American Univesity of Beirut

 Master of Science in Food Security

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Description and Ob​jectives

The MS in Food Security provides students with a foundation of knowledge in the core areas of food security; how availability, accessibility, appropriate utilization and stability of food are achieved; and how these can be aligned and achieved through coherent policies and sound programs. Building on this foundation, students then explore the multiple dimensions and disciplines of food security in greater depth. Coursework, seminars, and research activities challenge students to refine and apply their analytical skills, with a focus on the responsible application of gained knowledge. Students are equipped to start careers with governmental, non-governmental, and multilateral organizations, or to pursue furt​her academic work. Click to view the brochure for the MS in ​Food Security in PDF format​​.​​

​​​​Program Learning Outcomes  

​The MS in Food Security is buillt around 10 program learning outcomes (PLOs), reflecting the core knowledge and skills that individuals will develop through the completion of MS degree. 

  • Explain the dimensions of food security (availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability)  and the relationships between them
  • Discuss the linkages between food security and wider socio-economic development in the context of the MENA region (e.g., health, education, rural development, energy use, climate change, agri-food production)
  • Relate food security to political, cultural, gender, and ethical issues, including the broader human rights debate on the right to food​
  • Communicate effectively on the issue of food security, from its relevance for social and political stability in developing countries to the interpretation of research findings, to diverse institutional and community audiences 
  • Assess food security strategies, policies, programs, and their implementation in developing countries and the MENA region
  • Design evidence-based food security strategies specific to regional or national needs
  • Align food security strategies with government or agency objectives and the external environment 
  • Apply appropriate research methodologies, including organizational and multidisciplinary approaches, to examine food security-related issues
  • Formulate implementation and dissemination plans for food security strategies by partnering with community groups, small businesses, producers’ organizations, health professionals, universities, and government agencies to address food insecurity
  • Utilize sound techniques to monitor and evaluate food security strategies, policies, and programs

​​​​MS Curriculum 

The MS in Food Security requires completion of a total of 30 credits, including six (6) required courses. Candidates for the MS in Food Security degree have the option to select a thesis or non-thesis program of study. Thesis students must complete 15 credits of required core courses, 9 credits from approved elective courses (at least 6​ credits within FAFS), and 6 credits of thesis. Non-thesis students must complete 15 credits of required core courses, 12 credits from approved elective courses (at least 6 credits within FAFS), and 3 credits of project. In addition, all students must pass a comprehensive examination.

Students may opt to earn a further specialization in one of the following three areas: rural development; economics and policies; or food production and consumption. For thesis students, specialization is earned through completion of one FAFS elective in the desired area and focus of the thesis. For non-thesis students, specialization is earned through completion of three FAFS electives in the desired area and focus of the project.
In addition, all students must pass a comprehensive examination.  

Required Cour​​ses​​​​​​
Credit Hours  
FSEC 300Food Security: Challenges and Contemporary Debate

This course introduces concepts and principles of food security, namely availability, accessibility, utilization, and stability of food supply. Students are familiarized with the history of thought on food security, from Malthus to the Green Revolution to Sen and the inclusion of political and social factors in considering food security.

Course syllabus is available online, click here.

FSEC 305Agriculture: Technology, Supply Chains, Sustainability  

This course provides an understanding of sustainable agricultural production through a value-chain approach as it relates to production and productivity, water and soil management, technology and post-harvest practices; with special application to the dry lands of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Course syllabus is available online, click here.

FSEC 310Nutrition Security: Assessment and Intervention Strategies                                 

This course introduces students to basic principles of nutrition security, community nutrition, and nutritional ecology; and highlights the role that nutrition plays in improving the health and wellbeing of communities. The course aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to conduct population-based nutrition research, assess the nutrition needs of a population; to plan, implement, and evaluate community nutrition programs and policies drawn from evidence-based practice and taking into consideration cultural, social, and contextual dimensions.

Course syllabu​s is available online, click here.
FSEC 315Food Policies and their Planning Process

This course builds knowledge of the food system from local planning and policy and applied economic perspectives. The course familiarizes students with key players and issues related to the practice of food system planning (the process and practice of creating and implementing food policies), how this practice interfaces with the economy, and how to place these issues in a global context.

