Article by: Kelly Dobos

Usually I write posts about science. But today, I’m going to get personal. I’ve either had too much coffee or am looking for new ways to avoid editing what will be the capstone of my MS in cosmetic science. kellys_desk

I’m up late again. Sitting at my dining table to work because my desk is not big enough to handle my laptop, a myriad of books, and two three inch think binders worth of journal articles. My reference list has ballooned to over 100. And as I wearily approach completion of my second graduate degree, having worked full-time through both, I wonder, “Was is all worth it?”

Was it Worth it?

My academic pursuits began with a simple ideal. I wanted to have a career, not just a job. I also wanted to excel at that career. Being that the cosmetic industry is heavily marketing driven, I decided a business degree might be a good idea. Maybe someday I would cross over to the “dark side” and be a marketer myself, or maybe I could combine my technical skills with business skills to create what I still jokingly refer to as Kelly Cosmetics.

Benefits of an MBA

But my learning’s went far beyond marketing to managing technology development, understanding the R&D impact on supply chains, and how to navigate an organization to get things done. Group projects taught me about collaboration and presentations in nearly every class prepared me for public speaking. While it was tough studying something I knew very little about, moving out of my comfort zone allowed me to grow.

An Advanced Cosmetic Science degree

Not long after I finished the MBA, the University of Cincinnati put their cosmetic science program online. Perfect, I could also get an advanced degree that focused on my field without giving up my shoe habit!

Here’s where I went a little crazy. I could, when possible take as many classes as I wanted. And did I ever, 3 a quarter at times. Midway through the program I decided to make a move from Akron, OH to Cincinnati, OH and start a new job. I kept up the pace, while trying to also acclimate to a new city on my own, a city I knew nothing about and where the only person I knew I hadn’t seen since high school. As my responsibilities at the new job grew I began traveling, a lot. There were months where I wasn’t ever home a full week. I was pretty burnt out and my progress on schoolwork waned.

anything worth having is going to take some work

Finishing the journey

But here I sit, remembering why I started this journey and feeling a bit more invigorated. I gave up a lot of free time, definitely lost a lot of sleep, spent a lot of money on texts and software, not to mention that I ate way to much fast food. It’s was just plain hard to keep it all together. However, during this experience I learned that I’m much stronger than I thought and there’s no challenge I can’t take on if I really want it.

When I’m done I’ll have a much more diverse knowledge of my field and a stronger commitment to the science. I believe now more than ever, that anything worth having is going to take some work. And for me, the knowledge I gained about myself during the journey might be just as valuable as the information I learned in class.

More information

For more information about the Cosmetic Science Programs at the University of Cincinnati please visit

Kelly Dobos

About the Author

Kelly Dobos

Kelly Dobos is a cosmetic chemist and expert in both skin care and make-up product formulation. She has the coolest job and a passion for teaching others the smartest ways to express their creativity through cosmetic chemistry.


  1. Talia

    Hi Kelly,
    I have recently graduate with a Bachelor of Science but not in chemistry/biochem/pharmacology. I am looking into doing the university of Cincinnati online program to go into the cosmetic sciences field. Do you think it would be better to go back to school, get a bachelor in Chemistry and THEN do the cosmetic science program? Or would going straight into this program be sufficient to have a good position in a cosmetic company?

  2. Ij

    Good day Perry Romanowski
    I’m Ijeoma i came across your website Chemist corner and i was so happy i did i can finally talk to someone in the field.
    I have a BSc degree in biochemistry and I’m so passionate about formulation of beauty products so I want to take a Masters in cosmetic science or cosmetic chemistry but i need someone to talk to. Please can you guide me.

  3. Ij

    I have s BSc in biochemistry and I’m passionate about formulation I want to take a Masters Programme in cosmetics chemistry
    Plz what’s the difference between cosmetic chemistry and cosmetic science

  4. Andréa

    Hi Kelly,

    First, let me tell you how much I like your website!

    Thank you for sharing your take on pursuing a degree in Cosmetic Science. I have a master in Pharmaceutical Sciences (more precisely in pharmacogenomics) and I’ve been working as a beauty journalist for the past six years. I really want to deepen my knowledge of cosmetic chemistry and I am considering the UC online course. Do you think the certificate would be “enough” to enter this industry or I should consider the master? It would be more complicated since I’m Canadian but if you recommend it I won’t hesitate. Thank you!

    1. Kelly

      Hello Andrea
      For formulation work, it’s best to have a deeper understanding of cosmetic science from a program like that at UC. Hands on formulation work is preferred unless you would be ok with starting as a lab technician. But there are numerous other options for careers in cosmetics science like regulatory affairs, technical sales support, quality control. It really depends on what type of role you’d be interested in. Hope this helps!

  5. Sinha

    Thanks Kelly for your reply.How long did it take to complete the online course on cosmetic science from UC?

    1. Kelly

      I changed jobs and moved during my studies so I wouldn’t gauge your expectations on my experience. I believe depending on the course load you are willing to take you can complete the degree in 2-3 years.

  6. Payal sinha

    Hey Kelly,
    Thanks for all the information you are providing regarding cosmetic science.Its of great help really.
    I have completed my bachelor’s program in chemical engineering.Now I want to go for online ms in cosmetic science from CU. But right now I am not doing any job.Will it be difficult for me to catch on since I don’t have experience in that field?

    1. Kelly

      Hello Payal,
      Your background in chemical engineering should be OK. Having taken courses in biology is also helpful to a studying cosmetic science.

  7. Leslie

    Do you need to attend the campus for any courses specifically? Or can it be obtained from a completely different state?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Leslie
      You can take pretty much all the classes as distance learning. I believe there is a lab course held for 1 or two days that you would have to be on campus for and to defend your capstone if you are interested in obtaining the masters degree. You can also get a certificate which does not require the capstone or visits. You can find more information here:
      Hope this helps!

  8. Jenna

    Hi Kelly,

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am currently finishing up a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and I have always been interested in becoming a cosmetic science formulator. I have a little work experience in the Care Chemicals division, but that’s really about it. I have been looking into University of Cincinnati’s Cosmetic Science Master’s Program as well and I plan to pursue the master’s degree full-time after undergrad. I understand that the program is set up as a part-time course load for individuals already working in industry – is it possible/recommended to complete this course work as a full-time student? In addition – what were your thoughts to the program being online? (Will this hinder me in any way not having a cosmetic formulation background?)

    Thank you so much!

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Jenna
      I highly recommend the UC masters online program if you are already working full time. You can certainly enroll for a full time degree if you are in/will move to Cincinnati. As long as you have a chemistry or biology background, the cosmetic science program is likely for you. You will gain formulation information/experience in the program. Best of luck and please let me know if you have furhter questions. -Kelly

  9. Whitney

    Hey Kelly,
    I love your post, I have a question in regards to the educational route in Cosmetic Science. My undergrad is not in a science field, is their any other courses or degrees offered in the BA/BS level or AA online? I have a Business degree and I have always loved creating and formulating many cosmetic and soap items in my home for myself and family/friends. My goal is to make a business out what I love but I know I need more of an in-depth knowledge in the cosmetic industry. What are your thoughts in regards to the best direction as far as education given my background I explained? Thanks so much for your help

    1. Kelly

      Hi Whitney
      I am not aware of any online BS level programs in cosmetic science. You can take some courses from the Society of Cosmetic Chemist. There is a beginning cosmetic chemistry course taught by Perry Romanowski. I’m not sure how much chemistry and biology knowledge you have but both are very helpful for understanding cosmetic science. Best of luck in your endeavors!

  10. yusra

    Hey Kelly,
    Your blog is really interesting and beneficial. I recently finished my degree and I decided to take cosmetic science course in Uk.I really want to start my own cosmetic line. Where should I start? What degrees should I take to continue my career goals?

  11. yusra

    Hey Kelly,
    Your blog is really interesting and beneficial. I recently finished my degree and I decided to take cosmetic science course in Uk.I am planning to do my own cosmetic line and open up my own company. Where should I start? What degrees should I take to continue my career goals?

    1. Kelly

      Hello Yursa
      Taking courses in cosmetic science is a good start. I have never personally started a company so I do not have any advice there. Perry, who created this blog, recently explored the experience of starting a hair care company so perhaps he would have advice.

      1. yusra

        Thank you . which best course would you reccommend in UK?

  12. yusra

    Hey Kelly,
    Your blog is really interesting and beneficial. I recently finished my degree and I decided to take cosmetic science course in UK but don’t know where to start. I really want to start my own cosmetic line and open up my own company. What degrees i should take and courses would you recommend?

  13. Kimberlin


    I am getting close to finishing my B.S. in chemistry and I am interested in a M.S. in cosmetic chemistry. My ultimate goal is to become a product formulator – will a degree like the one offered at Cincinnati be beneficial to me?

