Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy

Cofounded by Jacques Pépin and Julia Child, the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy is a unique, multidisciplinary program that encompasses the arts, the humanities, and the natural and social sciences. Students in the program examine the role of food in historical and contemporary societies from a variety of perspectives, gaining a holistic view of the impact of food, food science, and nutrition on world civilization.

The Gastronomy Program promotes scholarship about food by drawing from the diverse resources and expertise of a variety of Boston University faculty members, academic departments, visiting faculty, and industry professionals. The program offers special emphasis on experiential learning and sensory training through hands-on culinary arts laboratories and wine studies courses. The interplay of reading, research, and writing about food, as well as exploring food through the senses, offers exceptional range and depth to food studies at Boston University.

Students who complete the master’s degree in Gastronomy will be able to demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of social theory applicable to the study of food.
  • An ability to critically analyze current and foundational issues in food studies and food systems.
  • Proficiency in qualitative and quantitative methodologies for interdisciplinary food studies research.
  • Competence in the written and oral presentation of complex ideas and arguments in scholarly and professional contexts.

Focus Areas

Select a focus area (optional) to view requirements:

For more information about the MLA in Gastronomy, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. Candidates for admission to the degree program are selected on the basis of academic transcripts, academic and professional references, and the required application essay.

A maximum of two relevant graduate-level courses (eight credits) in the liberal arts may be transferred from accredited institutions for credit during the Gastronomy degree program with the approval of an advisor. A maximum of two courses (eight credits) taken at Metropolitan College prior to acceptance into the degree program may be applied toward the degree, except when students have taken the Graduate Certificate in Food Studies, in which case up to 16 credits will be accepted. An average grade of B– must be maintained to satisfy the degree requirements.

Admission is normally granted for the terms beginning in September, January, and May for each academic year. The Admissions Committee meets on a continuing basis to review completed applications and renders prompt decisions. While applications are reviewed on a rolling basis without a set deadline, we recommend that students apply by March 15 for Fall admission and by October 15 for Spring admission for first priority.

Apply to the MLA in Gastronomy Program.

A total of 40 credits is required.

Required Core Courses

(16 credits)

History is part of a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to food studies. Our goals in reading history include understanding the ways in which the history of food has shaped our world today and examining ways in which contemporary questions and problems inform historical inquiries. Course readings address some of the ways in which food has influenced human history, particularly at crucial turning points -- for example, the rise of the first civilizations and the European discovery of the Americas. We will also study selected past events and societies through the lens of food and foodways. The topics chosen for the course are presented in thematic and geographic categories, rather than in strict chronological order. The themes are divided among three encompassing meta-themes: Technology & Nature, Mobility, and Culture & Cuisine. These meta-themes will help us to move from the details of our specific weekly topics to their meanings in relationship to larger forces in world history. Students will learn about historical methodology and apply it to their own research.  [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND McCann SHA 210 T 6:30 pm – 9:15 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND McCann CAS 225 T 6:30 pm – 9:15 pm

What can food tell us about human culture and social organization? Food offers us many opportunities to explore the ways in which humans go about their daily lives from breaking bread at the family table, haggling over the price of meat at the market to worrying about having enough to eat. Food can also tell us about larger social organizations and global interconnections through products like Spam that are traded around the globe and the ways in which a fruit like the tomato transformed the culinary culture of European nations. In this course we will consider how the Anthropology of Food has developed as a subfield of Cultural Anthropology. We will also look at the various methodologies and theoretical frameworks used by anthropologists to study food and culture. 4 cr.  [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Rovner CAS 225 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Metheny CAS 220 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course is designed to introduce students to current and foundational issues and methods in food studies and gastronomy. Through readings, discussions, and research, students will gain familiarity with major topics, issues, and debates in the field. They will become proficient at identifying and putting into practice different methods in food studies research and in understanding how to communicate across disciplines. This course will give Gastronomy students a better understanding of the field as a whole. While providing an overview and methodological toolbox, it will act as a springboard in to areas of specialization of the course.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Elias CAS 204B R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Staff CAS B25A R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the sensory foundations and implications of food. We will study the senses as physical and cultural phenomena, the evolving concepts of terroir and craft, human nutritional and behavioral science, sensory perception and function, and the sensory and scientific aspects of food preparation and consumption. Understanding these processes, constructions and theories is key to understanding a vast array of food-related topics; cheese-making, wine-tasting, fermentation, food preservation, culinary tools and methods, cravings and food avoidance, sustainability and terroir, to name just a few.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Metheny CAS 228 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Metheny FLR 122 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Elective Courses

