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Studying the Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition provides you with a strong background in the principles underlying the sciences 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. The program has recently been reviewed and the new structure of the degree allows you the opportunity to undertake a number of core subjects focusing in both Food Science and Human Nutrition as well as a number of electives.
Food Scientists develop the processes that turn raw materials like milk and cereal grains into high quality food products such as ice cream and breakfast cereals. They are continually improving the quality of the food supply, aiming not only to ensure food is appealing, safe and nutritious, but that it also has optimal taste, texture and functionality.
Food science and technology subjects include: animal food products, plant food products, food processing and quality management, food analysis, food packaging, food product development
Human nutrition is a field of study for people who are interested in science, nutrition and foods, without a clinical component as for a program in dietetics. Nutritionists can be people-centred, laboratory based or in the field of business and commerce. They can apply their nutrition knowledge to the human condition, the nutritional implications of food product composition and processing for consumers and the complexity of current issues relating food and nutrients to optimal human health
Human Nutrition subjects include: macronutrients, micronutrients, nutrition in health and diseases, nutrition through the lifecycle, functional foods and health claims
What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
In Australia there is a distinction made between Dietitians and other occupations in the nutrition and food science field, including that of Nutritionist.
The key difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a Dietitian has undertaken a course of study that has included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.
Therefore, in Australia, all Dietitians are considered to be nutritionists however; nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietician.
If you wish to complete the Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and work as a Dietitian you will need to complete further study.
Please be aware that by entering into the Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition degree you are not guaranteed entry into the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics degree or guaranteed recognition of courses studied in the Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Graduates of the BFSHN wishing to pursue a career as a Dietitian may be able to complete postgraduate study at another institution. In NSW the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong both offer postgraduate degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Graduates of the BFSHN will be able to apply for membership to the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology as well as the Nutrition Society of Australia. They will also be able to apply for registration as an Associate Nutritionist (ANutr), a Register of Nutritionists established by the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA).
The program is currently restructured in order to offer to the higher achieving students the opportunity to participate in 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 sample job titles listed include a range of opportunities for graduates at degree, honours and postgraduate study levels.
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.
Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in Food Science and Human Nutrition.
- 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.
We are in the process of collecting Food Science and Human Nutrition societies and organisations. Check back again shortly.
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
On completion of the Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition degree, a graduate will be able to demonstrate:
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.