Home Science or the ‘science of home’ is a specialized field of study concerned with home and family and the ability to apply scientific knowledge in homes. It is a unique specialization since it prioritizes family and health care, contrary to other professional fields. It is sometimes referred to as the science or art of efficient living.
Home science is an interdisciplinary course which is concerned with all the relevant things linked to home, family members, resource management and life style. It especially emphasizes on the family ecosystem. With growing realization of the importance of health and nutrition, the field of home science is being recognized as prominent and crucial for the society.
While pursuing this course, a student acquires a lot of information which can make the home look beautiful, including scientific procedures. It includes but is not restricted to the culinary and decoration skills. It integrates many applied sciences with art subjects, with the aim of improving human environment, family health care, child care and proper resource allocation.
Home science is a scientific course with 3 major fields of study.
- Nutrition: Art or science of selecting balanced and healthy diet plans and preparing delicacies with high nutritional value.
- Human development: This area of study concerns the adoption of healthy activities like regular workouts and decisions relating to child education or family progress.
- Family resource management: Optimizing resource utilization so that the family members are benefited in matters of health and progress on personal level.
Home Sciences emerged as field of studies as early as in the 1930’s. Earlier, Home science courses were centered around training for developing skills in cookery and textile management. In the 1960’s, new topics like nutrition education were introduced in Home science. Presently, the field has absorbed many new concepts and dimensions.
Patients suffering from diabetes and other cardiovascular ailments have been rapidly rising over the years. Medical science experts emphasize that ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Hence, health related terminologies like balanced diet and homeostasis have acquired greater prominence. Consequently, home science is a crucial field of study in the contemporary world. A student of Home science will get knowledge of immense scientific information, that would enable in making the home beautiful from multiple perspectives.
To enroll for this course, students need to have a logical and intellectual mind. In order to pursue graduation in Home science, candidates must possess a blend of numerous skills which include
- Food preparation techniques
- Interactive skills
- Literary skills
- Research skills
- Problem solving skills
- Organizational skills
- Mental alertness and patience
Bachelor in Home Science is a three year course. It includes many allied subjects like
- Basic research methodology
- Food preservation and quality control
- Family Life education
- Family dynamics
- Basic research methodology
- Entrepreneurship development
- Personality development
- Rural development
After graduating in Home Sciences, students may apply for post graduation or Master’s degree in Home sciences as well as Nutrition or in Arts courses.
In order to pursue graduation in Home science, students must have science stream at the 10+2 level. Few schools provide Home Science as an optional subject for students of 11th and 12th standards.
A student from a non-science background may also apply for graduation options from institutes like Lady Irwin College. But before being admitted in the course, one needs to have a careful look at the curriculum.
After doing Bachelor of Science in the specialization of Home science, one may enroll in the Diploma in Food Science. This makes the person eligible to join initially as trainee nutritionist or trainee dietician. Alternatively, a Master of Science degree provides direct entry for becoming a nutritionist or dietician.
To pursue postgraduate diploma in dietetics and public health nutrition(DDPHN), students need to have B.Sc.degree in Home Science with minimum 55%. Further, the candidates may opt for M.Sc. Honours course in food science or biochemistry.
Some of the institutes providing higher education in this discipline are
- GITAM, Vizag
- Acharya N.G. Ranga University, Hyderabad
- Stella Maris College, Chennai
- Avinash Lingam University, Coimbatore
There are few institutions which provide educational courses in allied fields like nutrition and dietetics. Some of these are:
- Patna University
- Bangalore University
- Osmania University, Andhra Pradesh
- Central Food Technology and Research Institute(CFTRI), Mysore
At M.Sc level, graduate students can select from among various specializations such as
- Research Methods
- Food microbiology and food safety
- Computer applications
- Food science and quality control
- Advanced nutrition
- Food Science principles
Job and career opportunities
The premier organizations where home science graduates are appointed include UN organizations, Research and Development Institutes, educational institutes, hospitals, fitness centers and hotels.
Home science bachelors find opportunities mainly in the non-government or private organizations. One may choose to be a nutrition consultant or research analyst.
- Nutrition expert or dietitian in clinics and hospitals.
- Biochemists in medical and pharmaceutical laboratories
Dietitians: Also referred to as clinical or therapeutic dietitian, these professionals are responsible for menu preparation in hospitals and healthcare centers, depending upon specific patient requirements. They also monitor hygiene levels in hospitals. Dietitian also prepare diet charts for customers who regularly attend fitness sessions in wellness centers, body fitness arenas, gymnasiums and sports complexes.
Nutritionists: Home science graduates with flair for scientific research in laboratories can join as nutritionists in research projects and Fast Moving Consumer Goods(FMCG) companies. Nutritionist or dietitians try to research the nutritive value of food, understand the components of diet, give diet related suggestions and plan healthy diet charts for people.
Some key sectors providing career opportunities for graduates of Home science are the following-
- Production industry: Home science graduates find place in the sectors like specialized cooking, textile designing and garment manufacturing, food preservation etc. In food manufacturing industries, they can work at the positions of food and quality analysts, quality controllers as well as quality managers. In textile industries, they may get employed as apparel and textile designers.
- Tourism and service industry: Home science graduates can also join hotel management services and body fitness centers, to cater to the health related demands of customers.
- Teaching: Candidates holding Master’s degree in Home Science can apply for positions like Assistant Professor in home science institutes and join as teaching staff in senior secondary schools.
- Mass media: Graduates in Home science can join as nutritional expert in health based television programmes, where they can discuss health and nutrition related matters and their solutions.They can also write cookery books or be a part of cookery shows.
- Sales: There are many options for Home science graduates in sales of food products, fast food packages, baby food, garments etc. This sector requires them to have good communication and presentation skills.
Besides that after having accomplished a course in Home Science, one may opt for self employment options and use entrepreneurial skills to establish small business units in eatable manufacturing or apparel designing.
There are limited jobs for home science graduates in the government sector. Graduates may apply for technical positions like research scientist, food scientist, demonstrators and research interns in government research organizations.
Since most of the candidates get to work in private organization, the payment offered is not quite attractive. The decision regarding pay scales and promotions largely depend upon the organization, where the candidate is employed.
Trainees get a remuneration starting from Rs. 8000. After gaining experience, salary payable shall vary between Rs. 15,000 and 18,000.
Candidates with higher ambitions may opt for putting up their own firms or companies, by investing in some capital. By taking calculative financial risks, the candidates can utilize their entrepreneurial skills to generate profits along with creating brand image of their own.
- Many people still have misconceptions about Home science as being a field with limited usage and career opportunities.
- Institutions providing Home Science courses are very few in number.
The importance of Home Science is being realized in health care organizations and also by the corporate level personnel. The number of cardiovascular patients are rising with complex life styles and ignorance of health. Increasing no. of institutes are launching graduation and diploma courses in the specialization of home science. Hence, in the near future there will be higher avenues for the degree holders in Home science for future graduates in the coming years.