Cosmetic Science with Integrated Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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This is a four-year version of our popular BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science course with an integrated foundation year. Gain expertise in the formulation and manufacture of cosmetic, fragrance and personal care products. Join an exciting and growing industry that offers creative and scientific careers and generates billions of pounds a year.

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This course introduces relevant aspects of chemistry, physiology and dermatology as well as the regulatory marketing and business framework for cosmetics. You’ll 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.

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.

Why us?

  • Make extensive use of the advanced technology and laboratory infrastructure in our Sciences Complex
  • We encourage you to apply for an optional 1-year placement between year 2 and 3
  • The University has over 100 years of expertise in teaching science
  • Teaching at Sunderland is kept fully up-to-date through our strong links with employers who help guide the content of the course
  • A unique curriculum which captures all aspects of Cosmetic Science

Course structure

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.

During the course you will also become aware of the diverse global legislative and regulatory framework surrounding cosmetics and perfumes, and acquire fundamental knowledge of the physiology of the skin, eye, nail, oral cavity and hair, alongside the role of the endocrine system. 

Foundation Year

The Integrated Foundation Year for Pharmaceutical Sciences includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundations of Biosciences (40 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Physiology for Biosciences (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

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.

More about BSc (Hons) Cosmetic Science with Integrated Foundation Year at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • Our state-of-the-art spectroscopic facility allows us to investigate the structures of raw materials and individual components in the cosmetic, fragrance and personal care formulations. We are equipped with Liquid Chromatography-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectroscopy (LCNMR/ MS) platforms, low and high resolution mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and elemental analysis equipment.

    Gain hands-on experience of a wide range of analytical techniques such as atomic absorption spectroscopy, UV and infra-red spectroscopy.

    You will also gain experience of revolutionary protein and DNA separation techniques, as well as Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Gas Chromatography for separating unknown chemical mixtures.

    Facilities for chemical analysis
  • Our highly technical apparatus will help you gain a better understanding of the effects of cosmetics on the skin. In addition to equipment for standard formulation processes, such as mixers and homogenisers, we also have highly sophisticated quality control test methods. These include rheology, thermal analysis (differential scanning calorimetry and hot stage microscopy), dynamic vapour sorption analysis, texture analysis, tests for powder flow, laser diffraction, photon correlation spectroscopy, SPF measurement, image analysis and laser confocal microscopy.

    Facilities for formulation and quality control
  • The University boasts a collection of more than 430,000 books in total, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Each year the University invests around £1 million in new resources. As a student, you will have access to a huge range of online databases such as:

    British National Formulary:
    Compiled with the advice of clinical experts, the British National Formulary (BNF) provides up-to-date guidance on prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines.

    The British Pharmacopoeia:
    The British Pharmacopoeia (BP) is the authoritative collection of quality standards for UK medicines and is an essential reference for anyone involved in pharmaceutical R&D, manufacture, testing and regulation.

    CINAHL with Full Text is the world’s most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 600 journals indexed in CINAHL.

    The Cochrane Library:
    The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

    PubMed Central:
    PubMed Central is a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 25 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles and includes links to full text articles and other related resources.

    ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters covering physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.

    Library Services - pharmacy, health and wellbeing
  • Map and directions


Sunderland's exceptional facilities include excellent laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to a multi-million pound investment.

This includes a human anatomy resource, a new state of the art clinical skills suite and bioscience laboratories and a patient simulation suite/theatre.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

Depending on availability of places and subject to interview, you may be able to apply to transfer to our MPharm Pharmacy course following successful completion of the foundation year of a Pharmaceutical Sciences Integrated Foundation Degree. You must aim to achieve 70% in the foundation year, and any offer will be subject to the discretion of the Pharmacy admissions tutor.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


As a Cosmetic Science graduate, you'll have a wide range of employment options in the cosmetic and related pharmaceutical industries.


Career options

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, perfumery, marketing and product claims and media and TV. 


Meet the students

  • I secured the placement at Bria to get that practical experience and they asked me to come back.
    Paige Fern Square

    Paige Fearn

  • Our lecturers are very supportive and always willing to give advice and help whenever we need it.
    Sabrina Baharin Square

    Sabrina Baharin

Meet the team

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