FAB Curriculum

Program Description

The Food & Agribusiness (FAB) Master of Science degree is a fully online two-year, part-time program that prepares professionals for careers throughout the food system.

FAB is a rigorous program that draws from agricultural economics, food marketing, supply chain management, organizational management, econometrics, agriculture and food regulation, and more —all tailored to the special problems that food businesses face.

High levels of engagement are achieved through collaborative communication technologies that allow tight-knit student cohorts and professors to work closely together with frequent contact.

Students acquire managerial and analytical skills through highly involved group projects, computational analysis, microeconomic theory, case studies of food producers’ and marketers’ managerial decisions, hot-topic policy debates, and business and marketing planning — culminating in a real-world Master’s project or consulting experience. FAB enhances professional success throughout the food system and agriculture.

This program is ideal for students seeking to advance into middle- and upper-level positions in management, marketing, policymaking, and related careers. Graduates are equipped with the tools to solve the tremendous challenges facing the food system and society as a whole. 

FAB Program Schedule

Course # Title Credits

FAB 500

Leadership and Organizational Behavior for Agribusiness


FAB 510

Quantitative Methods for Agribusiness and the Food System


Course # Title Credits

FAB 520

Advanced Quantitative Methods for Agribusiness and the Food System


FAB 600

Finance for Food and Agribusiness


FAB 640 or FAB 660

Food Labeling or Agricultural and Food Policy


Course # Title Credits

FAB 530

Agribusiness Economics


FAB 550

Supply Chain Management of Perishable Food


FAB 670



Course # Title Credits

FAB 650

Marketing in Agribusiness and the Food System


FAB 680 or FAB 690

Project Capstone or Consulting Capstone


Course # Title Credits

FAB 610

Agribusiness Human Resource Management


FAB 700

Master’s Project and Consulting


Program Total: 34 credits

Culminating Accomplishments:

  • Comprehensive Exam at the end of first year
  • Submission of Master’s Project or Consulting Project

Course Descriptions

FAB 500 Leadership and Organizational Behavior for Agribusiness. The purpose of this course is two-fold: for students to enhance their intrapersonal perspective of management and leadership, as well as their understanding of individuals and teams within organizational systems. We adopt the viewpoint of upper level managers, owners and/or board members; we explore human interaction through theory concepts and application. With the use of academic and live case studies, students will diagnose, formulate and develop recommendations for complex situations to enhance organizational performance. Specific emphasis is placed on the fundamentals of organizational behavior with regard to agricultural cooperatives, family owned businesses, family boards and leadership within the foods system. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor approval.

FAB 510 Quantitative Methods for Agribusiness. This course provides students with foundational statistical and optimization methods used in agribusiness. Methods include probabilistic reasoning, calculation of functional extrema, ordinary least squares, maximum likelihood, experimental design and hypothesis testing. Students apply material to agribusiness data using R software. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online.

FAB 520 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Agribusiness and the Food System. Students gain the ability to process real-world experiences and observations through the lens of subtle statistical models. Topics are chosen that are commonly successfully used in business and social sciences, economics and agriculture. Applications focus on agribusiness and the food system. Students exit the course with enhanced abilities to use information for business and policy decision making, and will be able to apply state-of-the-art statistical models to business, economic and social science data. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: FAB 510

FAB 530 Agribusiness Economics. Powerful frameworks for strategic decision making and understanding food and other agricultural markets are surveyed. Focus is on agribusiness issues and applications. Typical topics include demand and production analysis, factor input decisions such as labor, capital and production inputs, general and partial equilibrium analysis, price aggregation, game theory, monopolist and oligopolist behavior, agricultural cooperatives, product differentiation, asymmetric information, advertising, R&D and price discrimination. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor approval

FAB 550 Supply Chain Management of Perishable Goods. Learn the fundamentals of how food gets distributed from farm to table. Develop the skills needed to effectively manage perishable inventory. Topics include the structure of the food system, perishable inventory management, the bullwhip effect, price transmission, control and coordination in food and agricultural supply chains, food safety, traceability, sustainability and food waste. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: FAB 510 or instructor approval.

FAB 600 Finance for Food and Agribusiness. This course is the study of financial management applied to problems and opportunities faced by firms which operate in the food and agricultural sectors. Financial management, performance measurements, long- and short-term investment analysis, capital structures, risk management, credit risk assessments, lender-borrower relationships, financial contracting and leasing vs. ownership will be applied to the agribusiness decision making. We will go well beyond the introductory period and actually use financial tools to better manage the decision making process. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: FAB 510 with a B or better or instructor approval

FAB 610 Personnel Management for the Food System. This course is the study of applied personnel management as faced by firms which operate in the food and agricultural sectors. Emphasis is placed on the unique aspects of labor laws, labor management, compensation, productivity, performance, recruitment, training, development and terminating employees with regard to a multicultural workforce. Course includes application through the use of reproduced and live case problems. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: FAB 500 or instructor approval.

FAB 640 Food Labeling. Food label regulation is necessary for efficient markets that provide maximized net benefits to both consumers and producers. Students develop a keen understanding of the subtle messaging on food packaging through analysis of consumer perceptions of food product attributes, private and public benefits and costs of labeling, and the goals of government policy with respect to nutrition, health and food safety, and consumer and producer rights. Students consider the policy and economic implications of food labels, and learn how to develop food labels for food brands. The rationale and rules of government food label regulations are discussed and debated. Topics include the economic analysis of food labels, food label requirements, nutrition and health claims, misbranding, adulteration, third party verification, bioterrorism, religious and dietary labeling, and the past and future of food labeling. 3 credits. Spring or Fall. Online. Prerequisite: Graduate level standing or instructor approval.

