Professional Master's Degree

Professional Master's Degree

Master of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering

Coursework focused professional Master's Degree in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering with integrated courses in Business and Law



The program is ideal for applicants with a bachelors degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) discipline.


This program is designed to prepare individuals to work in polymer or polymer-related industries, consulting, or venture capital firms in non-research positions.


Integrated coursework spanning the fundamentals of polymer science and engineering, business, and law through the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering (SPSPE), the College of Business Administration (CBA), and the School of Law (SL).


This degree program fills the gap between the MBA and MS degrees to train individuals with the skills needed to make technology-mindful decisions as team leaders, managers and supervisors. Connect with alumni who provide global leadership in the polymer industry.


  • Four courses (15 credits) covering polymer chemistry, physics, characterization and processing with instruction in research methods and technical communication
  • Three courses (9 credits) in business and law
  • One elective (3 credits) in polymers or business
  • Culminating learning experience (3 credits) where the preceding coursework is employed to investigate an emerging polymer technology with assessments of the technical, business and legal challenges and opportunities


30 credits of POLYMER, BUSINESS, and LAW:
The program consists of 30 credit hours of graduate level course work in the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering (SPSPE) and in the College of Business Administration (CBA) and School of Law. Of these 30 credit hours, 18 will be core technical credits in CPSPE, 9 will be core business and law credit hours, and 3 will be elective credit hours that can be taken in CPSPE or CBA. The course numbers, names, credit hours, prerequisites, and topics covered for these courses are given briefly below.

9801: 605 Polymer Physical Chemistry – 4 credit hrs. – Lecture
Prerequisites: None
Introduction to Chain Molecules (including molecular weight and chain statistics); Size Exclusion Chromatography; Step-growth polymerization; Chain-growth polymerization; Controlled polymerization; Copolymers, Microstructure and Stereoregularity; Polymer Solutions and Blends; Networks and Gels; Mechanical Properties of Polymers and Linear viscoelasticity; Glass Transition; Crystalline Polymers

9801:615 Polymer Characterization – 4 credit hrs. – Lecture and Lab
Prerequisite: Polymer 9801: 605 Polymer Physical Chemistry
Molecular Weight and Chain Statistics (review); Laboratory Safety, Laboratory Documentation, Radiation Safety; Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) (review); Lab: SEC of PMMA; Basic thermodynamics pertinent to characterization methods; Intrinsic viscosity; Lab: Intrinsic viscosity; Light scattering and chain size; Lab: Light Scattering of PMMA; Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC); Lab: DSC of Poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA); Infrared Spectroscopy (IR); Lab: IR; NMR Spectroscopy; Lab: NMR Spectroscopy of PMMA; Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS) and crystallinity; Lab: WAXS determination of crystallinity; Thermal Gravimetric Analysis

9801:635 Rheology, Processing and Evaluation of Polymeric Materials – 4 credit hrs. – Lecture and Lab
Prerequisite: 9801:605 Polymer Physical Chemistry
Rheology and polymer processing: Extrusion; Lab - Extrusion; Injection molding; Lab- Injection molding; Thermal forming; Fiber spinning; Lab- Fiber Spinning; Rubber and thermoplastic materials; Rubber compounding and curing; Evaluation of properties of polymer materials: Engineering polymers; Rubber; Shore A hardness; Standard tear tests; Cure characterization; Tensile testing; Lab – Dynamic Mechanical Analysis

9801:645 Research, Problem Solving and Communication of Technical Information – 3 credit hrs. – Lecture with Student Presentations
Prerequisite: 9801:605 Polymer Physical Chemistry
The research and development enterprise; The role of scientific literature; How research teams function; Formulation of technical problem statements; Writing technical documents – standards of practice; Writing an abstract; Presenting a technical presentation to a technical audience; How to listen to technical presentations; Presenting technical information to a nontechnical audience

9801: 665 Emerging Markets and Technologies – 3 credit hrs. – Lecture with Capstone Project
Prerequisites: 9801:605 Polymer Physical Chemistry, 9801:615 Polymer Characterization, 9801: 635 Polymer Processing, or permission of instructor
Some topics covered in lecture will change each year with emerging technologies. Topics involving means of analyzing technologies will be taught consistently, with the case studies being updated. Topics for the first time offered: Life cycle analysis; Carbon footprint analysis; Conducting polymers; Flexible electronics; Biomedical polymers; Additive manufacturing (3-D printing); Green chemistry for polymers; Renewable polymer sources; Computationally driven polymer materials design; Case studies. Each student will choose a new technology to investigate and write a report analyzing the technical, business, and intellectual property challenges associated with the further development of the polymer-related technology.

6500:601 Business Analytics and Information Strategy – 3 credit hrs.
Covers information systems foundations, strategic use of core analytical techniques including statistics and data mining to enable firms to better compete.

6500:678 Project Management – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing
Provides working knowledge of tools and methods available to project managers including computerized analysis of network models to aid in the planning and control functions.

9200:800 Fundamentals of Intellectual Property – 3 credit hrs.
An introduction to the policies underlying the protection of intellectual property, common law protection under state law, and major fields of intellectual property protection (patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets).

Polymer Science

9871:711-002 Special Topics: Polymer Science " Catalytic Materials." - 2 credit hrs.
Instructor: Dr. Steven Chuang
This course covers catalytic materials, especially heterogeneous catalysts, for conversion of oil and natural gas to chemical intermediates and polymers. Catalytic processes are discussed from the molecular mechanistic level to the macroscopic reactor level. Catalyst characterization techniques TPD/O/R, BET, infrared/Raman, and XRD will be considered.

