Plastics Engineering

Master's Program - Thesis and Non-thesis Options

Master of Science in Engineering Degree Programs (MS Eng)

The Department of Plastics Engineering has recently restructured its MSE Degree Program. Plastics Engineering MSE graduate students accepted into the program beginning in the Fall of 2005 must follow either the "Thesis Option" Curriculum or the "Non-thesis Option" Curriculum described in the following sections.

Graduate students enrolled in the Thesis Option MSE Program prior to the Fall of 2005 may elect to follow either the new "thesis" or "non-thesis" program requirements described below, or those in effect at the time they were accepted into the degree program. Most MSE Plastics Engineering students opt for the 30 credit hour thesis option MSE degree program. The 33 credit hour non-thesis MSE degree program is intended for part time graduate students working full time jobs as practicing engineers.

Thesis Option

Non-thesis Option

 Thesis Option

This graduate program offers professional training at the master's level designed to provide the opportunity for the study of more advanced theory and practice in plastics materials, design and processing. The department also offers graduate training in the areas of rubber and elastomer technology and medical plastics. The graduate programs are also designed to broaden the background of experienced members of the profession to help them keep up with the latest fundamental developments in these fields.

The Department of Plastics Engineering offers a Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) in Plastics Engineering. More than 800 graduate students have received Plastics Engineering degrees since the graduate program was established in 1968. Most M.S.E. Plastics Engineering students opt to enroll in the 30 credit hour research oriented thesis option M.S.E. program. A smaller percentage elect to enroll in the 33 credit hour non-thesis M.S.E option. Students who have enrolled in the thesis option Plastics Engineering M.S.E. program must complete at least 24 course credits and 6 thesis credits as outlined in the program requirements section below. Students may transfer as many as 12 science or engineering graduate course credits from other universities or from courses completed when in non-degree status at UMass Lowell provided they are approved by the Plastics Engineering Department's M.S.E. program coordinators. (For University regulations regarding transfer credit and other regulations, see Graduate Polices in the on-line catalog.) The thesis option M.S.E. degree will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours of study as outlined below.

Graduate students enrolled in the Thesis Option M.S.E. Program prior to the Fall of 2005 may elect to follow the either the new program requirements (thesis or non-thesis program) described below, or those in effect at the time they were accepted into the degree program. The new thesis option M.S.E. program requirements are:

Requirement 1 Complete the cluster of "core course" requirements as described in the detailed program description that follows.

The following courses (9 credit hours) are required for all students.

  • PLAS.5440 Advanced Plastics Materials 3 credits
  • PLAS.5780 Advanced Plastics Processing 3 credits
  • PLAS.xxxx Current Topics Plastics Seminars (1) 1 credit
  • PLAS.5740 Physical Properties Laboratory 1 credit
  • PLAS.5720 Plastics Processing Laboratory 1 credit
Total 9 credits

Special notes for 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 (PLAS.5740) and Plastics Processing Lab (PLAS.5720). However, these students must still meet the 24 course credit hour program requirement by substituting other Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses.

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 (PLAS.5440) and Advanced Plastics Processing (PLAS.5780). However, these students must still meet the 24 course credit hour program requirement by substituting other Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses

Requirement 2 Complete the course requirements for one or more of the department's graduate "Certificates" as an "area of specialization." Some of the certificate course requirements may also be core requirements. The course requirements for each graduate certificate are also outlined below.

[Note: The Graduate Certificate in Plastics Engineering Fundamentals does not satisfy Requirement 2 for the thesis option M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Program.]

(a.) Graduate Certificate in "Plastics Design"

Required Courses:

  • PLAS.5030 Mechanical Behavior of Polymers
  • PLAS.5180 Plastics Product Design

Elective Courses (any two of the following):

  • PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications
  • PLAS.5230 Screw Design Principles
  • PLAS.5410 Computer Applications in Plastics
  • PLAS.5490 Design with Elastomers
  • PLAS.5510 Computer Aided Extrusion Die Design
  • PLAS.5520 Design of Polymer Processing Machinery
  • PLAS.5760 Advanced Mold Design
  • PLAS.5850 Computer Aided Engineering and Design I
  • PLAS.5860 Computer Aided Engineering and Design II

(b.) Graduate Certificate in "Plastics Materials"

Required Courses:

