College of Engineering

Department of Plastics Engineering


This program is designed to prepare the graduate for a professional career in the polymer industries of which plastics is the largest. Other segments include rubber, coatings and adhesives.

The Plastics Engineering B.S. program has been designed to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive level of engineering education, with a curriculum offering a solid foundation in the basic sciences, engineering fundamentals, plastics materials science, processing, mold design, die design, product design testing and characterization. In addition, the program has emphasized interaction and communication skills and laboratory experiences related to plastics materials, properties, processing and design. The program also puts special emphasis on engineering ethics and safety. A list of program outcomes that have been established for the Plastics Engineering program appears below. As a result of such a multi-faceted emphasis students are expected to possess the following skills at graduation:

  1. The ability to apply principles of engineering, math, physics, and chemistry to the solution of problems related to: plastics engineering, plastics materials, plastics manufacturing, plastics/polymer characterization, plastics machine design/optimization, plastics mold design/optimization, die design and product design.
  2. The ability to critically design, perform and analyze experiments related to plastics processing and testing of plastics materials or products.
  3. The ability to design, select materials, and manufacture a given plastics product, or the ability to design and modify manufacturing systems and parameters to meet specified requirements.
  4. The ability to use computers in engineering practice, including spreadsheets, graphing programs, and computer aided design or analysis software.
  5. The ability to communicate technical information.  This includes oral and written reports and an ability to communicate with multi-disciplinary team members.
  6. The ability to understand and appreciate the impact of changes in engineering practices on society.  This includes issues such as economics, environmental impact, sustainability, ethics and global outsourcing.
  7. The ability to understand and appreciate the responsibility of the engineering profession via exposure and interaction with professional societies and the need for continuing and on-going education in the field of plastics engineering.
  8. Plastics Engineering graduates shall satisfy the outcome requirements of ABET* Criterion 3:
  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering 
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data 
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs 
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams 
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems 
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility 
  • an ability to communicate effectively 
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context 
  • a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning 
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues 
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

*Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

The Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Plastics Engineering) program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

The program includes sufficient flexibility for further specialization in areas of individual interest. Undergraduates may join the nation’s first student chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The Plastics Engineering Department also has student chapters of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), the American Chemical (ACS) Society Rubber Group, and SAMPE.

Since the program started in 1954, approximately 2000 graduates have been employed by polymer industries throughout the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia. Major plastics producers and users recruit annually on campus. While most job openings are in product and process development, plastics materials development, technical service, medical device design and manufacturing, or marketing, some graduates go into research, consulting, or teaching.