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Packaging Science MS

Program overview

The MS program in packaging science is designed to meet the needs of both professionals who are employed in the field and for students who wish to pursue a graduate program immediately upon earning a BS degree.

Although an undergraduate curriculum in packaging science is preferred as preparation for the MS program, graduates from certain other disciplines can successfully pursue the program if certain introductory packaging science courses are coupled with appropriate work experience.


The program requires the completion of 36 semester credit hours comprised of six required core courses, elective courses, plus a thesis or a project. Faculty advisers assist students in selecting the thesis or project option and the corresponding plan of study is approved by the graduate program chair.

Elective courses

All elective courses are approved by the studentís adviser and must meet degree requirements. In certain circumstances, with pre-approval by the graduate adviser and where individual need indicates appropriateness, a limited number of upper-level undergraduate courses may be used to fulfill elective credit. Students, with adviser permission, may include Independent Study as part of their elective credits. However, independent study may not be used toward the required packaging core course work. Courses selected for elective credit can be combined to create specialties in areas such as packaging science, print media, or service management with program chair approval.


The thesis option requires 6 semester credit hours while the project option includes a 3 semester credit hour project. Students choosing the project option are required to complete one additional elective course.

The thesis develops and tests a hypothesis by scientific method and is grounded in a theoretical framework. Individuals who can capture, interpret, and apply information by this method can add value to their role as contributors in the workplace. The thesis option is for students seeking to pursue career options that offer a greater opportunity for further research or advanced study in the field of packaging science. It is meant to provide depth of study, emphasizing the research process.

The project has a practical, application-oriented grounding in literature. It is considered secondary research or the compilation of existing information presented in a new way. The project option is for students who desire advanced study in packaging science, but who do not intend to pursue a research career or further studies beyond the masterís level.

The studentís graduate committee will make the final decision regarding the project and whether it meets the programís requirements as a graduate project or thesis.

Packaging science, MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
GRCS-701 Research Methods 3
PACK-742 Distribution Systems 3
GRCS-702 Graduate Writing Strategies 3
PACK-730 Packaging and the Environment 3
PACK-763 Packaging for End Use 3
  Packaging Elective 9
Second Year
PACK-783 Advanced Packaging Dynamics 3
  Packaging Elective 3
Choose one of the following:  
   PACK-790    Research Thesis 6
   PACK-797    Graduate Project* 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 36

* For students who chose the graduate project option, an additional elective course must be completed.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in packaging science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

Graduate Record Exam scores are not required. However, in cases where there may be some question of the capability of an applicant to complete the program, applicants may wish to submit scores to strengthen their application.

Students who do not have an equivalent bachelorís degree in packaging science will be evaluated and the appropriate undergraduate bridge courses will be prescribed. These courses may not be used for credit toward the MS degree.

Applicants are required to have one semester of physics (mechanics focus), one semester of calculus, one year of chemistry (including organic chemistry), statistics, and basic computer literacy.

Additional information


Students entering the program will be appointed an academic adviser who will work with the program coordinator to develop a program of study. Students follow an outlined curriculum to complete their degree requirements, and with adviser approval, choose packaging electives to enhance their career objectives.

A faculty adviser, chosen by the student with approval from their program coordinator, guides the student on thesis/project topic choice and works with the program coordinator for approval and timely completion of the thesis or project. 

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Packaging Engineer, Sales Representative, Packaging Specialist, Production/Quality Assurance Supervisor, Designer, Packaging Lab Manager, Packaging Development Technologist


Design/Development, Lab Testing/Evaluation, Specifications Development, Material Studies, Sales/Marketing, Vendor Liaison, Cost Estimating Control, Quality Control, Purchasing, Manufacturing Distribution Supervision

Recent Employers

Alcoa, Corning, DuPont Merck, Estee Lauder, Federal Express, First Brands Corp, Glaxo Wellcome, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, McNeil Consumer Products, Owens-Illinois, Sony Electronic

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