Spring 2024 food-related courses

All of these classes have been pre-approved for the Food Systems & Nutrition minor and the Food Systems, Nutrition and Environment track of the Environmental Studies major or co-major. You may also petition to count other courses, including those from study abroad (limit of one for the minor, two overall for the major/co-major) and classes where you are able to add substantial food-related content through assignments or other customization. Find all the details about the minor and the major tracks on the Environmental Studies Program website.

Click on the arrows to read more information about each course.

At the School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (ASE):

  • Microbiology (BIO 106)
    A survey of the structures and functions of microbes, including bacteria, archaea, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes (fungi, protists). Topics include microbial genetics, physiology, cell biology, diversity, evolution, ecology, and the human microbiome. BIO 107 (Microbiology Lab) is not required but may be taken concurrently. Requires completion of BIO 0013, BIO 0014, and BIO 41 or graduate standing. Ben Wolfe, Mon/Wed 1:30-2:45 + labs, In Person
  • General Physiology (BIO 116)
    Normal functioning and pathophysiology of selected systems – endocrine, neural, and digestive – from the level of the cell to the level of the organism. Emphasis on critical thinking, integration, and application. BIO 115 is not required for this course. Requirements: BIO 14 or instructor permission. Recommendations: BIO 013 or instructor permission. Mimi H.F. Kao, Mon/Wed 1:30-2:45, In Person
  • Cellular Agriculture and Cultured Meat Lab (BME 174)
    Scientific process of producing meat from cell culture (termed “cultured meat”). Cell isolations and cell culture, cell analysis (such as immunostaining), and various food science analyses (of texture, flavor, etc.). Distinctions between biomedical engineering for food and biomedical engineering for medicine, demonstration of key areas of research that are needed to advance the field of cellular agriculture. Recommendation: BME 0173. David Kaplan, Jake Marko, two sections, Mon 1:20-4:20 or Thurs 6-9 pm, In Person
  • Beyond the Food Desert: Structural Determinants of Food Access
    Critical inquiry into the theories, measures, and policies that influence how we think about and define “healthy food access.” Covers predominant models of food access in the US, evaluations of place-based policies to improve food access, and structural and historical factors that influence the food environments of today. Class discussions and debates will challenge students to engage with active policy discussions about the future of food access in the US. Thurs 1:30-4 pm, 4 credits, Benjamin Chrisinger, Community Health majors only
  • Sustainability in Action (ENV 100)
    An integrated multidisciplinary approach to the study and practice of sustainability. Introduction to the breadth of sustainability and the enormous career opportunities available, including data analysis, stakeholder engagement, and field work. Topics include: water, waste, energy, climate change, transportation, food & agriculture, informational interviewing and networking skills. Tues/Thurs 6-7:15 pm, Tina Woolston, In Person
  • Practicing in Food Systems (ENV 190, cross-listed w/ANTH159)
    Project-based course designed to integrate academic learning with application in a range of food systems settings. Emphasis will be on balance between process and product. Readings, discussion, and field research will be split between the specific content focus of the group project (in SP24 this will be the launch of a public education project relating to food waste) and general issues arising from planning and carrying out interdisciplinary team projects; developing productive relationships with communities, clients, and stakeholders; addressing ethical concerns in collaborative and public research. Preference will be given to students who have declared the Food Systems and Nutrition minor or the Food Systems, Nutrition and Environment track of the ENVS major. Wed 1:30-4 pm, Cathy Stanton, In Person
  • An Insider’s Guide to the World of Food Media (EXP 15)
