What is the Food Writing and Photography Graduate Certificate all about?

Food is essential to human existence, and more and more food writers are connecting audience members  with what nourishes us. Food is far more than physical sustenance. It defines cultures while challenging the environment. It creates political strife and builds economies. It provides entertainment and is a vehicle for health problems. It’s surrounded by legal and regulatory issues and ethical choices that are often not even noticed. But, at its core, food is the story of people. This program will train writers and photographers – veterans and novices —  to best convey the stories that they want to tell.  From personal essays to restaurant reviews and profiles to research pieces, food writers with the coursework this certificate provides can entertain and enlighten their readers while having the background to mix in societal, environmental, ethical, public health and economic implications of what we put into our mouths.

Can students complete the graduate certificate program 100% online?

Yes. We’ve designed our curriculum such that students can log in and study from anywhere in the world. But, that’s not your only option. Students who are local can opt for a hybrid approach with some courses online and others at our beautiful waterfront campus in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Some of those face to face courses will be offered as full semester courses and others will run as summer short courses.

What kind of technology powers the program?

In 2012, the Department of Journalism and Digital Communication pioneered USF’s system-wide use of its learning management system (LMS), Canvas. This intuitive and flexible system is perfect for students and instructors alike, and allows individual customization of the learning process. Along with our state-of-the-art LMS, the department has an in-house video and audio editing studio that can produce course content at a moment’s notice. You’ll also have opportunities for live one-on-one or conference video chats with your professors and classmates. Although many of our courses are online, we pride ourselves on being  accessible to our students and helping students create a community of learners.

What kinds of courses can students expect to take?

The Food Writing and Photography Certificate is a 12-credit graduate certificate. Of these 12 credits, the online Food Writing (Fall) and Food in Communication (Spring) courses are required. The remaining six credits are earned by taking elective courses (online or on campus) such as Food Photography, Photojournalism, Food Writing in France and Germany, Video Storytelling, Social Media, Intro to Blogging, Web Publishing or Visual Communications Design and Theory. For more information, visit our Course Plan page. Elective should be chosen in consultation with program coordinator.

Students don’t need to stop at 12 credits. Interested learners may expand their study into the M.A. in Digital Journalism and Design.

Who will be instructing me?

The faculty of USFSP’s Department of Journalism and Digital Communication is as diverse as it is dedicated to the highest quality education. The lineup of instructors for the graduate certificate program in Food Writing and Photography consists of seasoned reporters, world-renowned ethicists, experienced web developers, and more. Spearheading the Food Writing and Photography Certificate program is its Coordinator, Janet K. Keeler, who is the former food and travel editor at the Tampa Bay Times. Keeler is a 35-year newspaper veteran, including 15 years as a food editor at the Times.

Do students have to be enrolled as a degree-seeking student to apply for the certificate?

No. This graduate certificate was designed with working professionals in mind, so you may enroll to USFSP as a non degree-seeking student while you work towards completion of the certificate. If, however, you decide during the course of your studies that graduate studies appeals to you, you may apply up to 12 credits from your certificate studies to a graduate degree in Journalism and Media Studies (our traditional, face-to-face program) or Digital Journalism and Design (our 100% online M.A. program). Note: Participation in the certificate program does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program.

What are the requirements to apply?

Successful applicants will hold a bachelor’s level degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA in their overall program or in the last 60 hours of study attempted while completing a bachelor’s degree. Candidates who have less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA will be considered for the certificate if they can provide evidence of at least five years’ experience in an area related to the Food Writing Certificate program. This includes work in culinary arts, restaurant or food management, or work that involved substantial writing for print, broadcast or the web. Applicants are also asked to write a cover letter describing their interest in the program. This is a rolling-admissions program, so students may start their study at the beginning of any USFSP semester.

Is USF St. Petersburg accredited?

Yes. USF St. Petersburg is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs within the Department of Journalism and Digital Communication are also accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

How much is tuition?

Currently, our in-state tuition rates are $425.68 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition rates are $871.42 per credit hour. The tuition rates are dependent on your Florida Residency status. An additional $50.00 Distance Learning Fee is assessed per credit hour for any online class.

Even though it is an online-based program, the tuition rates are the same as if you were applying to a campus-based program. In order to claim in-state tuition, you must demonstrate Florida Residency. A Florida “resident for tuition purposes” is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has, established and maintained legal residency in Florida for at least twelve months. Residence in Florida must be as a bona fide domicile rather than for the purpose of maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education. For more information on residency, please visit the Registrar’s website.

Regardless of your claimed residency, if you are enrolled as a degree-seeking student, financial aid may be available to you. The USF St. Petersburg Privately Funded Scholarships application and available scholarships can be found at www.usfsp.edu/finaid. Additional financial aid questions can be directed to finaid@usfsp.edu. Please note that financial aid is unavailable for non degree-seeking students.

If you’d like to check on current tuition rates here and at USF campuses around the state, check here.

This sounds great! I am ready to apply.

To apply to the program, please visit our application portal. Here, you can discover how to apply to the certificate program as either a student enrolled in a USF graduate program or as a non degree-seeking student.

Have a question that was not addressed here? Contact us!

Please contact the department with any additional questions you may have.
We’re excited to hear about your interest in our program!