Packaging Science master of science degree

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Overview

Create visually stunning, environmentally friendly packaging that’s functional and durable enough to sustain environmental and physical hazards.


Designed to educate packaging professionals to become experts in the packaging development process, the MS degree in packaging science focuses on how to select raw materials, design, and create functional packaging that withstands environmental, chemical, and physical hazards during distribution and transportation, and to create aesthetically pleasing packages to pique consumer interest. Through a combination of theoretical and application-focused learning experiences, students gain comprehensive knowledge related to packaging design, package testing, product marketing, project management, and quality control.

The packaging science program consists of 36 credit hours comprised of six required core courses, elective courses, and either a comprehensive exam, a capstone project, or a thesis. The total number of elective courses depends on the student's choice of the exam, project, or thesis option. Faculty advisors assist in selecting an option that best meets a student's career aspirations.

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

100%

outcome rate of graduates

$67k

median first-year salary of graduates

Featured Work

Latest News

  • 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 (research thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
GRCS-701
Research Methods
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
3
PACK-742
Distribution Systems
The course develops knowledges and application skills of the distribution packaging. Topics covered are packaging used in distribution systems, integrated packaging supply chain, modeling and analysis of the distribution systems, and score card in packaging supply chain. Emphasises are given to estimate and predict the packaging protection and to optimize the packaging distribution using various tools. The lab focuses on development and evaluation of a distribution packaging. The projects are designed to assess the packaging performance in distribution systems.
3
GRCS-702
Principles of Research Communications
Conducting research requires language skills to express the research concept, explain methodology and summarize the results. This course will focus on written communication skills including critical thinking, scholarly writing skills and the ability to synthesize research results to draw conclusions. Key to this course is the establishment of a defensible argument through which the student explains, convinces and establishes boundaries for the research subject. The focus of this course is to have students learn the mechanics of research writing and at the conclusion of the course to have generated elements of their final research thesis or capstone which can be used as a basis for further work with their home department or thesis/capstone faculty advisor.
3
PACK-730
Packaging and the Environment
Consideration of packaging in a social context. Factors that enhance secondary use, recycling, recovery of resources, and proper disposal are discussed. Package design in relation to solid waste disposal and materials and energy shortages are considered. Other topics of interest are discussed. Primarily a discussion class for graduate students. Open to graduate non-majors.
3
PACK-763
Packaging for End Use
An intensive study of package design requirements specific to use of a product at specified end points. Individual design and development of a package system and its specifications, appropriate to the needs of the product and the consumer/end user and meets the demands of the supply chain.
3
 
Packaging Electives
9
Second Year
PACK-783
Advanced Packaging Dynamics
The study of instrumentation systems for analysis, evaluation and application of shock and vibration test methods to develop protective package designs and effective product/package interaction. A research paper is required.
3
 
Packaging Elective
3
PACK-790
Research Thesis
A thesis is based on experimental evidence obtained by the candidate in an appropriate topic demonstrating the extension of theory into practice. A written proposal which is defended and authorized by the faculty advisor/committee followed by a formal written thesis and oral presentation of findings are required. Typically the candidate will have completed research methods, data analysis and graduate writing strategies prior to enrolling in this course and will start the thesis process as soon as they have completed these courses to allow them to finish the thesis when they have finished their coursework. The candidate must obtain the approval of their graduate adviser who will guide the thesis before registering for this course.
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
36

Packaging science (capstone project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
GRCS-701
Research Methods
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
3
PACK-742
Distribution Systems
The course develops knowledges and application skills of the distribution packaging. Topics covered are packaging used in distribution systems, integrated packaging supply chain, modeling and analysis of the distribution systems, and score card in packaging supply chain. Emphasises are given to estimate and predict the packaging protection and to optimize the packaging distribution using various tools. The lab focuses on development and evaluation of a distribution packaging. The projects are designed to assess the packaging performance in distribution systems.
3
PACK-730
Packaging and the Environment
Consideration of packaging in a social context. Factors that enhance secondary use, recycling, recovery of resources, and proper disposal are discussed. Package design in relation to solid waste disposal and materials and energy shortages are considered. Other topics of interest are discussed. Primarily a discussion class for graduate students. Open to graduate non-majors.
3
PACK-763
Packaging for End Use
An intensive study of package design requirements specific to use of a product at specified end points. Individual design and development of a package system and its specifications, appropriate to the needs of the product and the consumer/end user and meets the demands of the supply chain.
3
 