    Thank you,


    1. Kelly

      Hi Kimberlin
      I am always thrilled to hear of college students considering joining the field of cosmetic science! The UC program would definitely be a benefit to you. Be sure to get any opportunity for hands-on experience that you can in a formulation lab. Being a student in a cosmetic science program can facilitate those opportunities. And don’t afraid to be bold and network. The Society of Cosmetic Chemists assists students with a free year of membership and they are working to develop more mentoring programs for young scientists entering the field. Please feel free to reach out to me with additional questions and keep in touch as you pursue a career in cosmetic science.

  14. Winifred

    Hello Kelly,
    I’m still trying to understand how you were able to manage studying a programme as practical as cosmetic science, online.Especially, the bit on formulation science. i feel like this is a programme you need to have physical hands on experience with. Yet, you seem to have really benefitted from it. I have never considered UC as an option in my attempts to get into a MS Cosmetic Science prog for this reason. Please share with me what the online experience is really like in this regard. Thanks.

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      I think you are missing a key point. This is a masters programs which targeted at those already working in the field that have some experience in formulation. Additionally, there are course which are lab intensive which require being on campus. For example, I had an intensive multi-day color cosmetics lab.

  15. Claudia Hoenigsmann

    Hi im a 19 year old currently completing my uni foundation program. i dunno wat subjects i will have to chose for further education. Would a major in chemistry and a minor in biology be fine?

  16. Tarahana Raymonvil

    Hello. I am a 16 year old researching what I should attend college for. I am an aspiring entrepreneur that at some point would wish to create a skin care line. I decided I would like to attain a degree in business, but I am confused as to what I should also pursue to help me when I am ready to create a skincare line. Do you think majoring in business and minoring in chemistry, while further down the line taking the online course for cosmetic sciences a sufficient route? Thank you so much in advance.

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Yes, that would be a great idea.

  17. Pikay

    Hi there,

    I’m currently pursing a bachelor degree in biotechnology and would like to do my masters in cosmetic science. I was wondering as to what the job opportunities are after I complete this course. Will doing a PH.D. further enhance my career?
    Please to reply.

    1. Kelly

      You do not need a PhD to get into the industry, but it would be helpful it you want to do upstream research for a large multinational company like L’Oreal.

  18. Hiba

    Hey,I am thinking of going into cosmetic science field hoping to become cosmetic you think it will have a better scoope in future will there be any use of me taking it or it will be something that will give me no job or job with less salary.or any suggestion in what kind of degree should I get it will be really helpful thankyou

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      A chemistry or biochemistry degree are good starting will give you many options if you choose not to go into cosmetic science.

  19. Robin

    Hi Kelly,

    First of all, thank you so much for all the info you have provided! I am currently an undecided undergraduate and am leaning towards plant biology rather than regular biology. Do you believe graduate schools would accept this degree and if so would a company hire me with this undergrad + degree? I hope that wasn’t a demanding question 🙁

    1. Kelly

      Hi Robin
      While a chemistry or biology degree would probably be preferable, it’s possible you could work for a company that makes botanical ingredients with a degree in plant biology. It really depends on what you want to do in you career.

  20. Kishore


    I have finished my B.Sc., Chemistry in regular and M.Sc., Chemistry through distance learning. I have 10+ years of experience in Pharma and Cosmetics industry (Production department). I finished my academic in India and my work experience consists 3 years of work experience in Malaysia. I wish to reach good position in product development. If I finished cosmetic science course, should I get job in UK or Australia.

    Kindly guide me to reach my goal.

  21. Tiffany Teague

    Hi Kelly! Thank you for sharing. I’m a Financial Analyst working on an MBA…but I own a natural personal care products/ cosmetics company. I’ve been whipping up concoctions for years but I think the technical background in chemistry will take me to the next level. I’m from MI so University of Cincinnati is far away from me in distance and the online thing scares me. I may need to find a Chemistry program at a school near me . Do I need a Masters in Science too or would a Bachelor’s suffice

    1. Kelly

      Hi Tiffany
      If you would like to get a job in the industry working for an established company a bachelors in science (chem or bio) is generally a minimum requirement. Why does the online thing scare you? For me it certainly required an extra bit of discipline but the course work is so focused on the industry. A chem or bio undergrad gives you the basics but there are so many things specific to the cosmetic science that just aren’t covered.

  22. Marian

    Hi, I’m from Egypt, and cosmetics science here is not popular, studying or work, I’m working in a small cosmetics company as an R&D vice manager and seeking for a better job opportunity out of Egypt…. any advice????

    1. Kelly

      I have found the best way to navigate a career in the cosmetic science industry is through networking. Make connections with people in the industry through LinkedIN and look for opportunities there. Hope this helps! -Kelly

  23. sophie

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m in my fourth and final year of Biomedical Science with Industrial Experience degree. Do you know if this would be sufficient to become a cosmetic scientist or laboratory technician in a cosmetics lab?
    If not so, what requirements would I need to fulfil for this career path?

    Thank you.

    1. Kelly

      Hello Sophie
      I am not familiar with the requirements of your degree, but if you have a strong background in chemistry you should be fine as an entry level technician.

  24. Chouks

    Hello am actually completing my bsc in biochemistry. Am thinking of doing a cosmetic degree for my masters. Is that a good idea? but am scared that the job opportunities over here where I live (west Africa Benin) will be very limited. In fact i dont even think there are any cosmetic jobs here. I don’t want a situation were by I would not be able able to work with my degree. I want something that no matter which part of the world I find myself in I will be able to work with my certificate. I don’t know what to do. Please any advice??

    1. Kelly

      It sounds like you want to be very flexible in your career options, so specializing in cosmetics may not be best.

  25. Jessica

    Hi Kelly,
    I’m recently looking to make a career change and move into the cosmetics industry. The problem is I graduated from uni 10 years ago with a degree in the humanities. I’m looking to study cosmetic science in graduate school after I finish some basic chem and bio courses at a community college. After looking at the University of Cincinnati’s online offerings, I’m a bit confused about the benefits of the certificate program versus the MS program. Which do you think would be more beneficial for someone without an undergraduate science degree? Thank you!

  26. Scarlett

    Hey Kelly, I’m the first year chemistry student. If I want to be cosmetic chemist, should I transfer to cosmetic science course rather than the general chemistry.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Scarlett
      A chemistry degree is a great start. There are very few colleges that offer an undergraduate degree in cosmetic science. Also, a chemistry degree will give you a little more latitude with other career options.

  27. Sandhya

    Are there good jobs available after graduation in cosmetic science ?
    What would be the starting salary?

  28. Jasmin Smith

    Hello, I will be graduating next month receiving my BS degree in Biology with a Chemistry minor. I am interested in studying cosmetic science however I do not have any experience working in the field. I have looked at UC requirements and plan to prepare to study the GRE starting in January. However I was wondering if you could recommend and cosmetic science certificates for persons just finishing an undergrad degree. Or would just going straight to grad school be the best option for me. I honestly would like to start working in the field. Hopefully you respond I have been researching and pondering on this for months.

    Thank You,

    1. Kelly

      You should be able to apply for an entry level position as a technician with your undergraduate degree. However, the industry is small and there are a lot of people interested in working in the cosmetics and personal care market, so networking and connecting with those already in the field can help tremendously. Once you find a position, it may be advantageous to attend graduate school as your employer may offer some tuition reimbursement. Hope this helps. -Kelly

      1. Jasmin Smith

        Thank You, So getting the certificate would honestly not hold me any value? I am going to start looking for positions and I know I would have to move as well.

        Thanks again!

        1. Kelly

          Hi Jasmin
          A certificate is also a great idea to gain an advantage in the job market. Sorry I didn’t address that explicitly, I just wanted to make sure that you know you can start applying for entry level positions in the industry with the credentials you have. Best of luck in your endeavors!

          1. Jasmin Smith

            Thank You, my apologies for all the questions.

  29. Kayla Banks

    Hi Kelly,

    I graduated from UT Cosmetic Science program and am currently interested in furthering my education. I have a stronger interest in regulatory compliance and quality assurance compared to formulation but I want to stay in cosmetics. Do you suggest the program at UC or another graduate school with a regulatory program with a focus in pharmaceutics? Do you suggest getting a MS at UC and a certificate at another institution? How do you think the option will effect my career?


    Kayla Banks

    1. Kelly

      If you have a strong technical background from your degree at UT you should be able to transition into the types of roles you mentioned. You may want to begin looking for an entry level position with a cosmetic company and pursue an advanced degree when you have a good feel for the direction you want go as regulatory and quality are different functions with some overlap, of course. You can take classes in the UC program online which makes it a great option when you are in the workforce if you decide that is the right approach for you.

  30. Tara

    Hi, I just came upon your blog and I was reading through the comments and I saw that you mentioned Fairleigh Dickinson as an option in the New York area and I was wondering your opinion on the quality of the school and whether or not you think it is a good option for someone wanting to go into cosmetic science.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Tara
      Both programs have great merit. I think, although it has been some time since I looked into it, that the FDU program offers some additional opportunities to include marketing and other business skill to your elective courses. The UC program has some additional specialized scientific courses, one example I can think of is a full course of sunscreens and the interactions of sun with the skin. So it depends on what you think might be most valuable to your potential career path. Be sure to search for or request a list of course offerings to gauge your interest.

