Food Studies Program

Certificate of Graduate Study in Food Studies

The Food Studies Graduate Certificate (12 credits) offers a unique opportunity to provide students with a broad interdisciplinary understanding of social, economic, political and environmental factors associated with global, national, regional and local food systems. The Graduate Certificate also provides opportunities for students to develop a range of professional skills central to work within food-related professions in the private, nonprofit and public sectors.

The Graduate Certificate is designed to achieve a range of student learning outcomes. Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Describe, critically analyze, and assess the multiple sectors within local, regional, national and global food systems.
  • Discern the ways in which Maine’s and the region’s place-based food systems are the outcome of the intersection of geography, natural environment and social factors.
  • Analyze contemporary and historical food systems in relation to systems of power, and evaluate the implications for environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
  • Synthesize food systems concepts and knowledge and apply them to real world challenges through the development, design and evaluation of strategies for change.
  • Reflect on and articulate one’s own core food system values, to identify and evaluate courses of action and spheres of influence that follow from those values.
  • Employ knowledge and practice workforce skills such as leadership; intercultural competence; entrepreneurship; marketing and finance; policy analysis; advocacy and organizing; and oral and written communication.

Please note certificates may be pursued by either matriculated students or non-matriculated students (students not pursuing a full degree program).

The Food Studies Graduate Certificate is a 12-credit program. To complete it, students must take one required course (PPM 572/672), a second required course from among two choices (FSP 602 or 603), and two other Food Studies electives.

Required Courses (6 credits):

PPM 572/672  Food Policy and Planning
FSP 602  Power and Powerlessness in the Food System or FSP 603 Environmental Resilience and Food Systems

Elective Courses (6 credits):

ECO 523 U.S. Labor and Employment Relations
FSP 620 Poverty and Hunger
FSP 695 Food Studies Internship
MBA 648 Launching Sustainable Ventures
PPM 639 Political Economy of Food

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: Rolling

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $25.00 paid through the online application.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: Write 250 words on each of the following:
    • What is your vision of an ideal food system at local, national, and global levels?
    • Why do you think hunger exists in Maine and the U.S.?
  • Personal Statement: Write 500 words to include a response to these two questions:
    • What do you see doing with your Food Studies Graduate Certificate?
    • What is your personal view about food--in your life, in the larger culture, and in the economy?
  • Letters of recommendation (2)
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.