Food Studies (MAFS)

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Food Studies (MAFS) Overview

Everyone eats. Food is a ubiquitous part of the human experience, connecting us to each other as well as to plants and animals. At Chatham’s Master of Arts in Food Studies program, you will build knowledge through hands-on experience and opportunities that open you up to a holistic and equity-based view of the food system, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption.

Degrees Offered
  • MA
Program School
Application Deadlines

Priority & Regular

Priority deadline for fall enrollment is February 1 (all application materials must be received by this date for first consideration for fellowships and assistantships). Regular deadline for fall enrollment is June 15. Regular deadline for spring enrollment is November 1.

Credits Required

42

The Chatham University's MA in Food Studies requires 42 credits to complete and can be completed in 2 years of full-time study. A part-time enrollment option is also available.

Cost Per Credit

$987

Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Explore the Master of Arts in Food Studies Degree:

Students study agricultural and culinary history and examine food production and consumption through sociological, cultural, political, ecological, economic, and geographic lenses. At the heart of the curriculum model are common preparatory, experiential, and core courses, which allow students to develop a shared knowledge base and community-based networks. 

Admission requirements to the Master of Food Studies program:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with less than a 3.0 who show extreme promise through other achievements may be granted conditional admission.
  • Completed Application Form (found here), which includes submission of the following documents:
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • Essay - In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree. How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
    • 2 letters of recommendation, preferably from an academic source
    • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, sent directly by the institutions
    • Additional writing sample (optional, but encouraged)

FST 607: Sustainable Consumption

A sustainable food system supports environmental health and local economies and is socially just. Eating “sustainably” implies acting on these concepts when making food choices. This course begins by defining and describing a “sustainable diet” in the context of regional food system work and regional food system assessments. Students will then explore Sustainable Consumption from three perspectives: the consumers’ viewpoint, including nutritional health, perception of “sustainability”, how food choices are made, and marketing issues like eco-labels; the growers’ and producers’ viewpoint, including questions of logistics and food safety; and the institutions’ or food business’ challenges of incorporating what we would consider foods grown and/or sourced in a sustainable manner in their operations.

FST624: Chocolate, Politics and Pleasure

This course will explore chocolate as a global product including history and culture, agriculture (growing trees, processing beans), direct/fair trade, labor and justice, health, chocolate production, sales, marketing, and sustainability. Experiential components include chocolate making, tempering; culinary practices, and site visits to chocolate manufacturers, culminating in the design and marketing of a sustainable chocolate product.

FST532: Sustainable Meat Production

As part of sustainable agriculture and culinary knowledge, understanding meat production outside the conventional large scale processing facilities is a critical skill for students who will work with restaurants, farm markets, and other distribution venues.

View Full Curriculum

I entered the food studies program convinced that industrialized farms were the enemy and that local/organic farms were the avenue to creating a more just food system. I’ve learned that there is no black and white in the world of food. There are many obstacles to achieving a just and equal food system, but this program is giving me the tools to ‘fight the good fight.'

—KAITLYN BEST, MAFS ’13

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Associate Professor, Food Studies Director, Center for Regional Agriculture Food and Transformation (CRAFT)

Experiential Learning

In Chatham's Master of Arts in Food Studies program, we stress experiential learning, which often focuses on "learning how" alongside "learning what". 

Funding & Support

From fellowships to work-study positions, we offer a variety of ways to help you fund your education while gaining valuable experience.

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Community Partnerships

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.

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Eden Hall Campus

Located 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh, Chatham's Eden Hall Campus is the world's first academic community built from the ground up for sustainability. The grounds and infrastructure support research and learning around energy and climate; water and aquaculture; food and agriculture; community and health; and design and planning.

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Center for Regional Food and Agricultural Transformation (CRAFT)

An affiliate of the MAFS program, CRAFT provides resources, learning opportunities, and technical assistance on food systems, regional food cultures, and sustainable economies to individuals, organizations, and businesses. It offers ample opportunities for students to be involved in assistantships, research, and project engagement.

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Dedicated Career Development Professional

Students can work with Kate Sheridan, M.A., director of Career Development, who provides a full-service professional development experience for Falk School students.

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Food Studies Outcomes

Course Spotlight: Wines, Ciders, and Mead

The instructor—Sally Frey, MFA, Ph.D.—is eminently qualified, having worked as a master sommelier (Frey is also a chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris). 

Graduate icon

90% of students are employed in their field one year after graduation.

2 years

The MAFS can be completed in 2 years of full-time study. A part-time enrollment option is also available.

The Falk School provides numerous financial resources to our currently enrolled students, including funds available for research, unpaid internships, conference presentations, and study abroad opportunities.

International icon

Graduates have gone on to hold positions as entrepreneurs and in non-profits, community revitalization, government, commerce, and education.

Alumna Profile: Catherine Piccoli, MAFS ‘12

In 2014, MOFAD moved into a space in Brooklyn, began thinking about onsite exhibitions, and hired Catherine Piccoli, a 2012 graduate of Chatham’s Master of Arts in Food Studies program, as program associate.

Student Profile: Rachel Waugh, MAFS '19

As a final project, Rachel Waugh designed a tour of Eden Hall Campus that focuses on the earliest known occupants of the land, acknowledging that it “shares the legacy and continued violence of settler colonialism with the rest of the state and country.”

Alumnus Profile: Hal B. Klein, MAFS ‘12

Like many, Hal B. Klein set out to become an actor. Like fewer, he did. After earning a BA in theatre in California, he headed to New York (to work) and to London (to pursue a post-graduate certificate in classical acting). Roles followed in a few independent films, in commercials, and at Shakespeare festivals around the country (“I usually got comic roles,” he says. “Played a bunch of clowns.”). In 2005, after seven years in New York, he moved to L.A. for a role on a PBS children’s TV show called “Lily’s Lighthouse”. But the ship did not quite come in.

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement comes to Pittsburgh Public Schools

Simple changes in the environment can lead to healthier lunchtime choices. That’s the thinking behind the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM), a program started in 2009 by researchers at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition. 

Catching Up with Alice Julier and the Future of Food Studies

Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Arts in Food Studies (MAFS) program, Alice Julier, did not write the book on food studies—she edited it. Earlier editions of the book, Food And Culture: A Reader, have been the most widely used textbook in food studies in the U.S. This winter, its fourth edition will be published, with Julier as co-editor. We took the opportunity to chat with her about where the study of food is heading.

Building Community Spirit, Loaf by Loaf

Catch the 61B bus from Regent Square to Braddock and you just might catch a whiff of pungent-sweet sourdough bread, on its way to a brick oven.