Food Policy and Applied Nutrition

The FPAN Program offers interdisciplinary training for students seeking careers to improve food policy and food security and nutrition outcomes in industrialized and developing countries. Many applicants have academic backgrounds in related areas, including economics, political science, anthropology, as well as nutrition and the biological sciences, or come to food and nutrition from other fields.

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The Food Policy & Applied Nutrition (FPAN) Program offers a multidisciplinary curriculum in nutrition science, statistics, economics, and food policy.

Prerequisites

To be eligible, applicants must have completed a Bachelor's degree, and have demonstrated their commitment and ability to succeed in the FPAN program through previous coursework, including at least one course in general biology or chemistry, plus employment and volunteer experience. Completion of the GRE exam is required. For students who seek to refresh their verbal and quantitative skills, self-study materials and sample questions are available from the Educational Testing Service. Students whose native language is not English must take and pass the TOEFL exam.

Master of Science

For the Master of Science program, a personalized learning experience is built around sixteen credits of coursework, including a set of core requirements, specialization requirements, and electives. In addition to the core courses, students in each specialization choose electives drawn from a wide range of courses in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and other schools in the university. Students have the opportunity to complement their studies through course work for credit at other related institutions in the Boston area.

Most students choose to focus on one of the following areas of specialization:

  • Food Policy and Economics
  • Nutrition Interventions: Design, Operation and Management
  • Humanitarian Assistance

In addition, students may design their own learning specialization according to their interests in consultation with their advisers, subject to approval. Students normally complete the Master of Science degree in two years of full-time study; part-time study is also possible.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students enrolled in the doctoral program must have completed courses equivalent to the FPAN master's degree based on previous graduate-level coursework taken either at the Friedman School or elsewhere. Students in the doctoral program participate in the Ph.D. seminar and must pass a written and oral qualifying examination in three areas—Food Policy and Programs, a specialization (of choice), and General Nutrition—and then complete and formally defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research.

Combined Degree Programs: MALD, MPH, MAHA

Students enrolled in the following combined degree programs complete all the requirements for both degrees, but by counting selected courses toward both programs, they reduce the total time required for completion.

  • A combined degree program with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, resulting in both the Master of Science from the Friedman School and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD);
  • A combined degree program in association with Tufts University's School of Medicine, leading to the Master of Science from the Friedman School and the Master of Public Health (MPH).

The Friedman School also offers a one-year Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) jointly with the Fletcher School that is open to mid-career professionals in the field.

Shorter, individualized non-degree programs of instruction may be available by special arrangement.

Current students should refer to the degree requirement worksheet associated with their year of entry for the most accurate course requirements.

The Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN) program offers an exciting curriculum of advanced study in nutrition science, policy and economics, statistics and quantitative methods, applied research skills, and a three-course specialization selected by the student.

Master of Science Degree

The formal requirements for the Master of Science degree are explained on the FPAN degree requirement worksheet. M.S. students take 16 or more course credits at the Friedman School, including electives. Here below is a brief informal summary of the course requirements.

Nutrition Science (1 credit)

  • Fundamentals of Nutrition Science (NUTR 201)  

Policy and Economics (3 Credits)

  • Fundamentals of Nutrition Policy and Programming (NUTR 203)
  • Economics of Food Policy Analysis (NUTR 238)
  • One of the following courses:
    • Determinants of U.S. Food Policy (NUTR 303)
    • Nutrition, Food Security, and Development  (NUTR 304)

Statistics and Quantitative Methods (3 Credits)

  • Statistical Methods in Nutrition Research (Policy) (NUTR 207)
  • Regression Analysis for Nutrition Policy (NUTR 307)
  • One of the following courses:
    • Qualitative Research Methods for Nutrition (NUTR 310)
    • Nutrition Data Analysis (NUTR 311)
    • Advanced Analytic Methods for Nutrition Policy Research  (NUTR 401)

Applied Research Skills (1 Credit)

  • One of the following courses:
    • Principles of Epidemiology (NUTR 204)
    • Survey Research in Nutrition  (NUTR 210)

Specialization (3 Credits)

Choose one of the following 3-course specializations, or, with official approval, design your own.

  • FOOD POLICY AND ECONOMICS

    Seeking policy and program solutions to hunger and poverty worldwide.

    While nutrition issues remain central, the emphasis in the Food Policy and Economics specialization is on understanding a) basic economic principles, b) economic and political issues that influence policy design, c) key food and nutrition concerns at community and household levels, and d) public action aimed at promoting nutritional wellbeing, assuring a safe, accessible food supply, and redressing hunger and poverty in local, national, and global contexts. Students tackle issues of malnutrition and concerns about food safety in the United States as well as in other industrialized and developing countries. Beyond the specialization requirements, students can tailor their selection of elective classes to cover a wide range of topic areas, including hunger and equity, regulatory and trade policy concerning food safety, global institutions and markets, household economics, and food security.

  • NUTRITION INTERVENTIONS: DESIGN, OPERATION, AND MANAGEMENT

    How to design and implement programs to combat malnutrition and promote nutritional well-being.

