module specification

SJ6088 - Psychology in the Beauty Industry (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Psychology in the Beauty Industry
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 10%   Presentation: 5 minutes
Coursework 30%   Essay : 2,000 words (individual)
Coursework 40%   Final project: 2,500 words or 10 minute video/audio or multimedia website (individual)
Coursework 20%   Class contribution, moderated by contribution to online journals (individual)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module aims to develop a sophisticated understanding of how psychology is used in the beauty industry. It combines a practical approach – what sells? – with a critical evaluation – how far do critical frameworks past and present allow us to understand the dynamic interactions of consumer and practitioner?
Looking at feminism, stereotyping, psychoanalysis, philosophy and anthropology, the module will hone students’ critical thinking with a view to making them aware, self-aware and ethically rigorous.

Module aims

To understand how the beauty industry sells – the underlying themes and tropes.
To set the discourse of beauty within various intellectual frameworks.
To create a set of marketing materials which are ethically rigorous yet effective.


The first part of the module will explore ideas about beauty, using contemporary materials and going on to set them within the context of classic texts from other disciplines – set texts will be required.
The second part will involve creating a set of multimedia marketing materials for a project of the student’s own choice, and critiquing these projects through in-class ethical discussions.

Learning and teaching

Full use will be made of online resources, including the VLE, mobile and social technology and the course website.
Class contribution will be key, assessed and moderated through online journals and inclass presentations.

Learning outcomes

Students who complete the module should able to:
Analyse and unpick the mechanisms of beauty marketing.
Set the various discourses of beauty marketing within the larger intellectual frameworks of our day, from feminism to psychoanalysis.
Create marketing materials which respect ethical rigour but yet are compelling.

Assessment strategy

Work will be assessed via presentations, moderation of online journals, class contributions, and coursework, both an essay and multimedia project.


Aristotle (2013). Poetics. Penguin: London.
Daly, Mary (1979). Gyn/Ecology. The Women’s Press: London
Friedan, Betty (2010). The Feminine Mystique. Penguin: London.
Eco, Umberto. (201). On Beauty. Maclehose: London,
Edmonds, Alexander (2011). Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex and Plastic Surgery in Brazil. Duke: USA.
Greer, Germaine (2006). The Female Eunuch. Harper: London.
Hyland, Drew A (2008). Plato and the Question of Beauty. Indiana: Indiana.
Jung, Carl G (1927, edition 1991). Woman in Europe. Collected Works Routledge: London
Millett, Kate (2012). Sexual Politics. Amazon: Kindle
Peiss, Kathy (2011).  Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture. University of Pennsylvania: USA.
Plato (2005).  Phaedrus. London : Penguin.
Scruton, Roger (2011). Beauty: A Very Short Introduction. OUP: Oxford.
Strathern, M and Franklin, S (2016). Before and After Gender. Hau: USA.
Wolf, Naomi (1991). The Beauty Myth. Vintage: London