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Though food-related issues vary widely in focus, they are all linked by their complexity and are deeply interdisciplinary nature, each relating to topics of health and nutrition, genetics, politics, culture, the environment, economics and business.

The Food & Society Certificate provides an opportunity for students completing the certificate to be able to appreciate the full range of these interdisciplinary ties and apply new perspectives to their primary academic majors and careers. Students will be able to apply a more comprehensive understanding of the implications of their actions and decisions, find better solutions to today’s complex problems, formulate more effective public policy, become more informed and active citizens, and make healthier choices for themselves and their families. 

Why it Matters

Food is a complex and rapidly emergent topic in today’s society. In America and around the globe, issues such as global production practices, environmental sustainability, and the content of school lunches are at the forefront of scientific inquiry, political debate, and dinner table conversation.

Of the seven billion people living on the planet, over 1 billion go hungry every night, and even more are overweight or clinically obese.

Applying for the Certificate

Step 1: Apply for the Food and Society certificate: Minor/Certificate Application

  • Select “Natural Sciences” in the first dropdown menu of the application, and then “FOOD AND SOCIETY (CTENSC02)"
  • There are no additional application materials or requirements, and your application will be automatically approved. 

Step 2: Once you have received a SAN indicating that you have been approved for the certificate, contact your academic advisor and ask that the Food and Society certificate be attached to your degree profile. Failing to take this step can result in not receiving the certificate when you graduate. 

Step 3: Begin or continue taking Food and Society courses with your UT coursework. See the Required Coursework tab. Classes taken before applying will count towards the certificate. Use the Interactive Degree Audit to keep track of your progress. 

Step 4: Either in the semester you are finishing certificate courses or in your graduation semester (whichever is later), fill out the Food and Society Completion Survey to ensure the certificate appears on your transcript.

Special considerations exist for those in the 2014-2016 or prior catalogs. If you do not know the catalog that your degree falls under, please contact your academic advisor.  

Required Coursework

The Certificate is a total of 18 credit hours comprised of several food and society related themes and nutrition courses. Students must complete:

  • An introductory Nutrition class
  • 15 hours of coursework from a minimum of two of the themes below

General Requirements:

  • No more than 9 credit hours in a single theme may be applied toward the certificate
  • 9 credit hours must be completed at the upper-division level
  • All coursework must be completed with a C- or better

Introductory Nutrition class:

Complete one of the following:

  • NTR 306
  • NTR 312

Theme classes:

Complete 15 credit hours from at least two of the following themes:

*A maximum of 9 credit hours can be used from a single theme.*

Nutrition and Health Theme

  • NTR 307 Introductory Food Science
  • NTR 315 Nutrition through the Life Cycle
  • NTR 317L Intro Nutrition Assessment & Education
  • NTR 330L Advanced Nutrition Assessment & Counseling
  • NTR 321 International Nutrition: The Developing World
  • NTR 334 Foodservice Systems Management
  • NTR 365 (Topic 4: Obesity and Metabolic Health)
  • SOC 308S/H S 301 Introduction to Health and Society
  • N 309 Global Health

Culture and History Theme

  • NTR 316 Culture and Food
  • AMS 370 (Topic 26: American Food)-Last Offered Fall 2021
  • ANT 307 Culture and Communication
  • ANS 379 (Topic 7: Cuisine and Culture in Asia)-Last Offered Fall 2017
  • CC 340 (Topic 6: Food, Health, and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean)-Last Offered Fall 2021
  • CC 348 (Topic 14: Ancient Greek Medicine)

Politics, Economics and Environment Theme

  • NTR 331 International Nutrition: Social and Environmental Policies
  • NTR 332, Community Nutrition
  • GRG 331K Cultural Ecology-Last Offered Fall 2021
  • GRG 344K Global Food, Farming, and Hunger
  • GRG 339K Environment, Development, and Food Production-Last Offered Spring 2019
  • GOV 370L (Topic 21: Politics of Food in America)
  • MNS 308 Humans and a Changing Ocean
  • MNS 367K Human Exploration and Exploitation of the Sea


Petition Process:

If a student is unable to find a course from the provided list, a petiton for a substitute course may be submitted. 

A student may request to petition a course by first emailing SoHE Advising (headvising@austin.utexas.edu) with the following information and materials:

  • UT EID
  • Name and number of the course 
  • Course Syllabus
  • Brief Statement for why the course should be considered as a substitute 

After this is received by SoHE Advising, a petition will be submitted. Students will be notified via SAN with the decision. 

Examples of Approved Courses: 

  • GRG 305 This Human World: Intro to GRG 
  • GEO 302C Climate: Past, Present, Future 
  • SOC 323F Food and Society 
  • BIO 373 Ecology 



Students also seeking the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition may count a maximum of six hours in nutrition toward the Food and Society certificate.

BSA students on the 2016-2018 and later catalogs: At least one course must come from outside of major coursework. Overlap is permitted with core curriculum; flags; Language, Arts, and Culture section; and major requirements.

BSA students on the 2014-2016 catalog: A MAXIMUM of 3 credit hours of major coursework may overlap with a transcript-recognized certificate. Overlap is permitted with core curriculum, flags, and major requirements. Overlap is PROHIBITED with the Language, Arts, and Culture requirements. 


How much of the certificate must be completed in residence at UT?

UT policy stipulates that at least half of the certificate courses (9 hours) must be taken in residence at UT.

My degree requirements are complete and I am graduating, but I still have some certificate courses to complete. Can I finish the certificate after graduating?

UT policy stipulates that students may compete a certificate after graduating if they completed at least half of the certificate courses (9 hours) before graduation. The certificate must be completed within one year of graduation.

What if I want to pursue another certificate in addition to Food & Society?

Taking on multiple certificates will require detailed planning to stay on track for four-year graduation. The sooner you can devise your graduation plan, the better. Work closely with your major advisor to review and plan your remaining major requirements so you can see clearly how much space you have to add in certificate requirements.

Will I receive a paper certificate when I finish?

No, but your transcript will reflect completion of the Certificate and you may list the Certificate on your resume or CV. 

How many hours of theme courses can I take toward the Certificate?

The Certificate is a total of 18 hours comprised of several food and society related themes and nutrition courses. Students must complete an Introductory Nutrition class in addition to 15 hours of coursework chosen from a minimum of two of the themes. No more than 9 hours in a single theme may be applied toward the certificate. 9 hours of the 15 hours must be completed at the upper-division level. 

Can I take a theme course outside of UT and count it toward a theme or Nutrition requirements?

Transferred courses may be counted towards requirements if the course is a direct equivalent as a certificate course. This means the transfer course is evaluated to have the same department and course number as a certificate course.

The course I want to take for a theme is restricted, how do I get in?

The course being listed as an option on the certificate does not guarantee enrollment. You will need to contact the advising office of the department offering the course to see if you can add the course you want.

Who do I contact if I can't find an answer to my question?

Email your question to the Food and Society advisor Briana Denham at briana.denham@austin.utexas.edu.

Always have backup options that are unrestricted and be prepared to be flexible with your schedule in order to complete the certificate in a timely manner (i.e. don’t wait several semesters for a specific course to be offered because there are no guarantees that it will be offered or available; prioritize accessible courses).

When should I fill out the request to have the certificate transcripted?

During your last semester, you should complete the Completion Survey on the “Application Steps” page.


If you have further questions please contact us at headvising@austin.utexas.edu