Course syllabus is available online, click here.
FSEC 320Graduate Seminar in Food Security          

This course provides a forum for exchange of experiences and knowledge sharing. Students will participate in field trips, complete individual tasks and projects related to food security issues in the Middle East North Africa and the broader developing country context, and present and discuss findings.

Course syllabus is available online, click here.
FSEC 325Statistical Methods in Agriculture

An investigation of the statistical techniques needed to design experiments and analyze and interpret agricultural research data. Cross-listed as AGSC 301 / RCOD 343. Prerequisites: STAT 210 or EDUC 227 and CMPS 209. Fall and spring.

Course syllabus is available online, click here.
FSEC 396Comprehensive Exam    0
FSEC 397


FSEC 399


MS Thesis
* Students enrolled in the MS in Food Security degree program effective the fall 2018 term are required to complete a thesis equivalent to 6 credits. Students enrolled prior to that time are required to complete a thesis equivalent to 9 credits.



Elec​tive​​​​ Courses

The foll​owing list reflects suggested elective courses that have been offered in recent semesters, and is illustrative only. An updated list of suggested electives will be provided to enrolled students on a semester-by-semester basis. The listing and availability of elective courses is subject to change based on course offerings. Course descriptions, including the usual semester of delivery, can be found in the ​AUB graduate catalogue.​

Suggested Electives​
Credit Hours
Rural Develop​​ment Specialization
AGSC 384Political Economy of Middle East Development

(formerly Rural Social Change, Development, and the Environment)
NFSC 306Community Nutrition: Research and Intervention    3
RCOD 341Rural Community Development, Theory and Practice    3
RCOD 342Qualitative Methods
Economics and Policies Specialization
AGSC 376
Resource and Environmental Economics    3
AGSC 389Research Methods in Applied Economics
ECON 342Options and Derivatives Instruments    3
ENSC 630
Natural Resource Management    3
​FSEC 306
​Indicators and Tools for Measuring Food Security
PPIA 301Public Policy
PPIA 305Economics for Public Policy    3
PPIA 309Evidence Policy and Communication    3
PSPA 316International Environmental Policy   
PSPA 352Foundations of Public Policy    3
PSPA 361Public and Non-Profit Program Evaluation
Food Production and Consumption Specialization
AGSC 389Research Methods in Applied Economics    3
CIVE 648Climate Change and Water Resources    3
LDEM 635The Political Ecology of Water    3
NFSC 351Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins

Career Opportunities

The MS in Food Security is open to recent graduates and mid-career professionals. 

Recent graduates may benefit from additional knowledge relevant to the work of government ministries, consultancy-based
organizations, or non-governmental organizations working to tackle hunger, poverty, human nutrition, and natural resource

Mid-career professionals may benefit from exposure to the latest thinking in the field of food security, including important
research and applied developments since the 200​8 food crises and the Arab Spring. Professionals benefit from studying in a context
that is grounded in the challenges and issues of relevance to the MENA region, and from learning alongside faculty and colleagues
who are focused on challenges similar to the ones they face.  

Cost of Attendance                                                                                        

The estimated costs of completing the 30-credit MS in Food Security are as shown in the table. Tuition costs are charged per credit hour, according to the rates established by  the Office of the Comptroller. Additional costs of student attendance may include travel, lodging, and personal expenses, which may vary based on student preferences and needs. ​For more information on estimated costs of attendance, please consult the Office of Financial Aid or use the Office of ​Admissions tui​tion calculator.​

Mandatory Costs
Additional Costs 
Tuition Fees (30-credits)
Student Fees
Health Insurance​
Personal Expenses

​The Food Security Program is implementing AUB's new Graduate Fellowship and Assistantship Program (GFAP) policy​. Under the GFAP, eligible students may benefit from tuition assistance equivalent to up to 18 credits.​ GFAP awards are allocated on a competitive basis and subject to student merit and qualifications, departmental needs, and availability of funds.​​ For more information about student eligibility and tuition covarage, click here​.

Applications for the MS in Food Security for fall 2022-23

will be accepted until May​ 31, 2022​.

 Find the application form online.​​​​​

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