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OLAY and Coursera launch cosmetic science Specialization to bridge the gender gap in STEM

OLAY will award $2 million worth of scholarships for learners interested in cosmetic sciences

By Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer, Coursera

Today, OLAY is launching a new Specialization, Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients, on Coursera. This is OLAY’s first Specialization on our platform and is designed to educate learners on skin care fundamentals and encourage more learners, especially women and women of color, to enter the cosmetic science field.

Our partnership with OLAY comes at an important time for careers in STEM. As of 2023, women’s representation remains low, comprising just over one quarter of the overall STEM workforce. The new cosmetic science Specialization is the first of a series of STEM Specializations from OLAY that reflect OLAY’s commitment to doubling the number of women in STEM and tripling the number of women of color in STEM by 2030.

To bolster this effort, OLAY and Coursera will provide $2 million in scholarships over three years for the course to anyone interested in cosmetic science. From 2024 – 2026, 5,000 recipients will receive a one-year subscription to Coursera Plus, which also includes more than 6,900 courses, as well as entry-level Professional Certificates and hands-on projects that teach job-relevant business, technology, and data science skills. Women and women of color are encouraged to apply.*

The new Specialization is taught by OLAY’s in-house cosmetic scientists, including Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, who has an extensive background in researching emerging skin and hair science. With a deep understanding of women’s skin and hair needs, Dr. Wilkerson’s work has been used to improve the formulas of Procter & Gamble’s most popular cosmetic products.

“OLAY is committed to positively impacting the STEM pipeline and supporting all women in STEM. This is why we are excited to collaborate with Coursera to put STEM education within reach for both current and aspiring STEM learners,” said Dr. Wilkerson.  “Whether you are a skin care enthusiast or someone considering cosmetic science as a career, anyone, anywhere can now learn the basics of skin care from OLAY scientists with the new ‘Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients’ course.”

Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients will ground learners in the history of the cosmetic industry while helping them understand key ingredients in various cosmetic products and how they affect the biological structure of the skin. By the end of the four-course program, learners will be able to understand:

  • Skin physiology and how to create a model of the skin
  • Skin care, skin concerns, and how to identify effective skin care ingredients
  • Fundamental approaches and best practices to create innovative and sustainable cosmetic formulations
  • Best practices and ways to implement cosmetic quality control and safety methods

Learners who complete the program and apply to Procter and Gamble beauty roles are encouraged to acknowledge their cosmetic science certificate during the application process.

With OLAY’s commitment to inclusivity in STEM, we’re thrilled to welcome them to Coursera’s partner community and join them in helping open more doors to cosmetic sciences.

EnrollinIntroduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients and earn a certificate on Coursera.

*To be eligible for a scholarship, learners must be 17 years or older and meet one of the following requirements:

a. a current high school senior

b. a recent high school graduate

c. a college student who is interested in or majoring in a cosmetic science or skin care adjacent STEM field including: life sciences, engineering, pre-med, and nursing

d. interested in switching to a STEM-related career 

150 scholarships will be awarded in 2024; 1,500 in 2025; 3,350 for 2026. Selection based on the first number of people who meet above requirements. Scholarships are open to all, but women are encouraged to apply.

Applications will become available in the coming months.



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