(24 credits)

Students who are not pursuing a focus area must select 24 credits from the Gastronomy electives listed, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

Provides a detailed examination of how businesses can successfully use Internet and Web technology. Students are introduced to the concepts and issues of electronic commerce. Topics include comparison of e-commerce procedures, payment mechanisms, applications in different industry sectors, security, the challenges of starting and maintaining an electronic business site, as well as a comparison with traditional business practices.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
E1 IND Goncalves CAS 222 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
E3 IND Shahossini FLR 123 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
E4 IND Lee KCB 107 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
O1 IND Becker ARR
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Staff CAS 324 T 12:30 pm – 3:15 pm
C1 IND Staff CAS 426 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
O1 IND Lee ARR

Prereq: MET AD648
Introduces creative aspects of Web design using application programs such as Flash and Rixio/Adobe Multimedia. Students will have an opportunity to develop applications that integrate text content with video, digital photographs, computer animation, and computer graphics for website enhancement. This course will also focus on the exploration of a range of issues such as principles of good Web design and use of multimedia/Flash in major business applications. Students will create projects that integrate digital media, digital sound, and computer animation for e-learning, e-commerce, and related application areas.  [ 4 cr. ]

Addresses the specifics of new product and service development and fostering innovation and technology to increase performance. Topics include generating and screening initial ideas; assessing user needs and interests; forecasting results; launching, and improving products and programs; bringing innovation to commercial reality.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Unger SHA 206 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
D1 IND Unger EPC 208 R 12:30 pm – 3:15 pm
O1 IND Unger ARR
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Unger CAS 233 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
O1 IND Unger ARR

The course applies the fundamental concepts and tools of marketing and brand management to the food industry, with a particular focus on the burgeoning New England culinary scene. This class will focus on marketing throughout key stages of the food-to-table supply chain, from raw ingredients and processing equipment in early production stages, through immersive culinary experiences targeted to distinct consumer segments. An additional emphasis of the course will be on marketing food products vs. services, and the strategic challenges and strategies that each portion of the food industry requires.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Ward CAS B25A W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

The purpose of this seminar is to examine the ways that historians understand and describe the interactions between humans and their physical world, an interaction that expresses itself in terms of landscapes of vegetation, population, disease, built settings of cities, and cooking as an act of environmental knowledge. Environmental history has its methods defined by the parameters of science and the natural world --flora, fauna, topography, seasons--as well as human elements of technology, demography, and social organization. Cooking and cuisine is at the apex of these interactions. This course will examine the work of key historians in the emerging field of environmental history and the role of food/cooking in that human/nature interaction.  [ 4 cr. ]

ML610 is the designation for "Special Topics in Gastronomy". The subject matter for ML610 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one ML610 can be offered in a given semester. Course descriptions for all ML610 sections are listed below. For more information, please contact the department Graduate Student Advisor.

