Home science is a field of study with its mission to empower individual, family and community for effective role performance and management of resources to improve the quality of life. It primarily emerged out of the felt need for a comprehensive type of training for girls in the context of changes in the socio-economic environment as well as the changes in the family system and functions. Home science was conceptualized basically as an interdisciplinary applied area of study built upon the basic and social scientific knowledge. There are five major areas, viz., Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, Family Resource Management, Child Development and Family Relations and Home Science Extension Education. It is the only professional study with the nucleus of the family as a social and economic institution. Although, the philosophy of home science was more family oriented and is even increasingly so, the home science has now broadened its philosophy to relate the nucleus of family to the national educational policies and national economy.
The idea of establishing a home science college under Assam Agricultural University was conceived immediately after the university was founded on April, 1969. Subsequently, the College of Home Science came into existence in 1973 with 25 students on roll. This college is the only full-fledged home science college catering the needs of the entire North Eastern region. Although, St. Mary's College under North Eastern Hill University, Shillong offers degree programme in home science, it is yet to brought to the level of courses offered by the home science colleges in general. College of Home Science, Assam Agricultural University offers both under graduate and post graduate programmes under the semester system of education. Post graduate programme was initially started in the disciplines of Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles and Child Development and Family Relations in 1988. Subsequently, it was started in the discipline of Family Resource Management and Home Science Extension Education in the year 1992 and 1998, respectively. The academic programmes was further expanded by starting Ph. D. programme in Food and Nutrition in the year 1998. The under-graduate programme offered by this college was of three years duration with a total credit of 112 till 1997. In the light of changing mission of home science education, the review of existing course curriculum of under-graduate programme was undertaken as suggested by the Third Deans Committee, appointed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research. A uniform course curriculum of four years B. Sc. (Home Science) degree programme with a total credit of 160, has been formulated at national level. The four years degree programme in home science has been implemented with the new uniform curriculum since academic session 1998-99. The distinctive features added to the new curriculum are the inclusion of Rural Home Science Work Experience (RHWE) Programme and vocational elective courses with in-plant training. This would provide wider spectrum of learning through experience in real life situations to the graduating students. The present curriculum is expected to contribute towards making the home science education socially relevant to enhance its impact on the community and also to enhance its professionalism.
The present intake capacity of under-graduate programme in home science is 40. Whereas for M. Sc. And Ph. D. programme it is 25 (five in each discipline) and four respectively. Looking at the responsibilities of women in the perspective of family relations and management, home science education was emerged initially as gender specific. The reorientation of curriculum with a view to promote professionalism in home science has widened the scope of making home science education gender neutral. Consequently, male students have started enrolling themselves in the home science programme of this institute since the academic session 1999-2000.