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Gastronomy and Food Studies / Máistreacht sa Ghastranamaíocht agus Staidéar Bia

DT9400 PT

Programme Description

This is the first Masters programme in Ireland to offer graduates a solid underpinning in the three pillars of Gastronomy & Food Studies: History, Society, and Practice. The food landscape in Ireland and indeed globally is under ever-increasing scrutiny from a wide range of commentators and this programme will satisfy the growing interest in Food Studies.

By amalgamating shared learning with focused networking opportunities, the programme will develop transferrable, interpersonal communication skills whilst encouraging creative and critical thinkers who will become life-long learners and advocates for Irish food and international food culture.

The programme will examine the key forces and policies that influence the modern food system by investigating the impact of history on contemporary foodways.

Who Should Apply?

The programme is open to graduates from diverse disciplines (Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Tourism, Sociology, History, Literature, Media, Business, Marketing, Art and Design, Liberal Arts etc.) and from practitioners in the broader food sector, from chefs and hospitality professionals to government agencies, entrepreneurs, educators, and the agri-food industry.

Programme Aims

The MA Gastronomy and Food Studies curriculum aims to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and competence necessary to develop meaningful careers in the broader academic, practical, societal and policy / advocacy areas encompassed by Food and Beverage.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of this MA Gastronomy and Food Studies Programme will be uniquely positioned and equipped to seek employment opportunities in an ever-expanding range of disciplines and to pursue a multitude of career paths. The strength of the graduate will lie in their diversity of knowledge and exposure to a range of subject areas. Successful graduates will be able to contribute to the arenas of Food Policy (government agencies, NGOs, advocacy, non-profit and philanthropic organisations), Art and Media, Food Writing and Communications, Teaching and Academia, Food and Beverage Consultancy, Food Tourism or as Brand Ambassadors. In addition, graduates may move into creative and entrepreneurial leadership roles within the broader culinary and food industries.

Modules Linkages and Progression

The Programme committee is conscious of the need to create a clear path of progression for graduates; to this end the proposed Masters Programme will offer opportunities for consideration for progression on to a Doctoral programme.

Philosophy and Unique Selling Point of Programme

The philosophy is to develop an epistemic community, a network of confident, competent, critical thinkers who are creatively engaged with Gastronomy and Food Studies at the forefront of learning. This will be achieved by providing many opportunities for conviviality, networking and challenging discussion both among the students and with the broader gastronomic community both nationally and internationally. Some of the unique selling points include: Networking opportunities, masterclasses and workshops, guest speakers, field trips and meal experiences.

Programme Learning Outcomes

In line with the NFQ (Level 9), Graduates of this Masters Programme will be able to:

1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge at the forefront of the field of Gastronomy and Food Studies and apply relevant concepts and theories to a range of issues appropriate to the Programme.

2. Critically examine the power and control that key actors and players exert on different parts of the food chain, from primary production through to consumption, generally informed by knowledge which is at the forefront of learning.

3. Demonstrate a range of standard and specialised research or equivalent tools and techniques of enquiry and communication (digital literacy) appropriate to the field of Gastronomy and Food Studies.

4. Engage in self-directed learning and take significant responsibility for the work of individuals and groups, show leadership and initiative, and act in a wide and often unpredictable variety of professional levels and ill-defined contexts.

5. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the conflicting interests of consumers, producers and markets within the modern food system, and learn to self-evaluate and take responsibility for continuing academic and professional development.

6. Effectively communicate and integrate a broad knowledge base of key issues into an appropriately structured format and scrutinise and reflect on social norms and relationships and act to change them.

Entry Requirements:

Minimum Entry Requirement

Successful completion of an undergraduate (level 8) degree or equivalent at honours classification (2.1 or higher).
Successful completion of an undergraduate degree (Ordinary or Bachelor) or equivalent (level 7), together with significant industrial or academic experience (Significant industrial experience comprises a minimum of 3 years in a supervisory role/ senior position in a related industry).
In addition, all shortlisted candidates will be required to attend an interview or in the case of overseas candidates unable to travel, interviews can be conducted via Skype. Applicants are required to produce evidence of the minimum English language proficiency requirement for overseas applicants i.e. a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS or equivalent.

Programme Content

In semesters 1, 2 and 3 students will take two (2) core modules and choose one (1) further optional module. The final semester will be reserved for Dissertation research and writing, supervisor meetings and workshops.

