PhD Polymer Engineering

Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering


You may apply online by clicking here, or on the button below. If you have corrections to your information (particularly your e-mail address) after you have submitted your application, please contact the Graduate School at Note: All communication regarding the status of your application will be sent via e-mail. Thus, it is important that we have your most up-to-date email address.

Apply Online

Please note that ALL application materials, forms, reference letters, and scores must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions rather than to the Polymer Engineering program. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications that are complete by Dec. 15 will receive consideration for early admission. The application deadline is Feb. 15. Exceptional candidates may be considered after the Feb. 15 deadline. The Polymer Engineering program admits for Fall semester only.


Undergraduate Background

Students with undergraduate or graduate degrees in engineering, materials science, chemistry, or physics with outstanding grade point averages are encouraged to apply for admission in programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Polymer Engineering.


Requirements for admission into the Polymer Engineering program are as follows:

  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • TOEFL score (for international applicants)
  1. A cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of:
    • 3.00 or higher overall on a 4.00 scale; or,
    • 3.00 or higher on a 4.00 scale for work completed in the last two years; or,
    • 75 or higher overall on a 100 point scale.
      • Students coming from foreign universities not offering letter grades must receive a "First Class" grade or equivalent.
      • Students accepted for admission into M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Polymer Engineering on average have GPA's well above 3.50 on a 4.00 scale.

  2. Official transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate School from each college or university attended (except The University of Akron). Official transcripts must be sent to The University of Akron Graduate School, Leigh Hall, Room 515, Akron, Ohio, 44325-2101.

  3. NOTE: GRE scores will be waived effective August 3, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Reporting of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores are mandatory and no application will be processed without GRE scores. The school code for The University of Akron is 1829.

  4. Three letters of professional recommendation are required. The letters must reference that the applicant has a strong potential to excel in course work and carry out independent scientific research. Reference letters should preferably be uploaded via the Apply Online system. Letters by the referees should be on their official institution/company letterhead. Letters of recommendation that are not on official letterhead or which are without signatures will be disregarded and may delay the application being reviewed. Letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to or faxed to 330-972-6475 or mailed in hard copy directly to the Graduate School at the address indicated below.

  5. A Statement of Purpose (personal essay) should also be emailed to or faxed to 330-972-6475 or mailed in hard copy directly to the Graduate School at the address indicated below.

  6. All first year doctoral students are required to serve as teaching assistants. For international students, the Polymer Engineering program requires the TOEFL. You must achieve a 23 or higher on the speaking portion of the TOEFL and an overall test score of 79 or higher. While the University may accept IELTS scores solely for admission purposes, please note that at the department level admission with funding requires the TOEFL with the minimums previously mentioned.

  7. We do not fund master’s students, either domestic or international.


Polymer Engineering administers a graduate program in which students are guided through a course of study and research under the supervision of a faculty member leading to the award of Doctor of Philosophy in Polymer Engineering. Basic requirements of the Graduate School for the doctoral degree are set forth and described in the current Graduate Bulletin (graduate catalog) available from Graduate School or online at Requirements of the Polymer Engineering program are also listed in the Graduate Bulletin. The combined requirements of the Graduate School and Polymer Engineering program represent the minimum standards for attainment of the degree. In an effort to tailor the program to each student's background and research interests, Polymer Engineering and/or the student’s advisor may request requirements beyond the minimum in order to ensure academic and professional success.

Currently, to achieve the Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering, a student must complete:

  • 96 credits in polymer engineering, including:
    • 12 credits of polymer engineering core courses
    • 10 credits of polymer engineering 600-level electives
    • 9 credits of polymer engineering 700-level electives
    • 3 credits of math
    • 2 credits of technical electives
    • 60 credits of preliminary research and doctoral dissertation (12 credits or more must be of doctoral dissertation)
  • An oral presentation of research proposal
  • A written dissertation
  • An oral defense of the dissertation

Core Courses

12 credits - required for all students

  • 9841:611 Fundamentals of Polymer Structure Characterization (3 credits)
  • 9841:621 Rheology of Polymer Fluids (3 credits)
  • 9841:641 Polymer Chemistry and Thermodynamics (3 credits)
  • 9841:650 Introduction to Polymer Engineering (3 credits)

General Requirements

Residency Requirements - A doctoral student may meet the degree requirements of the Graduate School and Polymer Engineering by fulltime study or a combination of full- and part-time study. The minimum residency requirement for a doctoral candidate in all programs is at least two consecutive semesters of full-time study and involvement in Polymer Engineering activities.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement - The Graduate School requires that a doctoral student register for a minimum of one graduate credit during each fall and spring semester of study; however, the Polymer Engineering program also requires a minimum of one graduate credit in the summer session.

Time Limit - All doctoral requirements must be completed within ten (10) years of starting coursework at The University of Akron or elsewhere. This refers to graduate work after receipt of a master’s degree or the completion of 30 semester credits. An extension of up to one year may be granted in unusual circumstances by the dean of the Graduate School upon written request by the student and recommendation by his/her advisor, director of the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, and college dean.


Questions regarding admission or the application process may be directed to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
Leigh Hall, Room 515
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-2101
Phone: 330-972-7663
Fax: 330-972-6475

Sarah Thorley
Coordinator of Academic Programs
413 Polymer Engineering Academic Center
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-0301
Phone: 330-972-8845