• CollegeLCF
  • Start dateSeptember 2017
  • Course length4 years / 5 years (with placement year in industry)
  • UCAS codeW297

MSc Cosmetic Science

Applications closed 2017/18

Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the Places available page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

This applied cosmetic science course gives you the skills and knowledge for a rewarding and successful specialist career in the cosmetic and toiletry industry.

About this course

MSc Cosmetic Science is an exciting new applied science course situated in the Fashion Business School. It is designed for students who want a career within the cosmetic and toiletry industry, and focuses on the needs of the cosmetic industry and its consumers, at the same time as providing students with the critical and evaluative skills to be able to function as professional scientists. It is an integrated MSc, with a BSc exit point, and an optional placement year in industry in the third year of the course. This provides a unique offer in cosmetic science education world-wide, enabling students to start as undergraduates and exit with a postgraduate qualification. The MSc qualification offers a distinct advantage in today’s competitive environment.

The course provides you with knowledge and understanding of the various disciplines within Cosmetic Science and the organisation and function of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery industries. These industries have expanded in recent years as consumers have become more aware of the potential benefits of their products. Industry partners involved in the design and delivery of the course include Procter and Gamble, The Body Shop, Unilever, L’Oreal, Boots and Molton Brown.

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), the industry trade association, has supported the development of the MSc from the successful BSc, in response to industry demand for graduates with a high level of scientific and technical knowledge coupled with business awareness. CTPA recognises that the course offers immediate relevance to the industry, with graduates who will already have an understanding of the way the industry operates and the challenges it faces. CTPA provides generous bursaries for the two best performing students in each year of study.

London College of Fashion students present to the cosmetic science industry at the MSc Cosmetic Science Industry Day, 21 October 2015.

Msc Cosmetic Science students with goggles in a lab at LCF
Photo by Hanna Puskarz

MSc Cosmetic Science toothpaste class, 2015

Cosmetic students and course leader with hair samples in the LCF lab.
Photo by Hanna Puskarz

MSc Cosmetic Science haircare class 2015

msc cosmetic science student with bottles of solution, 2015
Photo by Hanna Puskarz

MSc Cosmetic Science toothpaste class, 2015

MSc Cosmetic Science student in lab coat at LCF lab.
Photo by Hanna Puskarz

MSc Cosmetic Science haircare class, 2015

msc cosmetic science student with lipsticks, 2015

Measuring the strength of lipstick

MSc Cosmetic Science student assessing the structure of a pink gel using laboratory equipment

Assessing the structure of gels

CTPA annual report screen shot

Read full article

LCF Cosmetic Science alumni were profiled in the 2012 CTPA Annual Report.

How to make a lipstick

How to make a foundation

Facilities

Course detail

Msc Cosmetic Science covers a range of sciences, both pure and applied, formulation development and industry operations, all of which give you a broad range of career opportunities.

Some students do a placement year between the second and third year of the course. Successful completion of this year will give an additional qualification, the Diploma in Professional Studies, and students will have the opportunity to make contacts and build relationships within the industry before the end of their studies. Graduates from the BSc course, which has now developed into this MSc course, are employed throughout the industry, both in the UK and internationally, in a wide range of roles. These include research and development, product manufacturing, marketing, technical sales, product testing, quality assurance, logistics, regulation and legislation departments. Some multinational companies, for example, Procter and Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser, recruit directly from the course.

Course structure

Year one             stage one             level 4                        120 credits 

Term one: Introduction to Cosmetic Science (20 credits); Scientific Principles (20 credits)

Term two: Marketing with Perfumery (20 credits); Formulation Principles (20 credits)

Term three: Formulation Practice (40 credits)

 

Year two            stage two            level 5                        120 credits

Term one: Packaging Development and Technology (20 credits); Formulation and Legislation (20 credits)

Term two: Research Methods in Marketing and Quality Management (20 credits); Formulation and Evaluation (20 credits)

Term three: Hair Care Formulation and Evaluation (40 credits)

 

Professional placement year (optional)

Diploma in Professional Studies

 

Third/fourth year            stage three            level 6 and level 7            120 credits

Term one: Product Development and Claim Support (20 credits) (level 6)

Terms one and two: Production and Distribution Management (40 credits) (level 6)

Terms two and three: Product Launch Project (60 credits) (level 7)

 

Final year            stage four            level 7                        120 credits           

Term one: Strategic Management (20 credits)

Terms one and two: Advanced Cosmetic Science (40 credits)

Terms one, two and three: MSc Project for Cosmetic Science (60 credits)

Course units

Year one

In the first term you will study two units.