  31. Megan

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you for all your information on a field that has proven to be illusive on the internet.
    I am currently pursuing a BS in Chemistry at the University of Michigan and am considering a MS through UC, but am wondering if you could give my some insight into what the field is like currently. I would love to get my foot in the door at a company and have them pay for my upper level education, but am unsure if that is still common these days. Thank you for any insight!


    1. Kelly

      Hi Megan
      I believe many companies are still supportive in paying for additional education. When it comes to advanced degrees, some companies value PhDs highly for more research oriented positions. But, in my opinion, if you want to be a formulator going straight to grad school can put you at a disadvantage as there often isn’t enough formulation experience there to allow you to move into that kind of role. Companies often expect formulators to hit the ground running and dive into projects immediately. You would be qualified to start at a lower level (I see many formulators starts as technicians and many placed by temp agencies) but an advanced degree poses a conflict for a hiring manager at they realize you are over qualified for a technician position or have higher salary expectations with that advanced degree. Of course, this is all just my opinion from my experience in the industry. Perhaps some one else who reading this with experience in the industry can comment too…

  32. faithirvin

    Hi Kelly,

    I would love to hear more of your personal story about your career path in the cosmetic science industry. Have you written a follow up article since getting your degree?

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      I hadn’t thought about writing a follow up, but perhaps I will… 🙂

  33. sugandha

    Hey Kelly,
    Your blog has been really helpful! Ok, so, I did my M.pharm in QA from India (equivalent to MS in Pharmaceutical sciences per Educational Credential Evaluators, ECE). I was wondering if I should go for a MS in Cosmetics or a certificate course that can help me break into the cosmetic industry? I live in New york city with my husband and would really like to know about courses, if any, offered here.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Kelly

      It can be challenging to break into the industry because it is small in the grand scheme of things. Your credentials should help get your foot in the door and an advanced degree or just taking a few specialized classes couldn’t hurt. There are just a few masters level courses available in cosmetic science. The closest to you would be at Fairleigh Dickinson. The University of Cincinnati, where I completed my masters in cosmetic science, does offer their courses on-line as well which makes them extremely convenient. Here is a link to information about UC’s program.
      Networking is always key, look into the meetings of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists chapters near you ( and take a look at chapter newsletters for job postings ( Hope this helps.

      1. Sugandha

        Hi Kelly,

        Thanks for your response! Just to confirm, you think there are entry level positions, internships that I could apply to after completing MS in Cosmetics from UC/FDU? I understand I’ll have to network, apply and hope for the best! Thanks!

        1. Kelly Dobos
          Kelly Dobos

          Your current background would allow you to get an entry level position in the industry, but that being said it is a small industry and can be hard to break into. The Society of Cosmetic Chemists in the US has about 4,000 members, while this doesn’t represent every job in the industry it is indicative of the level of competition for those interested in finding employment in the field.

  34. Rosie

    Hi , I am interested in cosmetic science…I always want to know about the ingredients/ chemicals at the label of skincare and personal care products( what , function, benefits/side effects)..I am from an Asian country.. and from where I stand , there are two possible routes for me to begin with: chemical engineering / pharmacy…which upon completion, I plan to take a masters/ advanced degree in cosmetics…. I am kind of unsure between the two…hope to gain some insights
    Hence,I would like to know which route between the two would give me a better foundation?….. and What subject in cosmetics sc would give me the knowledge of the ingredients/ chemicals used is cosmetics or skincare products(is it formulation sc?)

    Thanks in advance

    1. Kelly

      Hi Roise
      There are so many different types of ingredients and formulations in cosmetics that there is no one course that could possibly cover them all. However, and introduction to cosmetic science course would be a good starting point and further courses in skin care or hair care, etc would give a deeper understanding of the technologies in each area of formulation.

  35. payal

    I have done in chemical engineering. Now I am working in quality control department in a cement industry. But I want to work in cosmetic industry. I am confused as to how to pursue it. Should I do masters in cosmetic science. Also I am from India so can you suggest some university so that I can apply which will be convenient for me?

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Payal
      Unfortunately, I do not know much about cosmetic science programs in India or the particulars of hiring in that market. You might want to reach out to some local experts in the cosmetic field for more information. Best of luck! -Kelly

  36. payal sinha

    I really want to get in the field of cosmetic science.But I don’t know where to start. I did my engineering in chemical engineering. Now I am working in quality control department in cement industry. I want to switch over to cosmetic company. So,should I pursue for ms in cosmetic science? Also I am from India so can u suggest me from which university should I do?

  37. jslau

    hello. I would like to know a biotech degree can get me into the cosmetic industry ? or i should take a chem engineering degree?
    If i were to take biotech as my degree and get a master in cosmetic science, will it be okay?

    1. Perry Romanowski

      You could do either but a degree in chemistry is most helpful. Yes, getting a masters in cosmetic science will certainly help.

  38. Amber

    I know this is SO old and I go back to this post annually I have my degree in Management but I have dreams of developing my own lip products. Do you believe this program offers the real practical knowledge behind this? I work in project management and don’t plan to work for a cosmetic company. I won’t leave my job unless it is for my own company. I want to start my own and develop my own products; I hope to learn in depth knowledge in the program.

    Thank you!

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Amber
      The program is comprehensive of the entire personal care industry. If you want to focus primarily on lip care it may be much more than you need. You may want to just look into a few specific courses in you area of interest.

  39. Kaylyn

    Thank you for being so helpful to all of us! I am graduating this semester with a bachelors in business administration and I have been working as an intern at a professional hair care company. I have also been working as a cosmetologist for the last years. I would really like to do the graduate program from the University of Cincinnati, but I am worried that I won’t be accepted because my degree is not in the science field. Do you think there is a chance I would be accepted? I did email Randy Wicklett from the university but never got a response. I also already completed the cosmetic chemistry training program by Perry Romanoski.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Kaylyn,
      Sorry they haven’t gotten back to you yet. Randy travels a lot and I know he is currently out of the country. While an undergraduate degree in a science isn’t required, you would need at least one semester of organic chemistry and calculus.

      Taking Perry’s class was a great idea. Your internship should be helpful in getting experience and hopefully you have good mentors who can share their knowledge with you.

    2. Whitney

      Hi, Kaylyn
      I am a cosmetologist and have been searching for a life long career. I have been seriously thinking cosmetic chemistry, R & D, or product development. I’d like to hear more about your story. If you get a chance please email me:

  40. G.C.E

    Hi Kelly,

    I see this article was written almost 4 years ago, so I hope this forum is still open. I am a critical care pharmacist and love my profession, but i do have a true passion for skincare. I have been doing a lightweight research on cosmetic science and the curriculum ( specifically masters programs) and some of the general classes correlate with what I took back in pharmacy school. I want to build a brand and know my craft with all the essential research, my question to you is to do you think it is worth it to pursue. Obviously, people create skincare lines with degrees and such, but I want to have the option of regular vs medispa products, regulation vs OTC products? My other concern is that I live on the east coast and want to stay in my area, I know Cincinnati offers an online program, but I see you moved there, so do you think its feasible to really do afar with a full time job? Lastly, its four years later, what are you doing as your career and is comestic science involved? Thank you in advance, Im becoming more inspired every day as I do more research about pursuing my dream.


    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi GCE
      You can do the program entirely online, I believe you do have to be on campus to defend your capstone and perhaps for may be a lab course if you choose to take it. Although I did move to Cincinnati during my course work, I worked full time and did all of my courses online in the evenings. I am still a cosmetic chemists and working in a research and development group. Best of luck to you in pursuing your goals!!

  41. subha

    Hi Kelly,
    I’m currently doing bachelor’s in pharmacy(7th Sem). For sometime now, i’ve been inclined toward cosmetic science. I’ll be taking cosmetology as elective course in my final semester. You see, I belong to the Indian subcontinent and there are no institutions here with graduate program in cosmetic science. The universities in US look good but without a good deal of scholarship, they’re out of my league. Would you please suggest some universities in US as well as other places (skip UK). Also I am thinking about taking management/marketing course simultaneously so that both formulation and marketing areas are open to me. I’ll have to support myself and pay for my education on my own. I’ll need a job or jobs to do that. So, would taking 2 courses concurrently be too much to take? Also do you think that I could apply for jobs in the pharmacy field in US with my bachelor’s degree?
    Hoping to hear from you soon.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Subha
      You should be able to apply for jobs with your bachelors degree. Sometimes an employer will pay for you to get an advanced degree while working and that may be an option for you.

    2. CHRIS

      Hi Subha,
      I assume you’re in the 8th sem right now and would have already applied to foreign universities.
      But, I think you should check the graduate program offered by Nirma University, Ahmedabad in Cosmetic technology.

  42. Christen C

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank you for the insightful article. I am currently a licensed esthetician in California. I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree at a community college and will start chemistry classes this fall. My life goals are to continue working for myself and develop a sunscreen. I want to pursue my BS because I want to know all the why’s and how’s of ingredients, as opposed to sourcing a product. I have been a DIY person my whole life, so learning about chemistry from the beginning is incredibly intriguing to me. I am not excited about how long it will take though, as I have an associate degree in art, but have not started sciences yet. I also work almost full time. If I had the time and was younger (I am 31), I would go to Toledo and take their Pharm/Cos.Sci. undergrad course. Alas, I have to keep the business running and make a living, so that’s unfortunately not an option. Do you have any advice for what my options are? I was hoping to finish my BS in 5 years.

