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The Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The field of polymers is highly dynamic and interdisciplinary. Our Ph.D. program in Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst naturally reflects that perspective. We provide a broad and fundamental introduction to all the major polymer subfields as well as individualized courses of study. Flexibility in the curriculum, particularly in the second and subsequent semesters, allows students to undertake basic coursework in related disciplines (chemistry, biochemistry, physics, or engineering) and/or more specialized coursework in polymers. Although some students enter the program with previous polymer experience, either academic or industrial, a polymer background is not required. The PSE department's collection of polymer instrumentation is one of the largest in the world, a feature that permits doctoral students to gain unusually broad experimental proficiency during their thesis research.  Given the educational background of our Faculty, the core graduate designed curriculum is designed to cover fundamental principles spanning chemistry to engineering.  For example,  mechanisms of organic radical reactions and organo-metallic catalysis in the polymer chemistry classes; principles and models of chain dynamics, phase transitions, and morphology in polymer physics classes; and fundamental principles of transport, fluid mechanics, and soft materials mechanics in polymer engineering classes.  The Degree Requirements section of this website gives a detailed description of the formal requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

A PhD. in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMass Amherst prepares graduates for leadership roles in industry, academia, and government labs.  The success of UMass PSE alumni is linked to their graduate education experience which combines deep technical focus with broader education in a multidisciplinary department with strong ties to centers, national labs, and industrial collaborations.

Admission Requirements:

  • A B.S. or B.A. in chemistry, physics, materials science, biophysics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, bioengineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and related fields.  If your undergraduate major is not listed here, please contact the graduate office.  PSE, and the polymer community more broadly, has a long tradition of welcoming and training students who follow non-traditional paths to finding their passion in this field.
  • Undergraduate coursework in the following courses is helpful preparation for success in our graduate program: organic chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, mathematics (preferably through ordinary differential equations and/or linear algebra), and laboratory experience in chemistry. Additional courses that are helpful: solid state or condensed matter physics, mechanics of materials, materials science and engineering, statistical thermodynamics, analytical chemistry, polymer science and engineering. This list is meant to be helpful; not exclusive. If you have any questions related to classes, please contact us.