University of Sunderland launches Cosmetics degree to meet growing industry demands

Make up backstage at the Julien MacDonald catwalk show during the 25th London Fashion Week.
Make up backstage at the Julien MacDonald catwalk show during the 25th London Fashion Week.

A new degree has been created by a North East university to connect graduates with the growing cosmetics, personal care and fragrance industry – worth approximately £17 billion to the UK each year.

The University of Sunderland has designed its new Cosmetic Science degree around the science-led industry, which focuses on how the skin and body works, to produce innovative and improved products that respond to environmental and lifestyle changes.

The three or four year BSc degree is among the first of its kind to be created in the UK and is being launched in September 2016. Resulting career opportunities will include the research and development of cosmetic and personal care formulations and raw materials, perfumery, product manufacturing, quality control, and regulation.

Industry feedback about the new degree has been positive; with many organisations pointing to the fact that graduates will not need any extra training to begin working, showing its strong employability potential.

Dr Kalliopi Dodou, Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at the University of Sunderland and Course Leader for the new degree, said: Our new BSc Cosmetic Science programme is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge for a successful and innovative career in the cosmetic, fragrance and personal care industry.

“The optional placement year, after completion of undergraduates’ second year of studies, will provide the opportunity to work in the cosmetic industry during the degree, and it is highly encouraged by our industrial collaborators.”

The President of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, Dr Steve Barton, said: “Cosmetic products are an important part of everyday life for many people of all ages. Fulfilling the different needs of an increasingly diverse population requires an understanding of biological, chemical and physical properties of skin, nails, hair, teeth and gums.

“Creating cosmetic formulations demands a scientific and technical understanding of diverse materials such as waxes, oils, powders, colours, gums, resins, plant materials, preservatives and more. Providing education in these sciences is therefore essential, not only to create stable, safe and effective products, but also provide a range of aesthetically pleasing variants to suit different needs.

“Education in materials sciences also plays an important role in providing safe, effective packaging to keep products fit for purpose. With UK sales in the top three in Europe, the presence of several multinationals and a growing number of companies providing ingredients, testing, formulation and manufacture of finished products, the economic case for training and education in Cosmetic Science is also clear, supporting an industry worth almost £9 billion in finished product alone.”

Andy Postles, Head of Technical and Creativity at Hampshire Cosmetics, added: “The multi-billion pound Cosmetic Industry is a wide ranging and ever changing market place in which to work.

“Highly skilled and motivated graduates from courses, such as the BSc Cosmetic Science at the University of Sunderland, are key to sustaining competition in the market place, force better products to be produced, drive development, and increase our understanding of Cosmetic Science.”

The degree will use the new laboratories recently created as part of the University of Sunderland’s £5.5m redevelopment of its Sciences Complex – due to be finished this summer.

Tony Alabaster, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, said: “This new course, and the significant and on-going investment in our science facilities, continues to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that our graduates are highly sought after, in an increasingly competitive and globalised world.

“We are proud of our strong employer links, our impressive track-record of real-world, world-class research which underpins this course, and we very much look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students here in September 2016.”

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