    Also, what do you think of people who create their own products without degrees? For me, earning my degree in cosmetics science means that I feel more trustworthy as a brand, and it symbolizes that I went above and beyond as an owner to really understand what the skin needs. I want to signify integrity/knowledge/trust, no doubts. The only thing that makes me cringe is the time it will take to get me there.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Christen,
      Taking on the course work for an advanced degree in cosmetic science is certainly a big time commitment. Many people do create products without degrees. One thing to note is that sunscreens are treated as an OTC drug by the FDA so there are limitations on the active ingredients and certain requirements for testing, etc. This type of product does require special attention in development.

  43. clare


    I was wondering how long (years) it would take to get a degree (advanced) in cosmetic science (chemistry) on top of getting a 4 year bachelors degree? I am thinking about going to ohio state for four years and then doing a graduate program for cosmetic chemistry for either U of Cincinnati or possibly for the London college of fashion. how long would either of those programs take? thank you and please please please respond soon!

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      It would likely take 2-3 years to complete the masters program at UC. It really depends on the course load. Hope this helps. -Kelly

  44. Tali

    Hi Kelly-
    First of all I really appreciate all of the information you’re providing. Second- what kind of jobs am I looking at if I get a cosmetic science graduate degree? salaries? My ideal is to run a cosmetic lab. I know I would have to work up the totem pole for that but I don’t know anyone in the field, so I have no one to look to for advice. What kind of salary would I be looking at if I get a masters?


  45. Nelly

    Hello I received a BS in Biotechnology and did some research on cosmetic science program. Would you consider masters or certificate? Also, with the online masters program did you have to go to the university for lab, rotations, etc. I live in the south. Thanks!

    1. Kelly

      Hi Nelly
      The difference between the certificate and the distance learning masters is lack of a capstone paper so it takes less time to complete and there is some travel required for the masters program. I think it’s just two trips, one for a two day lab course and then to defend that capstone. Hope this helps!

  46. chantelle

    I am in my final year of a pharmectical and biomedical degree. I want to work in cosmetic science oncevivhave finished my degree. I have done 6 months internship in a cosmetic company. I live in the uk and I am interested in pursuing a masters in cosmetic science. Would the online one at university of cincinati be beneficial to me. Have you any recommendations for my next step?
    Thank you in advance

  47. Michelle

    Thanks for providing all of this great information. I currently have a B.S in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Business Admin and will have my cosmetology certification within a few weeks. I currently formulate my own products and I am interested in maybe pursuing a cosmetic science degree. Can you provide me a little direction if this will be possible with my current background? What options are available to me.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Kelly

      Hi Michele,
      You may want to consider taking some online courses, the University of Cincinnati also has a certificate program that might be useful. The masters program may be challenging with out a some background in chemistry. Hope this helps!

  48. Ester

    Hi Kelly,

    I was reading your answers to several posts and saw above that it would be hard to get into a Masters program for cosmetic science if one does not have a Bachelors in an applied science such as Bio, Chem, Chem Engineering, Pharmaceuticals, etc. I currently have a Bachelors in Family & Consumer Sciences which I know is not at all really related.
    I am looking into a Masters program at a private institution named Mills College that may be able to help with my path to becoming a cosmetic chemist (I want to develop cosmetic products) as they have a Masters program in Biochemistry and a Post-Bacc Pre-Med program to help with the transition to their Masters program. I would like your advice: Would BioChem be the best way for my career goal? What is your suggestion?

    I look forward to your response~


    1. Kelly

      Hi Ester,
      It may be helpful to start with some online courses. I believe Perry has started one and you may want to contact him for more information before delving into an intense program like biochemistry. While I think it would be helpful to have a background in science it may not be necessary if you are not planning to work in the corporate world but are venturing out on your own. Hope this helps!

      1. Ester

        Thanks Kelly! This helps! I will contact Perry.

  49. Sheena

    I need help and suggestions on what steps i should take on going into the cosmetic science field or creating formulations. I graduated from Cosmetology and want i am about to graduate with my A.S in Cosmetology. I am more interested in the science part not so much as styling hair. Do i need to a science degree in chemistry to get started. I want a challenge and i think this would suit me. Please let me know where should i began. I live in California.

  50. Nandy

    Hi Kelly,
    I graduated from college two years ago and for the past year and half, i have been working as a cosmetic chemist (i love it! my true passion). I have been in the beauty industry since i was 18 years old as a sales person and a esthetician. I’m in the process of starting the online master’s program, but unfortunately i don’t know any one who has gone thru the program. could you please tell me a title bit about it, how you benefited from it, and whether it’s worth it?
    Thank you,

  51. Mok An Yi

    Can I take industry chemistry for my degree ? Or Bachelor of Chemistry will be better ?

  52. Taylor Martin

    I recently graduated with a BS in Chemistry. I have been looking into grad school programs for a Masters degree. Most of the schools do not have specific topics in Chemistry. its just a regular MS or MA in chemistry. Would it be beneficial financially and time wise to just go and get a Masters in Chemistry or just apply for entry level positions at cosmetic companies with just my BS?

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      If you are looking at a career as a cosmetic chemist/formulator, the level of requirements can vary. In some cases very large companies like to hire PhDs while others hire entry level technicians who can then work their way up. I think an undergrad degree in chemistry is enough to get you started if that’s the route you choose to go.

  53. Fay Papa

    could you tell me, as far as you know, which are the best universities with masters in cosmetics in Europe?? Thanks alot!!!

    1. Perry Romanowski

      See our post on Cosmetic Science Programs around the world.

  54. Fatana

    So, I can major in almost anything to get into cosmetic science at the University of Cinnicinati.

    1. Kelly

      I wouldn’t say you could major in just anything. You want to major in a science field. Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemical Engineering.

  55. Kellyann Allicott

    Dear Kelly
    I have an associate degree in Science .I am currently pursuing a Bacholor’s In International Business because there was no courses offered in my country for the cosmetic field which I have a passion for.I actually started my product line ,while doing this degree. Wanted to know if it was wise to do the online degree at UC although I am currently doing business degree? And what online short courses do you reccommend to improve my formulations especially in the area of organic products?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Kellyann,
      The UC online degree does require some time on campus, so I’m not sure it will work for you. Cosmetics and Toiletries magazine frequently has short online courses.
      Hope this helps! -Kelly

      1. Kellyann

        Dear Kelly
        I don’t mine having to be on campus, but do you think it is worth it if I do the short online courses.

        1. Kelly

          The UC program is definitely a long term and big financial committment. Taking a few short online classes may be a good way to get started and determine if you feel you want to pursue the masters degree.

  56. Tema


    My current major is biology. Can I get my masters in pharmaceutical sciences & become a formulation chemist since there are no cosmetic science programs near me?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Tema,
      You can get into the industry with just a degree in biology. You will likely need to be located in an area with cosmetic companies and apply for entry level technician jobs. A pharm degree can help, anothing thing to consider is the weight of costs of being in graduate school with starting job right after undergraduate research. Good luck in your career! -Kelly

  57. Prits

    Hi kelly,
    I am a bit confused. I have just completed my masters in Pharmaceutics and have a keen interest in the cosmetic science in the US.Could you suggest me the best universities that offer this program.I have read the earlier messages but I still dont know if should take up a short course or a Phd?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Prits,
      I would reccommend looking for an entry level position in the industry and take the online masters program from the University of Cincinnati.

  58. Ashunti Sims

    I am a recent graduate with a bachelors degree in food science and technology. I currently work for a fortune 500 food company as a product developer. After a reflection of my one year post undergrad degree, I realized that my passion is with cosmetics and I am looking to make career moves in that direction however, I am at a loss on where to start. I initially thought to attend a cosmetology program, but I don’t think I want the skill set as a cosmetologist. I would love to do R&D in cosmetics or brand management. Can you give me advice on where to start?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Ashunti,
      Food science shares a lot of technology with cosmetics. Are you in the US? If so you might consider the distance learning program at the University of Cincinnati. I believe they now have added a certificate program with less requirements than the MS. I don’t know that cosmetology school would be particularly helpful. You can also work with a staffing agency to look for positions in the industry and submit you resume. Be sure so share the similiarities in your current work. I moved from a company that made household and industrial cleaning products to a cosmetic company quite easily. I would start with smaller companies that are more amenable to that type of situation.

  59. Dana

    Good day Kelly and Perry,

    First of all, that you for developing this invaluable resource site. Your time and effort here means a lot to people like me.

    My question is in relation to the topic at hand:

    “Is a M.Sc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry useful for someone who aspires to be a Formulation Chemist (colour cosmetics)?”

    I am thinking of applying for same programme at the University of Florida, due to its accessibility and affordability (in comparison to the available programmes for Cos.Sci).

