M.S. Degree Program - Online

The Online M.S. program is designed to meet the needs of packaging professionals involved in all aspects of the industry as well as those with a general technology background. There is considerable flexibility in designing your degree program to fit your interests.  This Plan B (non-thesis) program requires completion of 30 credits and can be completed in about three years by averaging one course per semester including summer semesters. The time commitment for an online course averages 10 to 15 hours per week.

Admission Requirements

The basic admission criteria are identical for the on campus and online programs.  Those requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in packaging or a related field
  • 3.0 (B) GPA in the last two years of the undergraduate program
  • One year of college physics
  • One year of college chemistry, including organic chemistry
  • One semester of calculus

MS Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits is required for the Master's Plan B degree and must satisfy the following minimum requirements (note that courses can count in multiple categories)

  • Complete 15 credits in Packaging courses at the 400-level or above. More than half of the 30 credits required for the degree must be at the 800-level or above.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic statistics
  • Required core courses
    PKG 825  – Polymeric Packaging Materials (4 credits)
    PKG 805  – Advanced Packaging Dynamics (3 credits) 
    PKG 815  – Permeability and Shelf Life (3 credits)
  • An additional 6 credits in 800-900 level Packaging courses excluding Packaging 888, 890, and 899.
  • Complete other course requirements as specified in Academic Program Plan approved by major professor, including collateral courses if needed (see below).
  • Pass the Plan B Examination - A final examination is required during the last semester of the program. See the School of Packaging Graduate Handbook for details.

Collateral courses

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in packaging are required to complete the following or may show competency in these areas through waiver. These courses DO NOT count towards the 30 required program credits:

PKG 801 – Packaging Materials
PKG 803 – Packaging Distribution and Dynamics
PKG 804 – Packaging Processes

Applying to the Packaging MS Online Program

We are very pleased that you are interested in graduate study in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University. Our department is committed to providing excellent graduate education.

Students may begin their M.S. On-line graduate program either in the fall, spring or summer semesters, though fall semester is preferred. 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 for U.S. citizens; at least 3 months prior for international students.

Application Requirements

  1. Apply and pay the application fee at https://grad.msu.edu/apply
    1. Be sure to include both the Academic and Personal Statements
    2. U.S. citizens and permanent residents should complete a domestic application. All others should complete an international application.

  2. Request the registrar of each college or university attended to mail all records of any previous schooling (mark sheets, transcripts, diplomas, certificates, etc.) directly to the MSU Office of Admissions or the MSU School of Packaging Graduate Secretary. These records must show courses taken and grades earned and must be translated into English if the original records are in another language. These documents must arrive in an envelope sealed by the issuing university. Documents issued to students are not acceptable. If the transcript does not indicate that the degree has been awarded, a copy of the diploma is also required. If the degree has not yet been completed, this document must be provided at a later time. 
    • Do not submit your only original transcript, certificate, and/or diploma! The MSU Office of Admissions does NOT return any documents received in Central Admissions.
    • Admission to a graduate program requires completion of a level of education comparable/equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. Normally, Michigan State University does not accept three-year bachelor’s degrees, diplomas or certificates as comparable to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. Exceptions are made by the Office of Admissions in the case of Indian students who have earned both three-year bachelor’s degrees and two-year master’s degrees.

  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation
    1. You will receive an email providing a link for references to upload their letters to your application portal once your application fee has been paid and online application has been submitted. Please be sure to forward this information to your references.
    2. Choose letter writers who know you well academically and/or professionally and can speak to your potential suitability for graduate school.

  4. Official Graduate Record of Examination (GRE) Scores
    1. Please request that ETS send your scores to MSU electronically. MSU code is 1465 and there is no subject code for Packaging; use the code for “other.”

      IN ADDITION to the above, international applicants must also provide:

  5. English-Language Scores - International students must take an English competency test (TOEFL, IELTS, etc). