Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Packaging Science BS

Program Overview

The curriculum prepares individuals for employment within a broad occupational cluster of the packaging industry.  Individuals may work in the supplier, service and packaging end user levels of multiple packaging industry segments.  These industry segments include but are not limited to food, beverage, cosmetics, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, electronics, industrial items, and automotives/motorcycles. Packaging design and development parameters taught include product protection, regulatory compliance, customer utility, manufacturing feasibility, economics, marketing needs, sustainability and environmental impact.  Students gain a comprehensive core background and achieve areas of specialization through the selection of minors. The list of minors includes, but is not limited to:  management, marketing, printing, business, foreign language, and various engineering fields. Students prepare for positions with titles such as packaging engineer, packaging scientist, packaging associate, packaging designer, packaging specialist, and packaging developer.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Science

Enrollment

  • Approximately 200 undergraduates, 40-45 graduate students. Graduating class approximately 45-55 students.

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Two terms of co-op are required of undergraduates. Additional terms are encouraged. Students are eligible after their 2nd year and completion of the core packaging classes.
  • Optional for MS graduate students, participation is strongly encouraged.

Salary Information

Co-op:     $19.00                     $12.00 - $33.00
BS/MS:    $57,000                   $41,000 - $70,000

Student Skills & Capabilities

  • The program emphasizes the application of fundamental concepts, theory, innovation, critical thinking and communication on practical problems  Studies in packaging science include examining the procedures for developing new, improved packages; testing the physical and chemical properties of materials; and learning structural design by making and testing sample containers in the department’s advanced testing facility.  Students also learn the industry’s legal aspects, as well as economic, energy and environmental considerations in packaging development and production.
  • In conjunction with their packaging science education, students complete course sequences in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and liberal arts.  Students receive a broad general education as well as expertise in packaging science.
  • The Master of Science degree is comprised of 3 components: packaging core courses, thesis research or project, and elective credit.  The curriculum is flexible enough to meet the needs of professionals who have been in the field for a number of years, and is suitable for those students who wish to pursue a graduate program immediately upon receiving a BS degree.

Equipment & Facilities

The extensive facilities include a state-of-the-art packaging dynamics lab, modern computer lab, packaging attribute assessment lab, and the American Packaging Corporation Packaging Innovation Center.  Students learn to perform packaging evaluations and report results.

Nature of Work

Graduates are prepared for initial employment in such areas as package development, structural design, purchasing, production, research, sales and marketing. Packaging is increasingly related to total marketing concepts; it has even greater dependence on new developments in materials and processes. Therefore, the industry requires management personnel with creativity and strong backgrounds in business, engineering, and science.

Training / Qualifications

Successful entry-level candidates possess a degree in Packaging and at least 6 months of internship experience
 (1 year preferred) with a major food, pharmaceutical or consumer products company.

Job Outlook

Nearly everything comes in a “package.” Whether containing food and perishable goods, personal products or sophisticated technical components, materials need to be packaged for sales, storage or transport. Employment is available in areas such as package development, sales, purchasing, structural design, production, research and marketing and requires creativity as well as a strong background in business, engineering, and science. (Source: O.O.H.’13-‘14)

Job Titles

Packaging Engineer, Packaging Designer, Product Engineer, Packaging Scientist, Packaging Engineering & Merchandising Manager, Package Engineering Technician, Packaging Sales, Structural Designer, Packaging & Display Sales, Packaging Development Engineer, Packaging Project Management Engineer, Display Services Specialist

Significant Points

  • Typical responsibilities involve developing packaging systems for a variety of products.
  • Engineers develop primary, secondary and tertiary packaging systems, develop packaging specifications, select materials, improve package quality and support new product launches in food and beverage, pharmaceutical or consumer products companies.
  • The ability to work with other engineers in a team environment is very important.

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

3M, American Aerogel, American Packaging Corp., Associated Brands, Becton Dickinson, Boston Scientific, Burt’s Bees, Church & Dwight, Colgate-Palmolive, Cooper Vision, Corning Life Sciences, Coty Inc, Crayola, Diageo, Diamond Packaging, Eastman Company, Elizabeth Arden, Equity Packaging, Estee Lauder, Fisher Price, GlaxoSmithKline, Godiva Chocolatier, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Hammer Packaging, Hasbro, International Paper, J. M. Smucker, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, LiDestri Foods Inc., Life Cell, L’Oreal, Mars, Mattel Inc., McCormick & Company, McNeil Consumer Products, Merck, Mondelez International, Munchkin, Nice-Pak Products Inc., Nova Chemicals, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, OtterBox, Packaging Corporation of America, Pepsi-Cola, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Pinnacle Foods, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Rich Products, SC Johnson & Son, Sun Products Corporation, Sealed Air, Syngenta, Teleflex Incorporated, The Kraft Heinz Company, Toyota, Unilever, West Pharmaceutical, West Rock, Wrigley, Xerox, Zotos International.

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career. We will make every effort to help you succeed.Call our office and ask to speak with Shauna Newcomb, the career services coordinator who works with the Packaging Science program. For your convenience, you can access information and services through our web site at https://www.rit.edu/careerservices.
 
Shauna Newcomb, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585.475.5472
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603
585.475.2301
 
Unless otherwise noted, information is based upon data collected by RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education .