    My current degree is B.Pharm. I feel as if I could always do the U.Cincinatti programme at a later date.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Dana,
      Your plan sounds perfect. It’s a good idea to start with an undergraduate degree in the sciences and pursue a cosmetic sceince degree later. Best of luck with your career!

      1. Dana

        Once again, thank you Kelly for your attention and blessings. ^_^

        I wish you continuous success and happiness.

  60. Carlotta

    Hi,I’m Carlotta from Florence, Italy, i’m studing chemistry at the University of Florence but I would like to attend a cosmetological course in the USA or where the best school is, can you suggest me what kind of study I have to take: is better if I take a degree here in Italy and than a specialization in cosmetics in the USA or if I move now? And than , where should I go? What’s the best? Thank You and sorry for the imperfect english…

    1. Perry Romanowski

      At the moment, the two primary places to study in the US are Fairleigh Dickenson University and the University of Cincinnati.

      1. Carlotta

        Thank You! But do you know if it’s possible to do for European students a school of specialization in cosmetic sciences AFTER a European Degree in Chemistry ? Beacause we have masters of one/ two years here in Europe after the degree but i don’t know if you have in the USA…

        1. Kelly

          Hi Carlotta,
          I am unsure of how things are in Europe. You may want to contact schools with a program you are interested in for more information. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  61. Peiyin

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m currently a practicing pharmacist in Malaysia and interested in UC (master in pharm tech & cosmetic science) distance learning programme. I wonder how to complete it by online learning without much hands on experience like lab work . They also require student to complete a final sem project. Do you think it would be disadvantage for me to learn only theory as I’m not in the industry right now, and stand less chance to pass the project assessment?
    Would like to hear your advise and experience

  62. Prat95

    Hey?….im in a dire need of your help…..i was looking for career options on net….i am in 12th ..and my subjects are biology chemistry and physics…..firstly i planned to do B.Tech. In biotechnology….but today i found cosmetic chemist…as another interesting option. …..i just wanted to ask you if chossing to be a cosmetic chemist over a biotechnologists…would be a good option or not…?….i am really confused… im not that innovative…and after a proper self analysis i’ve come to the conclusion that i cannot really start a business of my own….kindly help me out?

  63. nikita nandanwar

    hey kelly
    I em in a big confusion, i em actually not getting any way out..about what to do that is either mba or ms in cosmetic.??
    Right know em pursing my education in bachelors in cosmetic technolgy.
    I really need your help as to what will be more beneficial for my career..
    eargerly waiting for ur reply !

  64. NL


    I reviewed related comments amove. great job sharing this information. I am interested to pursue my education in the area of NATURAL cosmetic science, online (or phisical) in Europe (Switserland, Spain, or UK). Could anyone please help me locate an appropriate program in these countries? also is there a global reference page of ranking of “NATURAL cosmetic science” or “cosmetic science” in general.

    Thanks in advance!

  65. Ken

    Hello Kelly,
    I am currently studying a Bsc (Hons) degree in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science in the UK. I am confused of the masters to take so as to favour me in both courses. My future dream has always been to have a pharmaceutical and cosmetic company in my country, but i am thinking doing a masters degree in International business and entrepreneur would it help me get to the top or should i do an MBA which i have to work for nothing less than 3 years before getting it, or i dont need a degree in business at all.

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Ken,
      It all depends on your goals. If you plan to run a company, and MBA isn’t neccessary but can certainly but you in a far better position to manage the complexity of a start-up. -kelly

      1. Ken

        Ok thank you Kelly. About the Masters in Business, i dont know which country is the best place to study this course whether is it in the US or the UK, however, i have always admired the US market in both pharmaceutical and cosmetics and would want to work there to gain experience in either any of this sector.
        So is doing the masters in the UK going to help me secure a job there, or should i have to do a masters in the US before securing a job there. Thanks

        1. Kelly Dobos
          Kelly Dobos

          Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about MBAs in the UK to comment for sure. I would assume the education is transferable to either market. I found my MBA education to be immensely useful in my career. Good luck in your endeavors! -kelly

          1. Ken

            Thank you Kelly really appreciate the help and advice :).

  66. Rachel

    Hi Kelly,

    I recently stumbled across this article as I was doing some searching on what it takes to become a cosmetic chemist. I just graduated high school, and will start college in the fall. I’ve always been interested in the beauty industry as a hobby and have had a love for science in school, so I thought this would be the perfect job for me. I plan on studying to obtain a BS in Biochemistry. Do you have any tips/advice that could help steer my college career in the direction of the cosmetic science industry? Thanks.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Rachel,
      I think the best thing you can do as a college student is attend a school near a major cosmetic manufacturer and get an intership. It can be very challenging to get a formulation position without bench experience and interning will help immensley. Your undergrad class with give you a solid foundation , but there is a lot that isn’t covered when it comes to a career in cosmetic science. Also, if available take take a course in colloid science or polymer science. Good luck in your endeavors! -Kelly

  67. Mahi

    Hi Kelly,
    I am very inclined towards the Cosmetic and Beauty Industry and have just completed my BS in Biotechnology from India. I want to persue MS Cosmetic Science in the US, but apparently they require a 4year college degree along with several topics from BS Cosmetic Science.
    What would you suggest I do for the 4th year?
    I planned to do a Diploma in Cosmetology, but it seems this Diploma doesn’t add up to 3years as this is more of a technical course.. Kindly Help..

  68. Abigail

    Hi Kelly, this is Abigail from India.I am currently pursuing biotechnology here. I want to have a career in the cosmetic industry and one day i want to have a skin care line of my own.I also wish to do an esthetic course.There are no cosmetic science courses in India , so i want to do my m.s. in the U.S. Can you please tell me which course should i do first as soon as i complete my u.g, whether the m.s. in cosmetic science or the esthetics course to start my career in this field?I am finishing my u.g. in another two years. Is there anything i should do in these two years to prepare for my m.s. Looking forward to your advice as it would be of great help to me. 🙂

  69. Sumaya J


    I just graduated with Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science degree and am very interested in Cosmetic Chemistry and formulation. Do you think getting a MS in Cosmetic Science would help me get a job in the cosmetic industry? I am currently looking for an internship though struggling to figure out where to start. Your suggestion would truly help 🙂

  70. Erica C

    Hi Kelly,

    I have a PhD in organic chemistry and current work in CA as a medicinal chemist. I really am interested in starting my own “organic” skin care line. I don’t anything about formulation, etc. Do you know of any programs out on the west coast or do you think the UC online program would be best?

    Also, are there any online resources or books you would recommend to get started?



    1. Kelly

      Hi Erica,
      I don’t believe there are any programs on the west coast. Another option is to take the Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry Course from the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. It’s either 1 or 2 days and just a few hundred dollars. In the UC program you can also take up to 15 hours unmatriculated, so taking the cosmetic science II class may be just what you need to get started. -Kelly

  71. Michelle

    Hi Kelly,
    I am currently pursuing my my bachelors in forensic chemistry. Will I a be able to pursue a cosmetic science masters degree with that background? Thank you.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Michelle,
      It might help with a position in Quality Control (analytical chem) or clinical testing, but if you were looking at formulation development you’d need to start at a technician level to learn the ropes. Hope this helps! -kelly

  72. Neelam

    Hi Kelly!
    I am just giving my 11th std finals. I want to pursue a career in cosmetic science without an engineering degree. Is it possible?
    I plan to give mht cet in biology. Please help me out!

  73. Azu

    Hi Kelly, first of all thankyou for sharing all of this, been in a country where there´s not much information about the subject it really helps a lot.
    I´m currently finishing a BD in industrial chemistry engineering, and i´m really interested in cosmetics, I´ve read your other articles about where i can study.. and as you my dream is to have my own company, the thing is i want to create more natural products as possible, i´m very into skin care, so i will really appreciate it if you coul guide me… 🙂 thanks

  74. Fa

    Kelly, as I read this, I am thinking about myself. I have a bachelor in chemistry. Right now, I am currently working for a cosmetic company and love the industry. I want to move forward, I was just wondering what maters would be suitable for me? I am interested in the cosmetic science but also want to study a broad subject that will allow me to work in a a different industry if one day I decide to leave the cosmetic idustry.

    1. Kelly

      Hello Fa,
      Well a cosmetic science degree still teaches you surfactant science which applies in other formulation areas like paints and coatings, I know friend who went from cosmetics to just that industry. But a masters in chemistry would probably also be narrowed to some area of research, so I don’t really have a reccomendation for an extremely broad program. Unless you are considering management, marketing, etc. I would suggest an MBA for that. Good luck with your endeavors! -Kelly

  75. K

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m currently working as a cosmetic chemist (BA in biology) and was wondering if you felt that it was worth it to pursue the MS from Cincinnati. (in terms of compensation, advancement). Thanks so much!

    1. Kelly

      Hi K,
      From my experience, I’d say it was worth it. But it all depends on company culture and what your plans for the future are. Let me know if you want to talk further, I can always send my personal e-mail address or you can connect with me on LinkedIn. -Kelly

      1. K

        Can you send me your personal email address? I’m not sure how I would find you on linked in. Thanks!