Packaging Electives
12
Second Year
PACK-783
Advanced Packaging Dynamics
The study of instrumentation systems for analysis, evaluation and application of shock and vibration test methods to develop protective package designs and effective product/package interaction. A research paper is required.
3
 
Packaging Electives
6
PACK-797
Graduate Project
The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to conduct research, develop a plan and evaluation components and submit the project as a demonstration of final proficiency in the program. The topic selected by the student will be guided by the faculty teaching the class and it will require the student to coalesce and incorporate into the final project a culmination of all their course work in the program to date.
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
36

Packaging science (comprehensive exam option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
GRCS-701
Research Methods
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of research in applied contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
3
PACK-742
Distribution Systems
The course develops knowledges and application skills of the distribution packaging. Topics covered are packaging used in distribution systems, integrated packaging supply chain, modeling and analysis of the distribution systems, and score card in packaging supply chain. Emphasises are given to estimate and predict the packaging protection and to optimize the packaging distribution using various tools. The lab focuses on development and evaluation of a distribution packaging. The projects are designed to assess the packaging performance in distribution systems.
3
PACK-730
Packaging and the Environment
Consideration of packaging in a social context. Factors that enhance secondary use, recycling, recovery of resources, and proper disposal are discussed. Package design in relation to solid waste disposal and materials and energy shortages are considered. Other topics of interest are discussed. Primarily a discussion class for graduate students. Open to graduate non-majors.
3
PACK-763
Packaging for End Use
An intensive study of package design requirements specific to use of a product at specified end points. Individual design and development of a package system and its specifications, appropriate to the needs of the product and the consumer/end user and meets the demands of the supply chain.
3
 
Packaging Electives
12
Second Year
PACK-783
Advanced Packaging Dynamics
The study of instrumentation systems for analysis, evaluation and application of shock and vibration test methods to develop protective package designs and effective product/package interaction. A research paper is required.
3
 
Packaging Electives
9
PACK-795
Comprehensive Exam
A written comprehensive exam is one of the non-thesis methodologies for completion of the MS degree. Students will demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the theories and foundation principles. This course will include a review of the main concepts of each of the core subjects and at the conclusion of the course the student will take a written examination and must receive a passing grade of at least 80 percent to be successful. Students will have one additional opportunity to pass this examination if their initial attempt results in a failing grade. (Faculty adviser approval required).
0
Total Semester Credit Hours
36

Admission Requirements

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

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent) in the final two years of undergraduate course work.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 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 bachelor’s 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.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
  • Students who do not have an equivalent bachelor’s 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.

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

Elective courses

All elective courses are approved by the student’s advisor and must meet degree requirements. In certain circumstances, with pre-approval by the graduate advisor and where individual need indicates appropriateness, a limited number of upper-level undergraduate courses may be used to fulfill elective credit. Students, with advisor 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 may be combined to create special areas of focus with program chair approval.

Cooperative education

Full-time students may choose to complete cooperative education. After completing two semesters of study (a minimum of 18 credit hours), students may request approval to complete up to one year of cooperative education employment related to their field of study.

Green Belt – Lean Six Sigma

Students may elect to pursue Green Belt certificate in Lean Six Sigma with the completion of the thesis or capstone project. Certification requires students to complete the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification training program as one of their electives. Upon completion, student must implement the fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma within their thesis or capstone project.

Advising

Students are appointed an academic advisor who works with the program coordinator to develop a program of study. Students follow their program of study to complete their degree requirements and, with advisor approval, choose packaging electives that enhance their career objectives. Students choose a faculty advisor with approval from their program coordinator for their thesis or project. The faculty advisor guides the student on topic choice and works with the program coordinator for approval and timely completion of the thesis or project.