  • PLAS.5440 Advanced Plastics Materials
  • PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications

Elective Courses (any two of the following):

  • PLAS.5050 Polymer Structure II
  • PLAS.5110 Polymer Blends and Multiphase Systems
  • PLAS.5120 Porous Polymers
  • PLAS.5130 New Plastics Materials
  • PLAS.5400 Commercial Development of Polymeric Systems
  • PLAS.5530 Polymers in Medicine I
  • PLAS.5590 Elements of Packaging
  • PLAS.5650 Engineering Thermosetting Resins
  • PLAS.5660 Polymeric Material Systems Selection
  • PLAS.5800 Polymer Science I
  • PLAS.5960 Plastics, Elastomers and Additives from Renewable Resources

(c.) Graduate Certificate in "Plastics Processing"

Required Courses:

  • PLAS.5780 Advanced Plastics Process Engineering
  • PLAS.5090 Plastics Processing Theory I

Elective Courses (any two of the following):

  • PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications
  • PLAS.5100 Plastics Processing Theory II
  • PLAS.5180 Plastics Product Design
  • PLAS.5210 Lean Plastics Manufacturing
  • PLAS.5230 Screw Design Principles
  • PLAS.5240 Process Analysis, Instrumentation, and Control
  • PLAS.5260 Nanoscale Plastics Processing
  • PLAS.5500 Processing with Elastomers
  • PLAS.5510 Computer Aided Extrusion Die Design
  • PLAS.5520 Design of Polymer Processing Machinery
  • PLAS.5850 Computer Aided Engineering and Design I
  • PLAS.5880 Injection Molding

(d.) Graduate Certificate in "Medical Plastics Design and Manufacturing"

Required Courses:

  • PLAS.5530 Polymers in Medicine I
  • PLAS.5750 Biomaterials

Elective Courses (any two of the following):

  • PLAS.5540 Polymers in Medicine II
  • PLAS.5790 Problems in Biomaterials - Directed Study
  • PLAS.6750 Biomaterials II
  • CHEN.5550 Biopharmaceutical GMP and Licensing *
    * Offered by the Chemical Engineering Department
  • BMBT.5000 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology **
    ** Offered by the Biomedical Engineering Department

(e.) Graduate Certificate in "Elastomeric Materials"

Required Courses:

  • PLAS.5350 Rubber Technology
  • PLAS.5950 Thermoplastic Elastomers

Elective Courses (any two of the following):

  • PLAS.5490 Design with Elastomers
  • PLAS.5500 Processing with Elastomers
  • PLAS.5060 Polymer Structure, Properties, and Applications
  • PLAS.5960 Plastics, Elastomers and Additives from Renewable Resouces

Requirement 3 Complete the requirements for an additional number of Elective Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses such that the "total" course credit hours is at least 24 credit hours (not counting thesis credits).

Core Courses + Non-Core Certificate Courses + Electives Courses = 24 Credits.

Up to two elective courses from other engineering departments may be substituted for Plastics Engineering courses if approved by the graduate coordinator.

Requirement 4 Complete the mandatory 6 Credit Hour Thesis requirement. The thesis research is conducted under the supervision of a three member advisory committee (see "Thesis Committee" below). Upon completion of the thesis research work, the student must prepare the written thesis manuscript and defend the work in an oral presentation such that all three committee members approve of the work.

Thesis Committee

As soon as a student has chosen an area of research, a Thesis Committee is selected by the student and his or her research advisor in accordance with the policy of the department. The Thesis Committee shall consist of at least three members, at least two of whom shall be from the student's major department. One member of the committee shall be the student's thesis advisor. An outside expert, such as the supervisor of a research project conducted at an industrial setting or a faculty member from another institution, may be a member of the committee, but that individual must possess academic credentials which would qualify him or her to serve as a member of the University of Massachusetts Lowell faculty.

24 Course Credit Hours + 6 Thesis Credits = 30 Credit Hours Total

(Requirements 1, 2, 3) (Requirement 4)

The M.S.E. degree, and the appropriate Graduate Certificate (the area of specialization), will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours of study as outlined. More detailed descriptions of the "Thesis Option" requirements are given below.