Core Modules

Introduction to Gastronomy and Food Studies

Global Cultural History of Food

Politics of the Global Food System

Post-Graduate Research Methodology

Food Writing and Media

History of Irish Food: Applying the Past

Dissertation (Semester 4)

Optional Modules

Reading Historic Cookbooks: A Structured Approach

International Trends in Gastronomic Research and Publishing

Social Approaches to Wine and Beverage Culture

Food Tourism

Food Regulatory Affairs

Consumer Culture and Branding

For Further Information

Dr. Máírtín Mac Con Iomaire (Programme Chair)
Culinary Arts and Food Technology, (SCAFT) Dublin Institute of Technology 
College of Arts and Tourism
DIT Cathal Brugha St Dublin 1 
T: 01 402 4432

School Office 
T: 01 402 4344 

Frequently Asked Questions

EU Fees *

*The fees outlined for each course are provisional and are subject to change

For part-time postgraduate fees click here

For information on funding please see the following link: Fees and Funding

Non EU Fees click here

What our students say!

'What attracted me to DIT was their strong culinary culture, their strong sense of food history, that their department are actively encouraging people to forge new paths in discovering what the past was in terms of food history and what the future will be'.

Dorothy Cashman, Ph.D. Graduate (2016)


The Three Pillars of the MA Gastronomy and Food Studies

The philosophy that underpins the Programme rests on three pillars: History, Society, and Practice.


An understanding of historical context is fundamental for research. Historical documents in the context of this Programme include vernacular sources such as oral histories, culinary manuscripts, menus and other ephemera. Food history is an emerging academic discipline with its respectability confirmed through the writings of the scholars of the Annales School. However, the history of food is as old as the history of mankind.

Food historians are faced with unique challenges, as their subject is often connected with home and hearth and the work of women or the non-elite classes. Once considered far too quotidian for academic scrutiny, food history now is an accepted and flourishing field with its own journals, symposia and canon. This Programme offers students the tools to conduct rigorous document-oriented research in food history to reveal new insights into hitherto overlooked and underappreciated elements of our cultural heritage.


Humans are intrinsically social beings, and the consumption of food is essential to life. The link between food and society is increasingly recognised, and a body of academic/scholarly research and thinking has emerged in recent times. The anthropologist Michael Dietler writes that food and drink are highly charged symbolic media, while the French social scientist Claude Fischler points out that food powerfully expresses social differentiation. Food has meaning and cultural significance, and therefore, is not only a form of sustenance.

From hunter-gatherer societies where humans needed to cooperate to source and prepare food to the cutting edge technology used for growing, harvesting and producing food for today’s 7.5 billion global inhabitants, the daily life of humans is interwoven with food rituals as well as basic nourishment. From an anthropological perspective food raises many questions about the habitual and expressive nature of life, yet to ensure both survival and growth, society needs structured organisation and strategy concerning food. Identity can be reflected through the diversity of eating habits, cultural idiosyncrasies, cookery, ingredients and food systems (exchange, preparation and consumption patterns). The functional nature of food in society also drives other disciplines and areas of employment such as health, media, law and policy, economics, history, literature, agriculture, and science. The gamut of conventions surrounding food give it a complex shape, and this is ripe for exploration.


The idea of Practice is inherently related with the concept of ‘doing’ as opposed to the acquisition of entirely theoretical knowledge. The development of subject-specific knowledge and understanding allied to cognitive and intellectual skills form the basis of Practice; when the application of knowledge occurs using key transferable skills, the theory becomes innately tangible. During the application of skills a practitioner can operate in complex and often unpredictable specialised contexts that may be at the forefront of subject-specific knowledge and will require an overview of the issues governing good practice. The good practitioner needs to display autonomy in the use of acquired skills and act in a professional capacity for self and in a collegiate manner for others.

When demonstrated at optimum, technical expertise has the mastery of skills at its core. The performance of precision tasks smoothly with effectiveness is a sine qua non within professional practice and a most highly desired attribute in working environments of any type. As one of the pillars of the Programme, practice is central to a number of modules, and the commercially-focused modules in particular represent the practical aspects that rely on the application of theoretical knowledge.

The sectoral knowledge of varying aspects of the food industry contained in this Programme is designed to aid students to engage professionally with problem-solving within the industry and will address knowledge deficits in a practical sense.