Spring 2018: "Culture and Cuisine of India"

Food is one of the most attractive features of Indian culture, yet remains poorly represented and understood in the mainstream U. S. This course will explore Indian food in a cultural context, focusing on themes include modes and techniques of food preparation and consumption, feasting and fasting traditions, food and religion/divinity, dietary taboos and food as medicine. The study of ingredients will look at biological and cultural exchanges stemming from historic trade routes and invasions. The course will also explore foodways, street food and the representation of food in Indian film, music and language.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Staff CAS 223 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

How people have obtained and processed a wide range of foods through time, beginning with early humans. Food used by hunter/gatherers; changes in diet and nutrition through time to early farmers. Examines archaeological evidence for types of plants and animals exploited for food, as well as human skeletal evidence for ancient nutrition and diseases related to diet and food stress. Consideration of early historical periods, especially in terms of how certain foods such as wine have played a significant role in culture beyond basic dietary needs.   [ 4 cr. ]

Exploration of the food cultures and technologies through material culture- pots, pans, and utensils. Course will range broadly across cultures, time, and space with emphasis on medieval and early modern times. Life histories of humble, overlooked, everyday objects associated with food preparation and consumption; kitchens from prehistory to the present; tradition and fashion in cooking & dining vessels; pots and cooking technology; pots as metaphors & symbols.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fat, first of all, is an essential nutrient: our bodies require it. Over the years, notions have changed as to how much fat and what kinds of fat should be consumed. A great variety of fats is found in food. These fats, as ingredients, contribute to the unique tastes and qualities of dishes and may be central to defining a cuisine, e.g., olive oil. Fat is also a component of our bodies; the body produces fat and draws upon it as a reserve of energy. The question of how much bodily fat we ought to have is of concern from the standpoint of medicine and public health, given the association, albeit incomplete, between obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Fat contributes both to body shape and body image, and we may try to exert control over the shape of our bodies. Thus, oddly twinned with the obesity epidemic is something of a diet epidemic. These and other issues will be explored through reading, film, class discussion, presentations, and written reports.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Pepper CAS 225 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."-- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) In this course, we will use the tools of the philosopher to study various aspects of food--its classification, preparation, consumption, and judgments about the practices affected by it. The focus in this course will be how philosophers contribute to food studies through engagement with long-standing philosophical questions--not just in aesthetics, moral and political philosophy, but also in metaphysics and epistemology. Topics addressed in the class may include foods as natural (or non-natural) kinds; cultural knowledge, know-how and food traditions; eating and identity; eating, rationality and norms; vegetarianism and moral philosophy; and neuroscience, culture and taste.   [ 4 cr. ]

Course involves critical reading and writing and examines the food memoir as a literary genre. Students gain familiarity with food memoir, both historical and current; learn how memoir differs from other writing about food and from autobiography; learn to attend to style and voice; consider the use writers make of memory; consider how the personal (story) evokes the larger culture.  [ 4 cr. ]

Cooking is chemistry, and it is the chemistry of food that determines the outcome of culinary undertakings. In this course, basic chemical properties of food are explored in the context of modern and traditional cooking techniques. The impact of molecular changes resulting from preparation, cooking, and storage is the focus of academic inquiry. Illustrative, culturally specific culinary techniques are explored through the lens of food science and the food processing industry. Examination of "chemistry-in- the-pan" and sensory analysis techniques will be the focus of hands-on in- class and assigned cooking labs.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Ryan FLR 121 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Through analysis of literary texts, gourmet guidebooks, paintings, and illustrations, the course maps out and examines questions that have an enduring cultural resonance today, including moral concepts of gluttony and temperance; parallels between appetite and sexuality; and the significance of the terroir or local production. Course explores key events and texts that altered the perception of the gourmand and contributed to the development of gastronomy as an autonomous cultural field.  [ 4 cr. ]

This research seminar in food history focuses on the markets and marketplaces over centuries and across a wide geographical area. The focus of this seminar is to hone students? research and writing skills. The broad general topic will allow students to pursue their own special research interest within a larger context while working with others engaged in similar research and writing challenges. By the end of the semester, students will have made a start on conference papers in the field of food studies and indentified potential venues for presenting their work. 4 cr  [ 4 cr. ]