  76. Kate

    Hello Kelly

    Thank you for this very helpful article.First of all,I’m a pharmacist and I want to be an expert in cosmetic&skincare product not in formulation or production.I want to expert in what this make up use for,how to use,who suitable with this cosmetic&skincare.It seem like both scienctist&trainer in the same time.
    Do I have to take MS of cosmetic science? or
    Do the MS of cosmetics science will make my dream come true?

    sorry for my bad English.

    Thank you for your help

    1. Kelly

      Hello Kate,
      I have to say, it inspires me so much that many young scientists find this article that I wrote and ask questions about their pursuit of a career in the field. A pharmacy degree will already help you get your foot in the door. A cosmetic science degree would be an extra benefit that broadens your knowledge. You could do just like I did, and pursue the cosmetic science degree after gaining employment in the field. Good luck in your pursuits!

  77. Natalie Binienda

    Hey Kelly, I read your article and I found it really interesting. I am currently studying International Business Administration in Rotterdam but actually it is my dream to work with cosmetics, maybe not as a scientists in a laboratory but having the idea of what should be produced and selling it would be very interesting. My problem is now that all the cosmetic science degrees want an Bachelor degree in Biology or chemistry and now i don’t now what to do …Is there a possibility to do a course? Or like a one year foundation course?
    I would really need some advice …
    thanks in advance

    1. Kelly

      Hi Natalie
      Most degrees in cosmetic science will require a science background because it may be difficult to get into the details of formulation without some knowledge of chemistry, biology and physics. I know of some two day courses in the US, they are usually referred to as professional advancement courses. So maybe something like that would help you. You could also read some texts on cosmetic science and subscribe to any free industry magazines to keep up on the latest news. I hope this helps.

  78. Megan


    Just needed some advice.. I have done my bachelor in pharmacy followed by masters in cosmetic science and perfumery from ISIPCA France, currently working in L’Oreal. I would be shifting my base from India to USA soon, would i need to get an addtional degree, if yes, could you recommend if FIT newyork is suitable as i already have hands on experience in the technical field so to widen my scope to the marketing aspect as well. or would you suggest some other university.

    thanks for our help.

    1. Kelly

      Hi Megan,
      A business degree is a great idea if you want to learn more about marketing. I am pretty unfamilliar with the FIT program but since it’s focused on the beauty industry it’s probably got some benefits over a traditional business degree. But then again the diversity of a traditional business degree might also be a benefit. You might want to look into both options and contact schools for more information to help guide your decision. -kelly

      1. Megan

        Thanks Kelly . Would surely incase of any doubt.

  79. Anupa Deshmukh

    I am pursuing PG diploma in quality assurance of cosmetics in India, post my B.Tech in cosmetic technology. I am good with Analysis and titration. After I completed my 3rd of B.Tech, I underwent training at Clariant Chemicals, in QC of pigment and additives. Since then I got interested in analytical chemistry and want to pursue career in same. I want to ask what are the chances of getting admission for MS in analytical chemistry. I’ve checked sites of few universities and I think one needs to have a good knowledge of biochem for this. Kindly help.

    1. kelly

      Hi Anupa,
      It would be best to check with the Universities you wish to attend to see what their requirements are. I am unfamiliar with the requirements for a masters in analytical chemistry. -Kelly

  80. ann

    I am dermatology nurse. Ready to progress in the dermatological science and begin cosmetic formulation. Any recommendations? I’m looking to pursue the MS degree in cosmetic science from Univ. Of Cincinnati. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!!

    1. kelly

      Hi Ann,
      I highly reccomend the UC program. Itis a great way to learn formulation science and your derm background will give you a leg up on the physiology portion of the program. If you need a contact at UC please let me know. Just be persistent in trying to get all the information you need. And if I can help faciliate the conversation, just let me know.

      1. ann

        Thanks Kelly for the added information.
        I actually signed about for the non-degree seeking status for UC in hopes to get started with the cosmetic science classes and there were no online classes available for me. Not sure why.

        1. ann

          Thanks Kelly for the added information.
          I actually signed up for the non-degree seeking status for UC in hopes to get started with the cosmetic science classes and there were no online classes available for me. Not sure why.

          1. Kelly

            I think you will probably need to contact someone in the program administration to get the course numbers, etc. I also believe that you can up to 15 credits hours before you are required to become a matriculated student.

  81. Nousheen

    I graduate in 2010 with a bachelor degree in biology but I am so much interested in chemistry and want to join chemical labs expecially cosmntic lab. Does anybody have any suggestion about what cosmetic labs are there in Chicago, illinois. And if my biology degree is not worth it in order to join costic/chemical labs so what more education should I pursue?

    1. kelly

      Hi Nousheen,
      You biology degree is certainly enough to get you in the door. You may want to join LinkedIn and connect with other in the industry to find jobs in your area. There is also a SCC group on LinkedIn and many other groups related to the industry where you can find job postings.

  82. Felice

    I am a recent Biomedical Science graduate from the UK. I was just wondering what masters programme would be suitable for me (A master in chemistry/ chemical engineering/ pharmaceutical). Which masters would cosmetic company prefer? I have looked at the cosmetic science programme from University of London but didn’t want to spend another three years doing an undergraduate degree.
    Many Thanks

    1. kelly

      Hello Felice,
      A masters degree is not necessary to get into the industry, at least not in the US. Any of the degrees you mention would be helpful but pharmacy maybe the closest field to cosmetic chemistry but a lot of the subject matter may not apply. -kelly

  83. Amy

    I am a junior chemistry BS major and thinking that a career in cosmetic chemistry is what i would love to do. I am very intersested organic chemistry and figured this would apply to cosmetic chemistry. I am currently looking into REU for this upcoming summer(2012) and staringt to search for graduate schools. Do you recommend I go to a graduate school specifically for cosemtic chemistry, or just organic? I would really appreciate your advice because I am overwhelmed with starting the whole process. Thanks!

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Hi Amy,
      An undergraduate major in chemistry is a great start. While you don’t need a master’s degree to get started in the industry, the University of Cincinnati’s masters in Cosmetic Science is the program I recommend. There is only one other accredited program at Farleigh Dickinson on the east coast. Studying organic chemistry for a masters degree would be valuable if you were looking to work for a raw material supplier synthesizing new ingredients, but not completely necessary if you want to formulate. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

    2. Summer

      Hello Amy,
      I am a sophomore in college in about the same situation as you described above. Did you ever find an REU focusing on cosmetic chemistry? I am struggling with this.

  84. Jamie

    I’m graduating with a phD degree in food science – dissertation is about flavor and color of food products. I have several technical skills wet chemistry, GC-MS, HPLC, UV-VIS. Now that I need to search for a job, I am more interested in becoming a cosmetic scientist rather than a food scientist. But I don’t know how to approach this situation. Any comments?
    -Thank you

    1. Kelly

      Hi Jamie,
      Your skills would suit a position in quality control or with a fragrance supplier, there isn’t much instrumentation used in general formulation. If you are interested in learning more about formulation, I highly recommended taking some of the courses sponsors by the Society of Cosmetic Chemists ( The University of Cincinnati’s masters in cosmetic science program is available as a distance learning course and you can take up to 15 credit hours unmatriculated so getting a couple courses, especially cosmetic science II (if i remember the title correctly), could be helpful. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions. -Kelly

  85. Jacqueline Woo

    Wow and here I thought nobody else wanted to do cosmetic science! Would it be possible to exchange emails so that I could ask you some questions? I’m only a second year student in specialization pharmacology at the University of Alberta in Canada, but I definitely want to break into the cosmetic science industry and hopefully start my own line one day!
    And I definitely have to say…I am so glad that I have found your blog! 🙂

  86. Kelly

    Hi Renu,
    I would reccomend that you look for interships or entry level technician jobs to get into the industry. You can also begin take classes online through the University of Cincinnati’s cosmetic science program. -Kelly

  87. Renu Lakra

    hi kelly,
    I will graduate this fall with biotechnology degree. I really want to do some research in cosmetic area, and want to apply some natural application in cosmetics. But I am confused and little scared from where to start and what to do next? Can you please help me with some ideas and suggestions that will help me to focus on my dreams.
    I really need you help.
    plz post me some help.

  88. Kelly

    Hi Zee,
    You will need some basic understanding of chemistry and biology for the masters program. I am not sure what would be acceptable in place of formal undergraduate training, but I would suggest getting in touch with some one from the program administration and asking for their advice. Also, congratulations on starting your own line! That is a great accomplishment.

  89. Zee

    I am wondering how to break into the Cosmetics Industry. I have been creating my own line of products for almost 3 years now. It has become my passion, and I truly enjoy creating organic products. I would like to pursue an MS in Cosmetic Science, however it seems most of the programs require an undergraduate degree in a science. Although my background is in a field totally unrelated (multimedia arts) is there a way to prepare for entry into these programs?

  90. Dania

    Hi Kelly!

    Thanks for this article! I discovered that programme online many months ago and I really like the syllabus.

