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Undergraduate

MSc Cosmetic Science

Student experimenting in laboratory.
MSc Cosmetic Science student in laboratory. © University of Arts London
College
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2021
Course length
4 years / 5 years (with placement year in industry)
UCAS code
W297

The MSc Cosmetic Science is designed for students who want a career in the cosmetic and personal care industries. This unique course provides students with specific scientific knowledge and skills in different areas underpinning cosmetic science. The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) recognises the course as one of ‘immediate relevance to the industry’ due to its scientific, technological and business curriculum.

Apply to start in September 2021

This course has places available. If you’re a UK applicant, read our Guide to applying for a course starting this September and complete our self-apply form to make an application to UAL. If you’re an international applicant, complete our direct application form to apply. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2021/22 entry, visit the Courses with places available page.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

  • Unique course: this is the only worldwide opportunity to study in a cosmetic science course that combines undergraduate and postgraduate study, leading to a taught Master’s award; there is an optional BSc exit point.
  • Industry placement: students have the opportunity to undertake an optional placement year which will enhance their employability by offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry.
  • Diverse career opportunities: graduates go on to hold positions in New Product Development / Marketing, Technical Product Management, laboratory roles in Development and Quality, Regulatory Affairs and Product Safety for cosmetic and toiletry brands.
  • Where graduates have gone on to work: graduates are employed throughout the industry, both in the UK and internationally, in a wide range of roles. Companies include Procter and Gamble, Perrigo, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Superdrug, The Good Housekeeping Institute, The Body Shop and Charlotte Tilbury.

Online Event: Fashion Business School Undergraduate Open Day

2 Oct 2021 11am-3pm

This Virtual Open Day will enable you to find out more about what it's like to be an undergraduate student at London College of Fashion. On the day, you can expect to meet our course leaders and learn more about our Fashion Business School courses from the comfort of your home.

Book your place.

Location

This course is based at John Prince’s Street, Oxford Circus. Find out about the local area, including Marylebone, Mayfair and Soho, in our local area guides on the Student Life pages.

LCF's move

London College of Fashion is planning to move to a new single campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023. This is part of a new development for London, prioritising culture, education and innovation, known as East Bank. Some students studying this course from September 2021 may start their studies in John Prince's Street and transfer to LCF’s new site in East London to complete them. Please see LCF’s move to the Olympic Park for more information about the College’s relocation.

Student experience

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MSc Cosmetic Science presents Knowledge Exchange Conference: Cosmetic Innovations

Graduates and lecturers from the MSc Cosmetic Science at London College of Fashion present the latest research and innovations within the cosmetic field in front of industry and peers.

Smell Of Success talk: Fashion Business School Summit 17

This inspirational round table conversation, supported by CPL Aromas, was with some of the industry’s top noses, exploring the true value of capitalising on our olfactory sense within an exciting and evolving multisensory world.

How to make a lipstick

Making a lipstick in the labs at London College of Fashion, with students from the MSc Cosmetic Science course.

How to make a foundation

The process of making a foundation cream. Presented by MSc Cosmetic Science students at London College of Fashion.

Smell the DJ

London College of Fashion’s new project space, musician and DJ Matthew Herbert’s new experimental music and scent performance Smell the DJ explores the masculine iconography surrounding music and male perfumes.

Latest news from this course

LCF facilties

Course overview

Introduction 

MSc Cosmetic Science is an applied science course designed for students who want a career in the cosmetics and personal care industries. The course focusses on the needs of those industries and their consumers.  

These industries have expanded rapidly in recent years, as consumers have become more aware of the potential benefits of cosmetic products, and more critical of the way they are produced. In addition to subject-specific knowledge, the course enables students to develop the critical and analytical skills necessary to become cosmetic scientists.  

What to expect 

  • An integrated master’s course leading to a unique classification, in which students start at undergraduate level and are awarded a Master’s award upon completion;
  • A programme with vast laboratory experience, during which students learn to formulate and test many types of cosmetic products;
  • Laboratory-based projects that will challenge students to develop their own formulations, catering for specific consumer needs;
  • A solid scientific background and the opportunity to take on a year-long industry placement;
  • A course that equips graduates with knowledge and understanding of the various disciplines within Cosmetic Science and of how the industry works – the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) recognises the course as one ‘of immediate relevance to the industry’ due to its bespoke curriculum. 

Graduates from MSc Cosmetic Science 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 and regulation sectors. Employment prospects for graduates are excellent, with most of them being in professional roles within 6 months of leaving the course, while some graduates choose to take an entrepreneurial route. 

Work experience and opportunities 

Students will have the opportunity to undertake an optional industry placement year between the second and final year of the course, which will enhance the employability of students by offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry, as well as earning an additional Diploma in Professional Studies qualification.  

Mode of study 

MSc Cosmetic Science runs for 120 weeks (150 weeks with the optional Placement year) in full-time mode. It is divided into 4 stages, or 5 with the optional Placement year, over 4/5 academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. 