Introduction to Cosmetic Science introduces you to your course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge-base needed to understand your discipline and help you to develop your skills for independent & collaborative learning, reflection and your own self development. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.

Scientific Principles provides you with a range of underpinning sciences required in cosmetic science. You will study chemistry, microbiology, and the structure and properties of the raw materials used in the cosmetics and toiletry industry. You will be introduced to practical laboratory skills, and will develop your problem-solving skills through an analytical approach.

In the second term you will study two units.

Marketing with Perfumery gives you an overview of the cosmetics industry and introduces you to the fundamental concepts in Marketing and Perfumery. You will study marketing theory and applications, learn how to retrieve, analyse and present data from secondary sources, and how to write reports in the scientific style required in the industry. You will also learn the basic concepts of perfumery, including specific terminology, and have the opportunity to practise the olfactory skills needed in product development.

Formulation Principles provides you with the opportunity to apply your scientific knowledge to product formulation. You will learn how the raw materials interact within the product and how they influence product performance on skin and hair. You will learn the basic principles of surface and colloidal chemistry, and the structure and properties of surfactants. You will gain further insights into the properties of young and aged skin, and explore the approaches used to help delay the signs of ageing. You will also look at the interactions between the skin and various environmental factors, including UV radiation and cosmetics and toiletries.

In the third term you will undertake the Formulation Practice unit. This gives you the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills that you need to formulate and produce cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery products in the laboratory. You will study the theory, including an overview of the types and composition of cosmetics and toiletries, and an introduction to emulsion technology. You will be introduced to the principles of project management, and the use of safe working procedures, including risk assessment. Laboratory work will be carried out in small groups and will focus on a given formulation problem. The work will be structured and supervised, whilst allowing both groups and individual students a certain level of independence and creativity. This means that groups may take different approaches to the project brief, while achieving equally acceptable solutions to the problem.

Year two

In the first term you will study two units.

Packaging Development and Technology provides a framework for the cosmetic scientist to make informed decisions on the selection and use of packaging materials. You will learn to evaluate the requirements of the product, the demands of the market, and the hazards encountered during production, packaging, distribution and display. Total pack cost will be considered, along with the requirement to conform to current legislation, and the need to make packaging decisions based on sound environmental data and aiming for sustainable solutions.   

Also in the first term, the Formulation and Legislation unit gives you knowledge and understanding of the processes used in the development and manufacture of skin care products, including the legislative requirements for both global and European markets, and the factors which have an impact on product safety and stability. You will concentrate on the formulation and development of skin care products. This unit gives you the opportunity to further develop your formulating skills, building on your underpinning knowledge and understanding of skin biology, microbiology, surface chemistry and the chemistry of raw materials, and to analyse the impact of the different raw materials on their structure, function and properties, including the sustainability of supply. 

In the second term you will study two units.

Research Methods in Marketing and Quality Management gives you the necessary knowledge and understanding of the requirements for providing the consumer with safe and legal products, which are fit for purpose and of acceptable quality. You will develop and extend your knowledge of marketing research and the methods used to understand, determine and specify consumer needs.

Also in the second term, the Formulation and Evaluation unit gives you the opportunity to further develop your formulating skills, building on your underpinning knowledge and understanding of formulation principles, legislative requirements and the chemistry of raw materials. You will learn about the composition, structure and properties of decorative cosmetic products (for example, lipstick, foundation, eye shadow). You will be introduced to the principles, methods and practical aspects of product evaluation, an essential tool in product development. During practical laboratory sessions you will choose raw materials to make cosmetic products, evaluate these products using sensory and instrumental techniques, and use statistical methods to analyse your results.

