Green Mountain College’s online Masters of Science in Sustainable Food Systems is the first distance learning program of its kind in the country, offering an in-depth interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production.
In today’s world of complex food and agriculture systems, we need leaders with a deep knowledge of the economic, ecological, and social forces driving food systems.
Our Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems program prepares you for a graduate level interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production, and a deep knowledge of the economic, ecological, and social forces driving food systems.
At Green Mountain College, we’ve been teaching about sustainability for two decades. 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 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. MSFS students graduate with the knowledge and confidence to become leaders and join a cutting-edge community ready to make a difference.
MSFS Program & Curriculum
We recognize 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. 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 change.
Here is what makes Green Mountain College’s MSFS program so unique:
- Optional-Residency Requirements Reduces Travel Time and Expense: Although we hope for all MSFS students to attend, we do not require student participation at the annual residency. Unlike other programs, we use our residencies to build relationships and enhance learning among our students, faculty, and scholars in residence. This means you will spend less money on obtaining their MSFS degree and less time away from work and family.
- Bioregional Approach: GMC master’s degree programs combine the best of online learning with intensive locally applied experience. We call it a bioregional approach to distance education. Rather than learning about environmental studies solely through examples in a textbook, students use their local ecosystems as laboratories in which to experiment with new concepts and skills.
- Leading Faculty: Our faculty possess in-depth experience teaching and researching concepts in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Many of our faculty are nationally known and recognized as leaders in their fields.
- College is Recognized for Environmental Leadership: Green Mountain College has been focused on the environment for fifteen years, and is consistently ranked among the top colleges & universities in the world with an environmental mission. In 2010 we were selected by Sierra Magazine as the #1 Green College in the United States.
- Student Variety: GMC students span the United States and the globe, bringing a breadth of perspectives and experiences that are not available in masters programs that draw the majority of their students from the same geographic area.
- Proven Online Learning System and Small Classes Facilitate Learning: We’ve been teaching online longer than any other similar program. Our students can focus on their studies, not on dealing with technological glitches. In addition, we keep our class size small—normally, no more than 20 students per section. This ensures that you have meaningful interactions with you fellow students and receive individualized attention from the instructor.
The MSFS program requires 39 hours of Green Mountain College graduate credits. All of the courses are three credits and last six weeks. Most of our course sections range from 10-18 students, creating an ideal online learning environment.
The courses are typically taken sequentially year round, with a one week break in-between each course. You will focus on the content of each course as you proceed through the program (most students take the courses in the same order). You’ll complete projects by applying the skills and knowledge you acquire and they engage with one another and their instructors in asynchronous discussions.
The courses that make up the 39 credits in the MSFS program are intended to be taken in a linear sequence, with each course building upon the knowledge and content learned in prior courses. For additional information on the program, or the courses outlined below, please feel free to request more information.
- SFS 5010 Contemporary Food Systems
- SFS 5020 Bioregional Theory and the Foodshed
- SFS 5030 History of American Agriculture
- SFS 5040 Theory and Practice of Sustainable Agriculture
- SFS 5050 Vegetables and Fruits: Farm to Plate Sustainability
- SFS 5060 Livestock: Farm to Plate Sustainability
- SFS 6010 Contemporary Food and Agriculture Movements: Regional, National, and International
- SFS 6020 Food Law and Policy
- SFS 6030 Agriculture and Energy
- SFS6040 Sustainable Marketing
- SFS 6050 Sustainable Organization Management
- SFS 6060 Turning Traditions into Markets – OR – SFS 6065 Agricultural Biodiversity in the Marketplace
- SFS 6090 Capstone Proposal
- SFS 6091 Capstone Project