Contact us

For queries relating to the Coronavirus outbreak, read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students.

To register your interest and receive information and updates about studying at UAL, please complete this form.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or to ask a question, please contact us.

Course units

Year 1

Year 1 is planned to help you to make the transition from school to university study successfully. A unit is included to assist you in developing the skills you will need to become an independent learner. There will be units in the core sciences that will prepare you for the specific demands of understanding cosmetic science. In Block 2 you will begin formulating a variety of cosmetic products and even get the chance to develop your own.

All year 1 students take the ‘Better Lives’ unit which allows you to explore diversity, social responsibility and sustainability, all themes which are increasingly important in contemporary society.

Units studied:

  • Introduction to Cosmetic Science
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Applied Biology
  • Colloidal Science
  • Formulation Science
  • Better Lives

Year 2

Year 2 continues with the core disciplines, but also focusses on the creation of specific products for care of the skin and hair, and also in perfumery and decorative cosmetics. In addition to formulating many different products, you will learn how to test and evaluate them for both efficacy and stability.

This year will also introduce you to the important subject of product safety and the relevant legislation governing the formulation and sale of safe, legally compliant cosmetics. Additionally, you will discuss packaging and its role in protecting cosmetic products and enhancing sales.

Units studied:

  • Skincare and Colour Cosmetics
  • Product Evaluation
  • Product Safety, Quality and Legislation
  • Product Packaging and Stability
  • Haircare
  • Perfumery

The optional Diploma in Professional Studies carries 120 credits, and constitutes an independent award. Credits achieved on the Diploma are not part of the final degree award.

The Diploma year is a single unit, undertaken as a form of full time study, with placement activity at its core. For those who take up the option of studying the Diploma, the experience is designed to be an integrated and assessed part of a student’s journey through the course. It allows students the opportunity to experience the atmosphere, pace and discipline of working in the industry, through total involvement in the day-to-day activities of a company. It will build on the knowledge gathered through course work to practically demonstrate the roles and functions, and operations typical of the fashion industry and the student’s chosen specialism.

The Diploma is undertaken after successful completion of stage 2 of the course. Placements may be in the United Kingdom or abroad and may be in a range of relevant roles within the industry depending on your area of interest. Graduate Futures offer a comprehensive programme, including workshops and tutorials, which prepares students for the application process and interviews. Both Graduate Futures and the academic team support students throughout the placement year.

Year 3

Year 3 of the course is more dedicated to the business aspects of the industry, providing you with an understanding of how all aspects of product development and production come together in the finished project –  the manufacturing, packaging, efficacy testing and marketing of products will be considered. You will also continue to develop your formulation skills. Block 2 will culminate in a product launch project, which will allow you to follow the stages required to take a new product from idea to sale.

Units studied:

  • Applied Product Formulation
  • Production and Distribution Management
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Cosmetic Product Claims
  • Product Launch Project

Final Year

The final year of your course brings together all the topics that you have covered during your time at the College. The Advanced Cosmetic Science unit gives an overview of current trends in cosmetic science and the industry. The main focus of your studies, however, will be your MSc project. Choosing from a list of available topics, with the option to suggest your own, you will begin by creating a Project Proposal which will form the basis of your project report (laboratory-based projects) or dissertation (theoretical, literature-based projects). All topics are expected to address issues of practical or theoretical importance for the cosmetics industry.

Units studied:

  • MSc Project Proposal
  • Advanced Cosmetic Science
  • MSc Project for Cosmetic Science

Learning and teaching methods

The following teaching and learning methods are employed to support the integrated achievement of the course outcomes:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Visiting speakers
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Laboratory workshops
  • Statistical software training
  • Laboratory open access
  • Self-directed study

Assessment methods

The following assessment methods are employed to support the integrated aims of the course outcomes:

  • Time-constrained examination
  • Practical examination
  • Oral presentation (individual or group)
  • Laboratory report
  • Project report
  • Master’s report
  • Master’s dissertation
  • Essay
  • Reflective statement

Diogo Baltazar is the course leader for the integrated MSc in Cosmetic Science. Diogo trained as a pharmacist at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon where he collaborated in the research and development of topical medicines. After obtaining his MPharm, Diogo completed a Specialisation PGDip in Advanced Pharmaceutics and later worked as a full-time research assistant at the iMed.ULisboa, University of Lisbon, where he was responsible for consultancy projects for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. His projects included the development of cosmetic product lines, re-formulation of products and testing of topical medicines. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and leads the teaching in formulation science and technology, including laboratory workshops specialising in skincare. His research interests are focussed on the formulation of sustainable products.

Gabriela Daniels is Programme Director for the science courses in LCF and lectures on the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science. After obtaining her degree in Chemistry with a specialisation in the technology of cosmetics and fragrance materials, she moved to the UK and worked for several fragrance and cosmetic companies. In this interview, she tells us about the challenges of being a lecturer, what makes the cosmetic industry a fascinating field and what students can expect from studying a science course in a fashion school.