In the third term the Hair CareFormulation and Evaluation unit gives you the opportunity to consolidate your theoretical knowledge and practical skills acquired so far. You will undertake a relatively complex project, which will have an element of choice. You will further develop your understanding of research methodology, including primary and secondary research processes, and your formulation skills through studying the hair care sector. You will revisit and apply your perfumery knowledge, and your research, formulation and PPD (personal and professional development) skills to realise the project.

Professional placement year

This year is optional. If you take up this opportunity you will undertake a 30-week industrial placement, where you will experience the atmosphere, pace and discipline of working within the cosmetic industry by your involvement in the day to day activities of a particular business. The placement year will give you practical experience of the roles, functions and operations in the cosmetics, toiletry or perfumery industry that you have studied on your course. You will be required to write a negotiated report on your placement, which will focus on issues or opportunities related to the placement company. This will develop your study skills and allow you to demonstrate your research, analytical and evaluative skills.

There is an option to spend your placement year abroad by taking part in the Erasmus scheme, where you can combine an overseas work placement (minimum 20 weeks) with a period of overseas study (minimum 10 weeks).

Successful completion of the year will give you the additional qualification of a Diploma in Professional Studies.

Third/fourth year

In the first term you will undertake the Product Development and Claim Support unit. This unit integrates two important components of the life cycle of a commercial cosmetic product. Product development and innovation pave the way for the future of the company. You will learn how the various departments in a commercial organisation interact to introduce a new product into the market place. Claim support is a critical part of the product life cycle because comprehensive technical substantiation of claims is required by law, and because properly supported aggressive claims are drivers of the commercial success of products.

In the first and second terms you will undertake the Production and Distribution Management unit. You will explore the areas of production, inventory and distribution management and you will be introduced to the principles of supply chain management. This allows you to contextualise your knowledge of other disciplines studied on the course and apply them to a commercial environment. You have the opportunity, through theoretical situations, to experience some of the issues and activities associated with the production and distribution of cosmetics and toiletries.

In the second and third terms you will undertake the Product Launch Project. This unit consolidates the knowledge and skills you have acquired so far, and gives you the opportunity to apply these to the complex process of launching a product. You will be expected to demonstrate your critical understanding of market drivers, the legislative environment, the stages in product development and the nature of product claims. You will also be required to apply your knowledge and problem-solving skills to the product realisation, namely the production, packaging and delivery of the product into the market, in line with business objectives including timeliness, cost and acceptability by the consumer.

Students who successfully complete this year have the option of exiting the course at this point with a BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science award.

Final year

In the first term you will undertake the Strategic Management unit. This will allow you to consolidate your understanding of the business environment in which the cosmetic and toiletries industries are situated. You will learn about key concepts, business models and management techniques that can be used within the industry. This knowledge will enable you to understand the key drivers in both large and small business enterprises, and how to evaluate the risks associated with entrepreneurial activities. You will look at the application of these tools to the management of technical functions responsible for new and continuing product and process development, and the many internal and external inter-dependencies of these functions.

Also in the first term and in the second term you will undertake the Advanced Cosmetic Science unit. This consolidates your learning in cosmetic science and technology and introduces new complex ideas and concepts. The major part of this unit gives you advanced knowledge of specific technologies and procedures, including sustainability and environmental aspects, intellectual property rights (patents and trademarks), alternatives to animal testing, relevant computer modelling and advanced aspects of consumer relations. The smaller part of this unit allows you to choose your area of interest and respond to an aspect of new developments in cosmetic ingredients, information technology and underpinning sciences.

Throughout terms one, two and three you will be working on your MSc Project for Cosmetic Science. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and autonomy in planning and implementing complex tasks. You will have the opportunity to integrate your knowledge and skills acquired so far and apply them to a project of your choice. Your choice will reflect your personal and professional interests and career aspirations. It will deal with a problem/issue of practical or theoretical importance in the area of cosmetic science and technology. You will need to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the methods used in your chosen subject area so that you can construct an appropriate research methodology. It is expected that academic writing conventions will be used in your MSc project report. Your skills in project and risk management will be fully utilised in this unit.

