Packaging Science Bachelor of science degree

a0501d4e-059d-4a64-9aa6-693b06dca0bc | 129463

Overview

Crafting ways to package a range of products, from food and cosmetics to electronics and consumer products, for transportation, storage, display, and presentation.


Packaging is increasingly related to total marketing concepts. It has an even greater dependence on new developments in materials and processes. Therefore, the industry requires management personnel with creativity and a strong background in business, engineering, and science.

The packaging science major prepares students for employment in areas such as package development, sales, purchasing, structural design, production, research, and marketing. The major was developed as a result of a close and long-established relationship between the packaging industry and RIT. This multi-billion-dollar industry exhibits dynamic growth and provides employment for thousands of professionals with wide-ranging skills and expertise.

The packaging science program at RIT is one of the most unique and respected in the country. One of only a handful in the nation to offer the program, the discipline provides students exposure to laboratory experience and real-life problem-solving. Embedded in the program is the required full-time co-op within a company. RIT is the only university in the country that requires all packaging science students to experience this opportunity. This allows students to develop their professional skills, expand their real-world experience, and most importantly broadens their industry contacts. Graduates are rewarded with highly developed skills, extensive materials background and initiative knowledge of their application.

RIT’s packaging science program was first established in 1972. It is an interdisciplinary degree that leads to either a bachelors or masters of science. RIT's relationship with industry leaders and the skills students obtain in development, sales, and purchasing results in professional careers within this multi-billion dollar industry. This relationship, along with the faculty being packaging professionals, ensures that students acquire the most current technological knowledge base.

Program Characteristics

The program is:

  1. Career oriented-graduates are ready to enter directly into a position of responsibility.
  2. Interdisciplinary-students become familiar with the many facets of packaging through courses in several RIT colleges.
  3. Adaptable to a modified cooperative plan scheduled at the students’ convenience, following the development of appropriate skills.
  4. Representative of industry needs, content developed with the assistance of an industry advisory board, consultants from the industry and educational specialists.

Cooperative education

Cooperative education, or co-op, is an increasingly valuable integrated, co-curricular experience required by many programs in the College of Engineering Technology. Students gain real-world experience and make life-long professional connections while earning a salary, which may help offset college costs. Students are required to complete four co-op blocks. This typically includes one spring, one fall, and two summer terms, alternating periods of full-time study with full-time paid work experience in their career field. In some circumstances, other forms of experiential education, such as study abroad, research, or military service, may be used to fulfill part of the co-op requirement. Each student is assigned a co-op advisor to assist in identifying and applying to co-op opportunities.

Industries


  • Automotive

  • Biotech and Life Sciences

  • Consumer Packaged Goods

  • Design

  • Food and Beverage

  • Medical Devices

  • Manufacturing

  • Pharmaceuticals

Typical Job Titles

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

98%

outcome rate of graduates

$63.6k

median first-year salary of graduates

Featured Work

Latest News

  • April 29, 2019

    Four men and women stand holding star-shaped glass awards.

    College of Engineering Technology highlights alumni rising stars during campus ceremonies

    Five alumni from RIT’s College of Engineering Technology were honored with Rising Star awards during a campus reception last month. Given to alumni who graduated from CET within the past five to 10 years, the awardees were recognized for outstanding achievements early in their careers, for significant public service contributions and in helping to advance the careers of new professionals.

  • April 23, 2019

    Students and professor stand around pallet with boxes.

    Packaging solutions improve product shelf life and sustainability

    Images of plastic bags and bottles clogging beaches and oceans have some calling for a ban on all such products. But packaging experts say it’s not that easy to eliminate a highly effective material. Instead, researchers at RIT are looking to strike a balance: Find a way to produce plastics that retain their best qualities and yet are more environmentally friendly.