    It has become clear in recent years that reductions in the prevalence of malnutrition in developing and industrialized countries can be accelerated significantly through more effectively designed and managed programs (in areas such as growth monitoring promotion, behavioral change communications, food-based income transfers, micronutrient fortification and supplementation, and breast-feeding promotion). This specialization focuses on developing highly skilled professionals able to design and implement nutrition interventions. Students learn data analysis skills necessary to assess a problem and its causes, project design skills based on solid conceptual frameworks plus practical experience from the extensive array of Tufts worldwide programmatic activities, project management skills including the design and operation of state-of-the-art management information systems, and cutting edge techniques of monitoring and evaluation.

     

  • HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

    Meeting the challenge of food and nutrition interventions in emergencies.

    This specialization is designed for individuals wanting to work in the demanding context of humanitarian crises. Each emergency presents unique challenges, including the assessment and communication of early warning signals, the design of appropriate food and other interventions, the treatment of severe malnutrition in refugee settings, and the rebuilding of livelihoods that are less vulnerable than before. The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy is committed to developing professionals who are solidly prepared to address the special problems of food and nutrition in disasters. These professionals will be equipped to handle not only the technical, but also the social, political, and economic aspects of disasters that contribute to nutritional stress among at risk populations.

Internship

The internship offers practical experience that complements academic study. It provides contacts in a field where students might work in the future.

Ph.D. Degree

The curriculum for the Ph.D. program includes course work, a qualifying examination that indicates readiness to proceed with dissertation work, and a dissertation that contributes new scholarly research to the food and nutrition policy literature.

Through courses taken at the Friedman School, or by filing a waiver form to recognize preparation elsewhere, Ph.D. students meet all the course requirements for the M.S. degree. They meet a 4-credit minimum requirement at Tufts. Ph.D. students take two or more semesters of the Food and Nutrition Policy Doctoral Research Seminar (NUTR 404). They are advised to take NUTR 401. The internship is optional.

Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project

The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy was selected by the US Agency for International Development as part of a team, with the Academy for Educational Development and Cornell University, to assume major responsibility for the provision of technical assistance in developing countries where USAID operates. Under the FANTA contract, FPAN faculty and students have undertaken a variety of activities around the world, including developing guidelines for optimal use of food in health and nutrition clinics for mothers and children in Bolivia and Peru and testing the viability of qualitative questionnaire approaches to understanding local perceptions of hunger in several countries, with the intention of developing a quantitative measure that can be used to assess program and policy interventions in countries as diverse as Ethiopia, Haiti, Guatemala, and Indonesia.

Read more on their website

Feinstein International Center

This center was established on the conviction that emergency responses grounded in solid political, economic, social, and military analysis can better contribute to durable survival strategies for people coping with violent social change. The center is committed to building strong partnerships with academic, international, national, indigenous, private, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations throughout the world. Applied research and field operations are designed to: 1) strengthen knowledge and promote innovative analysis, 2) build institutional and local capacity, and 3) influence policy. The center has taken a leading role in working with the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the United Nations, and nongovernmental agencies to train staff in key areas of humanitarian intervention. They have implemented projects including the emergency livestock vaccination, health and nutrition program in countries such as Sudan, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. Other projects at the Center include the Displacement and Social Change and Public Nutrition programs.

Read more on their website

Other Activities

Faculty are also involved as technical and policy advisers to many multilateral agencies, including the World Bank, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the United Nations' World Food Programme.

Internship Requirements

The internship has several purposes: to give students practical field experience that complements academic study, to give students experience in an institution where they might work in the future, to allow students to determine the kinds of jobs they wish to find after graduation, and to give them an opportunity to make contacts in the professional sphere where they will seek employment.

View past Food Policy & Applied Nutrition internships.

Graduates from the M.S., Ph.D., and several dual-degree programs possess the skills and knowledge to make an impact on food and nutrition programs and policies in the United States and around the world. Three specializations — Food Policy and Economics, Nutrition Interventions, and Humanitarian Assistance — provide advanced theoretical and applied preparation for positions in government, research institutions, international agencies, the nonprofit sector, and the food and agricultural industries.

FPAN graduates play leading roles in a wide variety of government agencies, research institutions, international programs, the nonprofit sector, and the food and agricultural industries.  Here are some representative examples of career placements for new graduates with M.S. degrees:

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, C-SAFE, Zimbabwe
  • Program Evaluation Specialist, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, New York, NY.
  • The Young Professionals program, World Bank, Washington, DC.
  • Analyst, Abt Associates, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
  • Founder/Director, Cultural Cornerstones, Jamaica Plain, MA.
  • Nutrition Policy Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates, San Francisco, CA.
  • WIC Nutritionist, Buncombe County, NC.
  • Junior Official, Beijing Administration for Food Safety Monitoring, China.
  • Humanitarian Program Officer, Oxfam America, Boston, MA.
  • Program Manager, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI.
  • Ph.D. Student, University of California, Davis, CA.
  • Ph.D. Student, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
  • Ph.D. Student, Tufts University, Boston, MA.
  • Manager, Healthy Living Programs, Royal Ahold, the Netherlands.
  • Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA.
  • Leland Hunger Fellow, Mercy Corps, Mongolia.

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