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Program Overview

The mission of the School of Packaging at Michigan State University is to educate packaging professionals and to create innovative solutions that enhance or maintain product quality, increase efficiency and reduce waste. In doing so, we contribute to the economic development and quality of life of citizens within the State of Michigan and across the world through highly relevant educational experiences and cutting-edge research. More than half of all packaging graduates employed in the U.S. come from Michigan State. Throughout more than six decades of dynamic development, the MSU School of Packaging has built significant research expertise and earned national and international recognition in physical distribution and protective packaging. The School of Packaging was the first to develop a graduate program in Packaging Science and still today is the only one offering a Ph.D. in Packaging Science.

Program Outcomes

Through the core required courses, students will gain in-depth knowledge in three major packaging areas: plastics packaging, distribution dynamics, and permeability and shelf-life. Electives offer the ability to further explore specific areas of interest, either in packaging-specific offerings or through coursework in related areas. Students will gain experience in applying mathematics, science and technology to packaging-related problems, assessing the suitability of packaging materials and designs for specific applications, and in critically evaluating new knowledge presented in the scientific literature.

Career Outlook

Graduates of the MSU School of Packaging are sought after by employers in the United States and internationally. Few graduate students leave the program without at least one job offer in hand. Graduates with advanced degrees are more likely to go into education, research, or management positions than those with B.S. degrees, and less likely to go into production positions. A wide variety of types of companies employ graduates with advanced degrees.



  • PKG 8053 Credits
  • PKG 815Permeability and Shelf Life3 Credits


  • Course work 400-level15 Credits
  • Course work 800-900 level 21 Credits
  • PKG 825Polymeric Packaging Materials4 Credits

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

    Bachelor's degree in packaging or a related field

  2. 3.0 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  3. Completed coursework

    One year of college physics, one year of college chemistry, including introductory organic chemistry, one semester of calculus. 3.0 (B) grade point average in last two years of undergraduate program.

  4. Previous work experience


  5. Taken the GRE
  6. A written personal statement

  7. 3 letters of recommendation

    Three letters of recommendation

  8. Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete a university graduate application (program code: 0527)
  2. GRE scores are requested but may be waived

For full consideration, the application for admission, application fee, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, and other required documents must be received by the school at least two months prior to the anticipated first semester of enrollment.

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Key Dates

Rolling applications. Students can start the program in any semester. We recommend applications are submitted at least one month prior to the start of the semester to allow time for processing.

Tuition & Fees

In State Tuition

  • $29,760
  • Total


As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.