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The Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition provides students with a strong background in the principles underlying the science of food technology and human nutrition. This includes the basic sciences, the chemistry and biology of nutrients and the attributes of food, including food commodities and functional foods.
Graduates are qualified to enter roles primarily as food scientists and nutritionists in the food, community health and nutrition education sectors, and are also able to attain positions in management, marketing, product development, quality control and assurance, nutrition and food services. Furthermore, opportunities for advising government policies and the ability to establish private consultancies and undertaken personal or university-supervised research arise.
Food Science and Nutrition graduates will be able to apply for membership to the Australian Institute of Food Science Technology as well as the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA). They are also able to apply for registration as an Associate Nutritionist (ANutr), a Register of Nutritionists established by the NSA.
It is important to distinguish between the occupations of a dietician or nutritionist in Australia. Prospective dieticians must undertake courses of study that include substantial theory and supervised professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management. Indeed, this is in addition to or a part of their qualification in human nutrition. Thus, in Australia, all dieticians are considered to be nutritionists, yet nutritionists with a dietetics qualification cannot undertake the specialised role of a dietician.
The program is currently structured in order to offer higher achieving students the opportunity to participated in the Work Integrated Learning scheme during their final year of study.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition Studies include:
After completing a degree there is a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
To qualify as a dietician, you will need to complete a postgraduate, accredited program. For information on accredited programs, please visit The Dietitians Association of Australia website.
The following list provides some example jobs available to Food Science and Human Nutrition graduates. Some of these jobs will depend on the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, the combination of other majors and electives studied, and some may require further study.
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the traditional food science and human nutrition industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Food Science and Human Nutrition that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Food Science and Human Nutrition graduates find employment opportunities in small, medium or large organisations of varying industries. Below are some examples of organisations that may recruit those holding this degree. Check employers’ websites for sections titled Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs, or for similar sections. Some employers may also offer vacation work opportunities.
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
- Fonterra (International)
- Healthy Snack People Pty Ltd (Australia)
- Hunter New England Health (Australia)
- Masterfoods (Australia)
- Norco Co-op Ltd (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
EmployabilityFood Science and Human Nutrition graduates will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect to:
- Knowledge of the established sciences of Food and Nutrition, and the application of this knowledge;
- A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Food Science and Technology and of Human Nutrition and the relevance and impact of nutrition on health status.
- A well-founded grounding in the sciences underpinning Food Science and Human Nutrition including biology, chemistry, biochemistry and human anatomy and physiology.
- A well-rounded set of practical laboratory skills in the Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry & Food Science areas applicable in research or analytical laboratories and industry.
- Ability to interpret scientific information;
- Ability to effectively collect, analyse, critically review and organize scientific information related to Food Science, Human Nutrition and the underpinning sciences.
- An understanding of the ongoing scientific and technical development of Food and Nutritional Sciences and the importance of lifelong learning.
- Skills in problem-solving and critical analysis;
- Able to define and analyse problems.
- Able to evaluate opinions, make decisions, and critically.
- Effective communication and professional skills;
- Ability to effectively communicate in written and oral formats using the presentation and IT skills of a working scientist as appropriate to the particular audience.
- Ability to work in teams or independently as individuals.
- Knowledge and experience of the professional context of the food and nutrition working environments including the research sphere.
- Ethical awareness and professional practice;
- Awareness of the importance of ethics, safety and best practice based on scholarly & community values, industry and government legislative standards & the evidence basis of the scientific methods.