Food Studies (MAFS)

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Food Studies (MAFS) Overview

Everyone eats. Food is an 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.
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

41

The Chatham University's MA in Food Studies requires 41 credits to complete and can be completed in 2 years of full-time study. A part-time enrollment option is also available.

Cultivating Connections

Community Partnerships

The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment cultivates robust partnerships with entities in Pittsburgh and beyond. 

Dual-Degree Option

MAFS + MBA

Students may also choose to pursue a dual-degree MAFS + MBA.

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

  • 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
    • Admissions Essay
    • Two letters of recommendation, preferably from an academic source
    • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, sent directly by the institutions
    • Additional writing sample (optional, but encouraged)

International Applicants

International Applicants must submit additional documentation to the Office of Admissions. A list of these documents can be found on the International Admission web page.

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

Photo of the rooftop gardens on the Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, situated along the river

Cultivating Partnerships

The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment cultivates robust partnerships with entities in Pittsburgh and beyond. Find out how one such partnership brought new life to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown.

Community Partnerships: La Prima Coffee

Since the start of Chatham University’s Master of Food Studies program, students have been touring the Pittsburgh coffee purveyor La Prima Espresso Company. Through partnerships like this one with local businesses, government, non-profits, farms, purveyors, and restaurants across the region, Chatham MAFS students gain the kind of hands-on, experiential understanding of their field that marks our Food Studies program as truly unique.

Watch More Videos : Checkerboard 2 - Community Partnerships: La Prima Coffee

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. As an MAFS+MBA student, you will balance your time between the Shadyside Campus and Eden Hall.

Watch More Videos : Checkerboard 4 - Eden Hall Campus
Decorative image reading Faculty Listing

Program Faculty

Chatham's Food Studies faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field. They serve as mentors and advisors and are there for you every step of the way.

Meet the Faculty : Checkerboard 5 - Program Faculty
Photo of a South Asian woman leading a cooking demonstration on Eden Hall Campus

Center for Regional Agricultural, Food, and 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.

Learn About CRAFT : Checkerboard 6 - Center for Regional Agricultural, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT)
Photo of a masked Chatham University student holding a blue bowl of harvested produce, at the entrance to a greenhouse on Eden Hall Campus

Tuition & Funding

The cost of a graduate degree consists of university tuition (per credit charge), fees, and any other personal expenses you may require for earning your degree. Chatham also offers a 20% corporate partner discount, graduate assistantships, and professional campus work positions for many graduate programs that can help make a Chatham graduate education more affordable. Our Financial Aid and Admissions offices will also work with you to understand loan and financing options available. 

Explore Tuition & Funding : Checkerboard 9 - Tuition & Funding

Master of Arts in Food Studies

Photo of two people wearing masks, one with a notebook and pen in hand. Behind them there are barrels.

Where can you brew beer, make yogurt from scratch, learn about the inner workings of a cider house and produce a student-run magazine? In Chatham’s Sustainable Fermentation class, of course!

Photo of two men holding glasses of red wine, looking at one another in conversation across a table

Hal Klein graduate from Chatham in 2012 with a Master of Food Studies. Now, he's the associate editor and restaurant critic for Pittsburgh Magazine. Read his story on Pulse@ChathamU.

Solar panels at Eden Hall Campus
Play Video

Hal Klein graduate from Chatham in 2012 with a Master of Food Studies. Now, he's the associate editor and restaurant critic for Pittsburgh Magazine. Read his story on Pulse@ChathamU.

Photo of a young woman working in the agroecology garden
Play Video

Find out about Chatham's Agroecology Demonstration Garden, a student-focused garden at Eden Hall Campus where they pursue projects that illustrate what they're learning in class.

Photo of a Black woman, Toni Simpson, stirring food in a pot and demonstrating to a younger Black woman in an apron and mask who is observing
Play Video

ChathamU alum Toni Simpson knows the power of food to unite and inspire. Learn about her role as School Director and Lead Chef Instructor at Community Kitchen Pittsburgh.

Close-up photo of several large trees in a row

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.”

Do you have questions?

We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us

800-837-1290

Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Email Us

graduate@chatham.edu

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.

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