Biological and Environmental Sciences M.S., Ph.D.

Specialization: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS)

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) graduate specialization takes a systems-based, interdisciplinary approach to the biological and environmental sciences as applied to agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, nutrition, and food safety. Our diverse group of faculty, with contributors from both the natural and social sciences, use a broad array of approaches to help achieve economically and ecologically sustainable production, management, consumption, and utilization of plants and animals for the development of healthy communities. Areas of research include animal science, aquaculture, aquatic pathology, ecological anthropology, ethnobiology, entomology, nutrition and food sciences, plant sciences, resource economics and policy, and integrated agriculture and food systems. SAFS benefits from the outstanding extension and outreach programs of the Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the Coastal Resources Center.  We have established solid relationships with stakeholders (industry, local, state, and federal government, non-governmental organizations), and actively disseminate our research to stakeholders both locally and globally to facilitate the sustainable growth of the industry.

Prospective Students

A strong advisor-student relationship is central to the SAFS program. Prospective students should contact faculty directly to explore mutual interests before applying.  Program flexibility encourages our students to work across traditional departmental boundaries and often seek interdisciplinary collaborations.

What should I submit with my online application?

All applications must be submitted online using the ApplyYourself system. EES application deadlines are outlined in the FAQs section. For access to the system and detailed instructions on what must be submitted, please visit the URI Graduate School web pages. In addition to the graduate school submission requirements, please make sure the following are also included in your application materials submitted on ApplyYourself:

  1. At the beginning of your personal statement, list one or more potential advisors in bold-face type.
  2. Arrange for submission of two letters of recommendation.
  3. Submit a scan of your GRE scores, uploaded as “supplemental materials” (in addition to requesting that ETS send a copy directly to URI).
  4. Consider submitting any additional materials that provide direct evidence of relevant experience or writing ability, such as published papers, research posters, or reports. Please upload any such documents as “supplemental materials”.


Specialization group coordinator: Katherine H. Petersson,
Professor of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences
College of the Environment and Life Sciences
Phone: (401) 874-2951
Email: kpetersson@uri.edu