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New Transdisciplinary PhD Program in Food Systems Offered at UVM

UVM's new transdisciplinary doctoral program in food systems is the first of its kind in the nation and will play a role in developing this emerging field of scholarship. The program requires students to master an array of theories and applications necessary to address our food systems challenges, with a focus on transdisciplinary investigations of sustainable systems. The food systems doctoral curriculum will draw from a number of disciplines to identify food systems, analyze system complexity, and understand the importance of context to the functions and goals of a food system.

The UVM Food Systems PhD program provides integrated training across natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities. This transdisciplinary approach enables faculty and students to more successfully understand and explain such contemporary issues as globalization of the food supply, agriculture’s entrance into new fields such as energy production, environmental implications of different production and distribution methods and the role of state, national and global policies, emergence of modern diet-related health problems, and more. Students examine these issues using a systems framework to link together multiple influences in food and agriculture, from the first steps of production through consumers’ final food choices -- and the reasons for, and implications of, these choices. This framework also opens up possibilities for graduate students to participate in cutting edge research collaborations.

UVM is a national leader in sustainable food systems research, education, and outreach. The new program joins the ranks of an expanding area of interest within the university: with more than 30 affiliated faculty from across the university, an undergraduate minor, a proposed undergraduate major, and an established master's program, UVM is a 21st century model of the land grant mission of research and engagement.

The doctoral program is open to students with or without a master’s degree. Students matriculate every fall. Interested students are encouraged to visit the UVM Food Systems Graduate Program website and to contact Serena Parnau,, to learn more about the program and the application process.