Plastics Engineering

Doctoral Programs

Doctoral Programs in Plastics Engineering

The UMass Lowell Department of Plastics Engineering offers two doctoral degree options: 

  • Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.) 
    Plastics Engineering Option 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)  
    Plastics Engineering Option 

In addition the Plastics Engineering Department has a joint program with the Chemistry Department.  It offers a joint Polymer Science/Plastics Engineering Ph.D. degree.  The degree is awarded by the Chemistry Department, not the Department of Plastics Engineering.  This degree option is a good fit for students interested in polymer synthesis and polymer characterization.

Plastics Engineering Doctoral Programs

The two Doctoral Plastics Engineering programs have equivalent admission requirements and differ primarily in their course requirements.

Ph.D. in Engineering, Plastics Engineering Option

The Ph.D. degree program is designed to produce qualified professionals for technical and research positions in the plastics industry, for technical positions in government, and for teaching careers in colleges and universities.  This degree is awarded by the College of Engineering. The goal of the Ph.D. program is to develop decision-making engineers with sound theoretical and technical research knowledge in the areas of plastics materials, design, and processing research and development.

The Doctor of Engineering in Plastics Engineering

The D.Eng. Plastics Engineering degree program is designed to produce qualified professionals for technical and management positions in the plastics industry, as well as for technical or administrative positions in government and for teaching careers in colleges and universities.  The goal of the Doctor of Engineering program is to develop decision-making engineers with sound theoretical and technical research knowledge who are design and development oriented and who also have a firm background in engineering management. This degree has a management component that is not required for the Ph.D., with fewer technical courses. This interdisciplinary program encompasses study in materials, design, processing, mathematics, computer science, and management.   

Admission Requirements 

Graduates with a B.S. in Engineering (e.g. Plastics, Mechanical, Chemical, Materials...) and high academic standing may apply for admission to either of the doctoral programs.  Technical graduates who do not have a B.S. in "Engineering" but have a science degree may request admission to the program with the understanding that they will also be required to take and pass the "General Fundamentals of Engineering Exam" given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.  Admission to the program will be based on review by the Graduate Admissions Office and by the Admissions Committee of the Plastics Engineering Department. 

Plan of the Doctoral Programs 

Each student entering the program must develop a plan of study in consultation with his or her advisory committee. After taking at least one year of graduate courses, the student will take a qualifying examination covering all the basic elements of plastics engineering.  A student who performs well on this examination will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee of the Plastics Engineering Department and admitted to degree candidacy. He or she will then complete the remaining course work, seminars and labs, do a research proposal, conduct research and prepare a written dissertation, and present an oral defense of the research before the dissertation committee. 

Qualifying Examination 

The qualifying examination for both doctoral programs will be administered in September (and in January if there is sufficient demand for a second exam). It will be administered as two (2) four hour long examinations, covering the following topics: plastics processing, plastics design, plastics properties, and plastics materials with a total of four questions in each subject area for a total of 16 questions. One of the two exams is open book and one is closed book.  In order to pass the exams, students must pass at least two of the four questions in each subject area, and pass at least eleven questions.  Any changes to the format will be indicated by the doctoral coordinator when the specific examination date is announced. The student will receive an overall exam grade of pass or fail based on the stated criteria. A student who fails the exam on a marginal basis may make a second attempt the next time the exam is administered.  All decisions of the Plastics Engineering Department regarding passing of the qualifying exam are final. 

Dissertation Proposal 

Once the student has passed the qualifying exam, he or she will submit a dissertation proposal and defend the proposal before the Doctoral Committee. Upon approval, the student's name will be submitted to the College Doctoral Committee and the Registrar's Office as a candidate for the Doctor of Engineering or the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Transfer Credit 

Up to 24 credits in graduate engineering courses are transferable to either the Doctor of Engineering or Doctor of Philosophy programs upon approval by the department's Doctoral Committee. 

Other Requirements 

A student must maintain high academic standing throughout the pursuit of the degree. He or she must spend at least one year at the University with full-time graduate student status to fulfill the university residence requirement. 

