Food Systems Certificate


It is a 16-credit option open to all undergraduate students. It assembles an interdisciplinary curriculum, integrating different paradigms across all aspects of food production, distribution, and consumption, along with the context and values inherent to the systems.

For students in food or agriculture-related majors, the certificate in food systems will provide a broader context to their disciplinary studies.  For students in fields that include food as a possible orientation of their studies, it will provide exposure to the full range of food systems, potentially inspiring an orientation to food as a focus of their studies. For students of any discipline, the certificate will help them be more informed consumers and citizens, hopefully leading to better choices about what they eat through knowledge of food and the social, economic, and environmental outcomes of different patterns of production, processing, distribution, and consumption.

Why declare Food Systems?

This certificate allows students to complete an activity outside of a formal classroom setting in which they gain a significant experience in Food Systems. This activity may take different forms, such as directed research, internship, leadership role in student organizations (e.g., FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture, Slow Food UW, Campus Food Shed),  service learning (e.g., Morgridge Center Internship, ASM Leadership Internship) or contribution of food system aspects to a senior capstone project. In all cases, the activity must cut across or integrate multiple aspects of food systems.


  • Evaluate critically the key elements of a food system.
  • Evaluate critically how political, social, economic, and environmental forces interact to shape food systems.
  • Evaluate critically the biophysical processes inherent in various agricultural production systems.
  • Evaluate critically how individuals from different backgrounds interact with local and global food systems as humans, consumers, producers, and citizens.
  • Evaluate critically the social, economic, and environmental outcomes of different food systems.


Minimum Requirementsexpand_more

  • 2.0 GPA in certificate courses
  • At least 50% of certificate courses taken in-residence (i.e. at UW-Madison or through a UW-Madison sponsored study abroad program)
  • Minimum of 16 credits total

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Core Courses: 6-7 Creditsexpand_more

Select two of the following:

Students must complete one of the core courses with a B or better to declare the certificate. If you wish to declare the certificate, complete the Declaration Form and email and

Certificate Declaration Form

Elective Courses: 9 Creditsexpand_more

Select at least one course from each list: Provisioning, Context, and Values

Visit UW Guide to see the complete list of course offerings.

Cumulative Activity: 1 Creditexpand_more

Requirements: Students must 1) Write learning goals before the internship or independent study begins. 2) Write bi-weekly reflections on progress towards those goals. 3) Write a midterm reflection paper. 4) Write the final reflection paper 5) Request a faculty or staff member to be their supervisor. *Requirements do not apply to the Slow Food UW course.

Independent Study

Food Systems Internship

Culminating activities must be formally pre-approved and incorporated into an independent study (299) or internship (399) within the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology. 

Approval Request Form for Cumlimative Activity


Nan Enstad, Faculty Chair
346D Agricultural Hall
Madison, WI 53706

Megan Banaszak, Undergraduate Coordinator
350 Agricultural Hall
Madison, WI 53706

Community and Environmental Sociology
350 Agricultural Hall
Madison, WI 53706