The University of Akron becomes first public university in Ohio to offer a Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering


Undergrad student working in a Goodyear Polymer Center lab

The University of Akron (UA) has become the first public university in Ohio to offer an undergraduate degree in polymer science and polymer engineering, providing more students from around the world with skills as polymer scientists and engineers.

The Bachelor of Science in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering degree program begins in the fall 2022 semester as UA’s first undergraduate degree with a focus on polymers. Previously, such polymer degrees at UA were offered only to master’s and doctoral students. The program is ideal for students interested in technical solutions to sustainability, materials science, processing, soft-matter physics and biomaterials.

“This degree was established to augment our strength in polymers and material science and provide educational opportunities for the full spectrum of students,” says Craig Menzemer, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Polymer Science. “Polymers have long been entwined with the Akron community and The University of Akron has served as an international leader in polymer graduate education. This was an obvious next step for the college.”

Undergraduate students will build a strong foundation in polymer chemistry, polymer physics and polymer engineering with opportunities to specialize in sustainability, processing or biomaterials. They will learn analytical techniques and design with access to the 25 polymer-related research labs in the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

Polymer science and engineering is a versatile field of study with expert professionals working at the intersection of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering to develop material solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems. In fact, people interact with polymers every day, though they may not realize it. Polymers are macromolecules (or very large molecules) such as DNA, protein, paint, rubber and plastic, and are common in food and beverages. They are used in industries ranging from aerospace and electronics to medicine, petroleum and fiber.

Industry partners who hire our graduates, such as Avery Dennison, support this new program offering.

“We often hire undergraduates with pure chemistry and chemical engineering background and train them to become polymer professionals,“ says Nishad Dhopatkar, Research Associate at Avery Dennison. “While such a practice has its benefits, the learning curve and full onboarding tend to be very gradual. Moreover, not all the positions need a M.S. or Ph.D. Thus, candidates with undergraduate polymer degrees would prove immensely valuable.“

This news comes on the heels of the University’s recent ranking as No. 1 in polymer science and plastics engineering programs by global ranking site EduRank. UA’s strength in polymers dates back to 1909 when the world’s first course in rubber chemistry was taught on campus by Dr. C. M. Knight. Eventually, UA launched the first Ph.D. program in polymer chemistry in 1956. As the polymer industry grew and diversified, so did the programs, with UA ultimately offering cutting-edge academic and research programs in polymer science, polymer engineering and chemistry. Students benefit from industrial collaborations with local polymer-focused companies, state-of-the-art processing facilities and a wealth of research opportunities.

Students enrolled in the undergraduate program will have access to advising, career services and tutoring, all currently offered in the College of Engineering and Polymer Science. They can participate in design teams and student organizations, such as the Polymer Student Organization, and participate in the University’s famed Co-op and Placement Program.

For more information, visit the B.S. in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering webpage.

Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-6477 or