Master’s in Food Politics and Sustainable Development

Master’s in Food Politics and Sustainable Development

The politics of eating and producing food

Food is a critical issue in today’s global and European politics. The regulation of agriculture, food distribution, public health, environment and sustainable development are some of the issues covered by ESPOL’s master’s degree in Food Politics and Sustainable Development. This unique training programme in France, combining theory and practice, allows students to gain a better understanding of the issues related to the politics of food and farming, and acquire the skills necessary to access key professional positions in public and private organisations.

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Food and agriculture are fields in which major global challenges arise. In 2050, the world’s population is projected to rise to 10 billion people; and they all need to eat. The various ecological and social problems of the modern food system represent additional challenges. Questions related to the organisation and regulation of our agri-food system are complex and include the production, distribution, accessibility, and consumption of food, as well as issues related to poverty, public health, animal welfare, science and technology, and trade. How would a sustainable food system look like, and how can it be achieved?

The master’s degree in Food Politics and Sustainable Development examines the ways in which public authorities (regional bodies, nation states, European institutions, UN agencies) and private actors (individuals, farming communities and organisations, transnational businesses, researchers, NGOs, etc.) shape and transform the agri-food system. While the production of food is initiated at local level, its distribution and consumption often have global implications. Understanding, analysing and acting upon these implications is key to sustainably steer, govern and transform our food system in the future.

Because these questions require to cross political and technical knowledge, the master’s degree in Food Politics and Sustainable development is organised in close collaboration with practitioners. It includes a partnership with ISA Lille, the renowned agronomy institute of Lille Catholic University; numerous interventions from agri-food professionals; and field trips to regional farms, food-related policy events, key food fairs such as the Paris International Agricultural Show, and food markets such as the Rungis Market, the biggest wholesale food market in the world.

Career opportunities

  • Public administration at national and subnational level: ministries, regional and local authorities, but also other public administration agencies recruit experts in public policy.
  • International and European organisations: the European Union, the FAO, the OSCE or the European Environment Agency.
  • NGOs, Think Tanks, trade unions, interest groups and lobbies often recruit experts with backgrounds in political science and international affairs.
  • Businesses are increasingly recruiting people qualified in international affairs.
  • Academic career: students graduating from our MA can also access PhD programmes in order to pursue an academic career.

Semester 1

Core courses

  • Agriculture and Rural Politics
  • European Food & Agricultural Policy

Research courses

  • Intro. to Research & Epistemology
  • Political Science Research Methods (PSRM)

+1 optional course
+1 intensive language module
+1 career development course

Optional courses
  • Global History
  • International Relations
  • Global Governance
  • European History
  • Introduction to Political Science*
  • Digital Democracy
  • Comparative Politics
Career Development
  • Diplomacy in practice (EN)
  • Diplomatie en pratique (FR)
  • Media training (FR)
  • Media training (EN)
  • The EU from a think-tank’s perspective

Semester 2

Core courses

  • Political Economy of Natural Resources
  • Global Food Politics

Research courses

  • Statistics and the Political Sociology of Quantification
  • Academic Writing Workshop

+1 optional course
+1 intensive language module
+1 career development course

Optional courses
  • European Governance
  • European Economic Governance
  • Armed Conflicts and Peacemaking
  • Theories of Security and Contemporary Challenges
  • Approches socio-économiques de l’agriculture
  • Defence Policy in Practice
  • History of International Political Theory
Career Development
  • Studytrip Geneva
  • Studytrip Rome
  • Career talks

Semester 3

Core courses

  • Food and Sustainable Development: A project course
  • Global Environmental Politics

Research courses

  • Master’s dissertation

+ master’s dissertation
+1 intensive language module

Semester 4

Core courses

  • Food Controversies
  • Social Justice in the Food Systems

+1 optional courses
+1 intensive language module
+1 professional internship

Optional courses
  • Global Justice
  • EU Foreign Policy
  • Sovereignty and the State in International Relations
  • Politics of International Law
Career Development
  • Internship

ESPOL makes every effort to ensure that course information is accurate and up-to-date. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change
* The second semester can also be completed in one of our 140 partner universities across the world.