A gardener tends to a segment of kohlrabi sprouts.

Sustainable Food Systems (Graduate)

Further explore topics related to sustainable food production, food preparation and processing, distribution, nutrition and community food security in order to better understand how food systems influence health.

Sustainable Food Systems – Master of Science (M.S.)

In the Sustainable Food Systems graduate program at Montana State, candidates dig further into special topics on sustainability and the food industry to better understand the relation between food systems and public health. Sustainable Food Systems graduate student projects can potentially cover a broad range of topics, including but not limited to food system education and public awareness, how local food systems can localize diets, institutional purchasing of local foods, food policies, community supported agriculture, food processing and distribution, community food security, community-based food and nutrition assistance and more. Additionally, students are able to tailor the program to their specific interests by taking coursework connected to health promotion and education, political science, economics, business, Native American Studies, agriculture and food science. 




Sustainable Food Systems graduate students work with such academics as associate professor Selena Ahmed, who works alongside other Montana State research associates on a study that aims to reduce food waste and divert it from landfills that earned a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



An illustration of a sheaf of wheat.

Towne's Harvest Garden
At Montana State, students have the opportunity to work at the Towne’s Harvest Garden, a three-acre diversified vegetable and educational research farm exploring community-supported agriculture.

An illustration of two hands clasped in a handshake.

Hands-On Learning Experiences
With Carmen Byker Shanks, co-director of the Food & Health Lab at Montana State, students work alongside community partners in Montana’s food environments – including the study of rural food deserts.

An illustration of an eye wide open.

A More Equitable Curriculum
MUS Teaching Scholar Wan-Yuan Kuo received support to make Health & Human Development curriculum more accessible and valuable to a diverse student body, including a focus on indigenous and international foods.




Fund Your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding during their time at MSU. Some resources the Department of Health & Human Development and the Graduate School offer includes:

Additionally, teaching assistantships may be available within the Department of Health & Human Development. For more information, reach out to the department.


In addition to working within the community, Sustainable Food Systems graduate students have the opportunity to work within the following laboratories and projects:






Admissions Requirements

Each program within the Graduate School at Montana State has its own particular requirements for admission, and the Sustainable Food Systems program is not different. To ensure that you start your application on the right foot, please review the admissions requirements for the Sustainable Food Systems program. This includes any additional deadlines that the Department of Health & Human Development may have aside from the Graduate School, which does practice rolling admissions.






Careers after Graduation

MS alumni in Sustainable Food Systems embark on a wide range of careers within 10-years of their graduation.

Nearly 55% are working in for-profit and about 44% for academia. Top industry employers include Montana State University and Mizkan America.

Across all career paths the estimated salary of alumni within 10 years of graduation ranges from $70,000 to $150,000+ with an average of $90,000  (source of data Academic Analytics).