Undergraduate students of any major are welcome to pursue the certificate in food systems.   

Students are eligible to declare the certificate once they complete one of the three core courses (AGROECOL/​AGRONOMY/​C&E SOC/​ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  103 Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture, C&E SOC/​A A E/​SOC  340 Issues in Food Systems, and DY SCI/​AGRONOMY  471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability) with a grade of B or better.  While there are different pathways to complete the certificate, students who declare and plan their coursework earlier in their careers will be in a better position to complete the required coursework.

Students who meet the eligibility criteria should fill out this short questionnaire and then contact Megan Banaszak ( to declare the certificate.   

The certificate in food systems requires that students take two highly interdisciplinary core courses (6 total credits),  and at least one course in each of three thematic elective categories (for 9 total credits across electives), plus a one credit culminating activity such as an internship, independent study, or appropriate capstone. The course list below provides a complete list of courses that satisfy each requirement.

Minimum Requirements:

  • 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
Core Courses
Select two of the following:6-7
Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture
Issues in Food Systems
Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Elective Courses
Select at least one course from each list: Provisioning, Context, and Values for a total of 9 credits9
Provisioning (production, processing, distribution)
Principles and Practices in Crop Production
Cropping Systems
Global Food Production and Health
Introduction to Animal Sciences
Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development
Plants, Parasites, and People
Introduction to the Science and Technology of Food
Survey of Horticulture
Tropical Horticultural Systems
World Vegetable Crops
Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study
Context (policy, economics, law, society)
Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy
Food Laws and Regulations
Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development
International Field Study in Animal Agriculture and Sustainable Development
Environment, Natural Resources, and Society
Natural Resources Policy
People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
Environmental Governance: Markets, States and Nature
The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology
Values (nutrition, equity, environment)
Cooperatives and Alternative Forms of Enterprise Ownership
World Hunger and Malnutrition
Grassland Ecology
Labor in Global Food Systems
Food, Culture, and Society
People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
American Indian Women
Plants and Human Wellbeing
Nutrition Today
Human Nutritional Needs
Soil: Ecosystem and Resource
Food Systems Culmination Activity 1
Select one of the following:1
Independent Study
Independent Study
Special Problems
Food Systems Internship
Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education
Total Credits16-17


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

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


Questions about the certificate may be directed to the advisor, Megan Banaszak (, or to the Faculty Chair, Michael Bell (


For students in food or agriculture related majors, the certificate in food systems will provide a broader context to their disciplinary studies. As they seek careers, they will be able to provide evidence of enhancing their disciplinary learning and skills with a broader framework of food system concepts, including ideas for enhancing food system sustainability. 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 in any discipline, the certificate in food systems will help them be more informed consumers and better informed citizens, hopefully leading to better choices about what they eat through knowledge of food and the social, economic, and environmental consequences of production, processing, distribution, and consumption.

Faculty across campus teach courses in the certificate. Please use the Guide to seek out information on individual courses.

For general certificate inquiries or questions about the culminating experience, please contact the Faculty Chair, Michael Bell (, 608-265-9930).

For direct advising on curricular requirements, or to declare the certificate, contact Megan Banaszak (

  • Integrated, interdisciplinary course work
  • Professional development opportunities, including options to intern off campus
  • Hands-on culminating experience