Graduate Certificates

Plastics Processing Certificate

ProcessingThe Department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell has a long history as a leader in the area of plastics engineering education. Today, plastics materials are being used extensively in the manufacture of new products.

This four-course Plastics Processing Certificate is intended for students who have attained a bachelor’s degree and want more plastics processing background, but are not ready to commit to completion of a master’s degree.

Admission to the program is open to candidates with a B.S. in Engineering or a related field. The graduate record exam (GRE) is not required for admission.

Courses previously used for another Plastics Certificate may not be used for a second Plastics Certificate. However, certificate courses may be applied to appropriate graduate degrees if students want to continue their education.

The Plastics Engineering Department makes every attempt to offer many of these courses during the evening so that students having full-time jobs can complete the certificate program. The UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering website has a listing of evening graduate courses. Graduate students who have already completed these course requirements can receive a retroactive certificate.

More information can be found on this UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering website. You can apply for this certificate program through UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions.

For the latest course information and descriptions please visit the UMass Lowell online Graduate Academic Catalog.

Required Courses:

Advanced Plastics Processing  This course reviews the common plastics manufacturing processes, including extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming, and rotational molding. After the review, the course focus shifts to the impacts of screw design and processing parameters on the conveyance, melting, devolatization, and mixing with single screws and compounding with twin screw extruders. This course also includes an overview of die designs, multi-shot and gas assist injection molding, film stretching and methods for heating and cooling in plastics processing.

Plastics Processing Theory I (3 credits) Principles of rheology and continuum mechanics involved in the processing of plastics, and their applications in plastics process engineering including flows in standard geometrical and extrusion applications.

Elective Courses (choose two of the following):

Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications Relationships between polymer structure (chemical composition, molecular weight and flexibility, inter-molecular order and bonding, supermolecular structure) and practical properties (mechanical, acoustic, thermal, electrical, optical and chemical) and applications.

Plastics Processing Theory II A continuation of Theory I using the transport phenomena approach to analyze and describe plastics conversion processes, including roll processing blown film extrusion, injection molding, and mixing.

Plastics Product Design This course reviews the theoretical principles and the engineering practice associated with the development of new plastics products. The course focuses on design practices for products that will be produced by conventional and advanced injection molding processes. Topics include design methodology, plastic materials selection, design for manufacturing, computer aided engineering, mechanical behavior of plastics, structural design of plastic parts, prototyping techniques, experimental stress analysis, and assembly techniques for plastic parts.

Lean Plastics Manufacturing     performance measurement, inventory control, forecasting, production planning, scheduling, resource management, supply chains, various technologies for improved productivity.

Screw Design Principles Energy balances, energy efficiency for extrusion and injection molding, application of energy equation (conduction, convection, viscous dissipation), equations of state, melt conveying in simple and compound screws, screw scale up, plastication.

Process Analysis, Instrument and Control Industrial instruments for measurement and control of plastics processes. Design of experiments. Analysis of plastics forming operations. Dynamic testing techniques. Automatic plastics process control. Modeling and process simulation in extrusion and injection molding. Data acquisition systems.

Nanoscale Plastics Processing  This course will include discussions of particle functionalization, mixing and forming of polymer nanocomposites; formation of three-dimensional micro and nanoscale polymer structures by hot embossing, nanoimprint methods, injection molding, extrusion of multilayer films, electrospinning of nanofibers, and other pertinent topics as the field advances.

Processing with Elastomers  Topics include mixing, rheology, extrusion, injection molding, compression molding and cure as it applies to elastomers.

Extrusion Die Design   This is a project oriented course which utilizes current CAE programs to design extruder dies. This course will study the basic principles of extrusion die design and apply these principles in designing extrusion process and the flow behavior of various polymers will be studied.

Machine Design  Hydraulics, machine logic, drives, pumps, motors, heating barrel and screw combinations, mechanical design. Hydraulic and electrical control circuits development. A semester project is required.

Computer Aided Engineering and Design I This course provides a fundamental approach to computer-aided engineering for plastics processing. Emphasis is upon the theory and techniques of computer aided engineering as applied to plastics processing problems, allowing students to understand the various assumptions and methods used to create the programs.

Injection Molding   Process thermodynamics, energy balances, power requirements. Heat transfer, cooling equations for amorphous and crystalline materials. Equations of state, pvT applications, shrinkage and ejection forces. Isothermal cavity filling, non-isothermal effects. Coupled runner/gate/cavity flow, flow balancing. Shear heating, frozen layer development. Residual stress. Injection/compression flow. Reciprocation effects in screw plastication. Review of specialized injection molding processes. An individual research project, term paper and presentation are required.

12 Credits Total

Contact Information

Professor Stephen McCarthy 

Department of Plastics Engineering 

College of Engineering 

UMass Lowell 

Ball Hall Room 207 

One University Avenue Lowell, MA 01854

Phone:   978-934-3417 

Fax:   978-934-3065 


Department of Plastics Engineering Main Office 

Ball Hall Room 204

Phone:   978-934-3420 

Fax:   978-978-934-3089

The Registrar’s Office 

UMass Lowell 

Lowell, MA 01854 

Office Hours: 

Monday thru Friday 

8:30 a.M. to 5 p.m.

Main Office: 

Phone:   978-934-2550 


Fax:   978-934-4076 

TTY   978-934-2367

Graduate Admissions Office: 

Phone:   978-934-2373 

Fax:   978-934-4058 


To apply for this certificate program, go to Graduate Admissions

For courses and descriptions, go to the Graduate Academic Catalog.