Cosmetic Science Major Is An Idea Of Beauty
In mid-April I had the privilege of visiting the University of Toledo (OH), the only school in the US that offers an undergraduate education in Cosmetic Science. As a follow-up I had the opportunity to do an interview with Dr. Gariella Baki, director of the Cosmetic Science program. A pharmacist with a PharmD and a PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Szedged, Hungary, Dr. Baki has led the program since inception. She has also written the only undergraduate textbook on cosmetic science available today.
When I first learned about the Cosmetic Science program, I asked myself: “why didn’t someone think of this before?”
There are many health and safety issues associated with cosmetics as well as personal care products such as lip balm and sun screens. The beauty products industry is also more recession proof than most. Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of Estée Lauder, coined the term “lipstick effect” to describe the beauty company’s rising lipstick sales during periods of financial distress. Beauty products are also a focal point of social activities and media among women who are into fashion, starting at a very young age.
It takes considerable effort to launch any academic program at a college, especially a public university.
The University of Toledo had a head start with in depth programs not only in pharmacy, but also pharmaceutical science.The latter is an undergraduate major offered by few schools, even some, like Rutgers, that offer a PharmD. However, it is common for students who earn Pharmaceutical Science degrees to opt to work in pharmaceutical marketing for a drug manufacturer. They might earn an MBA as they advance in sales and marketing positions and move into senior executive roles. The cosmetic science degree program is called the Bachelors of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences in Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design.
The university’s College of Pharmacy does not require students to choose a program at the start of their education. They all enter on a pre-pharmacy track, even if they applied to the school with a specific interest in Cosmetic Science. This way the science education comes first, and students have a little time to decide which track is the best fit for them. The early education is quite rigorous, and public universities like the University of Toledo have large lectures in the early science classes.
The University of Toledo bachelors degree is a combination of art, science and business.
Graduates work in each of those three arenas. While learning aspects of all three, students collaborate and learn where their talents may lie. Dr. Baki has helped students and alumni to find internships, research opportunities and full-time jobs as executives and scientists. It will take time for the school to become the major supplier of undergraduate talent to the health and beauty industry, but I would not bet against Dr. Baki and her colleagues. Other pharmacy schools could establish a similar program, but the University of Toledo is several years ahead in terms of managing a curriculum and teaching undergraduates.
Several of Dr. Baki’s students have continued their education in masters programs in cosmetic science, Others pursue medical/osteopathic, dental, M.B.A., or law degrees. Oddly enough two of these masters programs are offered within my home state, New Jersey. Rutgers has a Master of Business and Science in Personal Care Science. Fairleigh Dickinson University has offered an MS in Cosmetic Science since 1982. The University of Cincinnati also offers a masters degree. That school also offers a 4+1 to the masters for Chemistry majors. The Rutgers program is more weighted towards business courses for scientists; the other two are more science based.
I had the opportunity to meet five of Dr. Baki’s students when I visited the University of Toledo. I was impressed by their enthusiasm for the major as well as their motivation. The interests were also different, from base ingredients and new formulations to brand management. That says a lot for the advice and instruction they received from faculty like Dr. Baki and career advisors at the university.
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