People in a classroom taking notes.


At the end of the course you will have a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of raw materials and products in the cosmetics, toiletries and allied industries and be able to:

  • Work with a high degree of independence making cosmetics and toiletries
  • Evaluate and use appropriate raw materials, processes and equipment
  • Be competent in problem identification, making decisions and developing strategies
  • Retrieve information from a range of sources and critically review it
  • Organise and manage your work as an individual and as part of a team
  • A responsible attitude to product safety and safe practices and be fully versed in the principles of good manufacturing practice
  • Competence in the application of scientific principles to the formulation, production and packaging of cosmetic and toiletry products
  • The ability to evaluate cosmetic safety and efficacy
  • A full understanding of regulatory and quality guidelines with respect to cosmetic and toiletry products
  • An appreciation of the marketing of cosmetics and toiletries
  • An understanding or marketing trends
  • A knowledge and regard for the impact of the industry on the environment
SCS Logo with transparent text in White
Continuous assessment is provided by four pieces of coursework comprising two essays and two case studies.

Final assessment takes the form of four formal two hour examination papers covering all the modules of the course.  These exams will require the student to attend an approved exam centre which is arranged by the Education Administrator for each student and must be sat during the same exam period of an academic year (September). A deferral student may not divide the exams between years.  You are given past copies of the examination papers so that you can see the style of the paper and examples of typical questions.

The Hibbott Memorial Prize is awarded to the student, who completes the course within one year, with the highest overall mark after the examinations.

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

Dr H W Hibbott was President of the Society in 1960 and 1961 and the memorial prize is awarded in his honour.

The course is a modular format with units written and assessed by industry experts covering the following:

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

There are four modules, some of which are accompanied by short videos on either laboratory work or aspects of production; both are areas that cannot fully be captured by the written word .  You can see the full list of subjects in the course prospectus.

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

In Modules Two and Three the emphasis is on formulation and manufacture and how to make a cosmetic and toiletry product. It includes hair products (shampoos etc), skin products (moisturisers,creams etc), cleansing agents (shampoos, bubble baths, etc) and decorative cosmetics (lipsticks, eye shadows, foundations etc)  together with production and packaging.

The final part is concerned more with use of the finished product and includes legislation and product safety. It also considers the marketplace, environmental impact, marketing issues, consumer research, product evaluation, statistics and claim support.

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



Yes. If you decide to complete the course this way then you must let the Education Administrator know in writing by 30 June before the examinations in September.  Any course work that is completed within the first year has its marks carried over to the next academic year.  There will be a small fee payable for deferring your examinations for a year.

If you are struggling to open pages on this website, or submitting your application form, please try using a different web browser.  If the problem persists, please contact the Education Administrator.

Complete the application form and once your application has been accepted, the Society will issue an invoice. The invoice must paid in full before any module access codes can be provided.  We can arrange that you pay in three termly instalments which will include a small administration cost. 

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

We run two Laboratory Days in March at the London College of Fashion.  We also run a Summer School over a weekend June or July and can allocate you a mentor if you need one.  The mentor will be an industry professional who will be able to offer up to two 30 minute sessions by skype or a phone call and will be arranged directly between them and the student. If you have any queries about any aspect of the course please contact the Education Administrator who will put you in touch with someone who can clarify any technical points.

Yes, of course, if you meet the entry requirements. All the materials that you need to study for the course can be found online and you can contact the Education Administrator at any time by email. The course has been designed to be self-instructional, self-contained and not dependent upon a teacher for elaboration or explanation but additional help is always available if needed via the Education Administrator.

Over the last few years we have had students from:-

Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Latvia, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Hungary, Croatia, Malaysia, Philippines, United States of America, Trinidad, Dominica, Switzerland. Uruguay, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Singapore, Belgium, Poland,Thailand, Dubai, Canada, Mexico and South Africa as well as the UK.

No, you can not buy part of the course.  It is recommended that you consider enrolling on the course by completing the application form online.  The Education Committee will decide whether you have the suitable qualifications to join the course.  Once you have been accepted onto the course as a student, you will be able to take coursework and exams.  You can remind yourself of the Entry Requirements as this level of qualification will be required in order to understand the course.

Full fees are to be paid in advance when you are accepted onto the course.  All fees must be paid by the end of August in the year of your enrolment.

The course ends with four two hour written exams held the September after you enroll on the course.  Exams are held every year in London or we make arrangements for you to sit them at college/facility near to where you live that offers an external exam service.  Over the years we have established contacts with many overseas colleges or British Council offices in cities around the globe that offer professional exam services.

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

If a student passes the Diploma with a merit or distinction pass and they already hold a good science degree they may apply to the London College of Fashion and join their MSc in Cosmetic Science programme.

Yes, the SCS Diploma is a recognised within the UK Cosmetic Science Industry.

You can enroll on the SCS Distance Learning Course from January onward.  Enrolment will close on 15 August of the academic year.  This is to allow a sufficient amount of time to ensure all students have their access codes before commencement of the course in early September.

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