MA in Gastronomy

Online, On-Campus, and Blended

A unique, multidisciplinary program, the Master of Arts (MA) in Gastronomy 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 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.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with an MA in Gastronomy will have:

  • 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.

Admissions Information

For current admissions information, please visit the Metropolitan College website.

Degree Requirements

A total of 40 credits is required. Students must complete the required core courses and, if any, their chosen focus-area courses. The remaining credits can be chosen from a wide range of electives.

Required Core Courses (16 credits)

  • MET ML 622 History of Food
  • MET ML 641 Anthropology of Food
  • MET ML 701 Introduction to Gastronomy: Theory and Methodology
  • MET ML 715 Food and the Senses

Elective Courses (24 credits)

Students who are not pursuing a focus area of Business & Entrepreneurship, Communication, Food Policy, or History & Culture (see below) must select 24 credits from the gastronomy electives listed, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 623 Food and Public History
  • MET ML 629 Culture and Cuisine of the African Diaspora
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services

Other electives available with advisor’s consent.

Additionally, students can apply credits from the on-campus food and wine courses listed below toward the MA in Gastronomy degree.

  • MET ML 650 The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Survey of Wine
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 698 Culinary Arts Laboratory: Cooking (cannot be taken in addition to ML 700)
  • MET ML 699 Culinary Arts Laboratory: Baking (cannot be taken in addition to ML 700)
  • MET ML 700 Culinary Arts Laboratory
  • MET ML 705 Artisan Cheeses of the World

Master’s Thesis Option

A master’s thesis option is available for qualified students who have a GPA of 3.7 or higher. MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis is the 8-credit thesis option that is taken over two semesters. This option can be arranged through the Gastronomy program. Students must work under the supervision of a full-time BU faculty member with a terminal degree.

Focus Areas

The Master of Arts (MA) in Gastronomy program offers four optional focus areas:

Business & Entrepreneurship

The Master of Arts in Gastronomy focus area in Business & Entrepreneurship is ideal for students who are interested in pursuing a career that joins food and commerce. Courses in this focus area develop the managerial, financial, and marketing skills needed for a successful career.

Communication

The Master of Arts in Gastronomy focus area in Communication offers a critical analysis of food and culture in print, film, photography, television, the visual arts, and digital media. Courses examine the portrayal of food in media, past and present, with an emphasis on writing and communications.

Food Policy

The Master of Arts in Gastronomy focus area in Food Policy combines the study of food history and culture with an activist’s dedication to changing the world and provides the social-scientific background to influence and direct public food policy, particularly in the areas of nutrition, food security and food justice issues, community development, and environmental sustainability.

History & Culture

The Master of Arts in Gastronomy focus area in History & Culture explores the many facets of food across cultures over time. Through analysis and critical thinking, students will gain the research and writing skills necessary to synthesize information, providing valuable life and career skills.

Online Delivery Format

The four core courses are available in online delivery format. Not all elective courses are available online. Please check with the department for the list of elective courses that are offered in online format.

Academic Standing

All students in the Master of Arts in Gastronomy degree program must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 to remain in good standing and to graduate. Cumulative grade point averages below 3.0 will result in a student being placed on academic probation. In addition, no grade below B– can be applied toward the degree.

For information on admission to the Master of Arts in Gastronomy program, and to plan a course of study, please contact the faculty coordinator at 617-358-6291 or by email at gastrmla@bu.edu.