MS in Sustainable Food Systems

Green Mountain College

Year Founded: Jan. 1, 2012
Date Posted: Feb. 25, 2016
Submitted by: Monika Urbanski
Sustainability Topics: Curriculum, Food & Dining, Grounds
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Master's Degree
Completion: 2 years
Distance: Distance Education
Commitment: Full-Time


Green Mountain College's Master of Science degree in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) is a truly unique program designed to prepare future leaders in the burgeoning food movement with a graduate level interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production, and a deep knowledge of the economic, ecological, and social forces driving food systems. Our distance MSFS program -- built on the success of the College's undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture and on the surging interest in food and agriculture in the U.S. and beyond -- is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), and is designed to provide students with the skills to conduct in-depth interdisciplinary investigations into the complex arena of their own bioregional food systems. Recognizing that people working in changing food systems tend to be rooted in place, and the MSFS program allows students to remain committed to their communities and professions. Utilizing Green Mountain College's visionary bioregional approach to distant education, not only do students explore their own bioregional foodsheds, but they also contrast their findings with students from other parts of the U.S. and abroad, enhancing their understanding of food system dynamics and leverage points for initiating change. As one of the nation's pioneer environmental liberal arts colleges, Green Mountain College is uniquely positioned to produce sustainability leaders equipped with the skills necessary to become agents of change and to address local, national, and global issues resulting from current practices in food production, consumption, and disposal. Typically completed in two years, the MSFS program consists of 39 credits, typically taken in sequential year-round study, with a one week break between each course. Students complete projects by applying the skills and knowledge acquired in the program and engaging with classmates and instructors in asynchronous discussions. Because of the program's sequential course progression, students will normally enter each course with the same students who started in their cohort. This enables the development of a sense of classroom community and establishes a level of collaboration that is often difficult to achieve in an online setting. The communal identity of the program is cultivated further by offering students the opportunity to attend an annual on-site residency here at the Green Mountain College campus in scenic Poultney, Vermont. Green Mountain College's commitment to environmental causes and our organizational focus on sustainability serve as the foundation that enables students in the MSFS program to graduate with the confidence needed to become food systems leaders and join a cutting-edge community ready to make a difference.

Links and Materials