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.


All graduate and professional school 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 and professional performance and a statement of interest in food issues and interdisciplinary learning approaches. The application will open in February 2023. On average, about 20 students will be admitted to the program each year.

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, COM HLT M217/URBN PL M216, 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)

COM HLT M217/URBN PL M216: Current Issues in Food Studies (Food Studies Graduate Certificate Colloquium)

Food Policy and Food Systems 

COM HLT 448: Nutrition Policies and Programs: Domestic and International Perspectives
ENV HLT 216: Planetary Health: Consequences of Environmental Change for Human Health
LAW 308: Animals and the Law
LAW 440: Introduction to Food Law and Policy
LAW 508: Food Law and Policy Seminar
LAW 615: Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy
LAW 693: Food Litigation: Consumer Protection, Regulation, and Class Actions 
Law 775: Food Law and Policy Clinic
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?
PUB PLC X 478: Sustainable Food and Agriculture (Offered through UCLA Extension only)

Nutritional Science 

COM HLT 231: Maternal and Child Nutrition
COM HLT 276: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
COM HLT 444: Assessment of Family Nutrition
COM HLT 444: Anthropometric and Dietary Aspects of Nutritional Assessment
COM HLT 449: Nutrition and Chronic Disease
HLT POL M255/COM HLT M234: Obesity, Physical Activity, and Nutrition Seminar
EPI 241: Epidemiology of Obesity and Diabetes
EPI M254/COM HLT M251: Nutritional Epidemiology I

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 C201H: Asian American Culture, Cuisine, and Economy
HIST 596 (w/ HIST 101): Cultural History of Food in Atlantic World
LAW 960: Rights to Food and Global Food Justice 

2021-2022 Schedule of Classes 

View the 2021-2022 Schedule of Classes here.

Exit Survey 

The exit survey is available here. The deadline to submit the exit survey is May 8, 2022 at 11:59 PM. Once the program manager has confirmed that you have met all of the requirements, you will earn your certificate.


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.
6. Will completion of the Food Studies Graduate Certificate Program appear on my UCLA transcript?
No. After graduation from the program, you will receive an official certificate recognized by UCLA. However, completion of the certificate program will not appear on your UCLA transcript.

If you have additional questions, we are happy to help! Please contact foodstudies [at] ph.ucla.edu.

Food Studies Events & Opportunities

Upcoming Events

  • None, but check back soon!

Past Events

  • Panel: Careers in Food Studies (5/13/2021). See the recording of the panel here
  • Gather: Documentary Screening + Panel Discussion (2/26/2021). See the recording of the panel discussion here.
  • Guest Lecture with Dr. Kevin Yelvington: Wine Capitalism: Accumulation Through Tourism, Social Metabolism, Fetishism, and the State in Southern California Wine Country (12/1/2020). See the recording here
  • Guest Lecture with Dr. Brian J. Griffith: Wine, Politics, and Identity in Fascist Italy (11/17/2020). See the recording here
  • Networking Event: Careers in Food Studies (2/25/2020). 
  • Documentary Screening: Rotten: A Netlfix Original Series (1/22/2020). 

Food Studies Resources