outdoor market with food and vegetables

Program Overview

The minor in Food Studies is a trans-disciplinary undergraduate program that brings together students and faculty from many departments and colleges across SDSU. It does not have its own courses or faculty but builds its curriculum by combining food-related courses from disciplines such as Anthropology, Biology, Economics, Environmental Sciences, European Studies, Geography, Latin American Studies, Marketing, Philosophy, Political Science, Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, and Public Health. It is currently housed in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Letters.

The program provides students with a rigorous and broad foundation to study food in a systematic, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged approach. While the focus is primarily on the social, cultural and environmental aspects of food, coursework in business, natural, and health sciences contribute to the breadth and depth of the curriculum.

Upon completion of the degree, students will be prepared to: (1) understand a broad range of global and local food issues within their interconnected social, economic, political, cultural, ecological, and historical contexts and (2) use critical and analytical skills to develop solutions to create a more sustainable and equitable food future — one in which people and communities are able to meet their food needs and lead secure and dignified food-based livelihoods.

The minor complements majors in many disciplines and prepares students for jobs in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including the food industry and the green economy. It is also useful for those planning to continue onto graduate school in various programs associated with the study of food.

The mission of the Interdisciplinary Food Studies Minor is to provide student with a rigorous and broad foundation to study food in a systematic, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged approach that focuses on the connection between the social and environmental aspects of food and the development of solutions to create a more sustainable and equitable food future.
  1. Consider food topics from an interdisciplinary perspective that encompasses theories and practices from the humanities, social sciences, public health, nutrition, natural sciences, and business.

  2. Analyze the contemporary food system in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary way, emphasizing its economic, political, social, cultural, and ecological aspects.

  3. Describe and critically evaluate the cultural meanings of food and the relationships between food, identity, and place, through both empirical observation of food practices and analysis of various texts and representations.

  4. Assess the role of race, ethnicity, nationalism, gender and class in shaping food practices, experiences and representations.

  5. Contrast ways of growing, distributing and consuming food across time and space and compare their impacts on people and natural resources.

  6. Identify key actors within local, regional, national and global food systems, and critically evaluate their power and responsibilities in shaping those systems.

  7. Identify, analyze, and evaluate contemporary and historical factors that affect food supply and food security, including environmental and social issues.

  8. Develop and apply skills and knowledge in a professional context through engagement with community-based organizations working to improve the food system.

  9. Envision, design, implement, and evaluate different solutions to improve food security, promote wellbeing, support local economies, and foster environmental sustainability.

  10. Develop a compassionate moral vision of food related concerns, including an appreciation of the humanity of those struggling with social stigma, obesity, and eating disorders.
  • Retrieve, analyze, and interpret professional literature, popular media, and artistic representations providing information about food. 

  • Apply and integrate theoretical concepts from a variety of disciplines to understand food issues globally and locally. 

  • Synthesize knowledge and use insight and creativity to develop solutions to contemporary food-related social and environmental problems. 

  • Communicate effectively through written papers, oral presentations, and discussion. 

  • Work in multi-disciplinary teams, demonstrate empathy and respect for differences, and provide leadership.