The academic field of Food Studies trains students in the fast-changing landscape of international food policy as well as local food governance systems.

Want to build knowledge, skills and credentials in a specialized area above and beyond a master’s degree? The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Food Studies is a 12-credit hour graduate program to further your knowledge through a comprehensive, specialized curriculum of applied skills in food policy.

CAS programs are helpful independent options to enhance an advanced degree you already have. Supplementing a master’s program with a CAS generally entails courses that match MA or MS requirements. Because little to no additional time or financial investment is required, pairing a master’s degree and a CAS simultaneously is ideal to help you achieve your career goals. CAS programs also can lead to licensure and credentialing following successful completion of certain testing requirements.

The program at Syracuse University is characterized by the study of structural conditions of inequalities, injustice and imbalances in the food system, combined with learning the levers of social change, including social movements, public policy, and equitably organized food and nutrition economies. Students learn how the local and global articulate with each other under diverse circumstances like climate change, trade rules, or nutrition policy and humanitarian/charity assistance.

The graduate level C.A.S. in Food Studies enhances students’ employment profile in food-related fields, opening employment opportunities in: local and national government work associated with food regulation and industry relations; NGO engagement in advocacy and policy associated with the human right to adequate food, food sovereignty, food and nutrition security, and trade and food-oriented labor; economic and social development work at the community, national, and international scales; food production and distribution companies, services, and vendors in established or start-up modes.

Food Studies is an interdisciplinary field that has great relevance across traditional academic departments. Students with a C.A.S. in Food Studies will also be well prepared for advanced graduate work that focuses on food studies and systems related questions that are being asked throughout the academy.

Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…

Food is a universal component of every facet of life. Government, business, and the public have growing awareness of and interest in where food comes from, how it is produced, and its impact on culture, health, the environment, economics, and politics. A career in food provides limitless opportunities to make significant impact. Graduates can position themselves at the forefront of community advocacy where they support public education, urban development, and food access. In the government sector, they work with legislators to initiate food system policy reform, labor reform, and more, all of which which impact public health, the economy, and the environment. In business, from farms to restaurants and everywhere in-between, graduates connect the dots to help build sustainable food systems, communities, and human livelihoods.

Sample Courses

Core courses focuses on multi-scale interpretations of the political economy of the food system, human rights to adequate food, as well as transnational food movements and related public policy. Sample courses include:

  • The Human Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition
  • Political Economy of Food
  • Gender, Food, Rights
  • Food and Public Policy
  • Community Geography
  • Political Ecology
View all course requirements and electives

Why a CAS is Important

Students consider CAS programs to advance or complement an existing skill set, or to develop a new one. For some students, CAS programs are helpful stand-alone options to enhance an advanced degree they already have. For others, supplementing a master’s program with a CAS generally entails coursework that matches MA or MS requirements. With little to no additional time or financial investment required, pairing a master’s degree and a CAS simultaneously is appealing.

Take for example, a student in Falk College’s MFT or MSW programs, or its dual degree program in MFT-MSW. Enrolling in the CAS in Addiction Studies while pursuing one of these master’s degree pairs two important skills in high demand. Today there is a prevalence in individuals experiencing a co-existing addiction disorder and mental health disorder. Failure to recognize that an individual with a mental health disorder is also dependent on alcohol or drugs (or vice versa) impedes treatment. So combining competencies in mental health counseling with addiction studies prepares students to address society’s needs while enhancing their marketability for employment.

What’s the advantage of earning a CAS credential and a master’s degree?

Graduate certificates are important when pursuing a master’s degree because they can give you a leg up on employment once you graduate. You build knowledge, skill and credentials in a specialized area of interest above and beyond the master’s degree without extending your time at Falk. And when you graduate with a master’s degree and a Certificate of Advanced Study, the CAS letters next to your MA, MS, MSW or MFT on your new business cards are a valuable addition.


Our Facilities

The Susan R. Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens provide tactile learning opportunities in nutrition, dietetics and culinary-related fields. The 5,000-square foot facility includes experimental food lab and commercial kitchens, a baking nook and café. These spaces are outfitted with the same equipment found in industry-leading restaurants and culinary institutions. Under the guidance of professional chefs, students gain unlimited hands-on experiences and contribute to research projects, interdisciplinary work and community partnerships.


Study Abroad

Syracuse University boasts expansive study abroad program that consistently ranks among the highest-quality in the nation. Food studies students can go to Syracuse University Florence, where the campus has a kitchen garden and they can engage in hands-on learning, complete internships, and experience first-hand the way food systems and food cultures vary around the world. For more information about study abroad, visit suabroad.syr.edu.


Careers

Growing awareness and understanding of the food system and its effects on the public health, the environment, economy, and beyond, has led to a growing number of exciting, evolving careers. The Bureau of Labor statistics reports expanding career opportunities for those with experience in global food systems and governance in sustainability, environmental health, epidemiology, advocacy, economy policy and regulation, public health and nutrition, trade and food oriented labor, and food production, distribution and security. Similarly, the USDA forecasts growing career opportunities in business, government, education, communication, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), for graduates with experience in food, agriculture, and environmental matters such as renewable natural resources. The following Food Studies-related employment titles were selected from recent job announcements.

  • Food Systems Coordinator (building local food economies)
  • Food Justice, Sovereignty, and Equity Program Coordinator
  • Sustainability Officer (promoting sustainable food systems, agroecology, linking nutrition and food systems)
  • Emergency Food Access Administrator
  • Food Safety/Inspection Manager at national, regional, or local level
  • Food Policy Officer & Coordinator, (e.g. with food policy councils and other private, public, and private-non-profit sectors groups)
  • General Manager regional food hub & local food distribution company
  • Farm Education Director; Coordinator
  • Agricultural Administrator
  • Organic Materials Review Program Manager
  • Practicum Coordinator Food Studies Program
  • Food Journalist/ Editor
  • Communications Manager for sustainable agriculture group
  • Food Assessment Researcher (at community or regional scale)
  • Manager of food, tourism, and hospitality ventures


Getting Admitted

Students from broad inclusive fields of undergraduate study and work experience will be considered for admission. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required. The admissions process for this program will require a college transcript, a personal statement regarding interest in CAS in Food Studies and how it will fit in with student’s career plans, and one letter of recommendation. GREs are not required for admission into this program. Students do not need to be enrolled in a graduate program or have a graduate degree for this Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Food Studies.

Students may transfer up to a total of 3 credit hours. Substituted/transferred course work should cover material equivalent to that which is covered in the relevant required course. Substitution/transfer requests will need to be approved by the graduate committee for Food Studies programs.

Students may matriculate as part-time students.

For additional admissions information, visit the course catalog or contact the Office of Admissions at falk@syr.edu or 315.443.5555.

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