Academic Programs

Food Sustainability & Security Concentration

  Concentration Description:

The M.A. in Global Sustainability concentration in Food Sustainability and Security provides students with a solid understanding of key issues in food systems and safety/security.

If you would like to sponsor please click here. 

Concentration Director: 

Dr. Joseph W. Dorsey

Associate Professor  
Director of Food Sustainability and Security
Director of Academic Capstone Experience (ACE)

Dr Dorsey


  • IDS 6271 - Future of Food: Environment, Health, and Policy (3)

Food is an essential resource for human life, but in modern times, food is a commodity connected to a massive agricultural industry designed to feed billions of people. From a sustainability aspect, global food production, processing, packaging, distribution, consumption, and waste have vast implications for individuals, societies, economies, and ecosystems. This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to food as an operational component of the environment, human health, and public policy throughout the world. The course will discuss historical perspectives, current issues, and future outlooks of food sustainability as well as address the global challenges to food security. The course will take into consideration the role of food in sustainable development and discuss the potential impacts of climate change as an environmental stress food supply and social and political conditions as well. Lastly, the course will look at possible trajectories of food design, availability, access, and sustainability into the future.

*This course is available on-campus and online.

  • IDS 6270 - Sustainable Food Production (3)

Overview of global food production systems including both traditional and sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, and aquatic farming practices, their impact on ecosystems and the environment, and solutions for feeding a rapidly growing population.

*This course is available on-campus and online.


  • IDS 6938 - Navigating The Sustainable Food-Energy-Water Nexus (3)

The FEW nexus helps students navigate the complexities of sustainability, using systems thinking and case studies in food, energy, and water to create industrial ecology systems, closing the loop from the solar energy that sustains food production through food waste to new food. 

*This course is available on-campus and online.

  • IDS 6210 - Bio-Resources for a Sustainable Future (3)

In this course, agricultural and biological resources (bioresources) will be explored as an essential means of supporting a sustainable future for the planet. Efficient and sustainable methods for producing food, fiber, bio-based products, and renewable energy will be presented along with their environmental impact and supply chain considerations. Emphasis will be placed on the prospects of plant biomass and algae to serve as renewable raw materials for a sustainable economy. The course will cover topics of global challenges in energy, water, and food security, and the interconnections among the three resources with a nexus thinking approach.

*This course is available on-campus and online.

  • PHC 6515 - Food Safety (3)

This course provides an overview of food safety principles and practices emphasizing the role of food safety in public health. Emphasis is placed on the leading causes of foodborne illness and their associated food groups. Biological, chemical, and physical threats are discussed. Additional topics cover consumer concerns regarding the food supply such as genetically modified organisms, pesticides, and other issues. The role of regulatory agencies and food safety education are also discussed.

*This course is only available on-campus.

  • URP 6444 - Global and Community Food Systems (3)

Provides a general introduction to the food system, how it relates to planning and public policy, and an overview of the tools, strategies, and approaches public policymakers can utilize to address food system problems and challenges.

*This course is only available on-campus.

  • IDS 6938 - Waste Not, Want Not: Reconsidering Waste, Re-purposing Wasted Resources (3)

This course is designed to help us deal with and eliminate waste. The course explores all kinds of wasted resources and opportunities with particular focus on organic and inorganic "production and consumption residuals" and wasted energy.

*This course is available on-campus and online

  • IDS 6938 – Policy for Sustainability (3) – Pending Approval 

This course explores the definition of sustainability policy, how policy can be implemented at all levels of  government, the myriad actors involved in policy formation and implementation, metrics used to measure policy robustness, and the politics of sustainability. Policies and case studies pertaining to other Patel College of Global Sustainability concentrations will be presented and discussed.  A class debate and policy-position paper will challenge critical thinking skills. 

 *This course is available on-campus and online.

Preferred Electives

  • IDS 6208 - Renewable Power Portfolio (3)

The course analyzes the market status and growth potential of the portfolio of renewable power sources (solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, biogas), production technologies, economics and financing, infrastructure integration and smart grid issues, and regulatory and environmental aspects.

*This course is available on-campus and online

  • IDS 6245 - Sustainable Water Resource Management: Doing more with less (3)

This course provides an overview of the challenges and strategies for sustainable water resource management for coordinated planning, development, and management of water resources. It will discuss technical, economic, legal and institutional frameworks.

*This course is available on-campus and online.

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NOTE: Please be advised that your degree requirements may be different than the requirements mentioned above if you were admitted to our degree program prior to Fall 2018. Please refer to our previous catalog to understand your respective degree requirements.


Upon successful completion of this program, participants should be able to: 

  • Identify the key stakeholders of the food system (production, processing, distribution, waste)
  • Articulate challenges and issues in the food system and ways to improve its sustainability
  • Understand the impact of the food industry on public health and the role of safety and sanitation in food security
  • Discuss the role of planners, government, and community organizations in food system development
  • Understand regulatory and policy issues in the food sector
  • Study efforts in the public health sector to prevent foodborne disease outbreaks
  • Discuss consumer concerns regarding GMOs, pesticides, bioterrorism, and agroterrorism

For more information about this concentration, please contact the PCGS Academic Programs Director,

Randall Pape