    What is the tuition like? I am yet to source the tuition information on the university’s website! Could you give me some hints or pointers please?

  91. Kelly

    If your interests are in marketing, you can just pursue the MBA. You don’t need a science degree to be involved in that side of the business. Many schools offer accelerated programs. If your passion lies in formulating products, the sciences are what you should pursue. The path I took, leaves both opportunities open to me but took a couple trips to grad school. Your career goals should guide your decision process.

  92. surbhi

    hii kelly
    thank u so much for helping me guide this program – cosmetic and fragrance management.
    But this course provides u knowledge as to how u could start up your own salon.
    but my area of interest is working in some big cosmetic brand in the production and marketing of cosmetics.
    so for that how should i go about
    should i take a masters in cosmetic science and then go for mba marketing ?? please help

  93. Kelly

    Hello Surbhi,
    I’m not aware of any programs that currently combine science and management, the closest is a degree in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing Management at FIT in New York City. But it likely doesn’t touch much science. Getting both a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Cosmetic Science was the approach I ended up taking. And in my opinion, the Cosmetic Science Program as the University of Cincinnati is a great, well rounded program. Good luck with your endeavors! -Kelly

  94. surbhi

    hii kelly
    im an indian n pursuing bs chemistry from delhi university
    i m interested in cosmetic industry and planning to do a sort of a bridging course which involves chemistry and management in us or uk.
    I saw this chemists corner and read your blogs so thought u would be the right person to guide me.
    Could u please help me as to which masters programme should i opt for .

  95. Anonymous

    Thank you Kelly, but I spent all day talking to recruiters who tell me that they cannot help me because I lack industrial experience in Cosmetics. I will try to network in the other ways Perry mentioned.
    What I’ve been wondering is how recent graduates break into the industry if there is only a demand for experienced cosmetic chemists?

  96. Kelly

    The networking opportunities Perry mentioned are definitely helpful. Industry specific recruiters can also be very beneficial contacts.

  97. Anonymous

    One more question! Are recruiters useful for change of career?

  98. Anonymous

    Thank you Perry! I’ve applied online to Revlon, L’oreal and Avon for some entry level formulation positions. You are probably right about my resume- Since I do not have any cosmetic science experience, it’s filled Pharmaceutical experience. I guess I’m not sure how to better market my skills toward cosmetics. Any suggestions?

    I will probably pay more attention to Linkedin and try to make some connections. Right now, all my connections are Big Pharma scientists.

  99. Anonymous

    Hi all,
    I am an MS level organic chemist w/ 6yrs experience who was laid off of my Pharmaceutical job last year and I, like many of my former co-workers, am still unemployed. I would very much like to change my field of work to Cosmetics/Personal care since those industries have not suffered as much as Pharmaceutical has in the past few years and I still want to be a bench chemist. Is there anyway that I can make a transition from Pharmaceutical to the Cosmetics industry with an MS in organic chemistry? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I apply and apply to entry level positions, but get no response!

    1. Perry

      Well, that is unlucky. 🙁 With your background, you should be able to break into the cosmetic field rather easily.

      I don’t know who you have applied with but if you are getting no response there may be a problem with your resume but more likely you have a problem with your network. I would suggest you first go to a society of cosmetic chemists meeting if you have a local chapter (see to find a chapter near you). I would also suggest you get on and join the Society of Cosmetic Chemist discussion group. There are people frequently looking for chemists. You might also check for a list of cosmetic chemist jobs.

      Hope that helps.

  100. Kimberlyn

    i was wondering if the university of Cincinnati only offers their cosmetic science degree online, or if it can be taken at the campus

  101. Jenna

    I am currently a junior in high school and love makeup and chemistry. I was wondering what I should do when I grow up and stumbled upon this website. I am now convinced i want to be a cosmetic chemist 🙂 So thanks for helping me decide!
    I also had a question, however. I will be applying to University of Cincinnati and am looking into majoring in maybe a Masters or PhD in Pharmaceutics. I am not sure if that is the right way to go and am confused. What is the difference between a Masters and PhD? Does it matter if i major in chemical engineering or pharmacy? Also, would I take the MS program for Cosmetic Science after I got my MS or PhD in Pharmaceutics or another field?
    Thank you so much!!!!
    – Jenna 🙂

    1. Perry

      Hello Jenna,

      If becoming a cosmetic chemist is your ultimate goal, then you won’t really need a PhD. Getting an MS is Cosmetic Science from the University of Cincinnati would be sufficient and an excellent start.

  102. Kelly

    It can be difficult to start your own product line because there are many players already in the market. That doesn’t mean it is an unattainable goal though. Many companies like Bonne Bell and Urban Decay were founded by individual entrepreneurs. If you do get a masters in cosmetic chemistry there are numerous cosmetic companies that you can work for in a variety of areas from formulation, quality control, safety, regulatory. So there are many options for a career in cosmetic science.

  103. Keev

    Hi I’m back again…
    As graduation approaches (high school) my dreams of creating my own line of hair products seems to be getting far and far away. I am attending Agnes Scott this fall majoring in chemistry and hopefully attending UC for graduate school however I’ve heard alot of doubtful comments about my plan. What kind of jobs would I be able to find with my degree before completeing my own product. Is it an extrememly hard and unattainable goal for me to want my on cosmetic company? Am I being unrealistic? I really want this, but I dont feel like im getting anywhere. Please HELP!

  104. Kelly

    Hi Mahima,
    I’m not familiar with LIU, but you could continue to ask for opinions by looking for alums to talk with. I would recommend pharmaceutics over industrial pharmacy in terms of relevance to cosmetic science. Have you considered the distance learning MS from UC? You may be able to enter that program. Hope this helps! -kelly

  105. Mahima


    Just needed some expert advice 🙂 I got a reject from UC for the full time MS program- Cos Sci this Fall 🙁 but have got an admit to LIU for the same 🙂 However I have got not-so favourable reviews about LIU from people. So, you reckon its worthwhile to pursue the program there?

    Also, which would be a better option for entering the cosmetic industry?
    1) Doing my MS in Pharmaceutics from Duquesne Univ or Univ of Rhode Island?
    2)Doing my MS in Industrial Pharmacy from Univ of Toledo?

    Please let me know soon. Thank you!

    1. Perry

      @Mahima – these are good questions but unfortunately, I do not know much about the programs you have mentioned. LIU could be a good option for you because it is located in the New York area and this will allow you a chance to network with more people in the industry. Hope that helps and good luck. If I learn more about those programs, I’ll be sure to write a post about them.

  106. Kelly

    Hello Nim,
    See Perry’s post on cosmetic science programs around the world for options in the UK and Australia.

    Your degree can get you into the industry and there are many roles besides being a bench chemist. Safety, regulatory, claims research and many more roles exist for cosmetic scientists.

  107. Nim

    Hi kelly,

    I have a Bachelor in Science (Biotechnology) and I really want to pursue something in cosmetic science as that is where my passion lies? Could you please give me names of universities that provide such courses, either in the UK or in Australia?

    I was wondering if this field only involves laboratory work?

    WOuld my first degree in Biotechnology make me eligible to enter this industry?

    Thank u!

  108. Lauren

    Thanks Kelly


  109. Kelly

    Hi Lauren,
    Your degree should be sufficient to apply for jobs, as long as you can provide some information about the course work so the employer knows your background. -kelly

  110. Lauren

    Hi! I’m a graduate of BS Cosmetic Science in Philippines, I am here now in US.. I’m wondering if I need to have a license for me to work for cosmetic company it’s been 2 years ago since I graduated. And if licensure us needed how can I take it?

    Thank you

  111. Ben

    I am starting in the fall for a BS in biochemistry and then going on to the cosmetic science program at Univ. of Cinn. I am currently a cosmetologist and also going back in a month for my instructor license. My ultimate goal is to be working on a color development team for Goldwell and traveling as a instructor and platform artist. Does anyone see any holes in my logic, is there any other education you think I should have for such a job?

    1. Perry

      Sounds like a great plan to me!

  112. valerie

    A quick question. My daughter is a senior and wants to get a degree in chemical engineering. She wants to go into the cosmetic industry. Will this degree serve her well in this industry?

    1. Perry

      Chemical engineering can get you in the cosmetic industry. A degree in general chemistry is probably a little more applicable but lots of people get jobs in the cosmetic industry with a chemical engineering degree.

  113. KV

    Hi. Could someone describe what a career in cosmetic chemistry is like? Salary, hours, etc. I’m currently working on my B.S. in chemistry and have been looking into getting a Masters in cosmetic science, but don’t really know what jobs would be available to me afterwards? Would they be lab jobs? (I am a little OCD so I really like busy work, following protocols and instructions, etc. I find quiet repetitive tasks comforting. Don’t really want to be in a social or interpersonal career, such as marketing or a doctor. I find that really stressful.) Is it easy to find a job? Stressful? Very competitive? Long hours? Etc. Any information would be really appreciated!

    1. Perry

      Hello KV,

      It sounds like a job in Quality Control or Quality Assurance would be perfect for you. Low stress, repetitive testing, standard hours.