Course Requirements for the D.Eng. Plastics Engineering Degree 

The following courses are required for the D.Eng. degree:

26.544  Advanced Plastics Materials     (3 credits)
26.578  Advanced Plastics Processing   (3 credits)
26.574  Physical Properties Laboratory  (1 credit)
26.572  Plastics Processing Laboratory  (1 credit)
26.503  Mechanical Behavior of Polymers  (3 credits)
26.506  Polymer Structure, Properties and Applications (3 credits)
26.509  Plastics Processing Theory I     (3 credits) 
26.518  Plastics Product Design     (3 credits) 
26.548  Numerical and Analytical Methods   (3 credits) 
26.585  Computer Aided Engineering and Design   (3 credits)
26.XXX  Current Topics Plastics Seminar    (1 credit)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective     (3 credits)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective     (3 credits)
Engineering Management Courses    (9 credits) 
Doctoral Research Dissertation     (21 credits) 
TOTAL:       63 credits

Engineering Management Courses for the D.Eng. Program

Doctor of Engineering students are required to take 9 credits of graduate engineering management courses from the College of Management or from the list of courses immediately below offered within the College of Engineering.

26.507  Plastics Industry Organization (3 credits)
26.516  Six Sigma (3 credits)
26.521  Lean Plastics Manufacturing (3 credits)
26.537  Business Law for Engineers (3 credits)
26.540  Commercial Development of Polymeric Systems (3 credits)
26.590  Survey of Intellectual Property (3 credits)
22.576  Engineering Project Management (3 credits)

Approved management graduate courses from the College of Management for D.Eng. students.  These courses run for a duration of 8 weeks.

60.501   Financial Accounting (2 credits)
61.501   Business Finance (2 credits) 
62.501   Marketing Fundamentals  (2 credits)
63.501   Operations Fundamentals  (2 credits) 
66.501   Organizational Behavior (2 credits)  
66.511   Global Enterprise & Competition(2 credits)*
66.615   New Venture Creation*(3 credits)

*Pre-requisites are required for these classes. 

Course Requirements for the Ph.D. in Engineering, Plastics Engineering Option 

The following courses are required for the Ph.D. degree:

26.544  Advanced Plastics Materials   (3 credits)
26.578  Advanced Plastics Processing (3 credits)
26.574  Physical Properties Laboratory (1 credit)
26.572  Plastics Processing Laboratory (1 credit)
26.503  Mechanical Behavior of Polymers (3 credits)
26.506  Polymer Structure, Properties and Applications (3 credits)
26.509  Plastics Processing Theory I (3 credits) 
26.518  Plastics Product Design (3 credits) 
26.548  Numerical and Analytical Methods (3 credits) 
26.585  Computer Aided Engineering and Design (3 credits)
26.XXX  Current Topics Plastics Seminar (1 credit)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective (3 credits)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective (3 credits)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective (3 credits)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective (3 credits)
26.XXX  Engineering Elective (3 credits)
Doctoral Research Dissertation (21 credits)

TOTAL:       63 credits

Special Notes 

Students having a Plastics Engineering B.S. Degree:

Students who have a B.S. Degree in Plastics Engineering from UMass Lowell are not required to take the Physical Properties Lab (26.574) and Plastics Processing Lab (26.572).  However, these students must still meet the 42 course credit hour program requirement.

Students who have a B.S. Degree in Plastics Engineering from UMass Lowell or an equivalent program may elect to test out of Advanced Plastics Materials (26.544) and Advanced Plastics Processing (26.578).  However, these students must still meet the 42 course credit hour program requirement by substituting other Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses 

Ph.D. 
Polymer Science/Plastics Engineering Option

A doctoral program in Chemistry with an option in Polymer Science/Plastics Engineering is offered jointly with the Polymer Science group in the Department of Chemistry. This program is designed to provide the student with a background in advanced course work and laboratory techniques which will prepare him or her to carry out, under the guidance of experienced scientists, an original, independent investigation leading to an acceptable contribution to the body of contemporary knowledge. Further details of the program are described in the Chemistry section of this catalog.