Burlington waterfront at sunset

How To Apply

All applications and materials, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, must be submitted through the UVM Graduate Admissions online application. Please carefully review the instructions before completing the application. We do not accept MS and PhD applicants for the spring semester. 

Please note, the GRE is no longer required for admission. 

PhD Applicants

The application deadline for the Food Systems PhD program is January 15.

PhD applicants must have a letter of support from a Food Systems faculty member that states they are agreeing to be your advisor and indicating whether they have any funding to support you. The Admissions Committee will not consider your application to the PhD program if it does not include this letter of support. 

Master's Applicants

The application deadline for the Food Systems MS program is January 15.

Master's applicants do not need to have a letter of support from a faculty member to apply. We will work with Master's students to identify an appropriate advisor in the first two semesters of the program. 

AMP Applicants

If you are currently enrolled as an undergraduate with a Food Systems major or minor, and interested in the Accelerated Entry Into Master's Degree program (AMP), please contact Allison Spain. Depending on your standing, the application deadline will either be November 1 or January 15


We do not admit students to the PhD program unless we can guarantee funding for at least 3 years. In year 4, it is the student's advisor who is responsible for securing funding. Funding includes a stipend and tuition waiver. Please contact the Program Coordinator if you would like more information.

For the Master's students, we have two Innovation Fellowships that we are able to offer each year in partnership with UVM Dining/Sodexo. The Innovation Fellows receive a stipend and a tuition waiver for 6 credits in both the fall and spring semesters of their first year in exchange for working 10 hours/week with UVM Dining on various research projects. The current job descriptions for the Innovation Fellowships are available here. We are also occasionally able to offer scholarships, and those decisions are made by the Admissions Committee. 

Admissions FAQ's

Do I need to have an advisor identified prior to applying to the program?
If you are a PhD applicant, yes, and the advisor will need to provide a letter of support to accompany your application materials. If you are a MS applicant, no, you do not need an advisor identified. You will receive advising from program leadership in your first semester and work to identify a suitable advisor based on your research interests. 

How do I reach out to a potential PhD advisor?
Email is the best way to reach out to a potential PhD advisor. You can email a faculty member directly and indicate that you are a prospective PhD student in Food Systems. Please give a short background of yourself, a brief overview of why you want a PhD and what your area of research will be, and explain how your area of interests aligns with the faculty member's current research. It is also recommended to include a resume/C.V. Please review the list of Food Systems faculty to see who is and is not recuriting for the upcoming academic year. 

Is the program online?
No, neither program is available in a fully online format. Some electives may be online, and students may have the option to be remote once they have completed coursework and are solely focused on their research, but it is an in-person program. 

If I have not taken a college-level statistics class, do I need to take one prior to applying?
No! You can wait until after you have applied, received an acceptance, and decided to attend before taking a college-level stats class. There are some summer course options at UVM that fulfill this requirement, or you can take a course online or from a local community college. 

Is the GRE required?

Can you please tell me more about funding for PhD students?
We only accept students that we can fully fund for a minimum of 3 years, and funding includes tuition waiver for up to 9 credits per semester (9 credits is considered full-time) as well as a stipend (which is $31,000 for the 2022-2023 academic year). The program generally takes 4 years to complete, and we would rely on your advisor to find funding for your fourth year.

Can you please tell me more about funding for MS students?
MS students are mainly self-funded. We have two Innovation Fellowships that we are able to award (please see above for more information), and on occasion the program can provide some scholarship funding. We also have Synergy Grants, which provide some funding for MS students working as research assistants with FS faculty. This is generally about $1,500 per award. MS students are eligible for work-study and financial aid if they complete the FAFSA, and many students find part-time work on and off campus. 

I am an international applicant. Do I qualifty for an English proficiency waiver?
If applicants have earned a degree from an U.S. institution or an institution in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or an English speaking institution in Canada, Ghana, Kenya or Nigeria, the English proficiency requirement waiver will be applied by the Graduate College. Please visit https://www.uvm.edu/graduate/international_students for more information. 

  • Tips for Writing the Statement of Purpose

    MS & AMP Applicants:

    • Give us an example of a project either in school or in a professional setting that required you to work independently
    • Explain your knowledge of and experience in food systems
    • Explain your specific interests and why you believe that UVM has the resources and faculty available to fit your interests
    • Describe your prior exposure to or interest in interdisciplinary thinking

    PhD Applicants:

    • Explain your knowledge of and experience in food systems
    • Explain your specific interests and why you believe that UVM has the resources and faculty available to fit your interests
    • Describe your prior exposure to or interest in interdisciplinary thinking

    In addition to the statement of purpose, please submit a separate 1-2 paragraph research statement (as a miscellaneous attachment), outlining your research interests and trajectory. You should also give us an example of research that you accomplished either in school or in a professional setting.


    Funding the Master's

    Apply to become a Food Systems Innovation Fellow. Details here (PDF)
    When resources allow, we provide temporary research and instructional assistant positions.  Students are notified about these opportunities when they are announced.

    Current Graduate Student Program tuition rates and fees. Please note that the Food Systems Graduate Program is approved for Alternate Pricing so the rate for out-of-state students is $1,070 per credit. The rate for in-state students is $683 per credit.

    Funding the PhD

    Our program does not provide funding for all students in the same manner. Rather funding decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. All accepted students will be offered tuition and stipend for a minimum of three years. Please contact Allison Spain for more information.

    Cost of Living

    Average rent for a one bedroom apartment: $1,356
    Average rent for a two bedroom apartment: $1,484
    Food: $350 per month
    Personal/Misc. Expenses: $220 per month
    Cable/Internet: $65 per month
    Utilities (elec, heat, water, garbage): $185 per month

    Search for Off-campus Housing




Students visiting Bread and Butter Farm during orientation

Admissions and Application Requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Completion of a college-level statistics course (may be taken after admission to the program, but must be done before classes begin)

  • 3 letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic colleagues

  • Faculty letter of support (AMP & PhD applicants only). 

  • AMP Permission Form (AMP applicants only)

  • TOEFL or IELTS exam if you are an international student

  • Statement of purpose (upload as a miscellaneous attachment)

  • Resume/C.V.

  • Transcripts (may submit with unofficial, but official transcripts will be required if admitted)

  • PhD applicants only: 1-2 paragraph research statement (upload as a miscellaneous attachment)

  • Writing samples are optional


For program-related questions, please contact Allison Spain, Food Systems Graduate Education & Research Programs Coordinator

For questions about the online application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office. Application materials can be mailed or faxed to the following address:

The Graduate College Admissions Offices
The University of Vermont
330 Waterman Building
Burlington, VT 05405-0160
Telephone: (802) 656-3160
Fax: (802) 656-0519