    The rise and evolution of food media over the last three decades has directly impacted every aspect of how we interact with food: from what, when, and where we eat, to how we connect with our plates and our planet. This course will be a wide-ranging survey of the past, present, and future of food media. We will analyze the theory behind this influential force at the nexus of information and entertainment, but our journey will be rooted in real-life practice. Your guide will be someone whose career on the front lines has been nearly as varied as food media itself, which is continually changing as it feeds our appetites and shapes how we look at the world.Food media encompasses a variety of formats across the wider media landscape. We’ll explore important skills including food writing, recipe writing, and food styling and photography, and we’ll go behind the scenes to explore food storytelling in books, newspapers, magazines, radio, podcasts, television, film, the Internet, and social media. We’ll analyze how each media form feeds, or is fed by, our culture’s current obsession with food. Thurs 6-8:30 pm, Denise Drower Swidey, In Person
  • Human Nutrition (NU 101)
    To provide an understanding of basic nutrition science to non-science majors and students with a limited scientific background. Students will become familiar with: the principles of diet planning, government standards, and food labeling; the biological functions and food sources of each nutrient; energy balance, weight management, and physical activity; the role of nutrition in chronic disease development; nutrition throughout the life cycle; food safety issues; and current nutrition-related controversies. This course meets the science requirement for undergraduate non-science majors. It is not acceptable for biology credit for biology majors. Fri 1-2:30 and Tues 1:30-3, Diane McKay, In Person
  • Food Ethics (PHIL 25)
    A philosophical examination of ethical questions that arise in the production, distribution, and consumption of food: obligations to victims of famine; obligation to future generations; just access to food; food and environmental ethics; animal rights. Mon/Wed 3-4:15 pm plus recitation, Sigrun Svavarsdottir, In Person
  • Nutrition & Behavior (PSY 128/NU 128)
    The interactions between nutritional variables and behavior in man and other animals. Effects of obesity, starvation, protein malnourishment, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies on intellectual function and behavior. Influences of diet on brain biochemistry and learning. Grace E. Giles, Tues 4-6:30, In Person
  • Sociology of Food (SOC 94-05)
    Open to all, this elective turns to food to consider important questions for sociologists, including: What does food tell us about who we are? About where we’re from and what we care about? How does food nourish but also cause harm? How does it bring people together and divide people? What does food tell us about how power operates and how people make and find meaning? We’ll use all our senses to tackle these questions, along the way diving into the world of some popular food items (white bread, coffee, craft beer), familiar spaces (high school cafeterias, the Food Network), and important political conversations (globalization, colonization, food insecurity, carcerality, food justice and sovereignty). Above all, our course invites all participants to think deeply about their own relationship to food and to see food issues as central to more just and equitable futures.Mon/Wed 3-4:15 pm, Freeden Blume Ouer, In Person
  • Food Justice (UEP 285/DEIJ 214)
    (Cross-listed w/DEIJ 214) This class offers students different lenses, such as critical race theory to see how the intersectionality of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and citizenship play out in the development of systemic structural and socio-spatial inequities and injustices in food systems. It develops an understanding and contextualization of the role of food justice activism within the broader narrative of the alternative food movement and offers emerging ideas about how policymakers and planners can take a role in increasing food justice beyond the more mainstream and ultimately contested notions of what is ‘local’ and ‘sustainable.’ The course will help participants chart their role(s) in advocating for ‘just sustainability’ as a defining factor in becoming food systems planners and policymakers. Julian Agyeman, Tues 3:15-5:45 pm, In Person; mainly for graduate students

