Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Graduate Study

The School of Packaging offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in packaging. Facilities and instrumentation are available for advanced study and research areas such as  product and/or package damage in the physical distribution environment, barrier characteristics of packaging systems and materials, quality preservation and storage stability of packaged products, mechanical properties of packaging materials and systems, medical packaging, automatic identification, logistics, environmental impact and recycling of packaging materials, human factors in packaging, and packaging systems development and optimization. Programs of study and research are flexible and are designed to meet the needs of individual students.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the School of Packaging may elect a Graduate Specialization in Food Safety.  For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.

Packaging - Master of Science

Emphasis is placed upon a broad education in packaging that includes an area of study referenced above. Student participation in seminars and in the teaching program, where appropriate, is designed to broaden the student's background for future career activities.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Entering graduate students are expected to have a bachelor's degree in packaging or a related undergraduate field. Students lacking the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in packaging may be admitted provisionally and be required to complete collateral courses to make up any deficiencies. These collateral courses will not count toward degree requirements.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in  Packaging

The master’s degree program in packaging is available under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under Plan A or Plan B. The student’s program of study must be approved by either the student’s guidance committee (Plan A) or the student’s major professor (Plan B).

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B

The student must:

  1. Complete 15 credits in Packaging courses at the 400-level or above. More than half of the 30 credits required for the degree must be at the 800-level or above.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of basic statistics.

Additional Requirements for Plan A

  1. Packaging 825 and 860.
  2. Packaging 805 or 815.
  3. An additional 3 credits in 800-900 level Packaging courses excluding Packaging 888, 890, and 899.
  4. At least six, but not more than eight, credits of Packaging 899.

Additional Requirements for Plan B

  1. Packaging 805, 815, and 825.
  2. An additional 6 credits in 800-900 level Packaging courses excluding Packaging 888, 890, and 899.
  3. Pass a final Plan B examination. 

Packaging - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the student must meet the requirements specified below.


To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in packaging, an applicant must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.

To be admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in packaging on regular status, a student must have:

  1. Completed a master's degree program in packaging, or in a related science or engineering area, for which a thesis was required. 
  2. A grade–point average of at least 3.40 for the master's degree program.
  3. Acceptable scores on the GRE General Test.

Provisional admission may be granted to an applicant who does not meet the above requirements but shows outstanding potential.

Guidance Committee

At least three members of the student's guidance committee must be faculty members in the School of Packaging, and at least one member must be a faculty member from outside the school.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Packaging

The student must:

1. Complete both of the following courses:
PKG 860 Research Methods 3
PKG 985 Analytical Solutions to Packaging Design 3
2. Complete additional 800–900 level courses related to the student's dissertation research as specified by the student's guidance committee.
3. Pass both a written and an oral comprehensive examination.
4. Complete a dissertation in one of the following areas of packaging:  material science applications in packaging, food packaging, healthcare packaging, mass transport applications, or the dynamics and physical distribution aspects or human factors in packaging.