Humans have been foraging for food since prehistoric times, but the recent interest in wild and foraged foods raises interesting issues about our connection to nature amid the panorama of industrially oriented food systems. From political economy to Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), this course explores how we interact with, perceive, and know our world through the procurement of food. Students take part in foraging activities and hands-on culinary labs in order to engage the senses in thinking about the connections between humans, food, and the environment.  [ 4 cr. ]

What can cookbooks and recipes tell us about an individual? A community? A culture? What does the language of the recipe say about systems of knowledge and ways of thinking about the world? The movement of ingredients and food technology? The transmission of cooking knowledge? Does the analysis of historical cookbooks have contemporary applications? In this course, students will consider these questions through a survey of historical cooking texts and in-class exercises. We will examine cookbooks as a source of culinary history and a window into the changing material culture, practices, spaces, and relationships associated with food preparation and consumption. In addition, students will examine cookbooks and recipes as social documents that reveal the presence of social and economic hierarchies, networks and alliances, and political, economic, and religious structures. We will also examine these documents as cultural texts that reveal the construction of ethnic, gendered, and other identities. Students will study and analyze a selection of cookbooks from different historical periods and geographic regions leading to a final project and paper.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Metheny FLR 121 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

The association between France and fine cuisine seems so "natural." French society and history are intertwined with the culinary, and have been since the court society of the Old Regime. After the French Revolution, French cuisine became a truly modern affair in the public sphere. The invention of the restaurant, the practice of gastronomy, a literature of food, and strong links between French cuisine and national identity all came together in the 19th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, French food, featuring both haute cuisine and regional culinary specialties, was widely considered the world's best. In the 20th century, the culinary allure of France continued to fascinate people all over the world. It is still said today, enviously, that the French really know how to appreciate good food and wine "la bonne chere" in their daily lives. This course looks at how the history of French culinary culture evolved in the particular way that it did. The course is organized largely chronologically, but not entirely, as some of the readings weave issues of different times periods thematically. In studying culture and cuisine, with France as a great example, we will explore the relationship between a place, a people, and their foodways. We launch our investigation with the question: how and why is this relationship distinctive in France?   [ 4 cr. ]

In this course we explore the long and complex role wine has played in the history of human civilization. We survey significant developments in the production, distribution, consumption and cultural uses of grape-based alcoholic beverages in the West. We study the economic impact of wine production and consumption from the ancient Near East through the Roman Empire, Europe in the Middle Ages and especially wine's significance in the modern and contemporary world. Particular focus is on wine as a religious symbol, a symbol of status, an object of trade and a consumer beverage in the last few hundred years.   [ 4 cr. ]

A comparative perspective on issues of human subsistence through time. Changing patterns of nutrition and health, agricultural production, methods of coping with famine and organizing feasts, and origins and impact of culinary and dietary innovations.  [ 4 cr. ]

There is no such thing as Italian food. This statement is confirmed by the uniqueness and locality of the foods of Italy. This course will introduce students to regional Italian foods, taking into account geography, historical factors, social mores and language. There will be an emphasis on identifying key food ingredients of northern, central, and southern regions, and how they define these regions and are utilized in classic recipes. In addition, the goal will be to differentiate the various regional cooking styles like casalinga cooking versus alta cucina cooking.  [ 2 cr. ]

How are the foodways of New England's inhabitants, past and present, intertwined with the history and culture of this region? In this course, students will have the opportunity to examine the cultural uses and meanings of foods and foodways in New England using historical, archaeological, oral, and material evidence. We will focus on key cultural, religious and political movements that have affected foodways in the region, as well as the movement of people.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Davis FLR 133 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course explores what food ethnography is and how food ethnographers work. Students will learn about food ethnography by reading and discussing its methods and by practicing them. Students will write a research design for an ethnographic project on some aspect of Boston?s multifaceted alternative food system, carry out the research, analyze their data, and write up and orally present the results. Students will learn about and use the methods of participant observation, interviews, photography, food mapping, informant documentation, food logs, and others. They will learn about research ethics. They will pay particular attention to the ways that studying food culture presents unique methods and insights.  [ 4 cr. ]