At the Friedman School for Nutrition Science and Policy

NOTE: ENT 193 is an undergraduate course. Others listed here are open to undergraduates, with instructor permission. If you’re not sure whether a Friedman School course will count toward the Food Systems & Nutrition minor or the food track of the ENVS major, email cathy.stanton@tufts.edu.

  • Nutrition and Entrepreneurship (ENT 193)
    This course is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial theory and practice relevant to the nutrition/food space will be discussed from the perspectives of a stand-alone start-up company and within larger organizations. This course is designed for students interested in exploring how entrepreneurship can be incorporated into food and nutrition and who may wish to begin to build an entrepreneurial skill set. Course topics will include ideation, finding potential investors, pitch development and pitching skills, competitive analysis, market sizing, business plan development, basic entrepreneurial finance and legal issues, entrepreneurial ethics, and management skills needed to run an entrepreneurial venture. Final products of the course will be a pitch presentation and a written business plan. Prereqs: instructor permission. At least one previous entrepreneurship class recommended. Jimmy Edgerton, Wed 4:30-7:30 pm, In Person
  • Corporate Social Responsibility in the Food Industry (NUTR 278)
    The role of the corporation in achieving societal goals is controversial and has evolved over time. The food industry in particular has the potential to impact human health, food access, ecological sustainability, working conditions, and community well-being. This course will provide students with an overview of prevailing theories of the social responsibilities of corporations; how CSR activities may benefit food businesses; how businesses can conduct, monitor, and measure the impacts of CSR practices; how consumers respond to these efforts; and emerging topics relevant to CSR in the food industry. We will draw upon academic research, case studies, and insights from current professionals to illustrate these concepts. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or instructor consent. (Mondays 10:45am – 1:15pm); Nicole Blackstone and Sean Cash, Mon 10:45am-1:15 pm, Jaharis 105/Boston campus
  • Qualitative Methods for Nutrition (NUTR 310)
    Teaches principles and practical skills of qualitative inquiry in an interactive seminar format. Participants will learn how to design and carry out qualitative research through weekly background readings and written assignments, critical case-study discussions, and practical class exercises. They will also take part in the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of a local qualitative research project that involves practical, hands-on experience. The first part of the course will focus on the foundations of qualitative inquiry, qualitative methods, their strengths and challenges, standards for quality, and tools for critical assessment of insights derived from these methods. The second part of the course will be dedicated to learning how to design qualitative studies, including data collection, data management strategies, and approaches to data analysis. Participants will gain practical experience by developing and implementing a small research study, which will include the elements of research design, field-note documentation, participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups, visual methods, analysis, and writing/dissemination.  This graduate course is open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor. Ellen MesserWed 9am-12pm, Online synchronous
  • Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (NUTR 331)
    Which protein source is more environmentally sustainable: chicken, tofu, or salmon? What processes in a food company’s supply chain should be targeted to reduce energy use and costs? How would shifting to nationally recommended diets impact the environment? These are a few examples of the myriad questions that can be addressed with life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a tool in the field of industrial ecology that quantifies the resource use and emissions of a product or system along its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to final disposal. A central objective of this method is informing evidence-based decision-making toward sustainability by policy makers, NGOs, companies, and individuals. This course covers the intellectual foundations of LCA and provides hands-on experience applying the tool, with a focus on topics, data sources, and methodological issues relevant to food and agriculture. Friedman students are strongly encouraged to take this course in their second year. Prerequisites: NUTR 0233: Agricultural Science and Policy I and NUTR 0333: Agricultural Science and Policy II, or instructor permission. Nicole Blackstone, Wed 9am-12pm, Jaharis 118 (Boston campus)
  • Environmental Economics of Food and Agriculture (NUTR 341)
    The primary goal of this class is to learn the tools and concepts necessary for economic analysis of a variety of environmental, natural resource, and agricultural issues, particularly with regard to environmental and resource use aspects of food production and consumption. Throughout the semester, we will be addressing a broad range of problems and issues in the context of microeconomic theory and methods. Microeconomics is the social science that deals with balancing our (seemingly unlimited) wants and needs within the limitations of our personal, social, and natural environments. It therefore provides useful frameworks for considering issues such as our use of land; how we invest in protecting the quality of our air, water, and soil; the impact of our food production decisions on other species; how food consumption decisions intersect with environmental concerns; and the effect of climate change on food production. A recurring topic in this class will be on why and when markets fail to ensure the quality of our environment, as well as how collective action, institutions, and market forces can be used to help address these failures. Prerequsities: At least one course in microeconomics principles, (such as NUTR 238: Economics for Food and Nutrition Policy) or instructor consent. Sean Cash, Tues/Thurs 1:30-3 pm, Jaharis 105 (Boston campus)

Outside Tufts but open to Tufts students

  • World Food Systems and Policy (MET/ML 720)
    This course presents frameworks and case studies that will advance participants’ understandings of U.S. and global food systems and policies. Adopting food-systems and food-chain approaches, it provides historical, cultural, theoretical and practical perspectives on world food problems and patterns of dietary and nutritional change, so that participants acquire a working knowledge of the ecology and politics of world hunger and understand the evolution of global-to-local food systems and diets. Global overview of world food situations will be combined with more detailed national and local-level case studies and analysis that connect global to local food crisis and responses. Ellen Messer, Boston University campus, time TBD – open to advanced undergraduates through cross-registration with permission of the instructor. Email her at Ellen.Messer@tufts.edu for details