There will be opportunities for a student to collaborate with a specific company, where a project can be negotiated that has practical outcomes for the company, and at the same time meets the requirements of the Masters level study.

There are also opportunities for students to engage with the ongoing research within the School by further developing a specific topic through their Masters project.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Briefings, tutorials and feedback
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Laboratory workshops
  • Marketing research
  • Collaborative group project work
  • Independent laboratory work
  • Academic skills and research methods

Assessments methods

  • Essays and dissertation
  • Project and laboratory reports
  • Exam papers and presentations
  • Tutorials

Staff

Diogo Baltazar is Acting Course Leader for the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science, and responsible for its academic leadership and management, including design, development and delivery of the curriculum. He trained as a pharmacist at the University of Lisbon. After obtaining his MPharm Diogo completed a Specialisation PGDip in Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and later worked as a research assistant at the iMed.ULisboa, where he was responsible for projects for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, including developing, testing and reformulating new skincare product lines and research and development of topical medicines. Diogo is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teaches chemistry, colloidal science and product formulation & technology related subjects to different levels of the course. His research interests are focused on the formulation technology of colloidal systems and the optimisation of topical and transdermal drug delivery.

Professor Danka Tamburic has a background in Pharmacy, with an MSc in Pharmaceutical Technology and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2000, she has developed the first UK university degree solely devoted to cosmetic industry, BSc Cosmetic Science, the predecessor of the current integrated MSc. Professor Tamburic has extensive experience in the area of skin research, including pharmaceutical and cosmetic aspects, with more than 120 research outputs in the public domain, of which 50 papers are in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She has also contributed to book chapters, patent applications and pedagogic projects. Her research interests encompass the use of novel technologies in skin formulation and the assessment of various aspects of cosmetic product efficacy. She is also engaged in multi-disciplinary research, including the use of 3D printing technology in cosmetic science.

View Danka's staff profile

View Danka's research profile

Gabriela Daniels is the Programme Director for the Science Programme. She has an MSc in Science and Technology of Cosmetics and Essential Oils from University of Food Technologies in Bulgaria and worked in the cosmetic industry in Bulgaria and the UK in a variety of roles, such as applications chemist and technical adviser. She holds an MBA with the Open University (UK) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. On the MSc Cosmetic Science she teaches business subjects, contextualised to the cosmetic industry e.g. marketing research and strategic management and scientific subjects such as claim substantiation and hair care science and technology. She has participated in pedagogic projects related to the experience of BAME students and the use of specialist videos in teaching and learning for which she was awarded the UAL Teaching and Professional Fellowship in 2012. Gabriela’s research interests are focused on hair science and technology as well as the pedagogy of group work and learning technology.

Caroline Searing is a Senior Lecturer on the MSc Cosmetic Science course. She trained as a physiologist at the University of Bristol and holds an MA in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from Bucks New University. Prior to coming to LCF she worked as a scientific officer with the Ministry of Defence (Navy), specialising in respiratory physiology and thermally stressful environments. She teaches biology and human physiology related subjects and development of HE study skills. She has been a unit leader for the Biochemistry and Cell & Physiology units for the Society of Cosmetic Scientists Distance Learning Course since 2009. Her current research includes the changing role of makeup during the female lifespan.

Dr Milica Stević is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Cosmetic Science and a lecturer on the MSc Cosmetic Science course. She joined LCF in 2015, having previously been a post-doctoral research fellow in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCL School of Pharmacy. Her background is in Physical Chemistry with a PhD in Analytical Physical Chemistry from the University of Belgrade. Dr Stević teaches units related to various branches of Chemistry, including Raw Materials, and is the unit leader for Packaging Development and Technology. Her research interests include the application of 3D printing technology in cosmetic science and packaging, as well as development of new methods for skin and hair characterisation.