The objectives of this course are to explore the great variety of beer styles and spirit categories currently available and the role each plays in our culture. We will survey significant developments in the historical evolution, production, distribution, consumption and cultural usage of these alcohol beverages in the United States. We will taste beer and spirits extensively to demonstrate examples of the most important categories and classifications.   [ 2 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Block FLR 117 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

For students without previous knowledge of wine, this introductory survey explores the world of wine through lectures, tastings, and assigned readings. By the end of this course, students will be able to 1). Exhibit fundamental knowledge of the principal categories of wine, including major grape varieties, wine styles, and regions; 2). Correctly taste and classify wine attributes; 3). Understand general principles of food and wine pairing; and 4). Comprehend the process of grape growing and winemaking. Open only to matriculated gastronomy students.  [ 2 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Nesto FLR 122 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Nesto SED 307 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Students passing this course will attain proficiency in the field of wine and associated alcoholic beverages. This intensive survey covers each of the world's most important geographical areas and includes comprehensive comparative tastings. The final examination includes a tasting as well as a written component.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Nesto FLR 122 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Nesto CGS 111B T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Provides students with mastery of the field of alcoholic beverages. The curriculum is divided into the following sections: viticulture, vinification, distillation and brewing; wine tasting, including blind tasting; the interaction of wine and food; and the business of wine. Examination covers tasting skills, factual information and essay writing. 4 credits, Wed. 6-9. FUL Room 122.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Nesto FLR 122 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Nesto FLR 122 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Gives students an in-depth understanding of issues confronting national wine industries and how these issues relate to the U.S. and local wine trade. Students develop understanding and professional skills by researching assigned topics, participating in teacher-led discussions, and tasting numerous wines under the guidance of instructors. Specialists in the wine trade visit to contribute their expertise and provide an interface to the trade. Students share independent research with classmates by giving presentations and researching relevant topics which highlight issues currently facing the wine industry. The format of this course requires students to do independent research, which may be presented in class and/or submitted in the form of an essay.   [ 4 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Nesto FLR 122 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Nesto SED 210 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Whatever type of food-related business you want to start, you will need expert advice to plan and launch. This course will guide you through the process of developing and realizing your business idea. Guest speakers from the food industry will share hands- on knowledge and insights. In this section you will focus on writing a business plan utilizing the Lean Canvas methodology (leanstack.com). Grading is based on attendance, participation and completing a Lean Canvas.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Ward CGS 115 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

An extensive historical exploration into prints, drawings, film, television, and photography relating to food in the United States and elsewhere. Examines how food images represent aesthetic concerns, social habits, demographics, domestic relations, and historical trends.   [ 4 cr. ]

Focusing on the dialogue between gastronomy and art, from antiquity to the present, this seminar offers students the opportunity to research the work of artists who represented food, drink, harvest and hunger, the role of the decorative arts in dining and the relationship of national traditions of art and cuisine. Students test the validity of analogies that scholars have drawn between developments in the two areas of endeavor. Uncharted areas of affinity linking art and cuisine are explored. Providing an introduction to fundamental aspects of the art historical periods in question, the course is designed to accommodate students without previous formal study of art history. Those with prior experience in the discipline will be given new purchase on the art.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Staff PSY B39 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

We can all take pleasure in eating good food, but what about watching other people eat or cook food? This course will survey the history of food in film. It will pay particular attention to how food and foodways are depicted as expressions of culture, politics, and group or personal identity. We will watch a significant number of films, both fiction and non-fiction, classic and modern. A good portion of class time will also be given to discussing the readings in combination with hands-on, in-depth analysis of the films themselves.   [ 4 cr. ]

