New NYU engineering program trains graduates to work in cosmetics

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

New NYU engineering program trains graduates to work in cosmetics

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The University’s Tandon School of Engineering just launched a master’s of science degree program in translational surface engineering, a chemical engineering discipline that’s all about molecules and nanoparticles.

Rather than focus exclusively on solid surfaces, as several available programs already do, NYU’s degree will also train scientists about surfactants, colloids, and the surfaces of other soft matter. And it’s this aspect of the program that will prepare graduates to work in cosmetics labs and other liquid manufactured goods industries.

Getting started

While putting the new two-year degree program together, faculty from the Tandon department of chemical and biomechanical engineering consulted with hiring managers and researchers working at several major corporations. Drawing on their insights, the faculty determined that the translational surface engineering program “will require coursework in a characterization laboratory where students get experience using tools they will encounter later in their careers.”

It’s a course of study that’s meant to develop students’ practical skills as well as their capacity for innovation. "Our goal is to provide students—whether they are recent recipients of bachelor's degrees or mid-career professionals seeking to better position themselves within industry—with the tools to engineer properties of surfaces and interfaces and to put that knowledge to practical use," ​says Avi Ulman, the program’s lead professor in a press release.

Ulman, who is known for his research on self-assembled monolayers, explains that enrolled students will “develop creative material-interaction problem-solving abilities and will undoubtedly be highly sought after by major coating, food, agriculture, pharmaceutical, household, personal care, and cosmetics companies, as well as research labs.”       


Each student’s preferences will shape the course a bit. "This new degree program modernizes our curricula offerings, is highly relevant to students' interests, and addresses workforce demands for graduates who will receive a solid foundation in surface engineering and its related disciplines," ​says Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan in the press release.

Students choose either a research track or a project track. Research-focused students will complete the program by writing a thesis. Students who opt for the project will propose an industrial application based on course learnings.   

Sreenivasan emphasizes that “this is among the first master's degree programs to address molecular-level chemical engineering with a hands-on lab component strongly focused on translational research."

Enrolment is open now, and the first class of students will begin in autumn. Learn more here​.

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