FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES

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FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES


WHAT IS FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES?

Family and consumer sciences (FCS) is an academic discipline that is interdisciplinary and applied in nature. Based on ecological principles, family and consumer sciences students and professionals study how the relationships between individuals, families, communities, and environments influence or effect individual development in a variety of ways. FCS was formerly known as “home economics,” but the name changed in the early 1990s to provide a more accurate depiction of the fact that FCS professionals study a broad range of issues surrounding individuals, families, and communities, rather than a sole focus on education related to managing the home or homemaking skills.


FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES IS INTERDISCIPLINARY BECAUSE...
FCS is interdisciplinary because it is comprised of a wide range of disciplines, which include human development and family studies, consumer studies, food science or dietetics, merchandising, gerontology, hospitality, and housing or interior design. Although FCS majors generally focus on one of the aforementioned concentration areas, they receive a comprehensive education and gain a general understanding of all of the different concentration areas and how they relate. For example, a student focusing on food science, nutrition, or dietetics gain an understanding of how an issue such as obesity is influenced by consumer decisions, routines within family systems, or options available to individuals and families at restaurants. A student who chooses human development and family studies as their concentration area may learn how issues such as eating disorders or balancing work and family relate to dietetics, merchandising, housing, or consumer issues. These are just a few examples, but as a result of their versatile back-ground, FCS students are generally well rounded and able to apply the knowledge they have learned to a wide range of issues. They also gain a keen ability to think critically about a particular population they are working with and gain a comprehensive understanding of an issue they are studying because they are skilled in analyzing the ways in which individuals and the issues they face may be influenced by multiple factors.

 

FCS is applied because professionals do not just focus on the “how” or “why” of the issues addressed; the discipline thrives on the “so what?” and “What are we going to do about it now?” Thus, students gain an understanding of the research and theories that help to explain or understand the issues, but they also are provided with practical solutions on how to address the issues surrounding individuals, families, and communities.

 

Additional resource:
What is FCS – American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences [AAFCS]


WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A DEGREE IN FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES?
Although concentrations areas and guidelines vary by college or university, FCS undergraduate students generally receive a bachelor of science degree and choose a concentration area to focus on throughout their first four years (e.g., human development and family studies, consumer sciences, dietetics, hospitality, and so on). Like many disciplines, students may need to pursue their Master’s degree to get a specific job. This really depends on their career goals. For example, an FCS student who chose the concentration area of human development and or family studies, could get a job as a case manager or educator with child and protective services, a domestic violence agency, Extension, or a government agency (to name a few examples). Yet, if their goal is to become an administrator, social worker ,or school counselor, they would need to consider graduate school and obtain a Master’s degree in FCS or a related field, social work, or school counseling respectively. The same thing applies to other FCS areas of study.

 

FCS students should take pride in the fact that the interdisciplinary nature and versatile background they receive can expand their opportunities (e.g., see http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/08/19/cb.unusual.majors.jobs/), but one has to MAKE these opportunities happen. Our hope is that by exploring and participating in the Career Skillet website, students will receive many different skill-building techniques that help them as they plan for and begin a career as an FCS professional.

 

Additional Resources:

Careers in FCS – American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences [AAFCS] Career Pathways – FCS
FCS Jobs [FCS.com]


FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES AREAS OF STUDY


CONSUMER STUDIES

 

HOUSING AND INTERIOR DESIGN

 

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT & FAMILY STUDIES

 

MERCHANDISING, TEXTILES, AND APPAREL

 

FOOD SCIENCE, NUTRITION, AND DIETETICS

 

GERONTOLOGY

 

ENTREPRENUERSHIP

 

CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

 

HOSPITALITY, EVENT PLANNING, & TOURISM

 

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