Course Details

By studying Cosmetic Science you will gain expertise in the formulation, manufacture, regulation and quality control of cosmetic, fragrance and personal care products. Our multidisciplinary course will give you a career edge within the cosmetics industry as well as a platform for success in many different roles in research and development.

The first year of this exciting new course introduces relevant aspects of chemistry, physiology and dermatology as well as the regulatory framework for cosmetics. You will also be introduced to the principles of formulation with an emphasis on those related to cosmetics.‌

During the second year you will undertake a more in-depth exploration of formulation, dermatology and professional practice in the cosmetic industry. This will include the importance of colour in these formulations and the differences between industrial and lab scale manufacture. Cosmetic Science Lab Cosmetic Science Lab

We also encourage you to apply to undertake a year-long placement between your second and final years.

This will provide an opportunity to put your new skills into practice whilst also developing a range of contacts and experiences in the workplace. These are usually paid, an average of £14,000 - £18,000 a year allowing you to put your learning into practice and make meaningful contacts that may lead to future job offers. Placements are subject to availability and interviews are required.

The final year culminates in a science-led project that can be tailored to your interests. Through the project you will demonstrate your capacity to address a particular issue in a rigorous, research-enabled way. The project can be linked to your placement or other work experience, making it a useful way of catching the attention of potential employers. Once you graduate you will be fully equipped to work as a researcher or scientist for companies throughout the cosmetic industry and beyond.

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Introduction to Chemistry Principles in Cosmetic Science (30 Credits)
  • Introduction to Physiology (30 Credits)
  • Introduction to Cosmetic Formulations and Perfumes (30 Credits)
  • Introduction to Regulation / Legislation of Cosmetic Products (30 Credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

  • Formulation and Quality by Design of Cosmetics and Perfumes (30 Credits)
  • Manufacture and Quality Control of Cosmetics and Perfumes (30 Credits)
  • Industrial and Professional Practice in the Cosmetics Industry (30 Credits)
  • Dermatology (30 Credits)

Optional placement year 

  • Optional year on placement in the cosmetics industry 

Final Year (national level 6)

  • Advanced Cosmetic Formulations (30 Credits)
  • Research Methods and Professional Practice (30 Credits)
  • Research Project (30 Credits)
  • Regulatory Aspects and Quality Management (30 Credits)
  • A key aspect of your course is the development of your knowledge and understanding around the key themes of formulation,
    legislation, and physiology.

Formulation :

In year one, you will become familiar with the range of raw materials, cosmetic formulations and formulation techniques in the cosmetics field. This will then feed into your year two modules where your knowledge and formulation skills will build up to the formulation and quality control of specific cosmetic products. In your final year you will study modules which involve the design of more challenging and sophisticated formulations, awareness of formulation protocols and the use of statistics in formulation design.

Legislation :

In year one you will become aware of the diverse global legislative and regulatory framework surrounding cosmetics and perfumes. You will build on this in year two where you learn how formulation design is influenced by legislation such as the requirements and regulations associated with organic cosmetic products. This builds up to your final year which focusses on the regulation/legislation of finished cosmetic products which includes the legal framework for advertising cosmetics, claim control, business framework, and management, including product marketing and distribution.

Physiology :

In year one, you will acquire fundamental knowledge of the physiology of the skin, eye, nail, oral cavity and hair, alongside the role of the endocrine system. You build upon this knowledge in year two where a more in-depth analysis of the skin structure, function, aging process and ethical differences are covered. In your final year, you will study regulatory aspects and quality management in relation to the creation of appropriate claims for a specific cosmetic product and the ability to communicate such information accurately to industry experts and the public.

Employment & Careers

Cosmetic scientists can earn starting salaries of around £20,000, moving up to over £50,000 a year for senior chemist and R&D managerial roles. You could also explore positions in business, sales and marketing. With the sector thriving in the UK, cosmetic science is a great area to qualify in for those that want creative and diverse career options in science.

Career opportunities include: 

  • Research and development of cosmetic formulations and cosmetic raw materials
  • Perfumery 
  • Fragrance evaluation
  • Product manufacturing
  • Quality control
  • Marketing and product claims
  • Regulation and legislation
  • Sales
  • Media and TV