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Grad Certificate

The Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems is available to students interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding, communicating and participating in finding solutions to the grand challenges we face for sustainable food production, access and utilization. Advances in agricultural and environmental sustainability, public health and nutrition, and economic and social well-being call for systemic and interdisciplinary research, which in turn require mechanisms for developing partnerships and collaboration. In response to these needs, the interdisciplinary graduate certificate program in Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) will expand opportunities for graduate training and faculty collaboration across several related units across campus.


Students are required to take a minimum of 13 credit hours to earn the Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems. Of these credit hours, 7 hours will be acquired from the core courses of the program and at least 6 credit hours will be acquired from elective courses outside of the student’s home department. The certificate consists of the following components:


AESC 8310 – Food Systems Sustainability, Security and Resilience (3 credit hours)

Foundational/Systems Learning Course: Students will be introduced to the concept of the food system as a complex adaptive system and explore additional concepts of scale, resiliency, connectivity, and interaction of the various parts of the system. The course will explore how different lenses and perspectives from different disciplines come together in solving problems and the importance of transdisciplinary approaches needed to solve these complex problems. Finally, the course will explore how mental and mathematical modeling approaches are used to facilitate holistic approaches to problem solving.

*Either* GEOG 6890 – Athens Urban Food Collective *or* CRSS 6020S – Social Sustainability in Ag & Food Systems (student chooses one for core course requirement) (3 credit hours)

Food Systems Service-Learning Courses: Choose one of the two courses; the alternate course can be used as an elective. Both courses aim to help students develop awareness of key food system issues in the local community and engage students in efforts to increase the sustainability of the local food system.

ALDR 7100E – Communication in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (1 credit hour)

Professional Development Course: This course focuses on the broad spectrum of communication research, specifically as it relates to social science paradigms, theoretical frameworks, and applied communication practices. Divided into three sections, this course will first establish a working foundation of how communication research fits within the greater realm of social sciences: positivist vs. constructivist, qualitative vs. quantitative, and the researcher’s role and responsibility. The second section will focus on the development of communication research in the agricultural and environmental sciences, involving the examination of public opinion, enacting change, and examining impact of technological advances in media, as well as agriculture and the environment. The third section will critically examine current communication research in agricultural and environmental sciences.

** Please note that ALDR 7100E will not be taught in Spring 2020. We are encouraging students pursuing the SFSI Certificate to enroll in GRSC 8200 Communicating Research & Scholarship. It will meet 9:05-11:00 on Mondays for the first half of the semester. This course will be accepted as the alternative to the required core course ALDR 7100E.

ELECTIVE COURSES (6 CREDIT HOURS): Student must complete two courses outside of home department from the list of electives below:

Course prefix & number Title
AAEC 6640 Food and Fiber Marketing and Merchandising
ALDR 6600 Global Issues in Agriculture and the Environment
ALDR 6710 International Agricultural Development
ANTH 8515 Institutional Dimensions of Sustainability
CRSS 6010 Sustainable Agriculture Management
CRSS 6020S Social Issues in Sustainable Agriculture
CRSS 6030 Sensors in Precision Agriculture
CRSS 6050 GIS for Nutrient and Energy Efficiency
CRSS 6060 Advance Topics in Precision Agriculture
CRSS/HORT 6400 Agro-ecology
CRSS 6740 Integrated Pest Management
CRSS/HORT/ANTH/GEOG 6931 Agroecology of Tropical America Field Trip
CRSS 8410 Adv Topics in Sustainable Agriculture Management
ENVM 6650 Environmental Economics
ENVM 6800 Water Resource Economics and Management
FANR 6020 Sustainable Development
FANR 7860 Natural Resource and Environmental Economics I
FDST 7180E Marketing of Value-Added Foods
FDNS 6640 Food Sanitation and Safety
FISH 6550 Sustainable Aquaculture
GEOG 6810 Conservation Ecology and Resource Management
GEOG 6890 Athens Urban Food Collective
GEOG 6860 Industrial Agro-Food System and its Alternatives
HORT 6030S Sustainable Community Food Production
HORT 6050 Greenhouse Management I
HORT 6125 Organic Agricultural Systems
HORT 6440 Environmental Physiology
HORT 6590 Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
HORT 6990 Environmental Issues in Horticulture
HPAM 7050 Health Policy and Obesity


If you would like to apply for the graduate certificate in Sustainable Food Systems, fill out the SFS Certificate Program of Study Form and the Curriculum Change Request Form (found on the Registrar’s Office webpage) and return both documents to the Certificate Coordinator at