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Food insecurity is a serious problem – in Canada and on a global scale – that requires passionate, qualified individuals to develop plans for community food security, urban food security, and sustainable food systems. Our fully online Certificate in Food Security can help you fulfil the rapidly growing demand for professionals with a knowledge and skill set in food security.

This certificate is a post-degree program and includes degree-credit courses, so it can be used as a stepping stone from undergraduate studies to entry into master’s and PhD programs in food security or related studies.

Note: Students who had previously completed CVFS 401 could use this as a course substitute for CCLD 231.

Industry and Careers
This certificate can lead to career paths in various roles. Here are some examples:

  • City social worker dealing with poverty and food insecurity issues
  • Community development officer
  • Director of a nonprofit organization
  • Program leader for a food program/food bank
  • Program leader for a regional health authority
  • Research associate for food insecurity
  • Urban farm manager

Who Should Take This Certificate?

  • Working professionals with experience related to food security (public health, social work, agriculture, etc.) who wish to broaden their knowledge and skill set to expand their career opportunities
  • Degree graduates looking for a stepping stone from undergraduate studies to a master’s or PhD program in food security or related studies
  • Individuals who are passionate about the subject who would like to transition to careers in this field

What Will You Learn?

After completing this certificate, you will be able to do the following:

  • Apply appropriate research and evaluation methods for assessing food security
  • Plan and undertake assessments of household and community food security
  • Determine the prevalence of hunger and food insecurity in a population
  • Design collaborative processes for building household and community food security
  • Apply current economic thinking to strengthening food security
  • Initiate the development of food policy and programs for a right to food
  • Develop urban food production initiatives to bolster urban food systems
  • Identify the requirements for creating sustainable food systems based on social justice

Certificate Requirements

To complete this certificate, you must:

  • Register for the certificate before completing 50 percent of the courses required.
  • Complete a minimum of 50 percent of the courses through The Chang School.
  • Successfully complete, within your official time span, the requirements from the year you registered in the program.
  • Achieve a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+.


For more information, refer to Time Span in our Glossary of Terms. If certificate requirements change and courses are no longer available, you may request Course Substitutions/Directives. You must apply to graduate on MyServiceHub within the appropriate application deadlines (refer to Important Dates). Visit Graduation for details.

Admission Criteria


  • An undergraduate degree


  • 5 years of professional experience in a field relevant to food security work


  • A 3-year Baccalaureate study with a clear academic standing (at least a C average or GPA of 1.67)

Admission Interview/Placement Assessment
If you wish to apply to register for the Certificate in Food Security, contact the Academic Coordinator, Reg Noble, who will assess whether you are eligible and answer any questions you might have about the program. If you’re interested in taking individual courses, Toronto Metropolitan University’s general eligibility rules apply.

Awards and Financial Aid


Frequently Asked Questions

What is food security?

Food security is the condition in which all people at all times can acquire safe, nutritionally adequate, and personally acceptable foods in a manner that maintains human dignity.

How many courses do I need to complete the certificate?

You must complete six courses – three required courses plus three electives.

Are all the courses offered online?

The program’s three core courses are all offered online. Most of the electives are also offered online, meaning you can complete the entire program from anywhere in the world.

How long are the courses?

Each course is organized in 12 modules covering 12 weeks, plus a partial 13th week to finish exams.

Can I count Certificate in Food Security courses towards my graduate studies program?

Because each graduate faculty sets its own rules, we can’t guarantee it. In our experience, though, many faculties are willing to count one or more of our certificate courses towards graduate students’ programs.

Please check with your graduate studies coordinator to learn about the rules governing your situation.

How do online courses work?

Our online courses use a learning program called D2L Brightspace. When you enrol in a course, you’ll receive information on how to access your course site. Each week, course content is posted to the site, along with required readings and exercises. We also include discussion questions to which all learners are expected to respond – this happens online through a dedicated “discussion area” on the site. You’ll also submit your assignments using D2L Brightspace.

I don’t live in Toronto. How will I write my final exams?

Most Certificate in Food Security courses have take-home or online examinations. For some courses, it might be necessary for us to set up a place close to where you live in order for you to write your examinations.

Can I take courses while working full-time?

Yes. Our courses are designed to accommodate busy people. How well you do will depend on your ability to juggle your work and learning (and any other commitments you might have).

As long as you can keep up with weekly readings, assignments, and discussions, you should be fine. If you are working full-time, we don't recommend taking more than one course.

What is the maximum number of courses I can take per term?

You can take a maximum of three courses, but most students take one or two courses. It depends on your circumstances. Completing online courses takes more time than most people think, so consider your other time commitments carefully before taking more than one course per term.

How much time are you expected to spend on course work each week?

You will be expected to devote three to four hours per week to a course, and sometimes more (when doing assignments and research work).

How long does it take to complete the certificate program?

On average, students complete the program in 18 months to two years.

Can I complete the Certificate in Food Security by attending on-campus courses?

No. None of the three required core courses are offered on campus; you must take them online.

However, if you are registered in a degree program in the School of Nutrition at Toronto Metropolitan University, you can use three designated courses from the nutrition degree program as electives for the certificate. The other three courses must be from the online certificate program.

How are courses graded?

For all food security courses, there are written assignments (usually two to three), and, in some courses, there is a take-home exam which you have several days to complete. One written assignment is usually a major research paper. For all courses, there is a participation grade covering class discussions and group work which accounts for 20 percent of the total grade.

Am I expected to do all my work in front of my computer?

No. For some courses, you are expected to do research studies in your community and collect your own data on food security; then you will present a research paper on your fieldwork. Also, some group work requires you to go out into the community to collect information about food issues and share it with your group so that an agreed-upon summary of your group’s findings can be presented to the whole class.

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