M.A. in Food Studies | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Chatham's Master of Arts in Food Studies in the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment emphasizes a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption, providing intellectual and practical experience from field to table.

Read a Q&A with Food Studies program director Alice Julier, PhD about food studies today »

About the program

Students study agricultural and culinary history and examine food production and consumption through sociological, cultural, political, economic, and geographic lenses. They choose from courses aligned around four areas of focus, and may also choose to pursue a dual degree M.A. in Food Studies + MBA.


Areas of Focus

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FOOD + Social Justice

Equitable social, economic, and cultural systems are a key component of sustainable food and agriculture. Courses in this area focus on many aspects of social justice, including food access, food sovereignty, fair labor, the history of marginalized groups, corporate social responsibility, and other social change processes such as activism specific to food and agriculture. See courses ▶


Community Research: Food and Health
This course engages in research focused on community needs; health and wellness issues; and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production.


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Education + OUtReach

Sustainable food systems are inherently cooperative food systems. Courses in this area focus directly on working cooperatively on projects, internships, curriculae, and training with a variety of groups, including nonprofits; health and education organizations; businesses; philanthropic organizations; and government agencies. Learning through food, conducting original research, and providing evaluation services are all part of Food Studies and the work of CRAFT. Food Studies students learn and practice multiple models of pedagogy, informal and formal learning for different communities. See courses ▶

Work in the Focus Area

"I absolutely loved the class. The focus was on questioning what we've learned about how teaching is supposed to work, and exploring alternatives."

— Rachel Waugh, MAFS '19, on the course Learning through Food. Learn more here: Rethinking the History of Eden Hall Campus.


Food and Entrepreneurship

Food + entrepreneurship

The business of food is one of the fastest growing and most important sectors of the global economy. Sustainable business practices in food are some of the most unique and common: in Food Studies, students learn the history and practical application of working in the for-profit sector on food.  Entrepreneurship and product development are key components of coursework and projects.  CRAFT offers multiple opportunities for students to do hands-on projects supporting regional and local agriculture and food entrepreneurship. See courses ▶


New Product Development
This course explores the new product development process from ideation to market. Students will study the methodologies and practices of product development in a traditional Consumer Packaged Good firm and apply modified methods to manage the new product development process.

Sustainable Agriculture


Agroecology and sustainable gastronomy are key approaches to creating better ecosystems, supporting diverse cultures, and developing skills necessary for work in both food and agriculture. Courses in food studies offer both theoretical and practical opportunities for students to explore growing and producing food in the field and the kitchen. See courses ▶


Wines, Ciders, and Mead
This course provides a detailed study of wines, grape varieties, ciders and mead. Experiential components utilize local fruits and honey to produce experimental batches of wines and meads.

Experiential Learning

In Chatham's Master of Arts in Food Studies program, we stress experiential learning, which often focuses on learning how in addition to learning what. Here are a few examples of how that's done across our curriculum:

Course – FST 528: Tree Care


What you'll learn:

  • How to graft, plant, and nurture trees
  • How to climb, remove, and prune trees
  • How to use a chainsaw
  • How to identify tree varieties, health, and diseases

Some other things you'll do:

  • Design a management plan for old orchard
  • Design a potential new orchard site
  • Visit Soergel Orchards for fruit tree pruning demos
  • Visit with the Allegheny County Forester to assess Eden Hall forest parcels

Course – FST 532: Sustainable Meat Production


What You'll Learn:

  • How to break down and cook chicken, lamb, and beef
  • How to harvest, gut, fillet, and cook fish
  • How to butcher in small and large scale

Some other things You'll do:

  • Field trip to Jamison Farm
  • Field trip to Country View Family Farms confined pork production
  • A final project, with the option to make it experiential and animal and/or culinary-based. Past projects have included a design of rotational grazing plans and the design and construction of a chicken coop.

Course: Research Methods


What You'll Learn:

  • How to design, conduct, transcribe, and analyze an interview
  • How to design, conduct, transcribe, and analyze a survey
  • Choosing the right method for the problems and projects at hand
  • How to do evaluation research

Some other things you'll do:

  • Observe at different sites to understand how to conduct research
  • Listen and talk to researchers from a variety of organizations about how they conduct research and what problems and issues arise
  • Connect with potential thesis and internship projects

Course – FST 608: Culture and culinary Grains


What You'll Learn:

  • How farmers integrate grains in their crop rotations and what equipment is required
  • How to mill grains
  • How to cook with different grains, across different cultures and historical times

Some other things you'll do:

  • Help develop products with local grains such as pizza crust, pancake mix, gluten-free baking mixes, or spent grain crackers.
  • Harvest and mill grain
  • Visit grain producing farms, local mills, and bakeries


Eden Hall Campus

Chatham's 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, home to the MAFS program, is an academic community dedicated to sustainable living and the modeling of sustainable approaches to energy; water; food and agriculture; air quality and climate; and the interaction of natural and built systems. Learn more at edenhall.chatham.edu »

EHC Booklet
Download »



Competitive Falk Scholarships, based on academic achievement and financial need, are available to students applying to the Falk School graduate programs for full-time enrollment.