Students will develop and improve food-writing skills through the study of journalistic ethics; advertising; scientific and technological matters; recipe writing; food criticism; anthropological and historical writing about food; food in fiction, magazines and newspapers.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Kummer YAW 322 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course is designed to introduce major concepts in nutrition and diet to students of food studies and other disciplines who have limited or no background in the biological sciences. The overarching goal is to develop a working understanding of the basic science of nutrition and apply this knowledge to personal health and professional settings. The course begins with the fundamentals of nutrition and diet, focusing on macro- and micronutrient intakes and needs throughout the life course. Food-based nutrition will also be discussed, alongside dietary guidelines, recommendations, and food labels. Moving from the individual level to the larger public health arena, we will also examine such topics as nutritional ecology, influences on dietary intakes, overnutrition, and undernutrition. A running theme throughout will be critiquing how diet and nutrition are treated in the media and press.  [ 4 cr. ]

Cultural tourism in the 21st century is more than the traditional passive activities of visiting a museum, hearing a concert or strolling down an historic street. It has become an active, dynamic branch of tourism in which half of all tourists have stated that they want some cultural activities during their vacation. In this course we will introduce various themes of cultural tourism including the relationship between the Tourist Industry and the Cultural Heritage Manager, conservation and preservation vs. utilization of a cultural asset, authenticity vs. commoditization, stakeholders and what should be their rights and obligations, tangible and intangible tourist assets, the role of government, private industry and the non-profit sectors in tourism planning and sustainable economic development. We will examine these themes in different areas of cultural tourism including the art industry, historical sites, cultural landmarks, special events and festivals, theme parks and gastronomy.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Mendlinger FLR 123 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Exposes students to a craft-based understanding of the culinary arts from which to better understand how food and cuisine fit into the liberal arts and other disciplines and cultures. The course integrates personal experience and theory through discipline by training students in the classic and modern techniques and theories of food production, through cooking and working efficiently, effectively, and safely, and by introducing students to foods of various cultures and cuisines from around the world. Open only to matriculated gastronomy students. Cannot be taken in addition to ML 700. 4 cr  [ 4 cr. ]

Exposes students to a craft-based understanding of the culinary arts from which to better understand how food and cuisine fit into the liberal arts and other disciplines and cultures. The course integrates personal experience and theory through discipline by training students in the classic and modern techniques and theories of food production, through pastry and baking methods as well as working efficiently, effectively, and safely, and by introducing students to baking techniques from various cultures and cuisines from around the world. Open only to matriculated gastronomy students. Cannot be taken in addition to ML 700.  [ 4 cr. ]

Founded in 1989 by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin--who continues to teach in the program each semester--the Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts at Boston University's Metropolitan College is a unique course of study that introduces participants to the essential techniques, knowledge, and hands- on experience necessary to excel in the food industry.

The Laboratory in the Culinary Arts for Spring 2014, is an 8 credit course that meets Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 until 6 pm, depending on evaluating your work and cleanup time. Morning class is usually a lecture, a food demonstration or a field trip. The afternoon session, which begins at 1 pm, sharp, is hands-on cooking. You will learn the cooking skills and techniques of France, the Americas, and Italy, as well as other ethnic techniques of food preparation. Tuition is $6,240 plus a $4,000 lab fee. The program is taught entirely by working chefs and industry professionals from Boston and beyond-- serving as an ideal entree to hundreds of food-related careers, from culinary writing to restaurant management to working as a chef. Our skilled team of core instructors comprises esteemed local restaurant owners, chefs, and consultants, while our visiting instructors include renowned chefs and restaurateurs from around the nation.

