A master's degree in packaging science is for those who want to design packaging for various items like food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. Packaging not only needs to keep products safe but also be consumer- and environmentally-friendly. For people who have an undergraduate degree in packaging science or a related field, the master's degree can position them to develop knowledge about a specialized area of the field and to perform research.
General Packaging Science Master's Degree Program Information
Master's degrees in packaging science generally require at least 30 credit hours of coursework, which can be completed over two years. Some have different options for completing the degree by doing a thesis, capstone project or exam. Courses that students will need to complete may include the following:
A research methods course in a packaging science master's degree program will cover the research process, scientific methods and scientific communications. It could also cover the collection and interpretation of data to prepare students to conduct research of their own. Courses about research methods could also cover research ethics and the challenges of conducting research.
Packaging Distribution Systems
Courses about distribution packaging cover distribution systems, packaging supply chain and transportation processes. These courses will help students understand how to effectively package items through the distribution process. They may also cover hazards during the distribution process, like for fragile items, and how to keep them safe.
Packaging and Environmental Factors
Courses that cover the effects of packaging and the environment are often part of master's degree courses in the subject as well. These courses could look at the recyclability and reuse of packaging, disposal of certain materials and other ways to make packaging environmentally friendly.
Advanced Packaging Dynamics
Advanced packaging dynamics is likely a course students will take later in their graduate degree program and it will cover two topics: shock and vibration. This course delves into how to measure the effects of shock and vibration on the packaging and how to protect it from these factors.
Courses in this area cover the materials used in packaging design and their physical and chemical properties. It also covers packaging materials' structure and manufacturing. Courses later on in a degree program could cover more specific packaging options.
Packaging Science Master's Degree Program Admittance Requirements
Master's degree programs in packaging science generally require a bachelor's degree in packaging science or a related field and at least a 3.0 GPA. Students who don't have a relevant undergraduate degree may be eligible for the master's degree programs, but they will need to complete undergraduate courses to fulfill prerequisites and these courses won't count toward the master's degree. Other required undergraduate coursework includes at least one semester of physics and calculus and at least two semesters of chemistry (including organic chemistry). Other required coursework may include statistics and computer literacy. GRE scores aren't required but could strengthen an application.
Overall, a master's degree in packaging science will allow those who already have a background in the field to gain a deeper understanding of the field and a better understanding of a specific topic in the field. This can position them for jobs in the research and production of packaging.