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Accelerated Master of Science in sustainable food systems

About the online accelerated master’s degree

The School of Sustainability offers the following joint accelerated programs designed to enable highly qualified undergraduate majors to earn a Master’s in sustainable food systems degree in four additional semesters after their bachelors degree:

BS sustainable food systems (Online) /MS sustainable food systems (Online)

The MS in sustainable food systems program only offers a fall start date.

Shared coursework

Students accepted into this program share designated 500-level coursework with the bachelor’s degree, allowing the student to complete the master’s degree in just over one additional year.

12 credits of shared coursework:

  • SOS 508
  • SOS 509
  • Two 500-Level Electives


To be eligible for admission to this accelerated master’s program, a student must:

  • Have a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework.
  • Have accumulated at least 75 credit hours toward the undergraduate degree at the time of School of Sustainability pre-application; 90 credit hours are required to begin graduate coursework.
  • Have completed at least six credit hours of upper division coursework in the major.
  • Be on track to graduate with the undergraduate degree two semesters after being accepted into the program with no more than 18-credit hours needed per semester.

Students who do not meet these criteria may still apply to the MS SFS program through the standard process as they near completion of their undergraduate program.

Approval and Application process

The accelerated master’s application is a two-step process. The following instructions are for ASU students currently enrolled in the BS Sustainable Food Systems degree in the School of Sustainability interested in applying for the accelerated master’s program, which grants a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems degree. Admission information for external applicants to the MS SFS may be found here.

Step 1) School of Sustainability Pre-Application 

Deadline: Priority Deadline May 1st (Junior Year)

Applications will be reviewed up until July 1 on a space available basis.

Students must first be approved to begin the accelerated master’s while completing their undergraduate coursework. The approval process begins with the School of Sustainability Pre-Application, due July 1st of their junior year (or upon completion of 75 credit-hours). This application is needed for approval to begin taking graduate classes during their senior year (or equivalent). Note there is rolling admission, so applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible, beginning as soon as they reach 75-credit hours in their undergraduate degree.

The accelerated MS SFS approval application requires the following:

  1. Unofficial transcripts: Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities the applicant attended are required. The link to download an unofficial ASU transcript is on the My ASU page, under the ‘My Classes’ box.
  2. 600 word personal statement: The statement of intent should not exceed 600 words and applicants must explain the goals they intend to achieve through their plan of study at the College of Global Futures, specifically in the field of sustainable food systems. Applicants should elaborate on key research questions they wish to address or problems they wish to solve as part of their plan of study. Finally, applicants should describe how their background will contribute to their success in the program.
  3. Curriculum plan. The Curriculum Plan is an Excel document outlining the applicant’s plan of study. Both an undergraduate advisor and graduate advisor must sign a completed curriculum plan prior to submission.
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation: One primary recommendation from a School of Sustainability faculty member recommending the student for the accelerated MS SFS program is required. This primary recommender will be asked to address the applicant’s potential for success in a graduate program. Applicants will be responsible for sending the recommendation form and submission link to the faculty serving as their primary recommender. A link to the recommendation form and submission page will be sent to applicants only after the graduate advisor receives the signed Curriculum Plan. The second recommendation letter can come from an additional faculty member in any department at ASU, or a supervisor at a student’s internship or place of employment. 
  5. Resume or CV (required): Applicants must include their resume or curriculum vita. Students who need assistance in putting together a resume or CV are welcome to schedule a career advising appointment

Step 2) Complete the Graduate Application 

Deadline: Final Deadline April 1st (Senior Year) Then, students previously approved to begin the accelerated master’s must apply for graduate admission to the MS SFS program using the ASU Graduate Application. The ASU Graduate Application and all related materials are due April 1st. Note there is rolling admission, so applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Admission to the accelerated master’s is required to begin graduate classes the following fall, after completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students admitted into the accelerated MS SFS program in their junior year and who complete the required shared coursework are able to repurpose their personal statement and reference letters for the graduate application.


During the senior year (or equivalent) of a student’s bachelor’s degree, students offered admission to the accelerated program will take the following courses: SOS 508, SOS 509, and two 500-level electives. These courses will count towards the upper division courses required in their bachelors degree. 

SOS 508 = upper division focus area substitute

SOS 509 = upper division focus area substitute

Grad elective = upper division elective

Grad elective = upper division elective

After graduating with their bachelors degree, they begin graduate coursework the following Fall semester where they will complete the following courses: Food Systems core courses (SFS 562, SFS 560, SFS 564, SFS 565), 2 one-week long in-person immersive experiences (SFS 561, SFS 563) and 1 capstone (SFS 596). Read blog articles from students who attended the immersive experiences here. Link to full course schedule here.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Accelerated Master’s students that have been approved to begin graduate coursework, must maintain a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate/graduate GPA for each semester in their bachelors degree while enrolled in the accelerated program in order to begin the master’s degree program in the fall. In addition, they must also meet all requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress as outlined in the Graduate Handbook including having a grade of “B” or higher in their graduate courses. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress will result in withdrawal from the accelerated master’s program.

Important information about the accelerated program

This program is designed to be completed in one year and one semester after the completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students must complete their undergraduate degree within one year after approval in order to be on track to begin the sequence of courses required in the masters.

The two immersive experiences in SFS 561 and SFS 563 are a highlight of the program and a unique opportunity to develop professional networks that will be invaluable to students in their future careers. These immersive experiences require being in-person for 1 week in Arizona in early December, and 1-week in Washington, DC in early May during the second year of the program. Most expenses (lodging, local transportation, and most meals) are included in the program fee, so students are only responsible for airfare. Alternative assignments are available if necessary, but the immersive experiences are highly recommended.

Some scholarships and awards may be affected by admission to the accelerated master’s program, as this changes a student’s status from undergraduate to graduate. Students are advised to check with the specifications of their awards with the Financial Assistance Office to see if this will affect compensation packages.

Students admitted into the accelerated master’s program are not entitled to teaching assistantships through the School of Sustainability.

Have a question about the accelerated master’s program?

Call: 480-727-6963

Email: [email protected]

Students can also schedule a meeting with our Graduate Advisor