultural meanings and practices in food systems through lenses of social equity. Investigate frameworks, issues and representations of race-ethnicity, class, and gender in historical and contemporary food systems. Examine how culture is transmitted and preserved through food, and how food functions both to foster community and to cultivate divisions among people.
Coursework builds a foundation for inquiry relevant to thesis projects and social change in the food system. Develop critical analytical skills through the exploration of epistemology, methodology and method. Throughout this course, engage multidisciplinary and social-scientific research approaches, focusing on food systems analyses.
This capstone graduate research seminar examines theories of and approaches to social change focusing on students’ thesis topics. You will develop presentation quality synopses based on research appropriate to your topic and audience. Learn methods of advancing social justice and social change in the food system through a dissemination/application project.
Examine concepts, perspectives and strategies relevant to social justice and social change in the food system.
Program Intensives (16 credits)
Participate in two required on-campus residency sessions throughout the full-time two-year online program. These sessions take place in the fall of your first year and in the spring of your final term. Each residency lasts up to three days. While on campus you will meet with peers to engage in critical analysis, dialogue and collaborate on topics related to food systems and society. Many students also enjoy opportunities outside of courses to explore the food culture and activism of the Portland area.
- FSS 500 Intensive I
- FSS 520 Intensive II
- FSS 550 Intensive III
- FSS 580 Intensive IV
Thesis (12-16 credits)
Within a sequence of thesis courses, you will explore contemporary issues in food systems and society within the context of thesis inquiry. Your selected thesis will address a subject or topic of interest to you that is relevant to equity and social change in the food system. As a student, you will benefit from faculty advisor support throughout the development of your thesis.
- FSS 598 – 1 Thesis I
- FSS 598 – 2 Thesis II
- FSS 598 – 3 Thesis III
- FSS 598 – 9 Thesis Completion
Online Program Format
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.
Food Systems Program Outcomes
As a Food Systems and Society graduate from Marylhurst, you will:
- Identify and analyze societal factors in and perspectives on food system equity.
- Expand critical thinking, collaboration and synthesis skills for engaging social change.
- Develop and communicate knowledge about food systems equity and social change.