Doctoral Program

Doctoral Program in Plastics Engineering

The UMass Lowell Department of Plastics Engineering offers a 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.

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.

Admission Requirements

Graduates with a B.S. in Engineering (e.g. Plastics, Mechanical, Chemical, Materials...) and high academic standing may apply for admission to the Ph.D. 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 "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 Program

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 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 Philosophy programs upon approval by the department's Doctoral Committee.

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

(A) Students with a B.S. Plastics Engineering, Plastics Engineering degree from UMass Lowell will be required to take a placement test on the following subjects:

If they failed in the test or do not take the test, they will be required to take these courses and can be counted as electives. Student whose UMass Lowell undergraduate GPA is higher than 3.0 can waive the above two courses.

In addition the following courses are required for the Ph.D. degree:

  • PLAS.6420 Characterization of polymers and plastics (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6820 Physical Polymer Science (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6780 New Development in Polymer Manufacturing (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6180 Structure Product Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5090 Plastics Processing Theory I (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5480 Numerical and Analytical Methods (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5850/PLAS.5760 Computer Aided Engineering and Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.XXXX Current Topics Plastics Seminar (1 credit)
  • PLAS.XXXX Engineering Elective (8 - 20 credits)
  • Doctoral Research Dissertation (21 - 33 credits)

TOTAL: 63 credits

(B) The following courses are required for a Ph.D. degree for students with a M.S. Plastics Engineering Degree from UMass Lowell:

  • PLAS.6420 Characterization of polymers and plastics (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6820 Physical Polymer Science (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6780 New Development in Polymer Manufacturing (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6180 Structure Product Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5090 Plastics Processing Theory I (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5180 Plastics Product Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5480 Numerical and Analytical Methods (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5850/PLAS.5760 Computer Aided Engineering or Advanced Mold Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.xxxx Engineering Elective and transfer credits from M.S. program (9 - 21 credits)
  • Doctoral Research Dissertation (21 - 33 credits)

TOTAL: 63 Credits

(C) Students with B.S. degree in engineering or other disciplines from UML or other schools will be required to take a placement test on the following subjects:

If the failed in the test or do not take the test, they will be required to take these courses and can be counted as electives.

In addition, the following courses are required for the Ph.D. degree:

  • PLAS.6420 Characterization of polymers and plastics (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6820 Physical Polymer Science (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6780 New Development in Polymer Manufacturing (3 credits)
  • PLAS.6180 Structure Product Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5090 Plastics Processing Theory I (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5480 Numerical and Analytical Methods (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5850/PLAS.5760 Computer Aided Engineering or Advanced Mold Design (3 credits)
  • PLAS.5720 Plastics Processing Laboratory (1 credit)
  • PLAS.5740 Physical Property Laboratory (1 credit)
  • PLAS.xxxx Current Topics Plastics Seminar (1 credit)
  • PLAS.xxxx Engineering Elective (9 - 18 credits)
  • Doctoral Research Dissertation (21 - 33 credits)

TOTAL: 63 credits

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.