Q. Which topics are covered in this program?
A. The challenges posed  by the contemporary food system on the sustainability of the earth’s resources; the social and cultural dimensions of food and eating;  nutrition and environmentally sustainable diets;  how the global food economy work;   co-existence of multiple food systems including alternative to the current industrial system;   food policies;  food-induced development of the rural areas; research methods and techniques. 

Q. What basic skills are essential for a student entering this program?
A. Students should have skills acquired with a Bachelor’s degree in humanities, social sciences or sciences.

Q. What characteristics would an ideal student have/display?
A. An ideal student for this course would be one who is self-motivated and interested in finding solutions for a healthier, safer, more socially just and more sustainable food system. Some work experience in the field is useful, but not essential. This program is especially suited to students who wish to work in food-related organizations, either private, non-governmental or public.

Q. What distinguishes AUR’s MA in Food Studies from those of other institutions?
A. In keeping with the ethos of the university as a whole, this program has a strong international dimension with exposure to professional expertise, including the possibility to apply for internships at the Rome-based international organizations. Being located in Italy allows for direct contact with its agro-industry and rural development and seeing EU policies in action, with regular field trips supplementing the courses.

Q. What are the key marketable skills that graduating students will leave with?
A. While this course prepares students very well for a career working in food-related organizations, the skills acquired are highly transferable, making our graduating students very appealing prospects to employees. These skills include :

  • Research skills: formulating a research problem and research questions; conducting focus groups; designing questionnaires and surveys; interviewing; engaging with and managing scholarly literature as well as other types of sources, including non-literary sources, professional literature, web  and social media.
  • Ability to analyze the intersection between the macroeconomy and the sustainability dimensions of food and agriculture policies.   
  • Framing the socio-cultural and economic determinants of food consumption and finding practicable policies for sustainable consumption practices
  • Ability to identify and review critically public health issues related to nutrition, nutritional pyramids, diets and food safety. 
  • Ability to analyze and compare different local food systems and markets for local foods
  • Performing financial analyses, budget and forecasting in the food sector
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, for different audiences.

Q. What benefit do students gain from undertaking an Internship during their MA studies?

  • Practical experience in the field with exposure to professionals who are often involved in operations with a global outreach.
  • An invaluable asset to have on a CV: students can demonstrate that they have meaningful practical experience to complement the theoretical knowledge obtained in the classroom.
  • Internships present the opportunity to start building a network of professional contacts.

 
Q. What kind of topics can be researched and written about for the M.A. Food Studies thesis?
Below is a selected list of theses that have been prepared in the past. They have involved research that can be carried out in the US, Italy or any other country of interest to the students.

  • Difficulty “Makin’ Groceries” In The Big Easy. Investigating New Orleans Food Deserts: Causes and Best Practices
  • Sustainability and Nutrition Set of Metrics in Introducing Novel Food to Consumers:  The Case of Jellyfish
  • Promoting the use of traditional, neglected and underutilized species (NUS) for nutrition and climate resilience in the Mandla and Dindori districts of Madhya Pradesh, India
  • How do Plant-based Restaurants Influence Consumer Consumption Habits and their Perceptions of Sustainability?: The Role of Plant-based Restaurants in Changing Consumer Behavior - The Case of New York City
  • Land Access and Knowledge Exchange Pathways Among Young Farmers in Northern Italy: the Case of WWOOF Italia’s Community and Knowledge Exchange Network.
  • Informal Food Vendors and Food Security in Urban Bangladesh
  • Reviving for Survival: New Peasants and New Networks in Campania and Sicily, Italy
  • Household and Community Agriculture in Conflict: A Positive Coping Strategy for Food Security in Syria
  • The Organic Institution: A discursive-institutional analysis of the organic agricultural sector in Italy

 
Q. What sort of jobs have M.A. Food Sudies alumni found after completing the program?

  • Senior policy advisor in the EU and International Trade directorate at DEFRA, UK Government Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs
  • Livelihoods Specialist and Head of Mission for Humanitarian Aid Organization in the Middle East
  • SNAP-Ed Program Associate with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, serving the community through SNAP-Ed nutrition education interventions and PSE interventions (policy, systems and environment change) with schools.
  • Researcher, Bioversity International
  • Regional Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid Organization in the Middle East
  • Tactic team member at a private company in Croatia, specialized in wine promotion and marketing
  • FAO, Investment Centre Division, rural investment consultant. 
  • Sustainable Development Director at a community-supported local farm in New York
  • Adjunct instructor of Food Studies for undergraduate study-abroad programs
  • Administrative Assistant at USAID’s office of Food for Peace