CIA Online Food Business Master’s Degree

  • You’re ready to change the world by launching your own food business or helping the food-focused company you work for to grow. But do you have the mindset, skill set, and tool set to make it happen? The industry is growing and changing at a pace that’s faster than ever before, with opportunities for innovative thinkers—and no time for costly mistakes. Cue up the online CIA Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Food Business, offered through the college’s Food Business School. This is the graduate education you need to make a difference and secure your future, with the skills and connections unique to the food business that you simply won’t get with an MBA. Some of the biggest names in food are saying that they wish there had been a food management program like this when they started their businesses. Here’s why.


    • Benefit from the convenience of a two-year online master’s degree program that enables you to advance your career while you’re working.
    • Choose the program track that best fits your goals—Restaurant/Foodservice or Food Product/Concept.
    • Get the advanced, food industry-specific skills you need to assess market opportunity, become a next-level leader, and prepare for what’s coming in the food world.
    • Examine global forces such as shifting demographics, technology, a renewed focus on health and wellness, and the growing consumer demand for sustainability.
    • Learn from subject matter experts drawn from the food, beverage, and hospitality industry and CIA faculty.
    • Focus on design thinking, marketing and branding, product development, operations, law, real estate, food systems, business fundamentals, and ethical leadership that inspires high-performing teams.
    • Gain invaluable insights from one-on-one online mentoring with an exclusive mentor network of food industry professionals (more than 40 members strong and counting), including C-suite executives and experts in finance, marketing, operations, law, entrepreneurship, food concepts, product development, and more. Learn about how the 1:1 mentoring network works and see the current list of mentors at cia.instaviser.com.
    • Begin the program with a short residency at The CIA at Copia in Napa, CA, returning at the conclusion of the capstone course to pitch your business playbook to leaders in the corporate, investment, and education worlds.
    • Network with thought leaders and attend the CIA-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Menus of Change® conference during your mid-program residency at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.

    Curious to know more? Find out what the most Frequently Asked Questions are about this exciting program.

    We are now accepting applications for Fall 2019.

    Ready to get started? Apply Today!

    Advance Your Career with a CIA Master’s Degree

    The CIA Master of Professional Studies in Food Business degree is designed for professionals who aspire to lead successful business ventures; help existing food, beverage, and hospitality businesses to grow; and capitalize on the unprecedented entrepreneurial opportunities in the global food world.

    The food business master’s degree is ideal for:

    • Current and future food industry leaders charged with bringing innovation to market through restaurant companies, food manufacturers, supply chain operations, and other corporate ventures.
    • Professionals who desire targeted, graduate-level education that focuses on success strategies for entrepreneurial ventures as well as positions in restaurant groups, hospitality operations, product development teams, and retail food businesses.
    • Recent college graduates and mid-career explorers who are passionate about food systems, food entrepreneurship, and food product design and development.

    The program’s online delivery enables busy professionals from any location in the world to continue their work experiences while successfully moving through the curriculum.


    The two-year, 30-credit, Middle States-accredited food business master’s degree program includes:

    • 27 credits in asynchronous online courses covering such subjects as food systems, ethical leadership, business, and design thinking, as well as a capstone project developed in concert with faculty advisors and mentors.
    • 3 credits consisting of three short residencies at the California and New York campuses held at the beginning, mid-point, and conclusion of the program.

    See catalog for curriculum and course details

    CIA Master of Professional Studies in Food Business Curriculum Chart
    Download the full curriculum chart

    Program dates for the 2019 cohort are as follows:

    • August 26–31, 2019—Residency at The CIA at Copia, Napa, CA
    • September 10, 2019—Fall semester online classes begin
    • June 15–19, 2020—Residency at the CIA, Hyde Park, NY
    • August 3–6, 2021—Final residency and commencement at The CIA at Copia, Napa, CA

    Requirements for Admission

    To enroll in the CIA online food business master’s degree program, you must meet the following requirements by the program start date.

    • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution, or hold an international equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.
    • Complete an English proficiency examination if your first language is not English. See the list of examinations the CIA accepts, along with qualifying test scores.

    Application materials will be reviewed by CIA admissions, program administration, and the dean of the School of Business and Management.

    How to Apply

    Food Business Master’s Degree Affordability

    The CIA is committed to making your education as affordable as possible. You’ll find that our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and more than 90% of our students receive some form of aid. Talk with us! Contact Student Financial and Registration Services at SFRS@culinary.edu or 845-451-1500.

    Eligibility to borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program will be determined once you have been accepted into the MPS program and have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan to help with any remaining expenses.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • No—the CIA does not require GMAT or GRE submittals for master's degree program applicants.
    No—the online master’s degree program has been designed for distance delivery. Other than the three required short residencies (four to six days), students should be able to complete the program from any location with an Internet connection.
    While the academic rigor of the online master’s degree program does require commitment, we believe the workload and pacing will allow most students to achieve a reasonable work/life/study balance. Students will be enrolled in two, 3-credit-hour courses per 15-week semester. Study time is flexible; students can spread class work across multiple short study sessions or fewer blocks of longer duration to meet their schedule needs. Assignments and associated timelines will vary by course and will be clearly outlined in the syllabus provided at the start of each course.
    No—Food industry experience is always a plus, but is not required as long as your application conveys more than a casual interest in the food business.
    The CIA online master's in food business has been intentionally designed to be delivered in an environment where students bond and develop into a learning community over the two years. While extraordinary circumstances will be treated on a case-by-case basis, serious candidates are expected to make every effort to stay on pace and progress with their original cohort.
    No—the food business master’s degree program will focus on mindsets, skill sets, and tool sets of significant value to entrepreneurs and innovators in a wide variety of professions in the food industry. Future owners and/or leaders in foodservice operations of all kinds will benefit from the courses taught by professors and seasoned industry experts.
  • Cool Courses You’ll Take…

    Cool Courses in Food Business Masters

    Master the business side of food in the CIA food business degree program, with courses that may surprise you.

    Check them out

  • What Industry Leaders Say About the Food Business Master’s

    Charlie Palmer video
    Charlie Palmer
    Owner, Charlie Palmer Group
    Michael Mina video
    Michael Mina
    CEO, Mina Group, LLC
    Lori Daniel video
    Lori Daniel
    Founder, Two Chefs On a Roll
    Robert Muh video
    Robert Muh
    CEO, Sutter Securities Incorporated
    Jon Luther video
    Jon Luther
    Retired, Dunkin’ Brands
  • Lori Daniel, founder, Two Chefs On a Roll“There are so many opportunities that are coming online...and if I were to grow a new business today, this program is where I would look to find my next-level managers and executive team candidates.”

    —Lori Daniel, founder, Two Chefs On a Roll

  • Michael Mina, chef and founder, Mina Group“The approach the CIA is taking with this master’s degree will help graduates avoid making the kinds of mistakes I made when I was growing one restaurant to two restaurants to multiple restaurants.”

    —Michael Mina, CEO, Mina Group, LLC

  • Upcoming Open House Dates

    Admissions information and open house event for Baking and Pastry students wishing to apply to The Culinary Institute of America.
    Admissions information and open house event for adult & transfer students wishing to apply to The Culinary Institute of America.
    Admissions information and open house event for adult & transfer students wishing to apply to The Culinary Institute of America.
  • Contact Us

    Robert Tremblay ’10
    Associate Director—Admissions

    Phone: 845-451-1564

  • Dr. Robert J. Johnson, Jr., CIA Professor—Liberal Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Dr. Robert J. Johnson, Jr.
    Professor—Liberal Arts
    PhD, in history from The City University of New York's Graduate School and University Center
    Don Buder

    Faculty Spotlight

    Don Buder
    Mr. Buder holds a BA in history from Princeton University, an MIA from Columbia University, and a JD from UC Berkeley.