The food systems that work in our everyday lives are vast and complex. Sometimes the answer to solving local or global food issues might be producing more food, but by stressing a holistic approach to food systems we encourage our students to look for new solutions that might include factors such as culture, financial stability, location, and more. You’ll do all this in the classroom, online, in greenhouses, in the field, and possibly through study abroad. Only a few universities in the United States offer a major like Food Systems. It's an emerging academic field—one now sought by many students and employers—and CFANS is proud to be a leader in offering this major. Students graduating with a Food Systems degree from the University of Minnesota will have:

  • Foundational understanding in one or more areas related to food systems
  • The ability to perceive, feel, think, and act systemically to address complex food-system challenges
  • Foundational competence in communication regarding complex food systems challenges

Through internships and integration with the local community, you will have the opportunity to practice project management, as well as contribute to the broader university and local community food systems. The Twin Cities offers the unique experience of being in an urban area with millions of eaters, which allows students to form projects that make a noticeable difference to the community.



  • "This major has been a perfect fit for me. I feel confident that I could apply my degree in many different ways, from my own business to large companies. I like that it's small and I was able to connect with a lot of people."
  • "Overall, I'm glad I switched to this major and I'm content with what I learned. It was interesting and engaged me in many topic areas, which was fun."

Specialized Tracks

Organic student at Cornercopia

All Food Systems majors begin with a core set of classes about food system components and interactions. Topics include food system sustainability, plant production, plant identification, communications, soil science, and agroecosystems. In addition to core classes, students will focus more deeply on coursework related to their chosen track. This flexible course plan emphasizes expertise, experiential learning, and communication skills that allow students to work effectively across disciplines. Learn more about the tracks our students pursue.


Two students receiving a scholarship

Our number one goal is to help students in our major succeed while in school so they can be more successful after graduation, and that's hard to do when you're struggling to pay your tuition bill. That’s why we think it’s important to help our students pay for college through a variety of scholarship opportunities. Each year the departments involved in Food Systems award over $55,000 to incoming and returning students. To help foster students' professional development, we also offer a scholarship to help cover the cost of registration and travel to food systems related conferences.


A student who started a mushroom business

When you graduate with a degree in Food Systems from the University of Minnesota you leave with  practical skills that enable you to be a leader and changemaker within your community. By focusing on both the scientific side as well as on interpersonal and intercultural communications, students are prepared to make an impact on the world outside of the University. This makes our students competitive for a diverse range of jobs that require integrated knowledge of how food systems function. Read more about the kinds of jobs available to Food Systems majors on our Careers page.