  114. vivienne

    Hi! I am currently in high school and i want to become a cosmetic chemist (formulator) when i grow up. Is it better to major in just chemistry or biochemistry or to take the cosmetic chemistry courses that universities such as Farleigh-Dickenson or University of Cincinnati offer?
    And for universities that offer these courses, are they better in America or in the UK?

    Thank you~!

    1. Perry

      Hello Vivienne

      Congratulations on figuring out what you want to do! Not a lot of people take the time to do this when they are in high school. I think it is better to major in chemistry for your undergraduate degree. If you ultimately want to become a cosmetic chemist, then taking the advanced courses at U of C or Farleigh-Dickenson is a great choice. These are offered as graduate degree programs so you can’t take them right away. The UK doesn’t have any university level courses that I know of so I would say the US is better for that (right now).

  115. Devashree

    Hi Kelly,
    I’m a non-US resident and so I cant apply for the MS cosmetic science in Cincinnati due to visa issues in an online program.. I am worried whether the Pharmaceutical sciences full time program in Cincinnati concentrates much on cosmetic science or it would be a very general one without much of cosmetics in it..! Also, as an another option I am interested in Pharmaceutical MBA. Can you suggest what would be a better option? As of now, being an international student I cant participate for the MS Cosmetic science program. I am a Bachelor of Pharmacy.. Suggestions will be appreciated.. thank you..

  116. Kelly

    Hello Alireza,
    The PhD program at the University of Cincinnati is the only one I am aware of the in US. It is a great program and very comprehensive. -Kelly

  117. alireza

    I have B.Sc in applied chemistry and M.Sc in Polymer chemistry, and now I’m working as a R&D researcher in a company which is responsible for providing raw material and active ingredients for cosmetic industries. we also suggest some new formulations to other company as a product development. Our company also cooperate with BASF.
    I love my career and now I enthusiasticlly want to be much more expertise as a R&D researcher. i want to ask you , is there any PhD program which relevants to this career throughwhich I can improve my level of knowledge about formulation?

  118. Kelly

    Hello Marco,
    Thanks for visiting Chemists Corner! The program at the University of Cincinnati is primarily focused formulation science. I’m not as familiar with regulatory affairs education, but the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society offers certifications and may be a good resource for you. Below is a link to a page on their website with information about careers in reguatory affairs. Hope this helps!

  119. Marco

    Hi everyone, I’m currently writing you from Italy. After a degree in Pharmacy and a Master in Cosmetic Science (ending next february) I’m actually looking for the next step. I’m quite interesting in an MBA or a phD and I prefer to work in the regulatory field (where I’m working here in Italy right now during the master). Is there any specific place to study for a job in the regulatory? Is Cincinnati the right place?

  120. devashree

    thanx for the reply… i also have another university in mind, and thats the fairleigh dickinson university at NJ. can you suggest anything about it..? and also i got 1290 in my GRE. am i elligible for the courses in both cincinnati and fdu?

    1. Perry

      @Devashree – This was all that we could find. I believe you would be available for both the UC & FDU programs. Congratulations!

  121. carol


    Thanks for replying so quickly. Just to get a sense of the type of position I could achieve with those degrees, I was wondering what kind of job you currently have and/or your responsibilities? Did your advanced degrees greatly help you bump up in salary? Also, what is your take on the UCincinnati online program, any complaints?


  122. Kelly

    Hello Devashree and Carol,
    I believe the University of Cincinnati cosmetic science program is the best and most comprehensive here in the US. I pursued my MBA because I felt it gave me options for management or marketing later in my career. Marketing often generates ideas for new products and I think if I moved into that arena I’d have some even more interesting scientific and realistic ideas. As for which to do first if you are already a scientist, it’s a matter of preference. I sought the MBA first because it was convenient to take classes in the evening while I worked full time. The masters at UC didn’t become available online until a few years ago. Hope this helps and feel free contact me with further questions. -Kelly

  123. carol


    I recently decided to pursue a career in cosmetic science. I have a bachelor’s in a science field, but it’s not chemistry so i’m finding it hard to break into the cosmetic field industry, do you have any tips? Also, i’m planning on applying to univ. of cincinnati for the masters in cosmetic science and also getting an mba. However, do you recommend getting the mba first and then the masters in cosmetics? If you don’t mind me asking what kind of jobs can you attain with an mba in cosmetics.
    Btw, I was relieved to read your blog and find out that i am not alone in my career path.


  124. devashree

    i m a graduate in pharmacy and i had COSMETIC SCIENCE as an ELECTIVE subject during my studies. So, i am more inclined towards making it as my career due to my increasing interest in cosmetics and marketting. Can you please help me out as to which particular university/college to study in which offers an extensive M.S. in cosmetic science?

  125. Kelly

    Hello Mahima
    The University of Cincinnati offers both the MS and PhD programs. You could always start out in the MS program and jump to a PhD later if you wanted. If you feel ready, it is probably a good time to start the program because you are still in the student mode and have the motivation to succeed. Good luck in you endeavors! -Kelly

  126. Mahima


    Your blog has been really helpful and has made me sure about choosing Cosmetic Science as my choice of graduate study. Could you please tell me if the Univ. of Cincinnati offers a MS or PhD in cosmetic science? I have finished my BPharm and am thinking of doing my MS right now.
    Would it be foolhardy to jump into a PhD right away?


  127. Kelly

    Hello Keev,
    Happy to hear you’re interested in becoming a cosmetic chemist. A degree is biochemistry is also perfect for pursuing a career in the industry and is certainly a good stepping-stone to the cosmetic science PhD. Best of luck in your endeavors! -Kelly

  128. Keev

    Hi 🙂
    I am a senior in high school and I am interested in becoming a cosmetic scientist and hopefully creating my own line of hair products in the future! I am both overwhelmed and confused with the process of choosing a degree program. I really want to major in Biochemistry, because I want to learn more so of how my products will affect the body, rather than just knowing how to make them. However I don’t really know if Biochemistry is acceptable for someone pursuing Cosmetic Chemistry. Could you please help me in figuring out whether or not I will still be able to accomplish my career goals with a BS in Biochemistry and not just chemistry? Will I still be able to receive a Masters or PhD. in cosmetic chemistry/science?


  129. Aujanae


    Thanks, I will definitely consider that option.

  130. Kelly

    Hi Aujanae,
    The University of Cincinnati does have a PhD in Cosmetic Science. A PhD in Pharmacology could be helpful as well, but will have a much different scope than a cosmetic science degree. I would recommend contacting Jerry Kastings at the University of Cincinnati for more information on that program. Good luck in your endeavors!

  131. Aujanae

    I have a bit of a dilemma. I just recently graduated with a BS in Chemistry & I am immediately realizing another degree needs to be in the near future. I dont oppose going back to school in fact Im very excited but here is where getting a degree in what area comes in. Initially upon graduating I wanted to get a PhD in Pharmacology but lately ive really been leaning towards a Cosmetic Chemistry/Science Program because its something Im really passionate about & it combines the best of both worlds. However, Ive only seen programs for Cosm. Chemist as a Masters, so Im wondering if it would be better to get both degrees or would I be able to still get into the field of Cosmetic Chem with just getting my PhD in Pharmacology? I ultimately want to have a PhD but I dont want to waste extra time/money in school if unnecessary. So all responses are welcome! Thanks

  132. Kelly

    Hi Leanne
    In lieu of actual formulation experience on the job, the UC program does provide you with a significant advantage over those without the degree. But as a chemical engineer you can certainly get started in the process engineering side of the business and use that experience to get acquainted with formulations as well. I know it can be rather hard to break into the industry with out formal experience, so taking an entry level position as a technician although not glamorous is also a way to get your foot in the door and learn the ropes. -Kelly

  133. Leanne

    Do you think the cosmetic science program at the Univ. Of Cincinnati would be beneficial for someone like me- a chemical engineer/chemist trying to break into the industry? Or should I continue to seek employment without prior cosmetic experience? I would appreciate your insight (the out of state fees are very high).

  134. Joe Wheeler

    Hey Kelly, congrats on wrapping up the degree. I’m curious what you plan on doing now; Kao or make the jump? I’d like to hear more about Kelly Cosmetics!

  135. Kelly Dobos
    Kelly Dobos

    Thanks Remona! I hope our testimonials are helpful to others considering advanced degrees. And I hope to catch up with you at the SCC meeting in December! -Kelly

  136. Remona Gopaul

    Kelly, as I read this, I remember having the same thoughts. I too have an MBA and wondered if doing and MS in Cosmetics would benefit my career but I have to say, this degree puts you in a different league. Not many cosmetic chemists and researchers hold graduate degrees in this specific field, so it definitely sets you apart from the rest.
    I have learned a great deal through this program, oddly enough, my capstone was my favorite. I learned about my topic while spending over a year doing tedious research. I feel your pain on not getting enough sleep and wondering if its all worth it.

    To answer your question, I think its definitely worth it. Not only will it boost your career, it also gives you a level of understanding of cosmetic science that only few can attest to.

    Good luck and I know you will rock the defense!

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