Some of our faculty for Spring 2014 are: Jacques Pepin, John Vyhnanek, author, past owner of Harvard Street Grill, past executive chef at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Boston, restaurant consultant; Jean Jacques Paimblanc, past executive chef Legal Sea Foods, Pavilion, Howard Johnsons, Panera Bread, Signature Breads; Janine Sciarappa, pastry chef; Chris Douglass, owner/chef Ashmont Grill, Tavolo, past owner Icarus; Jeremy Sewall, executive chef/co-owner Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar and Grill, Lineage; Michael Leviton, executive chef/owner Lumiere, Area Four, Jeff Fournier, 51 Lincoln, Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother. The following instructors will have taught this semester either one or more times: Deborah Hansen, Taberna de Hara; Ihsan Gurdal, Formaggio Kitchen; Sam Huang, Super Fusion; Sandy Block; Master of Wine; Jim Dodge, world famous baker; Max Harvey, Jasper White's Summer Shack; Bess Emanuel, food consultant; Fabrizia Lanza, consultant and owner Anna Tasca Lanza Culinary School, Sicily; Nina Gallant, food photographer; Bill Nesto, Master of Wine; Irene Costello and Joan Mac Isaac, food product producers; Raymond Ost, chef/owner Sandrine's Restaurant; Joseph Polak, Rabbi and expert on Kosher foods, Boston University Hillel; Patrick Dubsky, owner Winestone and former sommelier; Jean --Claude Szurdak on French pastries; Sheryl Julian, food editor of the Boston Globe; Joseph Carlin, food historian; Priscilla Martel, baker; Mary Ann Esposito, expert on foods of Italy, Leo Romero, expert on culture and cuisine of Mexico, owner/chef Casa Romero; Jackson Cannon, mixologist and sommelier; Garrett Harker, owner Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar and Grill; and many others.

This intensive, four-month Program in the Culinary Arts provides a strong foundation in classic French and modern cooking techniques, along with exposure to international cuisines. Under the tutelage of professional working chefs and food industry experts, you will engage in lectures and demonstrations, and acquire hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art laboratory kitchen--one of the finest in the country. From simple techniques to more difficult and complex preparations, you will develop valuable cooking skills through discipline and practice. The program also provides a broader understanding of the past, present, and future of the global food economy, and the principles of small- and large-scale food production.  [ 8 cr. ]

Fall 2017
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 LAB Falso-Dohert FLR 117 MTWR 10:00 am – 11:30 am
A1 Falso-Dohert FLR 116 MTWR 12:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Spring 2018
Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 LAB Falso-Dohert FLR 116 MTWR 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
A1 Falso-Dohert FLR 117 MTWR 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Fall 2016 - MET ML704 S1 - Special Topic: "Launching Your Food Business."
Whatever type of food-related business you want to start, you will need expert advice to plan and launch. This class will guide you through the process of developing and realizing your business idea. Guest speakers from the food industry will share hands- on knowledge and insights. Students will develop a Lean Canvas (leanstack.com) and focus on preparing an "investor deck" - a presentation for potential investors, partners or customers. Grading is based on attendance, participation, completing a Lean Canvas, and a final presentation during the final class meeting. This class can be taken as a follow on to ML 655 S1, "Planning a Food Business" or as a stand-alone class.   [ 2 cr. ]

An in-depth exploration of the styles and production of cheeses from regions around the world, from their beginnings on the farm to the finished products at the table. 2 cr  [ 2 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND Gurdal PSY B36 R 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

In Food and Gender we will explore ways in which language and behaviors around food both reinforce and challenge gender hierarchies and restrictive norms. Using frameworks developed in gender studies we will interrogate our contemporary foodscape through close readings of many media, including food blogs, magazines, TV shows and advertisements. The course will include reading, research, field work, discussion, and cooking to help us understand why and how food has been gendered and how the process differs across place, time, and culture.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Staff CAS 315 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Students may work with a full-time Boston University faculty member to complete a Directed Study project on a topic relevant to the program. These projects must be arranged with and approved by Gastronomy program coordinator.  [ Var cr. ]

Prereq: consent of coordinator.   [ Var cr. ]

