Think family and consumer science is just cooking and sewing? Think again!
Students in this major study a range of subjects, from textiles to nutrition.
"Students should shop around for schools that have the programs that they
really want," says Cecelia Thompson, a family and consumer science professor
at the University of Arkansas.
Professor Elizabeth Bright-See says there are no consumer science programs
below the bachelor's level.
You can also become a teacher within this field, but you'll need an education
degree as well as a consumer sciences degree. At some schools, you can do
a double major in consumer sciences and education.
Bright-See says admission is based on high school marks. Students
must have an average of at least 70 percent, often higher, in a minimum of
six senior-year courses. These courses must include English, biology and chemistry.
"We particularly look at the science marks, as this is a science
program," she says.
In Bright-See's program, students take such classes as chemistry, issues
in foods and nutrition, design, business, computer science, consumer economics
and resource management, anthropology, sociology and psychology.
There are also classes in statistics, research methodology, microbiology,
business, nutrition through the life cycle, communications, organic chemistry,
physiology and kinesiology.
Thompson says students follow a program of studies that reflects their
career interest. Students with an interest in child care or elementary
education may take parenting, human development and family dynamics classes.
Those students studying the hospitality industry can take nutrition and culinary
Many programs have an internship or work experience component, so
students can get a taste of the world of work.
Thompson says high school students should work hard in their general studies
-- science, math and English -- because half their college courses
will be general studies.
She also suggests high school students get involved with clubs related
to the program they plan to take. "[Involvement in] Future Homemakers of America
will be very helpful, and be sure to take leadership roles -- if not officer,
at least work on committees," she says.
Besides tuition and books, there may be lab fees.
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Dietitians
Home Economics ResourcesTasty links to food-related websites
Home Economics Careers and TechnologyView some related career pathways