 Admission Requirements and Prerequisites:

Admission to the program is open to candidates with a B.S. in Plastics Engineering or a related engineering or science field. The pre-requisite math requirements include Calculus II and Differential Equations. Applicants must also take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), provide three Letters of Reference, an Official Transcript, and a Statement of Purpose as per the UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions Policy. You can apply online atwww.uml.edu/grad.

The foundation "Plastics" courses required in previous years are no longer required. Students who have taken these foundation graduate courses in the past can receive some graduate course credit for these courses as outlined above.

The Plastics Engineering Department makes every attempt to offer as many of these courses as possible during the evening so that students having full time jobs can complete the degree program. A listing of evening graduate courses for the next few semesters is given on http://plastics.uml.edu.

Non-matriculated students (with an appropriate B.S. Degree) may begin taking courses without application to the M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Program. However, it is recommended that students apply to the M.S.E. Program as soon as possible (i.e. prior to taking too many course credits) since there is no guarantee of acceptance into the M.S.E. Program. In addition, no more than 12 credit hours taken as a non-matriculated student can be transferred into the M.S.E. Program upon acceptance.

 Graduate Student Advising:

One of the graduate coordinators will be the academic advisor for students enrolled in the non-thesis M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Degree Program. The advisor will help the student remedy deficiencies in prerequisites, select electives of most value, and plan the overall study program efficiently. The thesis advisor will be the chairperson of the thesis advisory committee that will guide the student in the thesis research and supervise the completion of the thesis requirement. Once an advisor is selected, the student and advisor should complete the Departmental Advising Form, indicating the thesis topic. Both the student and advisor must sign this form before the student can register for thesis credits. This form is available in the Plastics Engineering Department Office (B204) and should be submitted to the graduate program coordinator.

 Non-thesis Option

This graduate program offers professional training at the master's level designed to provide the opportunity for the study of more advanced theory and practice in plastics materials, design and processing. The department also offers graduate training in the areas of rubber and elastomer technology and medical plastics. The graduate programs are also designed to broaden the background of experienced members of the profession to help them keep up with the latest fundamental developments in these fields.

The Department of Plastics Engineering offers a Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) in Plastics Engineering. Most M.S.E. Plastics Engineering students enroll in the thesis option program. However, some students, especially those students working full time days elect to enroll in the non-thesis M.S.E option. This option was established in the Fall of 2004. Students enrolled in the non-thesis M.S. Plastics Engineering option must complete a total of 33 course credits as outlined in the course requirements section below. Students may transfer as many as 12 science or engineering graduate course credits from other universities or from courses completed when in non-degree status at UMass Lowell provided they are approved by the Plastics Engineering Department's M.S.E. program coordinators. (For University regulations regarding transfer credit and other regulations, see the Graduate Polices in the on-line catalog.) The non-thesis option M.S.E. degree will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of 33 credit hours of study as outlined. More detailed descriptions of the "Non-thesis Option" requirements are given below.

Requirement 1 Complete the "core course" requirements listed below.

The following courses (18 credit hours) are required for all students.

  • PLAS.5030 - Mechanical Behavior of Polymers 3 credits
  • PLAS.5440 - Advanced Plastics Materials 3 credits
  • PLAS.5780 - Advanced Plastics Processing 3 credits
  • PLAS.5060 - Polymer Structure Properties and Applications 3 credits
  • PLAS.5180 - Plastics Product Design 3 credits
  • PLAS.xxxx - Current Topics Plastics Seminars (Materials, Design, etc.) 1 credit
  • PLAS.5740- Physical Properties Laboratory 1 credit
  • PLAS.5720 - Plastics Processing Laboratory 1 credit
    Total 18 credits

Special notes for 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 (PLAS.5740) and Plastics Processing Lab (PLAS.5720). However, these students must still meet the 33 credit hour program requirement by substituting other Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses.

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 (PLAS.5440) and Advanced Plastics Processing (PLAS.5780). However, these students must still meet the 33 credit hour program requirement by substituting other Plastics Engineering Graduate Courses.

Requirement 2 Complete the course requirements for one or more of the department's graduate "Certificates". Some of the certificate course requirements may also be core requirements. The course requirements for each graduate certificate are also outlined below.

[Note: The Graduate Certificate in "Plastics Engineering Fundamentals" does not satisfy Requirement 2 for the thesis option M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Program. However, all courses of the Certificate transfer into the M.S. Plastics Engineering program should students wish to continue their education.]

