NEW YORK — With a new approach to its fragrance and cosmetics department, The Fashion Institute of Technology might soon become better known as the Fragrance Institute of Technology.
FIT has created a separate department for cosmetics and fragrance marketing and will award a bachelor of science degree to students completing the four-year program. The program replaces the college’s previous Marketing: Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrances option, which had been offered since 1988.
Students entering the program in 1996 will be awarded the new degree.
“We decided the cosmetic and fragrance program needed to be a separate department and separate degree,” said Prof. Peg Smith, the department’s chairwoman. “As long as we were part of a group of options, we didn’t have an identity unto ourselves.”
Hand in hand with the new department comes an expanded curriculum, which was approved by the State University of New York and the State Education Department. Two courses have been added in cosmetics and fragrance. In the first, a product development workshop, students will work as teams to develop ideas for new products. Industry veterans will be invited in to critique the proposals.
In the second, a fragrance knowledge class, which will be held in the university’s Annette Green/Fragrance Foundation studio, students will learn about families of fragrances, how fragrances are made, how to identify ingredients and the basics of mixing and measuring. “We are not training perfumers, but we feel that students graduating with this degree have to understand what fragrance is all about, because they will be more valuable to any type of company, and it will open up entry-level jobs on the supplier side,” Smith said.
Other new requirements are a foreign language course, a visual presentation course, a creative media course and a global social science elective. The remainder of the program’s courses cover cosmetics and fragrance marketing, product knowledge, economics, math, liberal arts, English, speech and philosophy.
After three semesters, students are required to work as interns in the field. In the last year of study, each student is placed with a mentor who advises on careers in the industry.
There are 16 students in the spring 1996 graduating class. Smith projects that by 1997, 40 to 50 students will be in the program.
The department is producing recruitment brochures, a first for FIT. They should be ready by early March to send to high school and junior college career counselors. FIT also announced that the Annette Green/Fragrance Foundation Studio is opening its doors to industry members. A $1,500 annual membership fee entitles three people from a company to use the facility and attend private consultations, seminars and training and fragrance evaluation sessions.
“[Members’] involvement in the college will help further solidify our relationship with the industry,” said Smith, “without whose support the studio would never have become a reality.”
Avon, Jean Philippe Fragrances and the EstAe Lauder Cos. have signed on as members of the studio, she said.
The university plans to begin a master’s degree program, which Smith projects will be up and running by fall 1997.
“This program is going to be designed for people in the industry who want to go back to school and get their master’s degree,” said Smith. “We’re trying to get input from the industry as to where the areas of concentration need to be.”
Instrumental to the growth of FIT’s cosmetics and fragrance marketing program has been the Fragrance Foundation, headed by Annette Green.
Green founded the Cosmetic and Fragrance Action Council, made up of cosmetics and fragrance executives, which acts as an advisory group to the department. In addition, an annual scholarship luncheon, organized by the Fragrance Foundation, is held every June. Green hopes to raise more than $500,000 at this year’s event.

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