FAB 650 Marketing in Agribusiness and the Food System. Students construct creative marketing plans for food products. Marketing decisions are supported by methodical analysis of the marketing environment and consumer behavior. Factors specific to food markets are studied in high detail and used to practice strategic, creative decision making. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisites: Graduate level standing and FAB 530 or instructor approval.

FAB 660 Agricultural and Food Policy. Understand the needs and reasons for policy, mechanisms for program implementation and administration, and analytical and evaluation tools to assess agricultural and food policy. Topics are motivated by a systems approach to agricultural production and food distribution, and include U.S. farm policy goals and programs, U.S. trade and international development policy, environmental policy options and consequences, food assistance and nutrition policy, and consumer-driven policy issues regarding food systems. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisite: FAB 530 or instructor approval.

FAB 670 Seminar. Students and faculty delve deep into a special topic or project germane to the food and fiber system. High levels of participation are expected. Seminars may include paper readings and discussions, industry studies, business studies, research projects, marketing projects, data analysis, guest speakers and lectures. Topics and credits will change each semester at the discretion of the instructor. The purpose is to provide a forum in which students and professors can apply expertise to fresh topics on a continuing basis. Contact the FAB program coordinator for details before enrolling. Course is repeatable for credit up to three times provided Seminar content differs. Online, 1-3 credits, fall or spring semester, Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

FAB 680 Project Capstone. Students and faculty work closely together on student Master’s Projects. Students learn how to formulate a research question, research design, acquire data, manage a project, present results, craft a report or article, construct a narrative and distribute outputs. Food and agribusiness (FAB) master’s students are required to pass either FAB 680 or FAB 690, but not both. 3 Credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisites: FAB 500, FAB 510, FAB 530.

FAB 690 Agribusiness Consulting. Graduate students, working in consulting teams, will act as top managers to apply the concepts and tools they have developed in food and agribusiness (FAB) courses to an agribusiness of their choice. Consulting teams will analyze an agribusiness organization, make recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of the organization, and students will present their implementation plan to the organizations’ top executives. FAB master’s students are required to pass either FAB 680 or FAB 690, but not both. 3 credits. Fall or Spring. Online. Prerequisites: FAB 500, FAB 510, FAB 530.

FAB 700 Master’s Project and Consulting. Students conduct projects to fulfill the requirements of Master of Science (M.S.) in food and agribusiness (FAB) under the advisement of the student’s Project or Capstone MS Committee Members. Faculty prepare students for professional advancement beyond FAB. Credits are determined by faculty to reflect the workload of the student. Repeatable. 1-6 credits. Spring and Fall. Online. Prerequisite: Second year in FAB.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 34 credits
  2. Successful passing of a Comprehensive Examination
  3. Completion of a Project or Consulting Activity to the satisfaction of their Committee members
  4. Enrollment in FAB 700 in the student’s final semester
  5. Cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher
  6. No more than six (6) credits earned at a C or lower level

Grades below C do not count toward FAB requirements.

Culminating Master’s Projects and Consulting

Students have the option of completing a Project or Consulting Track. Students should declare their intentions shortly after they form their committee at the end of the first year, and before enrolling in either FAB 680 Project Capstone, or FAB 690 Agribusiness Consulting. Students enroll in FAB 680 or FAB 690 in their final year in the program.

  1. Food/Public Policy. FAB students work with food advocacy agencies to evaluate food programs such as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Students meet with agency representatives to identify “natural experiments” that allow FAB students to identify causal relationships between policy instruments and bio-behavioral outcomes, such as food retail purchasing, diet and health. Students design econometric models, collect and manage data, perform statistical analysis using the R programming language and Stata, identify the impact high frequency SNAP EBT distributions on food choices, and make policy recommendations based on their results to the USDA that improve SNAP effectiveness. Students present their work to academic communities, elected officials and key decision makers at the state and national level.
  2. Almond Milk or Juice? Under a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant awarded to their FAB advisor, a student designs, conducts and disseminates research that determines whether or not American almond milk consumers are misled by the “milk” label. The research has implications to the FDA’s standards of identity of “milk” and “almond milk,” public health, consumer confidence in food products and civil court cases between the dairy and almond industries that may (depending on findings) alter their competitive balance.
  3. Banana Gassing Optimization. A FAB student modifies and operationalizes a perishable inventory model to simulate optimal banana gassing times (i.e. exposure to ripening ethylene gas that is practically universally used in the industry). The student models and simulates the entire banana distribution system including consumer and retail perishable food inventory and demand models. Optimal gassing times and distribution parameters are reported as a function of input and output prices, decay rates and other factors. The final report is submitted to academic journals and the student applies for agricultural supply chain management jobs.
  1. Fleishers Mills and Fleishers Meats. Students involved with these projects will gain content expertise and make recommendations in the areas of agricultural supply chains, sourcing, compliance and quality management, social and environmental metrics, and sustainable consumer products. They will also be exposed to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution components of a successful consumer brand, and will potentially have networking opportunities within consumer packaged goods and food retail industries.
  2. The Food and Beverage Industry Trade Association (FBITA) works with FAB students who create a voluntary industry packaging label that indicates that the packaged food uses maple syrup as the primary sweetener. FAB students write case studies of similar efforts, run focus groups, conduct surveys, perform data analysis including label partworth values, model welfare impacts, recommend justified label standards and work with a graphic designer to create an effective label that can be placed on food packages of FBITA members. Students submit a report to the FBITA board and present results to academic and industry audiences.
  3. Cayuga Marketing. Students will work with this organization and their farm business owners to analyze mergers and acquisitions, make recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of the organization, develop marketing strategies, and create financial models and financial projections. Financial analysis will include but not be limited to ratio analysis, cost of capital, IRR, financing options and long-term revenue growth.