MLA in Gastronomy

A unique, multidisciplinary program, the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) 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.

Admissions Information

The gastronomy degree program maintains a rolling admissions policy with no absolute deadlines. Applicants are admitted on the basis of academic transcripts, academic and personal references, and an essay. Standardized admissions tests, such as the GRE, are not required. Candidates for admission must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Students may take up to 8 credits of approved, graduate-level coursework prior to matriculation in the MLA in Gastronomy program. An average grade of B must be maintained to satisfy the degree requirements.

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 AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 670 Creative Multimedia: Tools, Design, and Application
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
  • MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 613 Debating Diet: The Fat Controversy
  • MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
  • MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 620 Food and Literature
  • MET ML 621 Researching Food History
  • MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
  • MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
  • MET ML 650 The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Survey of Wine, Spirits, and Beer
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 673 Survey of Food in Film
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
  • MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet
  • MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • 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 704 Special Topics in Food and Wine
  • MET ML 705 Artisan Cheeses of the World
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 707 Directed Study
  • MET ML 708 Directed Study
  • MET ML 711 The Many Meanings of Meat
  • MET ML 712 Food and Society
  • MET ML 713 Agricultural History
  • MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
  • MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism
  • MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis (8-credit thesis over two semesters, open only to students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher)

Master’s Thesis Option

A master’s thesis option is available for qualified students who have a GPA of 3.7 or higher. 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 Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy program offers four optional focus areas:

Business & Entrepreneurship

The Master of Liberal 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 concentration develop the managerial, financial, and marketing skills needed for a successful career.

In addition to the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy core curriculum (16 credits) and 16 credits of electives, students pursuing the Business & Entrepreneurship focus area must select 8 credits in consultation with an advisor:

Suggested courses may include:
  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
  • MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism

Students may select from the gastronomy electives listed below, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

  • MET AD 670 Creative Multimedia: Tools, Design, and Application
  • MET ML 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
  • MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 613 Debating Diet: The Fat Controversy
  • MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
  • MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 620 Food and Literature
  • MET ML 621 Researching Food History
  • MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
  • MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
  • MET ML 650 The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Survey of Wine, Spirits, and Beer
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 673 Survey of Food in Film
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
  • MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet
  • 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 704 Special Topics in Food and Wine
  • MET ML 705 Artisan Cheeses of the World
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 707 Directed Study
  • MET ML 708 Directed Study
  • MET ML 711 The Many Meanings of Meat
  • MET ML 712 Food and Society
  • MET ML 713 Agricultural History
  • MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
  • MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy,  Practice, and Performance
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism
  • MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis (8-credit thesis over two semesters, open only to students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher)

Students may substitute courses from other departments or disciplines with approval of the program advisor.

Gastronomy courses are designed primarily for students matriculated in that program, but are open to other qualified students with stamped approval.

Communication

The Master of Liberal 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.

In addition to the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy core curriculum (16 credits) and 16 credits of electives, students pursuing the Communication focus area must select 8 credits in consultation with an advisor:

Suggested courses may include:
  • MET AD 670 Creative Multimedia: Tools, Design, and Application
  • MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
  • MET ML 620 Food and Literature
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 673 Survey of Food in Film
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media

Students may select from the gastronomy electives listed below, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
  • MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 613 Debating Diet: The Fat Controversy
  • MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 621 Researching Food History
  • MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
  • MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Survey of Wine, Spirits, and Beer
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet
  • MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • 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 704 Special Topics in Food and Wine
  • MET ML 705 Artisan Cheeses of the World
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 707 Directed Study
  • MET ML 708 Directed Study
  • MET ML 711 The Many Meanings of Meat
  • MET ML 712 Food and Society
  • MET ML 713 Agricultural History
  • MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
  • MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism
  • MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis (8-credit thesis over two semesters, open only to students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher)

Students may substitute courses from other departments or disciplines with approval of the program advisor.

Gastronomy courses are designed primarily for students matriculated in that program, but are open to other qualified students with stamped approval.

Food Policy

The Master of Liberal 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.

In addition to the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy core curriculum (16 credits) and 16 credits of electives, students pursuing the Food Policy focus area must select 8 credits in consultation with an advisor:

Suggested courses may include:
  • MET ML 613 Debating Diet: The Fat Controversy
  • MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet
  • MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism

Students may select from the gastronomy electives listed below, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 670 Creative Multimedia: Tools, Design, and Application
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
  • MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
  • MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 620 Food and Literature
  • MET ML 621 Researching Food History
  • MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
  • MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
  • MET ML 650 The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Survey of Wine, Spirits, and Beer
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 673 Survey of Food in Film
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
  • MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • 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 704 Special Topics in Food and Wine
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 707 Directed Study
  • MET ML 708 Directed Study
  • MET ML 711 The Many Meanings of Meat
  • MET ML 712 Food and Society
  • MET ML 713 Agricultural History
  • MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
  • MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis (8-credit thesis over two semesters, open only to students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher)

Students may substitute courses from other departments or disciplines with approval of the program advisor.

Gastronomy courses are designed primarily for students matriculated in that program, but are open to other qualified students with stamped approval.

History & Culture

The Master of Liberal 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.

In addition to the Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in Gastronomy core curriculum (16 credits) and 16 credits of electives, students pursuing the History & Culture focus area must select 8 credits in consultation with an advisor:

Suggested courses may include:
  • MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
  • MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
  • MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
  • MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
  • MET ML 620 Food and Literature
  • MET ML 621 Researching Food History
  • MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
  • MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
  • MET ML 632 History of Wine
  • MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
  • MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
  • MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
  • MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 706 Food and Gender
  • MET ML 711 The Many Meanings of Meat
  • MET ML 712 Food and Society
  • MET ML 713 Agricultural History

Students may select from the Gastronomy electives listed below, or choose approved electives from other schools and colleges at Boston University.

  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 670 Creative Multimedia: Tools, Design, and Application
  • MET AD 741 The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • MET ML 565 Food Marketing
  • MET ML 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
  • MET ML 613 Debating Diet: The Fat Controversy
  • MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
  • MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
  • MET ML 650 The Foundation of Beer and Spirits
  • MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine
  • MET ML 652 A Comprehensive Study of Wine, Spirits, and Beer
  • MET ML 653 Mastering Wine: Skill Development
  • MET ML 654 The Wine Trade: Global, National, and Local Perspectives
  • MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
  • MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
  • MET ML 672 Food and Art
  • MET ML 673 Survey of Food in Film
  • MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
  • MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet
  • MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • 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 704 Special Topics in Food and Wine
  • MET ML 705 Artisan Cheeses of the World
  • MET ML 707 Directed Study
  • MET ML 708 Directed Study
  • MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
  • MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance
  • MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
  • MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
  • MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism
  • MET ML 801 Master’s Thesis (8-credit thesis over two semesters, open only to students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher)

Students may substitute courses from other departments or disciplines with approval of the program advisor.

Gastronomy courses are designed primarily for students matriculated in that program, but are open to other qualified students with stamped approval.

Academic Standing

All students in the Master of Liberal 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 Liberal 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.