The Plastics Engineering Department offers the following graduate certificates:

  • (a.) Plastics Design
  • (b.) Plastics Materials
  • (c.) Plastics Processing
  • (d.) Medical Plastics Design and Manufacturing
  • (f.) Commercial Development for Plastics Engineering
  • (g.) Sustainable Polymeric Materials and Additives

Requirement 3 Complete the requirements for an additional number of elective plastics graduate courses such that the "total" credit hours (Core Courses + Certificate + Electives) is 33 credits. Up to two elective courses from other engineering departments may be substituted if approved by the graduate coordinator.

The M.S.E. degree, and the appropriate Graduate Certificate (the area of specialization), will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of 33 credit hours of study as specified above. This non-thesis M.S.E. degree is an alternative to the more traditional 30 credit thesis option M.S.E degree.

Admission Requirements and Prerequisites:

Admission to the program is open to candidates with a B.S. in Plastics Engineering or a related engineering or science field. The pre-requisite math requirements include Calculus II and Differential Equations. Applicants must also take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), provide three Letters of Reference, an Official Transcript, and a Statement of Purpose as per the UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions Policy. The GRE Requirement is waived fro any student who has completed any one of the Plastics Engineering Graduate Certificates and have maintained a 3.5 GPA for this Certificate.You can apply online at www.uml.edu/grad.

The foundation "Plastics" courses required in previous years are no longer required. Students who have taken these foundation graduate courses in the past can receive some graduate course credit for these courses as outlined above.

The Plastics Engineering Department makes every attempt to offer as many of these courses as possible during the evening so that students having full time jobs can complete the degree program. Return to the home page for a listing of evening graduate courses for the next few semesters.

Non-matriculated students (with an appropriate B.S. Degree) may begin taking courses without application to the M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Program. However, it is recommended that students apply to the M.S.E. Program as soon as possible (i.e. prior to taking too many course credits) since there is no guarantee of acceptance into the M.S.E. Program. In addition, no more than 12 credit hours taken as a non-matriculated student can be transferred into the M.S.E. Program upon acceptance.

 Graduate Student Advising:

One of the graduate coordinators will be the academic advisor for students enrolled in the non-thesis M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Degree Program. The advisor will help the student remedy deficiencies in prerequisites, select electives of most value, and plan the overall study program efficiently.

Full Time vs. Part Time Status

Both the Thesis and Non-thesis Option M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Programs are open to full time and part time students. Many of the courses required for these programs are offered at night so that engineers working at local companies can take advantage of the programs. Students taking fewer than 9 credits in a semester are considered part time, while those taking 9 or more credits are considered full time students. Graduate students must maintain full time student status in order to be eligible for teaching assistant (T.A.) or research assistant positions (R.A.).

Funding Policy - Plastics Engineering Graduate Students

Teaching Assistant Positions:

The Department of Plastics Engineering has a limited number of "Teaching Assistant Positions" (T.A.) and "Research Assistant" Positions (R.A.) available for full time Masters and Doctoral Plastics Engineering Graduate Students. Only those students who have applied and have been accepted into the respective programs will be considered for such a position.

Most of the T.A. positions awarded by the department are "half" T.A. positions which provide a 9 credit tuition waiver and 9 credit fee waiver for in-state students, along with a stipend. Out-of-state students receive the 9 credit tuition waiver, a fee reduction and a stipend. A departmental committee selects the T.A.'s during the spring semester for the following September. It is recommended that interested candidates should visit the campus and meet with a Graduate Coordinator prior to June 1. T.A. applications are available in Ball 204 or at http://plastics.uml.edu.

Research Assistant Positions:

Unlike T.A. positions that are awarded by the Plastics Engineering Department, R.A. positions, either "full time" or "half time", are awarded by individual faculty who conduct funded research. Accepted students must correspond with the individual faculty to inquire about R.A. positions. Faculty research interests are listed in the Faculty section of the department web site. It is recommended that applicants interested in obtaining R.A. funding should send a letter and resume to those faculty having similar research interests.

Many of the full time graduate students enrolled in the Department of Plastics Engineering do not receive T.A. or R.A. funding, especially during their first year of study. Many students are able to arrange funding during their second year after completing much of their coursework and after having time to interact with the various faculty members; however, there is no guarantee of funding.

  • Bachelor's-Master's Program