Professor Danka Tamburic has a background in Pharmacy, with an MSc in Pharmaceutical Technology and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2000, she developed the first UK university degree solely devoted to the 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 150 research outputs in the public domain. She has also contributed to book chapters, patent applications and pedagogic projects. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists. On the MSc Cosmetic Science, she teaches Product Evaluation and leads the post-graduate teaching. Her research interests encompass the use of novel technologies in skin formulation and the assessment of product efficacy. She is also engaged in multi-disciplinary research, including the use of 3D printing technology in cosmetic science.

Marianne Martin has been a long standing contributor to the course, teaching the specialist Perfumery unit, and has contributed to the planning of master’s and collaborative projects across the college. She has BSc in Chemistry and more than 40 years’ experience as a commercial perfumer or nose. In the last decade she has been teaching perfumery in various settings including the following: the Design with Scents UAL short course; supporting the SCS distance learning diploma; and as part of the nationally acclaimed Learn2b adult learning programme, using perfume creation as an aid to wellbeing for learners with a history of issues with mental health. Marianne is semi-retired, but still doing regular perfumery work under her consultancy earthscentred and is currently the Vice President of the British Society of Perfumery.

Carmel Lally is a specialist technician for the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science. She supervises laboratory workshops and provides technical support in product development, decorative cosmetics and perfumery. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Cosmetic Science and after working in cosmetic formulation in the UK, completed a PGCE Post Compulsory Education and returned to LCF. She holds an MSc in Science with a focus on mental health and her areas of interest include the therapeutic effects of odours.

Roshni Harkishin is a specialist technician for the integrated MSc Cosmetic Science. She supervises laboratory workshops and provides technical support in product development, stability and haircare. She graduated from The University of Nottingham with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry. After working in industry in chemical manufacturing of personal care products in the UK she transitioned into higher education. Her interests include product stability, haircare and the use of specialist equipment and the development of new methods for cosmetic science.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications.

  • Three A Level passes to a minimum of 120 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 300 old UCAS tariff points) – one of the subjects must be Chemistry, Biology or Physics at a minimum grade of C or equivalent;
  • DDD at BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant Science subject;
  • or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications such as International Baccalaureate Diploma;
  • and Five GCSE passes at grade A*-C or grade 9-4, including Maths and two Science subjects.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that 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

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Please check our main English Language Requirements .

Selection criteria

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.

Making your application

Places available 2021/22

This course has places available for 2021/22 entry – complete our self-apply form to make an application. Applications for 2022/23 entry will open in Autumn 2021.

Please note that the guidance below relates to the main UCAS application process. The application process is different for students applying through Clearing. To find out more, read our Guide to applying through Clearing.

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

You should apply though UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W297

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2 - if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1.
  • Year 3 - if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2.

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 29th January 2021 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

After you apply

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 Selection Criteria sections.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through UCAS Track. 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 including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Places available 2021/22

This course has places available for 2021/22 entry – complete our direct application form to make an application. Applications for 2022/23 entry will open in Autumn 2021.

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at London College of Fashion:

If you choose to apply though UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W297

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2 - if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1.
  • Year 3 - if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2.

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

If you are an International applicant and studying outside the UK, please complete your Direct application and then contact us via your UAL Portal to ask to be considered for Year 2/Year 3.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 29th January 2021 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

After you apply

What happens next

Immigration History Check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to identify whether you are eligible to study at UAL. Do be aware, if you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

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 Selection Criteria sections. If the academic team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to attend an interview - these will take place online using Teams from Microsoft – please ensure that you download this software prior to the interview date; this is available as a free download from the Microsoft website. We will send you further details at a later point about how we will connect with you for your interview. At interview an international academic ask questions to establish your suitability for the course.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to attend an interview.

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

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through UCAS Track. If you have applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal. 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 including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via UCAS Track or the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.

Potential changes to course structure

Please note: the information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course. Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year. In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

All of our undergraduate courses offer career development, so that you become a creative thinker, making effective contributions to your relevant sector of the cosmetic industry. LCF offers students the opportunity to develop Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills while studying through:

  • An on-course work experience or placement year. Please note, this is not available on every course; please see the Course Details section for information about work placement opportunities.
  • Access to to speaker programmes and events featuring alumni and industry.
  • Access to careers activities, such as CV clinics and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Access to a graduate careers service
  • Access to a live jobsboard for all years.
  • Advice on setting up your own brand or company.
Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level can progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.

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) go on to do a variety of roles within the industry. Some of the positions graduates have gone on to include: New Product Development and Marketing Executive, Technical Product Manager, Laboratory and Quality Control Technician, International Regulatory Affairs Officer, Formulation Scientist, Application Technologist, Perfume Specialist, Regulatory Affairs Officer, Consumer Tester and Account Manager.