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Certificate Programs


Food System, Environment and Public Health


In many ways, food is a fundamental element of our society and our food system is a core factor in our public health profile and challenges.  Our food system encompasses the activities, infrastructure, and people involved in feeding our population (e.g., the growing, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal of foods) and is at the nexus of many of the today's most significant public health and environmental problems.  Upon completion of the courses required for the Food System, Environment and Public Health Certificate, individuals will have gained specialized knowledge and understanding of the relevance of the food system to many different competencies in public health.  The certificate is designed for masters and doctoral degree students and post-doctoral trainees at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and junior and mid-level professionals (non-degree students) desiring to expand their knowledge of food systems and the relationship with the public's health and applying communication and/or public health policy analysis and advocacy skills to study and address the public health implications of food systems.

Educational Objectives

Students completing the certificate will be able to:

1.  Define and describe the food system, including identification of points in the food production and distribution processes that create risks for workers, communities, consumers, the    ecosystem, and food community.

2.  Describe the history and evolution of the food system and food production practices and characterize the impacts of such practices on the public's health.

3.  Use a systems perspective to analyze and apply critical thinking to inter-relationships within the food system, specifically among diet, food production, the environment and public health.

4.  Analyze strengths and weaknesses of political, social, and economic policies and other interventions to address food system issues including food production, consumption, and the fulfillment of the right to adequate food.

5.  Apply selected skills (risk assessment, advocacy, communication, and evidence-based decision rules) to influence legislative and regulatory policy aimed at promoting a healthy and sustainable food system.


All JHU graduate students are eligible for admission to this certificate program.  Additionally, junior or mid-level professionals (ie, non-degree students) with at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, a strong academic record and professional experience in food systems related work are eligible.  

Course of Study

Students will be required to complete a minimum of 18 term credits of coursework.  

Non-degree students must take all certificate courses for-credit or all certificate courses not-for-credit.  Courses taken for-credit cannot be retroactively changed to not-for-credit and similarly courses taken not-for-credit cannot be retroactively changed to for-credit.

Students must complete one online required course and at least 14 credits of elective courses.  Students may choose to take elective certificate courses through a combination of online and on-campus courses.  The free, non-credit, Introduction to Online Learning course must be completed before enrolling in online courses. It is offered five times each year.

The certificate courses are listed in the table below.  All courses are taught by faculty of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Students should check the course catalog to confirm when the course is offered.  The term and time may change from what is listed in the table below and some courses are only offered every other year.  Students should also check pre-requisites and if instructor consent is required.

Admissions Process

Applicants should review the How to Apply page for information about eligibility and special instructions.  The certificate program's review committee will review the applications and notify each applicant of their admissions decision. 

Requirements for Successful Completion 

The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 term credits.  All required and elective courses must be taken for a letter grade and a 2.75 or better overall GPA for all certificate courses is required.  The certificate program length is flexible; however, the certificate must be completed within three years.  

The student must submit a Notification of Completion to the certificate's administrative contact after completing all of the certificate requirements.  The student's transcript will not indicate that the certificate was earned until the Notification of Completion has been submitted, verified by the certificate program, and processed by the Registrar. 

Course of Study

Students should check the course catalog to confirm when the courses are offered.  The term and time may change from what is listed inthe table below.  Students should also check prerequisites and whether instructor consent is required.  

Course NumberCourse NameTerm offered on campusTerm offered onlineTerm credit units
All students must take the following courses:

Introduction to Online Learning

All students are required to complete this free course before taking other online courses

01,2,3,4, Summer-

Academic and Research Ethics

All students are required to complete this free course before taking other online courses

180.620Food Production, Public Health and the Environment-24
Required Courses: Students must complete three courses from Group A and one from Group B for a total of at least 14 credits
Group A: Select a minimum of THREE courses from the following:
180.611The Global Environment and Public Health4-4
222.657Food Nutrition Policy2-1
180.655Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study of Urban Food Environments4-3
182.640Food Water Borne Disease3-SI
222.653Food Technology and Health3-4
Group B: Select ONE additional course from the following:
410.672Intro to Campaigning and Organizing for Public Health-Summer3
317.600Intro to the Risk Sciences and Public Policy431
317.610Risk Policy, Management  and Communication342
410.650Intro Persuasive Communications: Theories and Practice2-4, WI
222.654Food, Culture and Nutrition4-4
410.663Media Advocacy and Public Health: Theory and Practice3-4

Additional Recommended Courses:

Faculty Sponsors

Name: Keeve Nachman - operational director/primary

Name:  Roni Neff

Name: Robert Lawrence

Administrative Contact
Name: Margaret Burke
Phone: 410-502-7578

Gainful Employment Program Information

This program will be initiated in Academic Year 2014-2015; completion information will be reported after Academic Year 2015-2016.

At this time non-degree students enrolling in this certificate program are not eligible for federal aid.  You may, however, pursue private education loans to assist you in meeting your program costs.  Contact our Financial Aid Office with any questions.