Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems (MSc, PhD)

The LFS Orchard GardenArguably the most important challenge for the world community in the 21st Century is Global Food Security – our ability to create a sufficient, healthy, safe, culturally relevant and economically accessible food system for everyone. Sustainable food systems will require more than technological advances, and must integrate economic, social and environmental relationships, thus involving community, land and food systems.

New solutions will demand that researchers and policy makers approach the task differently from in the past. We can no longer expect solutions to come from a single discipline. The Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems graduate program offers you the opportunity to focus on such key complex issues. It encourages you to use holistic approaches that integrate knowledge from across disciplines to find solutions relevant to diverse communities.

The Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems program (ISLFS) is for graduate students wishing to work within emerging interdisciplinary fields.

Admission is in accordance with requirements set by UBC’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. Application to the ISLFS is not restricted to students with a degree in one of the disciplines in agricultural sciences or agroecology. Successful applicants can come from any recognized university degree program, and this diversity is reflected in the current graduate students enrolled in the program.

Prospective students should consult the general LFS Graduate Admissions page for more information.

Application Deadlines for MSc/PhD applicants:

  • For May 2017 start date, deadline is September 2016
  • For September 2017 start date, deadline is January 2017
  • For January 2018 start date, deadline is June 2017

In order to receive full funding consideration, applicants must have all documents submitted by January 30.

Masters students will complete and present their research proposal along with most of their courses within the first year of their program. Normally they will be expected to defend their dissertation at the end of their second year. Doctoral students will usually complete course work and their candidacy exam within two years, and the defence of their doctoral dissertation in their third or fourth years.

The minimum course requirements for Masters degrees are 30 credits, of which at least 18 must be numbered 500 and above. A maximum of 6 credits at the undergraduate level in courses numbered 300 to 499 may be counted toward the requirements of a master’s degree. The M.Sc. research thesis (LFS 549) is 12 credits.

Coursework, selected in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, includes graduate courses in Land and Food Systems and from other areas relevant to each student’s research. Please consult the UBC Calendar for course timetable details.

Outline of program(s) for typical students (details of the required courses can be found here):

LFS 500 (3)
Electives (15) in consultation with the student’s advisory committee
LFS 549 (12)
Total Credits 30

LFS 500 (3)
LFS 649 (0)
Students are expected to demonstrate a strong competency in methodologies and may, therefore, be required to take additional coursework.


  • A comprehensive examination for Ph.D. students
  • Defence of the thesis for Ph.D. and M.Sc. students.

Photo Name Title Research Interests
Rick Barichello Professor Regulated agricultural markets and farm quotas, world food markets, trade policy, poverty alleviation, food security, rural-urban linkages (note - only considers students with a strong background in economics or agricultural economics)
jb Jennifer Black Assistant Professor Social determinants of health and dietary choices, neighbourhood-level food availability, health disparities, applied uses of large survey datasets, quantitative methods and geographic information systems to study nutrition and health.
Juli Carrillo Assistant Professor Plant-Insect Ecology & Evolution Lab
cropped-sumeet-gulati.jpg Sumeet Gulati  Associate Professor In his research, Sumeet focuses on questions related to the formation and effectiveness of environmental policies, for example, should our government subsidize hybrid electric vehicles, what are the benefits of paying people to scrap their old cars? Sumeet teaches Environmental Economics and Policy in the MFRE program.
Eduardo Jovel Associate Professor Ethnobotany, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health

Carol McAusland

(Graduate Advisor)

Associate Professor Environmental policy, regulated markets, carbon footprints, globalization, and international trade

Andrew Riseman


Associate Professor Ornamental plant breeding, plant tissue culture technologies, biotic and abiotic stress resistance
Sean Smukler Assistant Professor Agricultural landscape ecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainable development

Tom Sullivan

(NOT accepting students)

Professor Biodiversity, conservation, agroecosystems, wildlife
Hannah Wittman Associate Professor Rural and environmental sociology; agrarian citizenship; food security and food sovereignty; community and rural development; agrarian political economy; social movements.

Graduates from the ISLFS program have the skills necessary to work for government organizations and NGOs creating policy on food security and food sovereignty, community gardens, large- and small-scale agriculture firms, education and school nutrition advisory boards, poverty outreach organizations, and many others.