Graduate

Master's Degree Program


The Department of Plastics Engineering has recently restructured its M.S.E. Degree Program.  Plastics Engineering M.S.E. 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 M.S.E. 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 M.S.E. Plastics Engineering students opt for the 30 credit hour thesis option M.S.E. degree program. The 33 credit hour non-thesis M.S.E. degree program is intended for part time graduate students working full time jobs as practicing engineers.

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MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PLASTICS ENGINEERING: 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, medical plastics, coatings, and adhesives.  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 recently established 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 provided they are approved by the Plastics Engineering Department's M.S.E. program coordinators.  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 either the new program requirements (thesis or non-thesis program), or those in effect at the time they were accepted into the degree program.

For course descriptions and degree requirements, go to the UML Graduate Catalog.

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PLASTICS ENGINEERING: 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, medical plastics, coatings, and adhesives.  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.E. 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 provided they are approved by the Plastics Engineering Department's M.S.E. program coordinators.  The non-thesis option M.S.E. degree will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of 33 credit hours of study as outlined.

For course descriptions and degree requirements, go to the UML Graduate Catalog.


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND PRE-REQUISITES 

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 on-line at UML Graduate Admissions.

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 Plastics Engineering.

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.  

For students choosing the thesis option, 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.

FULL 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.).

PLASTICS ENGINEERING GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDING POLICY

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 the Plastics Engineering Department.

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.