CIA Online Master’s in Sustainable Food Systems

  • Transform the Future of Food and Food Systems

    You already know that complex social, environmental, and economic factors shape the world’s current food and food systems—for better and for worse. The challenges around creating better food systems that support personal and planetary health, equity and diversity, and more require a new approach to problem solving, and you want to be part of the solution. But how? With our online master’s in sustainable food systems you’ll be equipped with the tools, advanced level of knowledge, and qualifications to transform our food systems at the local, regional, and global levels. Step up and lead—it’s more important than ever.


    • Understand the interconnectedness between planetary health and our future food systems, with an emphasis on issues of climate change, renewable resources, waste reduction, responsible sourcing, regenerative agriculture, and healthy oceans and sustainable fisheries.
    • Hone the leadership skills essential to create change and achieve impact—from the local to the global level. Transform food systems through small, grassroots initiatives and from within large organizations by influencing change up, down, and across departments. Drive reform and influence mindsets to inspire and create sustainable business models for the future.
    • Examine institutional and public policies that address issues of diversity and inclusion, class disparity, labor justice, and race and gender inequality within the food system.
    • Informed by the contributions of an external Advisory Council, comprised of leaders in sustainability and organizational strategy from top companies, foundations, and nonprofits—many looking for changemakers to help lead their organizations into the future—including Food at Google, Oatly, Panera, the James Beard Foundation, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste by Kroger, Good Food, FutureTable, and Wholesome Wave.
    • Taught by a select group of the nation’s most talented leaders in food systems change—including CIA faculty, adjunct faculty, and guest lecturers—this is the only master’s degree that approaches sustainability issues through a culinary lens—through the people who grow food, distribute food, prepare food, serve food, and impact the broader community through food.
    • No reason to put your career on hold. Online classes taught by our expert faculty provide schedule flexibility for busy working professionals.
    • Get real-life, field experience at short, immersive, in-person residencies that explore the characteristics of food systems on the West Coast (San Francisco Bay Area) and East Coast (New York City and Hudson Valley).

    Curious to know more? View the most Frequently Asked Questions about this exciting program.

    Ready to get started? Apply Today!

    Cultivate Your Career and Change the World

    The CIA Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Food Systems degree is designed for professionals who aspire to champion sustainability innovations for non-profits and corporations, help existing organizations turn ideas into actions, and drive change around the health of the planet and its people.

    Whether forging a new professional path or growing within a current role, this program is perfect for people looking to advance their careers in the following areas and beyond:

    • Agricultural specialist
    • Supply chain management
    • Environmental lobbyist
    • Farmer advocate
    • Food and/or nutrition educator
    • Food writer
    • Product developer
    • Sustainability program manager
    • Innovation manager
    • Registered Dietitian
    • Farm-to-Table Program Director
    • Policy director

    See how CIA alumni are making a difference in the industry. Learn more >


    The two-year, 30-credit Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Food Systems program includes:

    • 28 credits in asynchronous online courses covering subjects such as sustainability and climate change; sustainable agriculture; food system innovation; leadership and impact; as well as a final capstone project developed in collaboration with faculty advisors and mentors.
    • 2 credits consisting of two short residencies held in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Hudson Valley and New York held in your first and third semesters.

    See catalog for curriculum and course details

    CIA Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Food Systems Curriculum Chart

    Download the full curriculum chart (PDF)


    To enroll, 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 additional requirements. (PDF)

    How to Apply

    Sustainable Food Systems 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 financial 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 two 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 not required. Professional experience with transferable skills is highly desirable, and we will seriously consider potential students who convey their interest, commitment, and dedication to the mission of the program.
    The CIA online master’s in sustainable food systems 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.
  • School of Graduate and Professional Studies Gonfalon

    School of Graduate and Professional Studies

    Students further enhance their food and beverage business knowledge or culinary skills in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Top industry experts and CIA faculty lead deep-dive discussions, research, and focused learning backed by the college’s unparalleled resources and connections. Whether it’s a master’s degree or specialized certificate, a CIA credential is an ideal way for students and professionals to advance their careers. It opens doors throughout the food world and connects graduates to our 50,000-strong, industry-wide alumni network. Learn more about our faculty >
  • Unique CIA Curriculum

    Cool Courses in Sustainable Food Systems

    Create change and achieve impact in the CIA sustainable food systems degree program, with courses that may surprise you.

    Check them out

  • CIA Alumni Lead the Way

    Michael Elégbèdé ’13, chef and founder of Ìtàn in Lagos, shares how he is using his new restaurant as a test kitchen to reclaim Nigerian food from the foreign ideas of fine dining and how he is working to get rid of the commercial stereotypes around African cuisines.

    Read more
  • Contact Us

    Robert Tremblay ’10, Associate Director—AdmissionsRobert Tremblay ’10
    Associate Director—Admissions

    Specializes in assisting master’s programs students

  • Dr. Scott Barton, Faculty for Master’s in Sustainable Food Systems

    Faculty Spotlight

    Dr. Scott Alves Barton
    Learn more about Dr. Scott Barton, faculty member at the CIA.
    Dr. Deirdre Murphy, CIA Professor—Liberal Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Dr. Deirdre Murphy
    Professor—Liberal Arts
    Learn more about Dr. Deirdre Murphy, faculty member at the CIA.