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Below is a list of undergraduate courses offered at UCSB that discuss topics related to food, agriculture, food security, and more. Courses are organized in alphabetical order and range from Anthropology, to Economics, to History. Please keep in mind that courses may be offered during certain quarters and professors may vary. 

Anthropology 111
The Anthropology of Food 

Professor: Silke Werth

This course analyzes a critical survey of different anthropological approaches of food production and consumption: biological implications of diet; relations between agricultural forms and political systems; the meanings of feasting; cooking, class and gender; food and national identity.

Anthropology 162
Prehistoric Food Production

Professor: Amber Vanderwarker


A history of the process of plant and animal domestication in the Americas, the Near East, Asia, and Africa. This course focuses on the specific biological changes in the major domesticates, as well as associated social changes in human life.


Anthropology 168
Ethnology in Rural California: Transformations in Agriculture, Farm Labor, and Rural Communities

Professor: Shelley LaMon

This course examines research that anthropologists and social scientists have conducted on the relationship between land/environment and societies by looking at the development of agriculture and effects on rural society. The course focuses on the settlement of immigrant farm workers and formation of new communities.

Biology, College of Creative Studies 101
Models and Experiments

Professor: Claudia Tyler

This course title encompasses a variety of different courses. One course -- Ecology of Food -- considers the ecological, environmental, economic, and social impact of human consumption of several different species of plant and animal.

Chemical Engineering 102
Biomaterials and Biosurfaces

Professor: Jacob Israelachvili

This course looks at the chemical foundation of life and its impact on human nutrition.

Chemistry and Biochemistry 123
Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry

Professor: Mattanjah de Vries


This course focuses on the study of Earth's biogeochemical cycles with respect to carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, an introduction to the science of climate change, including effects of global warming on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, environmental impacts of fossil fuel and biofuel technologies, chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, with emphasis on ozone depletion, photochemical smog, acid rain, global ocean acidification, soil and groundwater contamination, and environmental costs of industrialized agriculture.


Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology 127
Plant Biodiversity 

Professor: Susan Mazer

This course focuses on plants as they pertain to the human food supply and medical applications. It also looks at the evolutionary adaptations to major shifts such as climate change.

Economics 114
Economic Development

Professor: Cynthia Benelli

This course covers the microeconomic issues of developing nations with applications of analytical tools to the microeconomic problems of developing nations. Topics include poverty and income distributions, population, rural-urban migration, education, nutrition, labor supply, and poverty wages.

Environmental Science and Management 3
Nutrition for Health 

Professor: Marty Gilbert

This course includes an examination of the interdependent relationships between diet, health, and disease. Basic nutrition principles, food selection, proper diet, and lifetime health habits are emphasized. 

Environmental Studies 25
Quantitative Thinking in Environmental Studies

Professor: Quentin Gee


This course develops quantitative analytical approaches to examining environmental issues, such as agriculture, climate change, and ecology.


Environmental Studies 132
Human Behavior and Global Environment

Professor: Manasendu Kundu


This course focuses on how the current environmental crises of the planet developed and investigates the human behavior that may have been root causes of environmental issues. The course looks at the impact of anthropogenic forces, such as agriculture, industrialization, and a global economy, and how they affect the environment. It also compares the differences of values toward nature found in eastern and western cultures. Finally, the course attempts to determine the ideal behaviors that could bring a sustainable future.

Environmental Studies 149
World Agriculture, Food, and Population

Professor: David Cleveland


This course directly examines the issue of world agriculture, food, and population through a sustainability lens by looking at ecosystems management, resource management, sustainable agriculture, and the implications of the world food crisis.


Environmental Studies 157
Santa Barbara County Agrifood System

Professor: David Cleveland


This course focuses on potential solutions to how the Santa Barbara County agrifood system can be localized in ways that synergistically increase sustainability socially, environmentally, and economically.


Environmental Studies 166DC
Diet and Global Climate Change 

Professor: David Cleveland


This course examines the relationship between diet and climate change by looking at how food production and the agrifood system, food waste, and individual food choice produce greenhouse gases. Ways to mitigate global climate change and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with diet choice are also discussed.

Exercise & Sport Studies 3
Nutrition for Health

Professor(s): Amy Jamieson, Allison Slade

The ESS 3 course is designed to prepare students with the basic knowledge and understanding regarding nutrition. Emphasis is placed on basic nutrition principles, proper diet, food selection, and making healthy food choices.  

Geography 171BT
Biotechnology, Food, and Agriculture 

Professor: David Cleveland


This course examines the economic justifications, environmental impacts, and social implications of agricultural biotechnology, specifically through the discussion of transgenic crop varieties and their role in the future of the world's agrifood system.

Geography 171FP
Small-Scale Food Production 

Professor: David Cleveland


This course investigates small scale food production and its role in the sustainability of the world's agrifood systems. The course critically examines hypotheses that small scale, locally oriented alternative food production is more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable, compared to large scale, conventional food production.

History 174B
Wealth and Poverty in America

Professor: Mary Furner

In this course, students learn how poverty affected the living and work environments of the poor, how wealth and race and class privilege made demands on resources, how monoculture affected soil quality while also sustaining slavery and share-cropping, and how production of machines to mechanize agriculture and other new manufacturing and refining methods enabled the rise of monopoly and fueled both union growth and anti-union business practices.

History 193F
Food in World History

Professors: Erika Rappaport, Lisa Jacobson


This course explores the history of the global food system from the Middle Ages to the Present.  We examine the growth of long-distance trade and cultural exchanges, the emergence of large-scale monocultural economies, the development of industrial forms of food production, and how local communities produce new identities surrounding cooking, eating, and growing food. A segment examining food scarcity and abundance discusses the politics behind food production and consumption, and also involves "Green Revolutions" and the future of food.

Interdisciplinary Studies 94BZ
Genetic Modification of Food Crops

Professor: Rolf Christoffersen


This seminar explores the implications of genetic modification of food crops, specifically emphasizing the application of recombinant DNA technology for crop improvement. Another topic covered is the potential impact of genetic modification on agriculture in developing countries.


Interdisciplinary Studies 94OV
Introduction to Sustainability

Professor: Eric Matthys


This seminar introduces students to the concept of sustainability and its implementation on campus and in the local community by various groups, including student organizations. Various topics such as energy, recycling, water, food, and land use are addressed.


Interdisciplinary Studies 94RY
Freshman Seminar: Working Across Disciplines for More Effective Food Production 

Professor: Chandra Krintz

This course discusses world food production and how it relates to environmental sustainability. In the course, the analysis of problems relating to sustainable food security and food safety with web services (backed by cloud computing systems) and spatial analysis are discussed.

Religious Studies 185
Religion, Food, and Culture of the Middle East

Professors: Magda Campo and Juan Campo


This course examines alimentary diversity, sustainability, urbanization, globalization, and food security in the context of Middle Eastern history and culture.