OLAY Researchers Teaching Online Course on Skin Science

OLAY launched an introductory cosmetic and skin-care science course, taught by its own researchers, on the Coursera online education platform this week. The two brands are also providing $2 million in scholarships over three years to candidates interested in completing it.

The course,  Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients, is intended for both skin-care enthusiasts and for those interested in pursuing it as a career. It’s a Coursera Specialization, a series of classes in which candidates can earn an industry-recognized certification in a specific topic.

OLAY says the course is part of its #FaceTheSTEMGap initiative to introduce more girls and women to careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Coursera scholarship applications will open up in the near future and will be eligible for U.S.-based learners aged 17 and older. OLAY is encouraging girls and women, particularly women of color, to apply.

OLAY STEM initiative. Photo by Duane Prokop/ Getty Images for OLAY Body
(Duane Prokop/ Getty Images for OLAY Body )

The flexible-schedule beginner series spans one month at 10 hours per week, and is offered in seven languages: English, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Spanish.

Its primary instructor is Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, a Senior Beauty Scientist at OLAY’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, who has worked on numerous products with OLAY and other P&G brands including Clairol, Head & Shoulders, and Pantene.

“OLAY is committed to positively impacting the STEM pipeline and supporting all women in STEM,” Dr. Wilkerson said. “This is why we are excited to collaborate with Coursera to put STEM education within reach for both current and aspiring STEM learners.”

Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson
(Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson)

The scholarship program will award 5,000 recipients a one-year subscription to Coursera Plus from 2024-2026. The subscription covers thousands of courses, professional certificates, and hands-on projects that teach job-relevant business, technology, and data science skills.

The four-part Introduction to Cosmetic Science and Ingredients course teaches:

  • 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; and
  • Best practices and ways to implement cosmetic quality control and safety methods.

Learners who earn a Coursera certificate in the series, then apply to positions within Procter & Gamble, are encouraged to highlight their completion of the course.

The OLAY brand launched in 1952 with its signature Oil of Olay fluid, appealing to consumers who wanted deep hydration without thick creams.

Coursera was founded in 2012 and today partners with more than 275 leading universities and companies to provide flexible, affordable, job-relevant online learning.