The M.A. in Food Studies is a cross-disciplinary program that aims to provide knowledge and skills on the current situation and developments surrounding sustainable food production and consumption, and on how we affect the Earth’s resources with our food choices. It has inherent international dimensions but focuses on how the associated policy and regulatory frameworks are framed and implemented at regional, national and sub-national levels by the public and non-profit sectors as well as by the food industry.
The goal of the M.A. Program in Food Studies is to provide students with knowledge, critical thinking and transferable skills related to the global and local dimensions of sustainable food production and consumption, to the business of food and to communicating about food.
It is a flexible program whereby students will be able to focus their course of studies on topics of their interest in relation to the pursuit of further research or to their professional career goals and aspirations.
Students with entrepreneurial ambitions can choose to follow a course of study whereby they will gain both conceptual grounding and hands-on skills in relation to the business of food, including accounting and finance, marketing, strategy and other functional business areas in both large and small corporate entities. Students may also choose multimedia communication and learn concepts and theories of visual communication related to food in an ever-evolving digital environment, along with technical skills for a variety of multimedia products. Students will also have the opportunity to hone their writing skills in relation to food in its various professional forms, including technical writing for the scientific community, policy-makers and consumers.
The Program addresses:
- The worldwide societal concerns on the choices facing humankind in relation to feeding an increasing world population, the pressures exercised on natural resources, the risks of the loss in biodiversity, the spread of obesity, the persistence of under-nutrition and the impact of climate change
- The interdependence of nations and the ways in which governments, the business industry and civil society are dealing with these issues through policies, programs and regulatory frameworks
- Business and communication models and practices towards sustainable food production and consumption
Upon completing the Program students will be able to:
- Demonstrate a high level of knowledge of the main factors impinging on sustainable food production and consumption at the global level and relate them to their own countries’ situation.
- Evaluate the nexus between food production-consumption and the environment.
- Analyze the main policies and regulatory frameworks related to food and their implementation at international and national level.
- Examine and compare the main tenets of food-induced rural development policies and programs, in both developed and developing countries, and with particular reference to Italy, within the European context.
Depending on the selected path, students will acquire specific academic and transferable skills; at the end of the program they will be able to:
- Conduct research by framing a research question, identifying and applying the appropriate quantitative or qualitative methods.
- Write a research paper.
- Defend a thesis.
- Analyze and present complex statistical data in a clear and effective way.
- Appraise the macroeconomic environment and government policies impinging on public policies and on private business development.
- Perform financial analyses, budget and forecasting for business in the food sector.
- Appraise and apply elemental marketing strategies, market research and market assessment techniques.
- Work as a consultant, using management consultancy skills.
- Prepare for a career in the food-environment sectors.
- Communicate persuasively both orally and in writing, in different contexts and situations.
- Write professionally about food through narrative prose and/or technical writing for the scientific community, policy-makers and consumers.
- Conceive a media strategy and produce communication projects to be accessed and displayed over a wide variety of media platforms (print, web, video, social media).
In order to complete the M.A. degree in Food Studies, students are required to write a M.A. thesis. The thesis will expand students’ knowledge on a particular subject, and will prepare them for future professional work or further research. Successful completion of the M.A. thesis is awarded 6 credits.
Upon completing the M.A. thesis students will be able to demonstrate:
- The writing skills necessary for producing a high-quality academic paper
- The ability to apply the research methods and knowledge they acquired during their course work
- The ability to conduct a research project in food studies
- The ability to defend their arguments and their thesis
Students are expected to conduct their thesis preparations in regular consultations with their Advisor. Preparations include specification of the thesis topic, review of the literature, development of the draft thesis, choosing appropriate research methods, drafting an implementation plan with deadlines on the different sections of the thesis and other required activities.