PSU launches food systems certificate program
Author: Laura Gleim, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: January 19, 2016

Portland State University has launched a new program that prepares students to work on contemporary food systems issues in a variety of sectors and industries.

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems will educate students on topics ranging from business and urban planning to policy and public health, providing a multi-dimensional understanding of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the food sector. 

“Interest and expertise in food systems at PSU has dramatically increased in recent years,” said Jennifer Allen, associate professor of public administration and director of the certificate program. “PSU’s connections to Portland’s thriving local food economy provide many opportunities for students to gain exposure to the diverse perspectives and challenges of a sustainable food system.” 

The master’s level program is open to students from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, and allows students to tailor their course selection to align with their interests and career goals. 

“Food systems are so cross-cutting, and a lot of students—regardless of their area of study—are passionate about food issues,” said Nathan McClintock, an assistant professor of urban studies and planning who recently landed a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationship between urban agriculture and gentrification. “The certificate provides exposure to different ways of addressing food systems challenges, and requires students to think about broad social and environmental impacts of community, government, and industry decisions.” 

The program is available as an add-on for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree at PSU, or as a stand-alone program for professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge of current food systems issues. There are 12 courses offered in the program, from which students select six to complete the certificate. Students are also required to apply their knowledge in a community setting, such as through an internship or experiential learning course.

A collaborative program developed by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the certificate is offered through a unique partnership between four PSU units: the College of Urban and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and School of Business Administration. 

Admission is offered on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applications are now being accepted. For more information and to apply, visit the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems website.