What is on your plate? Food science, sustainability and social responsibility

Food connects all aspects of the human experience.  Food is essential for health, but equally important in the realms of politics, culture, identity and economics. The health of our environment, earth, and climate also converge in the human requirement to be nourished. The study of food crosses borders by traversing local, national, and global contexts, and it troubles boundaries between the private and the public, the domestic and the political. 

A Certificate in Food Studies allows students and community members to engage within and between multiple disciplines to begin the process of uncovering how these diverse threads are entangled. Food is an ideal theme for such an exploration, as it allows connections between political economy and the global nature of food production.

This certificate program will have impactful and tangible benefits at both the familial and community level.  There are many opportunities in careers, graduate study, volunteer and outreach opportunities that can benefit by completion of this program.

Information about the Certificate


This certificate will require 12 credit hours, selected from the list of courses below. One-quarter of the credits (one course) may be taken as pass/fail. 

There are two options or paths students can take.

Option 1:

Students must take the required core course (LIBS 351) and then take 9 credits (three courses) from the Option 1 list.

Option 2:

Students must take the required core course (LIBS 351), then 6 credits from the first section, and then 3 credits from the second section.


Required Core Course (3 credit hours):


Food Dominant Courses (over 50% of the content is food-related) – Option 1 students will take 9 credits from these courses; Option 2 students will choose 6 credits from these courses:


Holistic Courses (at least 1/3 of the content is food-related) – Option 2 students will choose one (3 credit hours) from the following:
Certificate Objectives

Students who participate in this program will meet the following goals:

  • Gain familiarity with the major concepts of critical Food Studies as an emerging multi-disciplinary area of study
  • Develop the skills to critically evaluate the ability of food systems to achieve goals of food security, health and wellness, environmental sustainability, and equity.
  • Integrate theory and practice from across the disciplines to address complex problems in food systems.
  • Ability to apply theory to practice through research, creative production, and/or community engagement/advocacy.
Who will benefit from this Certificate

We expect that many students and community members will benefit from this certificate. We anticipate that students interested in the following areas will apply and participate in this program:

  • Non-profit work in food-related areas (such as urban farming, sustainability issues, food/nutrition education, to highlight just a few examples)
  • Food production or service work
  • Local, state or national government policy work
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Nutritionist programs and related fields
  • Medical school applicants (where emphasis on nutrition and health is woefully lacking)
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