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Track IV: Food Systems, Nutrition, and the Environment

This track focuses on the importance of sustainable food production systems and critical issues of access to high quality food. The study of food systems, nutrition and the environment has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity, as communities and institutions have recognized the importance of sustainable food production systems and high quality food as an integral part of any healthy and just society. This is an inherently interdisciplinary area, requiring students to draw on multiple types of knowledge and methods. To illustrate: the production and distribution of food is affected by cultural norms, individual behavior, social structure, biotechnologies, present and past environments, geopolitical power, and global economic relations. Social movements and cultural preferences, often inflected by race, class, and gender, drive the demand and value of certain foods (such as wild-caught fish, farm-raised animals, or traditional grains), which in turn influence how and where food production takes place.

Food production and consumption has major consequences for the environment, human well-being, and community. Given future human population growth and climatic changes, where will sufficient food be grown? How can we ensure that we are not producing too many of certain crops, and too few of others? How do we preserve our scarce resources such as water and soil to ensure that we continue to provide a sufficient supply of food at reasonable prices in years to come? Should agricultural land also be used for fuel and energy? How will these decisions affect biodiversity and the planet's natural systems? What is an ideal diet from a human nutritional perspective, and what political-economic barriers to accessing such a diet exist around the world?

Students in this track can choose to take a wide variety of courses, or instead concentrate on issues such as nutrition, global agricultural systems, plant physiology, food justice, rural life and culture, food policy, and environmental ethics. It serves as an ideal preparation for future studies and careers in nutrition and nutritional policy, sustainable food production, and global food systems, grounding students in perspectives that cut across the physical, social, and human sciences with attention to inequality and cultural difference.

Learn about the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative >

Example track paths, based on students' interests:

Food Systems & Ecosystem Health
World Hunger
The Science of Food Systems and the Environment
Food Businesses
Nutrition & Policy
History, Culture(s) and Ethics

View all track paths >

Students focusing on the Food Systems, Nutrition, and the Environment Track must take the following track courses in addition to other general requirements:

Applied Environmental Studies Stand-alone Majors:

  • Four elective courses

Environmental Studies Co-Majors:

  • Five courses as follows:
    • One Introductory course
    • One Methods/Research course
    • Three elective courses
      Note: Courses must come from at least two different departments and include one seminar (*). They may be chosen from any of the three subcategories listed.
ANTH 30 Food, Nutrition, and Culture Variable
BIO 010/ENV 010 Plants and Humanity Fall
ENV 009 Food Systems Fall
NU 101 Introductory Human Nutrition Spring

ANTH 161 Fieldwork Lab as a Method Fall
BIO 132 Biostatistics Fall
CEE 006 Principles of Biostatistics Spring
CEE 154 Principles of Epidemiology Fall, Spring
CEE 189 Introduction to Remote Sensing Spring
CH 030 Community Health Methods Spring
CH 031 Introduction to Statistics for Health Applications Fall
CSHD 140 Problems of Research: Statistics Spring
CSHD 142 Research Methods and Design Spring
CSHD 144 Qualitative And Ethnographic Methods In Applied Social Science Research Spring
CSHD 146 Applied Data Analysis Fall
EC 013 Statistics Fall, Spring
ENV 107/GIS 101 Intro to Geographic Information Systems Fall, Spring
ENV 120 Intro to Environmental Fieldwork: From Class to Community Fall, Spring
ENV 170 Environmental Data Visualization Fall
ENV 197/GIS 102 Advanced GIS Spring
ENV 199 Senior Honors Thesis Fall, Spring
EOS 104 Geological Applications of Geographic Information Systems Spring
MATH 021 Introductory Statistics Fall, Spring
PS 103 Political Science Research Methods Spring
PS 115 Public Opinion and Public Survey Variable
PSY 031 Statistics for Behavioral Science Fall, Spring
SOC 100 Research Design and Interpretation Fall
SOC 101 Quantitative Research Methods Fall, Spring
SOC 102 Qualitative Research Methods Fall
UEP 232/ENV 193 Intro to GIS Fall, Spring
UEP 207/CEE 207 Environmental Law Spring

The headers below are only meant to be informative. Students are not required to take a given number of courses from each subcategory.
ANTH 30 Food, Nutrition and Culture Variable
ANTH 142 American Meat Variable
ANTH 157 Cities and Food Spring
ANTH 174 Thinking with Plants Variable
ENV 190 Practicing in the Food Systems* Spring
HIST 005 History of Consumption Fall
HIST 014 Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Crises in Africa Fall
HIST 103 Consumption, Power, and Identity: Food and clothing in modern times * Variable
HIST 154 Health and Healing in Medieval and Early Modern Europe Spring
PHIL 025 Food Ethics Spring
VISC 128/ENV 128 Food as Sculpture Spring
ANTH 140 Food Justice: Fair Food Activism and Social Movements Variable
ANTH 178 Animals and Posthuman Thought * Variable
CEE/UEP 265 Corporate Management of Environmental Issues * Fall
EC 035 Economic Development Fall, Spring
EC 130 Topics in Environmental Economics * Fall
EC 136 Topics in Economic Development * Spring
EC 192-1 Advanced Seminar in Economics: African Economic Development * Spring
EC 192 Resource and Environmental Economic Policy Fall
ED 014 Food and Schools Fall
ENV 152/PS 188-20 Seminar in Environmental Negotiations * Variable
NUTR 215/UEP 223 Fundamentals of US Agriculture * Fall
NUTR 221 Global Food Business * Spring
NUTR 224 Community Food Planning and Programs * Fall, Spring
NUTR 238 Economics of Food Policy Analysis * Spring
UEP 285 Food Justice: Critical Approaches to Policy and Planning *
(w/ instructor's permission)
ANTH 040 Biological Anthropology Fall
BIO 008 Microbiology of Food Fall
BIO 108 Plant Development Spring (odd years)
BIO 118 Plant Physiology Spring (even years)
BIO 185 Food for All: Ecology, Biotechnology and Sustainability * Fall (even years), Summer
NUTR 227 International Nutrition * Fall
NUTR 330 Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (w/ instructor's permission) Spring
PSY 025 Physiological Psychology Fall
PSY 128 Nutrition and Behavior * Variable

Unlisted courses that are environmentally-themed might be requested to count toward specific requirements (introductory, research/methods and advanced courses/seminars). Examples might include Experimental College classes or Advanced Independent Research courses offered by different departments. In order to have an unlisted course added to a track, you must complete a Course Petition form and submit it to environmentalstudies(@tufts.edu).

Attention: This list is a general guide. Some courses might not be taught every year. Please double-check the current semester course listing and/or SIS.