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Building a Career in Food Systems Work

While there is no prescribed Duke curriculum for food systems work, it's easy for both undergraduate and graduate students to customize existing degree and certificate programs in preparation for careers in food systems innovation.

Applied Research

The WFPC regularly engages graduate and undergraduate students in our research portfolio, and on a limited basis, support student-driven thesis-level research. See Students Opportunities for the application process.


Departments and programs across Duke offers a wealth of undergraduate and graduate courses that can inform and empower students interested in making change within the dynamic world of food systems. These courses can augment any degree program and lead to undergraduate research, internship opportunities and graduate research experiences. The WFPC will gladly talk with and advise any student with an interest in food policy, practice, food research, and food system equity. Students should review the undergraduate/graduate course bulletins each semester to review departmental/certificate program offerings. Some departments such as Biology or Environmental Science offer food-related courses each year, while others may offer special topics or seminar courses on a case by case basis. For example, Documentary Studies has offered courses in farm worker studies; language and culture departments often offer courses that connect food and culture; and certificate programs such as International Comparative Studies, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, or Sustainability all regularly offer courses that connect to the food system. The WFPC can also support independent study courses with students on a case by case basis. See Student Opportunities.


Many governmental and non-profit organizations offer undergraduate and graduate students internships for undergraduate and graduate students. We have identified several opportunities on the Internship page. These opportunities change out regularly, however, and students should plan to search online for new and emerging opportunities. We highly encourage students to gain the real world experience that such work provides. The insight you will gain from this kind of work will help to ground and guide the customization of your educational course work and career path planning.

Student Groups

We encourage students to participate in various Duke student groups. This is a great way to learn, share ideas, and build networks. We have identified several groups to consider.