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Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

Sustainable Food Systems

Sustainable Food Systems is a multi-disciplinary Master's programme, with student-centred and teamwork pedagogy. It focuses on sustainable development applied to the life cycle perspective of food, including primary production, processing, distribution and consumption.


Are you interested in working towards sustainable food development? This programme will give you the opportunity to learn, practice and take on challenges and opportunities that lead to sustainable development in the whole food chain.

Through your studies, you will gain know-how about identifying, developing and evaluating innovative products and processes in food systems. You will work with real cases in cooperation with companies and organisations in the broad food sector. A multi-disciplinary background among students and tutors serves as a condition for fruitful dialogue. Natural- and social science backgrounds are needed to work towards sustainable development in food systems.

This two-year programme offers a mix of programme courses and elective courses. There is room for specialisation in subject-related areas at SLU as well as at other universities.

The programme focuses on development of sustainable and circular food systems. It recognises the many actors in society that have a role in the development of innovative solutions. A student that has taken this programme may take on a number of roles; in primary production, food industry, food retail, service organisations, governmental agencies, PhD-studies and working with policies in a national as well as an international setting.

The UN sustainable development goals in our teaching

Programmes at SLU generate knowledge which contributes to the goals for sustainable development, both in Sweden and internationally. 


Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 60 800
Tuition fee, total:
SEK 243 000

Name: Sustainable Food Systems - Master´s Programme
Next start: autumn semester 2022
Study location: Uppsala
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Level: Second cycle
Pace of study: Full Time
Teaching form: Campus
Language: English
Number of admission places: 30
Application deadline: 1/17/2022
Application code: 81041
Degree: Master of Science (120 credits) with a major in food science.

Admission to the Master’s programme Sustainable Food Systems requires a first-cycle qualification comprising of 180 credits and including:
- specialised studies comprising of 90 credits within a single subject (i.e. Economics) within social science, and
- an independent project or equivalent worth a minimum of 7.5 credits.
- specialised studies comprising of 90 credits within a single subject (i.e. Biology) within natural science, and
- an independent project or equivalent worth a minimum of 7.5 credits.

Applicants with the equivalent qualifications obtained by means of a degree from another country, or with the equivalent knowledge obtained in some other way, may also be regarded as fulfilling the specific entry requirements.

This programme is taught in English. The applicant must further have a level of English equivalent to upper secondary school English. An applicant with a first-cycle qualification from SLU comprising 180 credits automatically fulfils this requirement. Special rules apply for applicants with qualifications from one of the Nordic countries and some English-speaking countries.

Specific requirements apply for admission to the individual courses included in the programme.


The courses in this multidisciplinary program are open for students with educational backgrounds in social sciences and in natural sciences. The pedagogic approach builds on  interaction and collaboration between the students through case studies, seminars, report writing and oral presentations. Teamwork and student-centred teaching is central to the programme. The overall competence and the previous experience of the students, contributes to a deeper understanding of today’s food systems and what is needed for transitions to more sustainable food systems in the future.

During the first year, the courses provide an overview of sustainable food systems, knowledge about the prerequisites for ongoing and future development, and skills to handle challenges linked to these areas.

The content of the courses focuses on:

  • Developing an understanding of system perspectives as circular systems of production, processing and consumption of food,
  • Identifying options and challenges related to the development of sustainable and innovative food products, processes and systems,
  • Evaluating current and future food products and food systems from a sustainability perspective.

The programme includes elective courses which offer the opportunity to specialize in different areas and ends with an independent project (degree project) corresponding to 30 credits or 60 credits.

Elective courses may be taken at SLU or at other universities, (a semester exchange program is possible for the fall semester, the second year of the program). 

The programme prepares the students for continued academic studies or work in food companies, organisations or authorities.


Programme courses year 1

Prospects and challenges for sustainable food systems (LV0103) 15 ECTS, autumn term

The course Prospects and challenges for sustainable food systems covers aspects of the entire food chain, including primary production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management. The focus is on efficient use of resources throughout the chain.

In the course, you will gain a deeper understanding about current food systems and their challenges, analyse production chains from a life-cycle perspective and evaluate improvement options that can lead to increased sustainability. We will also identify underutilized and novel raw materials and foods and assess their potential.


Management perspectives for sustainable food systems (FÖ0440), 15 ECTS, autumn term

The course focuses on sustainable development in management in biobased industry, especially food industry. It is based on an understanding of value production in terms of financial, environmental and social dimension (the Triple Bottom Line).

The course serves as an introduction to key marketing concepts and theory: perceived customer value with regards to sustainable development, innovation management, stakeholder theory, social practice theory, relationship marketing, networks and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the equivalent system related concept of "creating shared value" (CSV).

It is based on lectures, guest lectures, seminars, exercises and a project all of which offer opportunities to develop an epistemological development and vocabulary. Several of these modules offers training of analytical and evaluative competence.


Project management for innovation in sustainable food systems (LV0102) 15 ECTS, spring term

In the course Project management for innovation in sustainable food systems we get an understanding of the concept of innovation and how to manage innovation within the context of sustainable food systems. In the course, Project management and facilitation of innovation projects is a major part of the course, which also includes a deeper understanding of the dynamics of groups and organisations.

The course is based on case projects, where you work in groups an innovation project related to a sustainable food system. The projects include participation with, for example, industry, advisory services, farmers or other organizations within the food system. After the course you will have obtained practice skills and strategic competence be able to evaluate alternative paths of development or scenarios from long-term sustainability visions.


Consumer behaviour, food choice and sustainable food consumption (FÖ0468) 15 ECTS, spring term

The course covers in-depth theory in different thematic directions (consumer behaviour, quality experiences, learning, motivation, values and drivers in consumer choices and behaviours. A specific theme is consumer studies of both a qualitative and quantitative nature, including methods for sensory analyses.

The course maintains a sustainability perspective throughout, including assessment of how new consumer behaviours and sustainable consumption influence the actors in the value chain for food and how interactions in this chain can be altered, for example through new distribution channels, communication methods, processes for shared value creation and new pathways for encounters between producers and consumers.


Examples of elective courses

Food waste - current situation and future opportunities 7,5 ECTS

Sustainable agri-food value chains and bioeconomy 15 ECTS

Environmental economics and management 15 ECTS

Global food systems and food security, 15 ECTS,

Interdisciplinary Practice, 15 ECTS

Food Ethics, 7,5 ECTS

Scientific Methods, Tools and Thesis Writing 15 ECTS

The Process of Research: Qualtative Methods, Data Analysis and Academic Writing, 15 ECTS

Research Methods for People and Environment Studies 15 ECTS

Qualified Work Placement 2, 7,5 ECTS

Qualified Work Placement 2, 15 ECTS


After finishing your exam, you may take several roles; in primary production, food industry, food retail, service providing organizations, governmental agencies and working with policies in a national as well as an international setting. 

Qualification Awarded

Degree of Master (120 credits) with a major in Food Science.

Central Uppsala in summer

Campus Uppsala

Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth largest city, and the hub of SLU’s educational activities. Located just outside of the city centre, SLU’s Uppsala campus is spacious, leafy and picturesque. It is a fitting setting for Sweden’s only agricultural university, and possibly the most research-intensive of all universities. With two universities located in Uppsala, students can enjoy a lively, dynamic and stimulating atmosphere. 


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