Engineering: Polymer Engineering, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering

About the Degree

The Department of Polymer Engineering administers a graduate program in which students, with primarily engineering backgrounds, are guided through a course of study and research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program upon screening of their qualifications and recommendation by the admissions committee and department chair.

Our Ph.D. students study engineering principles that lead to development of new applications of soft materials including polymers. They complete 36-credits of course work and 60-credits of research. In their research, our students design new and novel polymeric materials and study fabrication and performance characteristics of solar cells, batteries, flexible electronics, filters to remove nanoparticles, high performance coatings, aerospace insulation, automobile components, composite structures for aircrafts, rubber tires, smart stimuli-responsive functional parts, and separation membranes. Appropriate blends of experiments and computational modeling are used in all research projects.

Salary and Career Outlook

Our graduates are highly sought after by polymer industries and academic institutions with track record of 100% employment after graduation over a period of last 10 years. Our graduates seek jobs as faculty members, post-doc, or as researchers in industries and national laboratories. Some notable corporations that employ our graduates are 3M, Apple, Goodyear, PolyOne, SABIC, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Avery Dennison, Haliburton, and Schlumberger. 

Starting salaries of recent DPE doctoral graduates in the United States vary according to the type of position, reputation of the company, and geographic location.  For example, an alum starting at Teknor Apex in the East Coast will make more than an alum starting at a job in northeast Ohio, such as at PolyOne or Avery Dennison.  The starting salaries vary in the range $90-$100k.

Why Akron?

Our Ph.D. Polymer Engineering program is the only research intensive Ph.D. program in polymer engineering in the country. Our program prepares graduates with an appropriate balance of theory classes in polymer engineering and exposure to state-of-the art research tools that are developed in house and are not available to students studying in competing programs. Our graduates are currently holding high positions in academic institutions and polymer industries worldwide.

A distinct advantage of our Ph.D. program is our 100% placement rate of the graduates. Another advantage is the opportunity to work with faculty members of international stature and the access to state of the art research facilities. Our faculty members are well-published authors of authoritative books and monographs that largely define the fields of research and education in polymer engineering. Our students conduct research on contemporary topics related to health, energy, and environment.

Recent graduates are in jobs such as:

  • Eaton Corp. – Polymer Composites Engineer
  • Intel Corp.  – Process Technology Development Engineer
  • UES, Inc. – Research Scientist

Contact Information

Contact Information:

Sarah Thorley

Coordinator of Academic Programs

Department of Polymer Engineering

University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-0301

(330) 972-8293