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From The Society of Cosmetic Scientists

Course Overview

This modular course has units written and assessed by industry experts covering the following:

  • Foundations in chemistry, physiology, biochemistry and microbiology
  • Key functional roles of product development, production, packaging and marketing
  • Vital auxiliary services such as stability testing, microbial preservation, quality assurance, legislation, safety assessment, performance evaluation and market research
  • Specific product categories: Hair, skin, oral care, decorative cosmetics, aerosols and perfumes

Short videos, on either laboratory work or aspects of production, that cannot fully be captured by the written word accompany some units. The full list of subjects can be found in the course prospectus.

The first module introduces students to the basic sciences together with cosmetic raw materials and safety in the workplace.

The emphasis in Modules Two and Three is on formulating and manufacturing cosmetic and toiletry products. They include hair products (e.g. shampoos); skin products (e.g. moisturisers); cleansing agents (e.g. shower gels and body wash prodcts) and decorative cosmetics (e.g. lipsticks, eye shadows and foundations), together with their production and packaging.

The final module concentrates on finished product use and efficacy and includes legislation; product safety; the marketplace; environmental impact; marketing; consumer research; product evaluation; statistics and claim support.

All course material is the intellectual property of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists. It is for the sole use of the named student who has been accepted onto the course and paid in full. Access must not be shared or given to another person. No course material should be copied or used other than for the purpose of completion of the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science.


Continuous assessment is provided by four pieces of coursework comprising of two essays and two case studies. Final assessment takes the form of four formal examination papers covering all the modules of the course.

The Hibbott Memorial Prize is awarded to the student who completes the SCS Diploma within one year, with the highest overall mark. Dr H W Hibbott was President of the Society in 1960 and 1961 and the memorial prize is awarded in his honour.

There is also a prize for the best essay submitted as an assignment. The winning essay is published in Cosmetics Business magazine.



Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. If you decide to complete the course over two years, then you must let the Course Administrator know this, in writing, by mid June, before the examinations in September. Marks for any course work that is completed within the first year are carried over to the next academic year. There will be a fee payable of 10% of the original course fee for deferring your examinations for a year.

If you are struggling to open pages on this website, or have problems submitting your application form, please try using a different web browser. If the problem persists, please contact the SCS Secretariat by email to

The only work that has to be submitted for marking is the four pieces of coursework which are dispatched with deadline dates provided for submission. The dates can be found on the course calendar. This coursework consists of two essays and two case studies.

The only work that has to be submitted for marking is the four pieces of coursework which are dispatched with deadline dates provided for submission. The dates can be found on the course calendar. This coursework consists of two essays and two case studies.

To help students prepare for their examinations the SCS offers a series of webinars, presented by industry experts, two months before the examinations. Students can ask the experts any questions and on-demand recordings are made available to all students on the course.

No, unfortunately you cannot buy parts of the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science. The SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science is a distance learning course and this allows you to be flexible with your studying times. The modules are interrelated so information in one unit can be linked to that in another, therefore we are unable to offer individual units for sale.

Yes provided you meet the entry requirements. All the materials that you need can be found online and you can contact the Course Administrator at the SCS Secretariat at any time by email ( The course has been designed to be self-contained but additional help is always available if needed via the Course Administrator. Over the last few years we have had students from: Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Latvia, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Hungary, Croatia, Malaysia, Philippines, United States of America, Trinidad, Dominica, Switzerland. Uruguay, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Singapore, Belgium, Poland,Thailand, Dubai, Canada, Mexico and South Africa as well as the UK.

Full fees are to be paid in advance when you are accepted onto the course. All fees must be paid by the end of August in the year of your enrolment. Payment over three termly instalments can be arranged and will be due in September, December and April.

The course ends with four two hour written exams, which are held in the September after you enroll on the course. Exams are held online from your home or office setting. The Course Administrator will work with you to organise everything you need.

To find the current courses fees please go to our enrolment page

If a student passes the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science with a merit or distinction pass and they already hold a good science degree they may apply to the London College of Fashion and join their MSc in Cosmetic Science programme. You will be interviewed as normal with the London College of Fashion. If you pass the SCS Diploma you may be accepted into year 2 of the MSc programme. You can also be accepted into the University of Sunderland and join their 2nd year BSc Cosmetic Science course. The SCS also run a week long residential course, Principles and Practice of Cosmetic Science. Many SCS Diploma holders have gone on to participate in this course as the next phase of their education within the Cosmetics Industry. Additionally the SCS run many lectures and regional events in the UK, The SCS is affiliated to the IFSCC (International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists, see, who also run international conferences and congresses, SCS members receive disounted rates to attend these events.

Yes, the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science is well recognised within the Cosmetic Science Industry.

You can enroll on the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science from January to August each year. Enrolment closes on 15 August. This is to allow a sufficient amount of time to ensure all students have their access codes before commencement of the course in early September.

You can complete an application form to enrol on the course and the decision for applications is made by the Education Committee. It is important that you provide all supporting information within your application form. The pre-requisites for the course must be met before you will be considered for enrolment. The decision for accepting applications is made by the SCS Education Committee and their verdict is final.


Trusted by Students & Sponsors

from around the world

The SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science will help advance a successful student’s career.
In some cases the SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science has helped students join the industry.
Here are some of their comments to give you a flavour of what to expect.

Verity Clawson
Senior R&D Associate, Reckitt Benckiser UK
The course gave me valuable insights into types of cosmetics I previously had not come across through my work, for example hair care and decorative cosmetics. The units and coursework were challenging yet very enjoyable to complete, particularly the ‘at home’ experiments and the Summer School.”
Amna Khatun
Research Chemist, Ashland Speciality Chemicals
“The SCS Diploma in Cosmetic Science is the A to Z of cosmetic science. From feasibility to product launch; it provides all the guidance and skill sets needed for a cosmetic organisation.”