Edwin Phiri is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and subject leader (Marketing) at FBS within LCF. Edwin has an MBA in Strategic Marketing and is a passionate and keen marketer whose subject and research interests include: marketing, marketing communications, branding management and strategy. He has been teaching marketing to Cosmetic Science students for over five years. Marianne Martin has been a long standing contributor to the MSc Cosmetic Science course, teaching the specialist perfumery elements of some units and contributing to the planning of Master’s projects. She has over 20 years’ experience as a perfumer and perfume evaluator. She has also been teaching fragrance as a route to assist people with mental health issues with the nationally recognised programme Learn2b.

Marianne Martin has been a long standing contributor to the course, teaching the specialist perfumery elements and, more recently, contributing to the planning of Master’s projects. She has 40 years’ experience as a perfumer or nose. In addition, she has been teaching fragrance as a route to assist people with mental health issues with a nationally recognised programme Learn2b.

Carmel Lally is a Specialist Technician for the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science. She supervises laboratory workshops and provides technical support in product development and perfumery. She graduated from LCF with a first class honours degree in Cosmetic Science. After working in the cosmetic industry in the UK, and completing a PGCE Post Compulsory Education she joined the LCF Cosmetic Science area. Currently working towards an MSc from the Open University UK, Carmel’s research interests are focused on the pedagogy of group work and mental health science.

Dr Terence Chung is a Specialist Technician for the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science. He supervises laboratory workshops and provides technical support in product development, product evaluation and physicochemical testing. He also delivers lectures on the biochemistry of skin ageing. He trained as a biochemist at the University of Nottingham (BSc Hons Biochemistry), has an MSc in Drug Discovery (School of Pharmacy, UCL) and has completed a PhD (University of East Anglia) focused on the discovery of anti-MRSA agents from plant extracts and in the mechanism of DNA interacting enzymes (topoisomerases). He engaged in science education in secondary level for two years before he joined LCF. He has worked in the cosmetic industry in product development of hair care and skincare products.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

Home / EU applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

You must apply through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W297

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

Contact us on: 

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7344

Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form

Please note that the equal consideration deadline was 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

International applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:

Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.

If applying through UCAS, you will need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W297

For applicants who want to apply directly to UAL, the direct application form may be found here:

We continue to accept applications throughout the year, but please note that the equal consideration deadline was 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page or contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This can include guidance for your portfolio, advice on the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information. 

Entry requirements

Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • Three A Level Passes at Grade BBC, where at least two subjects must be in Science subjects and one of the Science subjects must be Chemistry;
  • or Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma (Preferred subjects) Art & Design;
  • or Merit at UAL Extended Diploma;
  • or Access Diploma or ’112 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
  • or 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification;
  • or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications;
  • and Five GCSE passes at grade A*-C including Maths and two Science subjects.

Exceptionally, applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

*Exceptionally, applicants may be eligible for a preparatory Chemistry course run in the summer.

This course may interview candidates who meet, or expect to meet, the entry requirements.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one skill.

Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents.    

Student selection criteria                  

What we look for

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • an enthusiasm for a career in Cosmetic Science;
  • the potential to complete a multi-disciplinary and scientifically based programme of study;
  • an ability to engage with analytical and evaluative activities;
  • a good command of oral and written English.

Evidence of work experience and some form of laboratory experience is an advantage.

Interview advice

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the above at interview.

What happens next

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and What we look for sections.

If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview. If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend the College may not be able to re-schedule.

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack, sent by email, including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250

This applies for the 2017/18 academic year.

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£17,920

This applies for the 2017/18 academic year.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Developing your skills

All of our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry.

Career paths

Many graduates prefer to seek employment as soon as they have completed their undergraduate studies, and graduates from the MSc course (and BSc break point) are working in the cosmetics industry in a number of roles, including at Eylure as New Product Development/Marketing Executive, for Azelis as Techical Product Manager, at Tropic Skincare as Laboratory and Quality Control Technician and for Walgreens Boots Alliance as International Regulatory Affairs Officer, training in toxicology with the Product Safety team.

Graduates featured in the CTPA annual report

Graduates of the BSc course are featured in the 2012 Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) annual report. Have a look to see what you could become: