What is the Gastronomy program?
Gastronomy, or food studies, exists under the liberal arts rubric. Its subject matter encompasses arts and humanities as well as natural and social sciences. Our understanding of the role of food in historical and contemporary societies and its impact on world civilization is a serious and important pursuit—especially when undertaken within specific, well-defined disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, and nutrition. The Food Studies Graduate Certificate and Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy degree are each meant to give graduate students an introduction and grounding in an interdisciplinary approach to studying food systems.
What is the difference between the certificate and the MLA degree programs?
The MLA is a 40-credit, graduate degree program, while the Food Studies Certificate is a 16-credit graduate certificate. Certificate students complete two of the four courses that are required of MLA candidates, and most elective courses are available to both degree candidates and certificate student both degree candidates and certificate students. Certificate students cannot register for a number of the experiential classes which are available for credit to degree candidates, such as the Culinary Arts Laboratory and the beverage studies classes. These experiential programs are often available as stand-alone certificate programs through the Programs in Food and Wine.
Certificate students are not degree candidates and do not qualify for financial aid programs.
What is Metropolitan College? Is it part of Boston University?
Metropolitan College is indeed part of Boston University. It is one of the University’s 17 degree-granting schools and colleges and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of areas. Courses are held at night to accommodate the schedules of those who wish to pursue further education part-time while continuing to work or meet other obligations. Some programs are offered online or in a blended format.
What can I do with a degree in Gastronomy or a Food Studies certificate?
Graduates of the degree program pursue many different careers—teaching at the college level, food writing and publishing, wine and food consulting, running various food businesses, and careers in tourism, to name a few.
Do I have to have a Food or Liberal Arts background to apply?
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree but are not required to have a specific background. The admissions committee will look for candidates who demonstrate the ability to complete graduate-level work in the liberal arts and will want to understand how you have come to have an interest in studying food.
What is the Gastronomy program like?
As with all graduate programs, students will be expected to read and analyze seminal and cutting-edge texts concerning food studies, conduct academic research, write papers, and participate in lively dialogues with faculty and fellow students. This interdisciplinary program will teach the student to view food through many different lenses—anthropology, history, literary criticism, art history, and the natural sciences, among others. The MLA in Gastronomy program also provides experiential learning opportunities through courses organized by Boston University’s Programs in Food & Wine, such as the Culinary Arts Laboratory and wine studies courses.
Who are the faculty?
Courses are taught by faculty who hold advanced degrees, many of whom hold full-time appointments in departments throughout the University, and other instructors whose professional positions and achievements make them uniquely qualified educators.
Are there prerequisites to the program?
Each applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate an interest in pursuing academic study in the field of food studies. There are no specific prerequisites.
What are the application deadlines?
The Gastronomy program has rolling admissions; you may submit your application at any time. Applicants are encouraged to apply for fall or spring admission. You are advised to apply at least three months prior to the start date of the semester you would like to attend.
Can I start the program at any time?
At Metropolitan College, you may take courses at any time without being admitted to a degree or certificate program (up to 8 credits). Once admitted, you may start the program by simply registering for courses. Please notify the Gastronomy office when you are planning on registering, so that we may keep accurate records and advise you with your course selection. Fill out and return the registration confirmation form that you are sent upon admittance.
Are most students part-time or full-time?
Most students are part-time and pursue the degree or certificate while working part- or full-time jobs. Students wishing to study full-time may take between 12 and 18 credits per semester.
Are the Gastronomy courses offered in the evening?
Yes, most courses offered through the Gastronomy program are on weekday evenings, typically from 6 to 9 p.m. However, degree students taking the Laboratory in the Culinary Arts attend classes during the daytime. Also, students may take approved daytime courses in other graduate departments throughout the University.
Can I take Gastronomy courses before officially enrolling?
Yes, you can register as a non-degree student and take up to two elective Gastronomy courses (8 credits) in the program before officially enrolling.
Which courses are required for MLA candidates?
Degree students must take 16 credits of required core courses, normally offered twice a year:
MET ML622 History of Food (4 credits)
MET ML641 Anthropology of Food (4 credits)
MET ML701 Introduction to Gastronomy: Theory and Methodology (4 credits)
MET ML715 Food and the Senses (4 credits)
We recommend that degree students take METML701 Introduction to Gastronomy: Theory and Methodology during their first year in the program. This course introduces key theories and methodologies pertaining to food studies using a multidisciplinary approach.
Find detailed descriptions on these core courses and other Gastronomy courses here.
Which courses are required for certificate students?
Certificate students must complete any two of the four required courses in the MLA program and may choose from elective courses for their remaining 8 credits.
What classes can certificate students take?
Certificate students can take any non-experiential learning class as electives but may not apply courses in culinary arts or wine and cheese toward their certificate.
What other classes can I take as an MLA candidate?
For the complete list of available classes, visit our Curriculum page.
In addition to courses offered by the Gastronomy program, each term there is a list of approved graduate courses offered through other campus departments. These courses are in history, anthropology, sociology, economics, communication, media, travel, business, public policy, and other applicable areas. For example, if your interest is in Japanese food and culture, you may find a Japanese history course in which you can explore food topics.
Are the Food Studies certificate courses the same as the MLA in Gastronomy courses?
You will be taking the same courses as the students in the MLA in Gastronomy. You will also be graded according to the same graduate school standards.
As a certificate student, can I continue on to or transfer into the MLA in Gastronomy degree program?
Upon completion of 8 credits, you may apply for admission to the MLA in Gastronomy program. Please contact the Faculty Coordinator if you are interested in transferring. Students who meet all the MLA requisites and who have maintained a B average in their courses during the Food Studies Graduate Certificate are excellent candidates for the MLA in Gastronomy.
Can I transfer credits from another institution or take classes on a pass/fail basis as an MLA candidate?
Yes. You can take up to 8 credits as a waiver. In other words, certain courses can be counted as credits toward the degree for up to 8 credits on a pass or fail basis that will not have an impact on your GPA. These courses include:
Courses taken at other institutions that have been approved by the Faculty Coordinator, with the exception of culinary arts courses taken at other institutions.
Some Gastronomy and Programs in Food and Wine certificate courses taken prior to being admitted to the MLA program (further coursework and examinations may be required). The instructor and the Faculty Coordinator must approve courses if they are taken as pass/fail credits. Please contact the Faculty Coordinator for more information.
Can I get credit towards the degree for culinary programs completed elsewhere?
No, credit may not be applied toward the degree for previous formal culinary training outside of the Boston University Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts.
Can I complete the Gastronomy MLA program online or away from Boston?
Certain courses are offered online. Students also have the opportunity to take blended courses, which combine online communication with two or three face-to-face class meetings on Boston University campus. Online and blended courses will be noted on the BU University Class Schedule, or you may contact our office to learn about distance education options each semester.
What if I only have a limited amount of time in Boston?
If necessary, there are several ways to reduce time spent in Boston:
Transfer up to two graduate level courses (8 credits) to the degree as course waivers (Pass/Fail). Prior approval is mandatory and students must earn a B- or better. Credit transfer is dependent on course hours. Official transcripts, course descriptions, and syllabi must be submitted.
Enroll in a Directed Study course. Once in the program, students may work with a faculty member to complete a Directed Study project on a topic relevant to the program. Directed Study may also take the form of an internship. Directed Study courses may be completed off campus. Students are expected to communicate with faculty on a regular basis via email and phone. These projects must be approved in advance by the Faculty Coordinator.
The Master’s Thesis may be researched and written wherever you choose. However, it must be coordinated with a full-time BU faculty member and approved by the Faculty Coordinator.
What other courses can be taken at Metropolitan College toward the MLA degree?
The following courses are offered through Metropolitan College’s Programs in Food & Wine. Candidates for the MLA in Gastronomy may take these courses for credit towards the MLA degree:
The 14-week Certificate Program in Culinary Arts, MET ML 700 (8 credits). For students without previous culinary training, this program offers hands-on kitchen experience covering the classical French foundations of cooking as well as various ethnic and regional cuisines, bread and pastry, production cooking, sanitation, and other gastronomic topics.
MET ML 698 Culinary Arts Cooking (4 credits) and MET ML 699 Culinary Arts Baking (4 credits). These classes are offered over Summer Term and are run in the evening.
The Cheese Studies Certificate Program, MET ML 651 (2 credits). This program is offered evenings through our Seminars in Food & Wine.
The Wine Studies Certificate Programs include four levels of study: MET ML 651 (2 credits), MET ML 652 (4 credits), MET ML 653 (4 credits), MET ML 654 (4 credits).
For more information about these courses, or to register, please contact the office of Programs in Food and Wine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-353-9852, and indicate that you are a Gastronomy student.
If I want to enroll in the certificate program in the culinary arts, will I be able to take other classes at night?
Yes, it is possible to take other classes at night while taking part in the Culinary Arts program during the day. However, culinary students do occasionally assist with evening cooking demonstrations offered through BU’s Seminars in Food & Wine. Students enrolled in both the Culinary Arts program and evening classes should prioritize attending class over helping at events.
What is the tuition price difference between part-time and full-time students?
Metropolitan College tuition can differ from semester to semester and year to year. For updated costs, please visit our website. Students taking over 11.5 credits are considered full-time and pay higher tuition.
What is the total cost of the program?
That will depend entirely on how you complete your requirements. Since you may transfer courses to the degree, complete one or more of our certificate programs and take regular graduate classes, it will add up differently for each student. Tuition is set annually by the Trustees of Boston University and is subject to change.
Do any of these programs count toward federal student loans?
Yes, if you are enrolled in the MLA program and taking 6 credits or more per semester, you may apply for federal loans. Please contact Metropolitan College Graduate Financial Aid Office.
What financial assistance is offered through the Gastronomy program?
Our department offers a limited number of graduate assistantships for students per term. Students are eligible to apply for an assistantship after completing a semester in the program. The assistantship covers most of the tuition of one course in exchange for 10 hours of work per week. Duties include support of academic research and other projects in the Gastronomy program. See the Tuition & Fees page for more information.
Are there tuition benefits for Boston University employees?
Yes, regular full-time employees of Boston University, and their families, receive tuition remission that covers up to two graduate courses per term. There are some minimal costs and tax implications involved. Information can be found on the BU Human Resources website. This is an excellent program and a number of Gastronomy students have been employed on campus while pursing their studies.
Can I get financial aid through Metropolitan College?
Graduate students may qualify for a number of loans, including federal student loans. Financial aid questions should be directed to the Metropolitan College Graduate Financial Aid Office.
Which libraries are available to me?
The Boston University library system maintains multiple resources that support the research interests of students. BU employs two librarians whose expertise is in gastronomy. Learn more about the Research Guide to Gastronomy here.
In addition, the Boston area is rich in library resources. Gastronomy students have access to the Schlesinger Women’s History Library on the Harvard Campus. The Schlesinger has a renowned collection of historic culinary books, diaries, letters, and cookbooks, including Julia Child’s papers. The Boston Public Library is also a terrific resource. Please see the Boston University Libraries webpage for information on how to obtain a Boston Library Consortium (BLC) card.
Do students eat in class?
Yes, we frequently eat in class. Cooking, sharing, and hospitality are major elements of experiencing food culture. Students and faculty alike bring theme-related dishes to class to share during breaks. Other courses take food-related field trips or have meals together outside the classroom. We learn a great deal about our fellow students, including what good cooks they are! Gastronomy students also occasionally dine out together in local restaurants, have wine and food gatherings, and keep in close touch with departmental activities and events through the BU Gastronomy Students Association.
Can I attend events offered through seminars in food, wine, and the arts?
Yes, Gastronomy students are welcome and encouraged to attend events and seminars through BU’s Programs in Food & Wine. The Jacques Pépin Lecture Series, co-hosted by Programs in Food & Wine and the Gastronomy program, is open to students at no cost. Gastronomy students are also offered a reduced price on selected offerings and events.
Are there advisors?
Yes, in addition to the Director of our program, faculty members throughout Boston University act as advisors on directed studies or theses.
To whom should I direct my questions about courses and academic issues?
Contact Gastronomy Program Director Megan Elias, PhD, at 617-358-6291 or email@example.com.