There is perhaps no foodstuff more prized than meat, and there is none more problematic. Consider its metaphorical contradictions. To go to the "meat of the matter" is to cut to the essence of things, the most important item on the agenda. Yet to be "treated like meat" is to be regarded as subordinate, subservient, an object for exploitation. Long associated with power, masculinity, vitality, and progress, meat is also linked to imperialism, sexism, speciesism, environmental collapse, foodborne disease, and chronic illness. In this comprehensive overview we will examine meat's many historical, cultural, economic, ecological, ethical, and nutritional dimensions.  [ 4 cr. ]

Examines the role of food in society and how it shapes identity and structures our lives. Explores multiple contexts of food production, access, procurement, and consumption, including rural agricultural sites, urban homesteads, grocery shopping, CSAs, and food assistance programs, and the intersection of food practices with class, ethnicity, race, and gender.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course surveys the history of American agriculture from the colonial era to the present. It examines how farmers understood markets, made crop choices, adopted new technologies, developed political identities, and sought government assistance. Emphasis on the environmental, ideological, and institutional impact of farm modernization and industrialization.  [ 4 cr. ]

Growing food in urban contexts raises interesting questions about food access, nutrition education, perceptions of public spaces and the place of nature in the urban environment. This course focuses on urban agriculture in Boston and a number of case studies from around the globe. Students visit gardens, learn basic cultivation skills through hands-on activities, and study the social and cultural sides of urban agriculture, as well as the political and city planning aspects of urban agriculture projects. 4 cr.  [ 4 cr. ]

Reviews various competing and sometimes conflicting frameworks for assessing what are "good" foods. Examines what global, national, state, and local food policies can do to promote the production and consumption of these foods. Participants learn how to conceptualize, measure, and assess varying ecological, economic, nutritional, health, cultural, political, and justice claims. Students analyze pathways connecting production and consumption of particular foodstuffs in the U.S. and the world. Emphasis is on comparative food systems and food value chains, and the respective institutional roles of science and technology, policy, and advocacy in shaping food supply and demand.  [ 4 cr. ]

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.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Messer PSY B35 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course overviews the forces shaping U.S. food policies, cultural politics, diet, and nutrition situations in the twenty-first century. After reviewing the history of U.S. domestic food policy, course discussions consider globalization, new agricultural and food technologies, new nutrition knowledge, immigration, and "sustainable-food" ideology as drivers of American dietary and food-regulatory change. "Food systems," "food chains," and "dietary structure" provide the major analytical frameworks for tracing how food moves from farm to table, and the role of local through national government and non-government institutions in managing these food flows.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Messer CAS 324 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

In this class students will explore the work of anthropologists and other social scientists on food activism citizens' efforts to promote social and economic justice through food practices and challenge the global corporate agrifood system. The class will explore diverse individual and collective forms of food activism including veganism, gleaning, farmers' markets, organic farming, fair trade, CSAs, buying groups, school gardens, anti-GMO movements, Slow Food, Via Campesina, and others. It will address the questions: what is food activism, what are its goals, what is working and not working, and what are the results?   [ 4 cr. ]

Students nearing the completion of their degree requirement for the MLA in Gastronomy may register for the Master's Project. This graduation requirement is required for students who entered the MLA program before Fall 2009. The Master's Thesis must be completed under the direction of a full-time Boston University faculty member. The coordinator of the Gastronomy program must approve a topic, outline, bibliography and schedule for the project. Please contact the program coordinator for further details and guidelines. 4 cr.  [ 4 cr. ]

Master’s Thesis and Master’s Project Options

Master’s Thesis and Master’s Project options are available for qualified students who have a GPA of 3.7 or higher, and can be arranged through the Gastronomy program. Students must work under the supervision of a full-time BU faculty member with a terminal degree. The complete MET Master’s Thesis Policies and Procedures can be found on the For Students portion of the website.

Open to the general public and industry professionals, Boston University’s Lifelong Learning offers a variety of food and wine certificate programs, as well as seminars, lectures, gastronomic tours, and programs for children and those over 58.

View all Gastronomy graduate courses.