9871:711-001 Special Topics: Polymer Sci. "Physical Chemistry of Complex Solutions" - 2 credit hrs.
Instructor: Dr. Tianbo Liu
This course introduces various complex solution systems, including simple ionic solutions, polymer solutions, colloids, surfactants, macroionic and biomacromolecular solutions. Special topics on various self-assembly behaviors and supramolecular structure formation, important physical techniques used for characterizing solutions systems, as well as their broad applications, will be discussed.

9871-711-013 Special Topics: Polymer Sci. "Carbon Nanomaterials for Energy Storage" - 1 credit hr.
Instructor: Dr. Yu Zhu
Provides an introduction to carbon nanomaterials, particularly low-dimensional carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes (CNT), which exhibit exceptional high carrier mobility, high electrical and thermal conductivity and large specific surface area. Considers their synthesis, properties, and characterization, and how they are used in energy storage applications.

9871:711 Special Topics: Polymer Sci. "How to do Molecular Dynamics Simulations Using LAMMPS" - 2 credit hrs.
Instructor: Dr. Mesfin Tsige
Introduction to the theory and techniques of computational methods that are useful for the modeling and simulation of polymeric materials. The emphasis is on computer simulation techniques of Molecular Dynamics for modeling the physical properties of polymer materials. In particular, the dynamic and thermodynamic properties of polymeric systems will be studied. The course involves the development of computer programs as well as the use of freely available simulation codes.

9871:711-003 Special Topics: Polymer Sci. "Physics of Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces" - 2 credit hrs.
Instructor: Dr. Mark Foster
Familiarizes the student with important physical chemical aspects of polymer surfaces and interfaces, including the special case of thin films. Topics are considered primarily from an experimental point of view. The course targets where physics and chemistry overlap. Discussion of theoretical developments emphasizes appreciating underlying assumptions and principal results. The application of general concepts and experimental techniques is illustrated in brief overviews of select current research topics.

Polymer Engineering

9841:715 Advanced Characterization of Functional Polymers – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisites: 9841:611 and 9841:623 or equivalent courses (with permission of instructor).
This course will focus on the advanced structural and functional property characterization techniques including optical, electrical, magnetic and others. A particular focus will be the influence of the history of polymer processing on these properties.

9841:745 Liquid Crystals – 2 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Structure of low molecular weight and polymeric liquid crystals, characterization, physical properties including optical properties, phase transitions, structure-property relationships, processing of polymeric species.

9841:747 Polymer Colloids – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Colloidal dispersions, phase stability, aggregation structures, thermodynamics, kinetics of phase transitions in polymer colloids. Emulsion and solution polymerization, organic/ inorganic hybrid materials, coating technology. Rheology of colloidal polymers.

9841:749 Phase Transitions in Polymer Blends and Alloys – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Elucidating thermodynamics of polymer blends, block copolymers, crystalline/liquid crystalline polymers, and kinetics of phase transitions. Structure development and modeling of reactive polymer blends.

9841:770 Polymer Nanocomposites – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisites: permission of instructor.
Develops understanding on synthesis, characterization, processing and properties of polymer nanocomposite materials involving nanoscale fillers in conjunction with thermosetting, thermoplastic, and elastomeric polymer matrices.

9841:773 Advanced Polymer Coating Technology – 2 credit hrs.
The polymeric binders used in radiation-curable coatings, coatings for electronic packaging and waterborne coatings will be stressed. The chemistry of dyes and the coatings science of pigments will be presented. The chemistry of polymer degradation will also be covered.

9841:778 Advanced Functional Polymers – 2 credit hrs.
This course focuses on the recent development of functional polymers for applications as advanced materials and smart devices, which requires the student to have some prior knowledge of polymer science and polymer engineering.


The elective course may alternatively be chosen from the following six business courses, depending on the business emphasis sought.

Finance Emphasis

6200:601 Financial Accounting – 3 credit hrs.
Introductory course for student with no accounting background. Examines accounting principles as applied to financial problems of firm.

Supply Chain Emphasis

6500:670 Management of Supply Chain and Operations – 3 credit hrs.
An overview of the issues directly related to the management of supply chains and operations at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels of the organization.

6500:675 Global supply chain management – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Focuses on the integration of activities and information/material flows across multiple organizations that comprise the supply chain, and the relationships among those organizations.

Marketing Emphasis

6600:620 Strategic Marketing – 3 credit hrs.
Review of Marketing terminology and concepts. Managerial assessments of opportunities, threats are explored as are the development and management of appropriate strategic marketing plans and their tactical implementation.

6600:625 Brand Management – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: 6600:620 Strategic Marketing
Application of the development, management and evolution of brands in the creation of competitive advantage. Required field project satisfies the requirement for actionbased learning.

6600:630 Ecommerce and Interactive Marketing – 3 credit hrs.
Prerequisite: 6600:620 Strategic Marketing
CRM is a customer-centric business process used to organize, automate, and synchronize advertising, marketing, sales, support, and service functions across an organization. Students will gain a clear understanding of key CRM concepts and how an effective CRM strategy can build brand equity, maximize customer lifetime value, and drive profitable revenue growth.



  • STEM degree
  • CV/resume
  • Transcript
  • Personal statement
  • Recommendation letters

Standard admission requirements of The University of Akron will be applied for application review with consideration of work experience.

How to Apply

Visit UA's Graduate School website for more information and details on how to apply.


If you have questions or would like more information about this program, please contact us at 330-972-7500 or