  • Three full scholarships, covering 41 credits of tuition (currently $38,130)
  • Six partial scholarships, covering 20.5 credits of tuition (currently $19,065)

Falk Research Fellows

Each year, five currently enrolled Falk School graduate students will receive a $5,000 grant to carry out their own summer research or community development activities.

Assistantships and Work-Study


Each year, approximately ten graduate assistant positions are awarded to incoming, full-time graduate students in the Falk School. These positions offer the opportunity to work directly with a faculty member in their ongoing research or administrative projects, and provide the student with $5,000 per year in remitted tuition. Learn more.

Work-Study Positions

Nearly 91% of employers prefer that their candidates have relevant or transferrable work experience1, and many Falk School students gain this valuable experience right here at Eden Hall. Whether engaging in research with faculty, planting and harvesting on the Eden Hall Farm, or assisting with campus community development, there are many opportunities to apply new skills and knowledge and develop your professional portfolio while you complete your program.

Positions at Eden Hall include:

  • Agroecology Garden Assistant
  • Campus Community Programming Coordinator
  • Coffee Lab Manager
  • Farm Apprentice
  • Farm Outreach and Education Specialist
  • Sustainability Metrics Assistant
  • Campus Eco-Representative


Each year, eight enrolled graduate students will receive a grant of up to $3,000 to complete community-based internships that are otherwise unpaid.


Each year, up to 20 grants are awarded to current graduate and undergraduate students to attend and present at conferences. The amount of each grant varies, with the typical award ranging from $300 to $700. The MAFS program has brought over 50 students to conferences around the world.

Students have also received funding from outside sources including the James Beard Foundation, and the MAFS program offers discounts for alumni of Chatham University, Americorps, and the Peace Corps. For more information, please contact FSSE Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions Patricia Golla at pgolla@chatham.edu.



A hallmark of Chatham's MAFS program is its close community ties. Through partnerships with local businesses, government, non-profits, farms, purveyors, and restaurants across the region, our students are out in the real world, working on real problems and, more importantly—taking advantage of real opportunities.

A small selection of our partnerships includes:

CRAFT at Chatham University logo

The Food Studies program partners closely with the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT) at Chatham University. CRAFT provides resources, learning opportunities, and technical assistance on food systems, regional food cultures, and sustainable economies to individuals, organizations, and businesses, with ample opportunities for MAFS students to engage in research, outreach, and scholarship.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank logo

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that collects and distributes food through a 380+ member network in 11 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our mission is to feed the hungry in southwestern Pennsylvania through a network of partners and to mobilize our region to end hunger

Grow Pittsburgh logo

Grow Pittsburgh
Grow Pittsburgh envisions the day when growing and eating healthy, local food is commonplace. Grow Pittsburgh's mission is to demonstrate, teach and promote responsible urban food production. They are doing this through their many projects, such as Edible Schoolyard, Braddock Farms, a summer youth intern program, and many others.

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La Prima Coffee
La Prima Coffee is an organic roaster certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) which is the state-governing body accredited by the USDA–the only certified organic coffee roaster in Pittsburgh and one of only three in Pennsylvania.

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The Pines Tavern
Located just a few miles from Eden Hall, the environmentally focused The Pines Tavern promotes the belief that food in its purest state is the best tasting and most nutritious food available. With a finely balanced unity of vision and passion, the Pines Team continually experiments and innovates in order to raise standards for the health of our patrons and the health of the planet.




Whether working to reduce food inequities, develop new products, inspire the public, or change the culinary landscape, MAFS graduates benefit from solid connections, critical thinking, and well-rounded skillsets. Here are some of the places their studies have taken our students:

Alumni Profiles

Student projects, past and present:

Dedicated Career Development Professional

MAFS students can work with Kate Sheridan, M.A., associate director of Career Development, who provides a full-service professional development experience, from traditional services to workshops, student employment, and internships for Falk School students. Visit Career Development at Chatham.  

Kate Sheridan

Contact Us

Trish Golla


Trish Golla, Assistant Director of Graduate Admission
Falk School of Sustainability & Environment
Chatham University, Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
pgolla@chatham.edu • (412) 365-1386

Request Information about the Master of Sustainability Program at Chatham University

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