Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation


Bachelor of Product Design

Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation

Brianne West (BSc in Biological Sciences) launched her own sustainable beauty and personal care brand Ethique, and was named in a list of the US Foreign Policy magazine's '100 leading Global Thinkers' of 2016.


Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation is one of three majors of the Bachelor of Product Design degree which promotes interdisciplinary innovation. The purpose of this major is to produce graduates with knowledge and skills in creative design, science, engineering and business studies.

Chemical, biological, pharmaceutical, food, nutraceutical and personal care products need to be crafted in a sustainable way, using active ingredients that enable their practical use. For example, to create a moisturising skin lotion that would be an attractive product for the consumer, it would need to contain moistening properties and other elements to create suitable viscosity, skin feel and fragrance, and contain antimicrobial agents to enhance shelf life.

This subject combined with subjects such as Biochemistry will help you learn to develop natural products. It will allow you to explore innovative ways to better formulate these products, and to analyse existing products and suggest improvements. You will understand the design lifecycle – from idea generation to commercialism.

Why study Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation at UC?

  • UC’s school of Product Design brings together creative design, science, engineering and business, and there are opportunities to apply your learning through team-based projects, entrepreneurship courses, and the use of dedicated hands-on product innovation spaces.
  • UC is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world for Chemical Engineering, Business and Management Studies, Computer Science and Information Systems (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).
  • UC’s Chemical and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Marketing departments are the top-ranked for research in New Zealand (the latest Tertiary Education Commission 2012 PBRF assessment).

Students should ideally have 14 credits in Level 3 NCEA chemistry (or the IB/CIE equivalent of these).


At all levels, students will undertake significant hands-on projects, working in teams and individually, to design, formulate and test physical product prototypes in our dedicated formulation laboratory to the level needed to pitch a new product concept to a client or investor.

100-level courses

The following four compulsory core courses are taken by all Product Design students:

Plus two required courses specific to Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation students:

In addition, you will need to select one course at 100-level worth 15 points, from either the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, or the Bachelor of Science.

200-level and beyond

Courses at second year and above will cover topics such as natural product properties, engineering chemistry, mass production, and chemical technologies.

Career opportunities

Graduates will develop key skills needed to design personal care and household products and commercialise their ideas. Skills include understanding of the total product design process, practical experience in product formulation prototyping, methods of analysis, commercial production, testing, and process economics.

A degree in Product Design will prepare you for an exciting career path in many areas of New Zealand’s innovative economies. Graduates with this scientific background could pursue opportunities that lead to a career in the food, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Possible jobs are formulation scientist, quality manager, chemist, laboratory technician, product/marketing manager, marketing analyst, portfolio analyst, business development manager, entrepreneur and CEO.

Graduates will be able to develop creative ideas based on their knowledge of related sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as gain the practical business skills needed to commercialise new product ideas. Some qualified product designers have chosen to start their own businesses for new product lines that they developed during their studies.

More information

School of Product Design

Phone +64 3 369 4271 or +64 3 369 4272

Physical location
See the Department website for up-to-date location details.

Postal Address
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand