Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

Sustainable Food Systems

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

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

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

This two-year programme is offered as 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 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. 

Program code: NM028
Name: Sustainable Food Systems - Master´s Programme
Next start: autumn semester 2021
Study location: Uppsala
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Language: English
Level: Master
Pace of study: Full-time
Teaching form: Normal teaching
Number of admission places: 30
Application code for international students: 81050
Application code for swedish students: 81041
Application deadline for international students: 1/15/2021
Application deadline for swedish students: 4/15/2021
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 180 credits and including specialised studies comprising 90 credits within one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains:
- natural science
- social science

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, called English 6. 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 is open for students with different educational backgrounds, in social sciences as well as in natural sciences. The overall competence of the group and the previous experience of the students, contributes to a deeper understanding of today’s food systems and what is needed for a transition to more sustainable food systems in the future.

During the first year, three new courses are offered to provide an overview of sustainable development in 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 on 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, Uppsala University 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 2018

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 underutilised and novel raw materials and foods and assess their potential. 

The course consists of lectures, literature studies, seminars and project work based on case studies. It is based on student-centered teaching and contacts with various actors in the food chain. 

Management perspectives for sustainable food systems (FÖ0440), 15 ECTS, autumn term 2018

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 2019

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.

Exemples of elective courses

Please note that students who meet the entry requirements for the programme are not necessarily qualified for admission to all courses on the programme. Some courses require a certain number of credits at first-cycle level in a natural science subject, such as biology or food science. Where is the case, it is indicated in the list of courses in the syllabus.

  • Global food systems and food security (LU0092), 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 this programme 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 forth 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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