UCLA Food Studies Graduate Certificate Program

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“Food is our common ground, a universal experience”

-- James Beard


Food is integral to life. In addition to playing a role in human health and development, food relates to the environmental, economic, and cultural aspects of our society. As a result, it has become a subject of interest and inquiry in multiple disciplines including agriculture, anthropology, geography, humanities, law, nutrition, psychology, public health, public policy, and other natural and social sciences.

With food security and environmental sustainability becoming increasing global concerns, there is an urgency to educate the next generation of leaders. The Food Studies Graduate Certificate Program offers UCLA PhD, MA, MS, and professional school students the opportunity to investigate this growing field through an interdisciplinary curriculum. The program will prepare students from diverse disciplines to address complex topics in food cultures and histories, nutrition and public health, food policy and food justice, and urban planning and the environment.

Certificate Requirements 

Course Requirements

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Students must complete 16 units of graduate coursework to earn the certificate: the food studies core course, URBN PL M216/COM HLT M217, and three additional four-unit courses selected from at least two of the three subject areas below. Students must obtain at least a B in all courses that will be used to satisfy the certificate requirements.

Core Course (required)

URBN PL M216/COM HLT M217: Food Studies Graduate Certificate Colloquium

Food Policy and Food Systems 
COM HLT 448: Nutrition Policies and Programs
LAW 308: Animals and the Law
LAW 440: Introduction to Food Law and Policy
LAW 615: Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy
LAW 634: Food Law and Policy Seminar
LAW 693: Companies, Food Systems, and Public Health
LAW 912: City Food Policy
URBN PL 262: Urban Environmental Problems: Water Resources
URBN PL 265C: Food Systems
URBN PL 269: A Percent Solution: The Making of a Modern Food System
URBN PL 269: A Good Food System: Movement or Moment?

Nutritional Science 
COM HLT 130: Nutrition and Health
COM HLT 231: Maternal and Child Nutrition
COM HLT 276: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
COM HLT 443: Assessment of Family Nutrition
HLT POL M255/COM HLT M234: Obesity, Physical Activity, and Nutrition Seminar
EPI M254/COM HLT M251: Nutritional Epidemiology

Social and Cultural Aspects of Food
COM HLT 224: Social Determinants of Nutrition and Health
COM HLT M264/LATN AM M264: Latin America: Traditional Medicine, Shamanism, and Folk Illness
ANTHRO M233R/COM HLT M260: Health and Culture 
OB 229B: Anthropological Perspectives on Global Health
ENGL 260: Studies in Literature and its Relationship to Arts and Sciences
HIST 201H: Asian American Culture, Cuisine, and Economy
LAW 960: Rights to Food and Global Food Justice 

2020-2021 Schedule of Classes 

View the 2020-2021 Schedule of Classes here.

Intent to Complete 

Thank you for your participation in the UCLA Food Studies Graduate Certificate Program!

If you would like to be considered for certificate graduation in Spring 2020, please complete the form linked below and send it to Jamie Raiss (foodstudies [at] ph.ucla.edu) by May 13, 2020. Every field is required.

If your petition to graduate is approved, you will earn your certificate. 

Intent to Complete & Exit Survey


All graduate (masters, doctoral, professional degree) students currently enrolled at UCLA with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 are eligible to apply for participation in this certificate program. Admission is based on academic performance and a statement of interest in food issues and interdisciplinary learning approaches. On average, about 10 students will be admitted to the program each year.

Students will take the following steps to apply:

  1. The online application form will reopen in February 2021.
  2. Email your supplemental materials (CV/Resume and current unofficial transcript) to foodstudies [at] ph.ucla.edu with the subject line: Application – Your Name.


  1. May I apply courses that were taken before being admitted to the certificate program?
    Yes. Any course, on the approved list, that is taken before admission to the certificate program may be counted towards the certificate.
  2. May I use a course that is not on the approved list?
    Possibly. You may petition to use a course that is not on the approved list. To submit a petition send the course syllabus to foodstudies [at] ph.ucla.edu.
  3. Will I be able to use the certificate courses towards my degree requirements?
    Generally yes. According to University policy, courses used towards a certificate program may also be applied to degree requirements. Department policy may vary so please check with your departmental staff or faculty adviser.
  4. Are certificate students required to take 4 classes or 16 units?
    Students are required to take a minimum of 16 units worth of coursework to earn the certificate.
  5. Can I take the core class or electives pass/no pass?
    Students enrolled in the certificate program must take the core and elective classes for a letter grade (unless the class is only offered pass/no pass) and receive a B or better.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions, we are happy to help! Please contact the Certificate Program Manager, Jamie Raiss, at foodstudies [at] ph.ucla.edu.

Food Studies Events & Opportunities

  • Coming soon

Food Studies Resources