Curriculum

Packaging Science, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHMG-123
Chemistry of Materials
The course will address three fundamental concepts of general chemistry by covering three aspects of all chemical reactions: kinetics, equilibrium and thermodynamics. Acid/base and oxidation/reductions will be discussed. The chemistry of metals, ceramics and synthetic polymers will be covered, including electrochemistry and a brief overview of organic chemistry.
3
CHMG-141
General & Analytical Chemistry I
This is a general chemistry course for students in the life and physical sciences. College chemistry is presented as a science based on empirical evidence that is placed into the context of conceptual, visual, and mathematical models. Students will learn the concepts, symbolism, and fundamental tools of chemistry necessary to carry on a discourse in the language of chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between atomic structure, chemical bonds, and the transformation of these bonds through chemical reactions. The fundamentals of organic chemistry are introduced throughout the course to emphasize the connection between chemistry and the other sciences.
3
CHMG-145
General & Analytical Chemistry I Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-141 lecture material. The course emphasizes laboratory techniques and data analysis skills. Topics include: gravimetric, volumetric, thermal, titration and spectrophotometric analyses, and the use of these techniques to analyze chemical reactions.
1
MATH-171
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): Calculus A
This is the first course in a three-course sequence (COS-MATH-171, -172, -173). This course includes a study of functions, continuity, and differentiability. The study of functions includes the exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Limits of functions are used to study continuity and differentiability. The study of the derivative includes the definition, basic rules, and implicit differentiation. Applications of the derivative include optimization and related-rates problems.
3
MATH-172
LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Calculus B
This is the second course in three-course sequence (COS-MATH-171, -172, -173). The course includes Riemann sums, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, techniques of integration, and applications of the definite integral. The techniques of integration include substitution and integration by parts. The applications of the definite integral include areas between curves, and the calculation of volume.
3
PACK-101
Introduction to Packaging
An in-depth overview of packaging. The course will include historical perspectives of packaging. Students will explore the functions of packaging and the materials, processes, and technology employed to protect goods during handling, shipment, and storage. A brief review of container types, package design and development, and research and testing are presented, along with information about economic importance, social implications, and packaging as a profession. Students will research historical, current, and future packages to gain better insight into the world of packaging.
1
PACK-151
Packaging Design I
The course develops knowledge of engineering design graphics and skills of package structure design. Topics covered are basics of engineering design graphics, technical sketch, project plan, design matrix and computer aided design (CAD). Emphasis is given to use SolidWorks - CAD software to design typical packaging structures. The 10-week design project focuses on developing a packaging structure from an idea to a 3D virtual prototype.
3
PACK-152
Packaging Design II
The course develops knowledge and skills in applying two computer software packages for packaging design: Artios CAD and Adobe Illustrator. Topics covered are builder and rebuilder, solid modeling and drawing, animation, coloring, and painting. Emphasis is given to create a typical paperboard based carton with a proper structure and color usage.
3
YOPS-10
RIT 365: RIT Connections
0
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
3
 
First Year Writing
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Second Year
CHMG-201
Introduction to Organic Polymer Technology
The first part of the course covers the fundamentals of organic chemistry. The organization, nomenclature, structure, bonding and basic reactions of organic compounds will be discussed, in particular those concepts that are relevant to understand polymer chemistry. The second part of the course will introduce the nomenclature and classification of synthetic polymers. The reactions leading to the formation of relevant polymers, their chemical and physical behavior, and some of their many applications will be discussed.
3
PACK-211
Packaging Metals & Plastics
The study of packaging materials from extraction through conversion and production, physical and chemical properties and uses. Emphasis is on plastics and metals used in packaging and other component materials. Recognized standard testing procedures are presented and students gain practical experience in the operation of various testing instruments, interpretation of results, and evaluation of properties and performance characteristics.
3
PACK-212
Packaging Paper & Glass
The manufacture, physical and chemical properties, and uses of common packaging materials. Emphasis is on paper, paperboard, wood, glass, and pressurized packaging systems used in packaging applications. Standard testing procedures will be presented as well as instruction on testing equipment operation, data interpretation, evaluation of properties, and performance.
3
PACK-311
Containers I
A detailed study of primary packages that includes the history, manufacturing processes, characteristics, and applications for containers in direct contact with the product. Structural design, chemical compatibility, and suitability of container for intended use are analyzed for basic container types. Students practice structural design and testing of prototype containers. Primary emphasis is on flexible paper, foil, plastic, and laminated materials and on selected processing techniques. Topics to include folding cartons, heat seal technology and test methodologies, permeability theory, modeling, and empirical testing.
3
PACK-312
Containers II
This course is a detailed study of primary packages. History, manufacturing processes characteristics, and applications for containers in direct contact with the product. Structural design, chemical compatibility, and suitability of container for intended use are analyzed for basic container types. Students practice structural design and testing of prototype containers. Primary emphasis is on rigid paperboard, glass, plastic, and metal containers.
3
PHYS-111
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): College Physics I
This is an introductory course in algebra-based physics focusing on mechanics and waves. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton’s laws, gravitation; rotational kinematics and dynamics; work and energy; momentum and impulse; conservation laws; simple harmonic motion; waves; data presentation/analysis and error propagation. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings.
4
STAT-145
Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used.
3
 
