A male and female student working in a Plastics Engineering lab.

A Letter To Prospective Graduate Students

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

I want to thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Plastics Engineering Graduate Programs at UMass Lowell. We have a variety of graduate programs including Graduate Certificates, M.S.E. Programs, and a Ph.D. Program in Plastics Engineering.

Plastics are used extensively in the manufacture of products that range from medical angioplasty balloons to automotive bodies. Industries such as the appliance, automotive, building construction, electronics, medical-device, packaging, and sports/recreation industries need engineers who can design, manufacture, test, and manage all aspects of product development. Many traditional science and engineering programs (e.g., mechanical engineering or chemical engineering) do not provide sufficient coverage of “PLASTICS,” and additional education in this specialized area is available at UMass Lowell.

The Plastics Engineering Department has a well-established reputation as a leader in the field. Graduates of the department are known for having a well-rounded engineering education with a good balance of engineering theory and hands-on training. Our faculty and facilities are excellent, and graduates are in demand.

Certificate Programs: The Plastics Engineering Department offers a number of four (three credit) course Graduate Certificates (12 course credits total). The certificates are designed to provide training in very specific areas related to plastics. Many of the courses required for these certificates are offered either late day or evenings so that engineers working in the local area can do these programs part time. An increasing number of these courses are also offered on-line. If students want to continue their graduate education beyond the certificate, the certificate credits can be transferred into the M.S.E. Plastics Engineering Program.

  • Master's Programs: The Plastics Engineering Department offers a Master of Science Degree in Plastics Engineering. Students can choose to pursue either a thesis option, which allows them the opportunity to perform research, or a non-thesis option, which requires additional coursework and is designed for professionals. Professor Stephen McCarthy serves as graduate coordinator for both the Graduate Certificate and M.S.E. Degree programs.
  • Doctoral Programs: The Plastics Engineering Department also offers a Doctor's degree in Plastics Engineering or a Ph.D. in Engineering - Plastics Engineering Option. Professor Jan Huang is the Plastics Engineering Department Doctoral Coordinator.

Note that not all graduate students enrolled in the Plastics Engineering Department receive funding from the university. The department does have a limited number of Teaching Assistant (TA) positions available. Students who receive a teaching assistantship (usually a ½ TA position) generally help teach plastics processing or testing laboratory courses, so experience in these areas is a primary requirement. Many students in the department receive Research Assistant (RA) support. There is a great deal of exciting plastics materials, processing and nanotechnology research being conducted by the plastics engineering faculty and its students. Students interested in RA funding must contact the individual faculty directly to see if the faculty have any RA opportunities available. Only students who have applied and have been accepted as full-time plastics engineering graduate students will be considered for RA or TA funding. Many students who enter the program at their own expense and exhibit academic excellence can obtain funding during their second year of study.

Please feel free to contact Linda Southworth at the Office of Graduate Admissions (978-934-2373), the graduate coordinators, or the Plastics Engineering office staff (978-934-3420) if you have any questions or need any additional information about our program.


Robert Malloy
Chair Department of Plastics Engineering
E-mail: robert_malloy@uml.edu