Food Studies Graduate Certificate
Ideal for students and professionals who are considering a career change or seeking to enhance their credentials, the Graduate Certificate in Food Studies at Boston University’s Metropolitan College provides a solid foundation in gastronomy and can be tailored to focus on food-related areas such as business, communication, history and culture, or policy.
The four-course Food Studies certificate program is a good choice for those who may not be in a position to commit to a full degree program. However, because the certificate program shares courses with the Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy, Food Studies certificate students who are accepted into the Gastronomy degree program may apply 16 credits toward their degree requirements.
The certificate can be completed on a part-time basis in one year by taking two courses per semester.
Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Food Studies will be able to demonstrate:
- Interdisciplinary and holistic approaches to the study of food through a liberal arts perspective.
- Advanced knowledge of social theory applicable to food studies.
- An ability to critically analyze current and foundational issues in food studies and food systems.
- Research skills in food studies and knowledge of 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.
For more information about the Food Studies certificate, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
A total of 16 credits from the following:
MET ML 565 Food Marketing
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. ]
|C1||IND||Ward||CAS B27||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 610 Special Topics in Gastronomy
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.
Fall 2018: "Sociology of Taste"
Taste has an undeniable personal immediacy: producing visceral feelings ranging from delight to disgust. As a result, in our everyday lives we tend to think about taste as purely a matter of individual preference. However, for sociologists, our tastes are not only socially meaningful, they are also socially determined, organized, and constructed. This course will introduce students to the variety of questions sociologists have asked about taste. What is a need? Where do preferences come from? What social functions might our tastes serve? Major theoretical perspectives for answering these questions will be considered, examining the influence of societal institutions, status seeking behaviors, internalized dispositions, and systems of meaning on not only what we enjoy--but what we find most revolting. [ 4 cr. ]
MET ML 611 Archaeology of Food in Ancient Times
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. ]
MET ML 612 Pots and Pans: Material Culture of Food
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. ]
MET ML 613 Debating Diet
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. ]
MET ML 614 Philosophy of Food
"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. ]
MET ML 615 Reading and Writing the Food Memoir
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. ]
|A1||IND||Pepper||CAS B27||M||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 619 The Science of Food and Cooking
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. ]
|B1||IND||Ryan||CGS 311||T||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 620 Food and Literature
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. ]
MET ML 621 Researching Food History
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. ]
MET ML 622 History of Food
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. ]
MET ML 625 Wild and Foraged Foods
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. ]
|D1||IND||Davis||CAS 223||R||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 630 Cookbooks and History
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. ]
MET ML 631 Culture and Cuisine: France
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. ]
MET ML 632 History of Wine
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. ]
MET ML 633 Readings in Food History
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. ]
|D1||IND||Elias||CAS 320||R||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 636 Culture and Cuisine: Italy
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. [ 4 cr. ]
|E1||IND||Esposito||FLR 117||S||10:00 am – 4:00 pm|
MET ML 638 Culture and Cuisine: New England
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. ]
MET ML 641 Anthropology of Food
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. ]
|A1||IND||Metheny||PSY B47||M||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 642 Food Ethnography
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. ]
MET ML 655 Planning a Food Business
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. ]
MET ML 671 Food and Visual Culture
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. ]
MET ML 672 Food and Art
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. ]
MET ML 673 Survey of Food and Film
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. ]
MET ML 681 Food Writing for the Media
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. ]
MET ML 691 Nutrition and Diet: Why What You Eat Matters
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. ]
MET ML 692 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
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. ]
MET ML 701 Introduction to Gastronomy: Theory and Methodology
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. ]
|C1||IND||Elias||STH 318||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 706 Food and Gender
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. ]
MET ML 712 Food and Society
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. ]
MET ML 713 Agricultural History
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. ]
MET ML 714 Urban Agriculture
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. ]
MET ML 715 Food and the Senses
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. ]
MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance
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. ]
MET ML 720 Food Policy and Food Systems
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. ]
MET ML 721 US Food Policy and Culture
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. ]
|B1||IND||Messer||CAS B27||T||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET ML 722 Studies in Food Activism
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. ]
Courses may not be repeated for credit.
View all Gastronomy graduate courses.