Environmental Elective†
3
 
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
Third Year
MEDG-106
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): Microbiology of Health and Disease
An introductory course in microbiology including its history, significant contributions to medicine and history, as well as a survey of microbiological organisms as they relate to disease, industry and biotechnology. (any course in Biology)
3
MKTG-230
Principles of Marketing
An introduction to the field of marketing, stressing its role in the organization and society. Emphasis is on determining customer needs and wants and how the marketer can satisfy those needs through the controllable marketing variables of product, price, promotion and distribution.
3
PACK-420
Technical Communications
An introduction to the principles of effective written technical communication for the packaging professional. Topics include memos, business letters, summary activity reports, technical proposals, and research papers. Open only to packaging science majors.
3
PACK-421
Packaging for Distribution
An exploration of different shipping, storage, and use environments common to various products and packages. Structural design of shipping containers for product physical protection and methods for testing and predicting package performance are studied. Package converting processes will be studied to reinforce the economics of efficient and sustainable package design.
3
PACK-422
Dynamics and Protective Packaging
The course defines the factors involved in assessing the potential damage to packaged items resulting from impact and vibration forces in the handling, transport and storage environments. Students will be instructed in the use of basic shock and vibration test equipment, apply standard test protocols and develop specific testing protocols from measured field data. Based on data generated from testing activities, students will develop cushion designs to protect sensitive product components.
3
PACK-430
Packaging Regulations
This course begins with an overview of government laws and regulations applicable to the packaging industry. Students will then gain the hierarchical impact that regulations have on the global supply chain, quality systems, patent innovation, and workplace safety.
3
STAT-146
Introduction to Statistics II
This course is an elementary introduction to the topics of regression and analysis of variance. The statistical software package Minitab will be used to reinforce these techniques. The focus of this course is on business applications. This is a general introductory statistics course and is intended for a broad range of programs.
4
 
LAS Immersion 1
3
 
LAS Elective
3
 
Packaging Elective
3
Fourth Year
PACK-470
Food Packaging
Study of food products, common methods of processing and preservation, impact on quality and nutritional value of the product, and the relationships with common packaging methods and distribution practices. Students required to deliver a project to support the objectives of this course.
3
PACK-481
Packaging for Marketing and End Use
The interrelationship between packaging and marketing, detailing how the retail consumer package can be used as a marketing tool. Concentrates on a systematic approach to developing an optimum package for a given product to meet the demands of the retail market and end user. Students gain practice in the development of a complete package system.
3
Choose one of the following:
3
  DECS-310
   Operations Management
A survey of operations and supply chain management that relates to both service- and goods- producing organizations. Topics include operations and supply chain strategies; ethical behavior; forecasting; product and service design, including innovation and sustainability; capacity and inventory management; lean operations; managing projects; quality assurance; global supply chains; and the impacts of technology.
 
  PACK-471
   Packaging Supply Chain
Market structures are analyzed in order to develop an understanding of how packaging relates to the general economy. Students will learn how market traded derivatives are utilized to protect against price volatility of packaging raw materials, utilization of Purchase Price Cost Analysis to predict packaging pricing and price movements. Packaging contract analysis and packaging pricing formula based pricing will be studied. Students are instructed in the use of basic pricing reference materials for research purposes.
 
Choose one of the following:
3
  MAAT-368
   Gravure and Flexography
Students will explore gravure and flexography technologies, and learn to evaluate applicable designs. Extensive hands-on experience is included. Students will create pressure sensitive label designs, take command of a flexo press, and print labels.
 
  MAAT-541
   Digital Print Processes
Students who take this course will understand how digital printing technologies work, what they are capable of doing, and how these technologies are used commercially. Students will analyze the factors driving the explosive growth of digital printing, including how the economics of digital and conventional printing compare. The concepts taught in the classroom are reinforced through hands-on labs and field trips to digital printers and equipment suppliers.
 
  MAAT-558
   Package Printing
Students who take this course will understand how package-printing technologies work, and how they are used to print bags, labels, cartons, cans, boxes, and bottles. Students will apply a packaging printing workflow to produce labels and folding cartons of their own design. Finally, cost analyses of package printing using various technologies is discussed.
 
 
Packaging Electives
6
 
LAS Immersion 2, 3
6
 
Free Electives
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
121

Please see General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

† Students may choose one of the following environmental elective courses: Concepts of Environmental Science (ENVS-101), Environment and Society (STSO-220), or Environmental Policy (STSO-421).

‡ Students must complete two blocks of cooperative education in addition to course work.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math required; pre-calculus recommended
  • Chemistry or physics required; biology recommended
  • Technology electives desirable

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in business, mathematics, science, liberal arts, statistics, or computer science

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Business administration, marketing, management, graphic arts, engineering science, liberal arts with math/science

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Industry Advisory Board

The Industry Advisory Board contributes professional and technical expertise to the packaging science major, which strengthens and develops the curriculum to reflect the dynamics and growth of the industry.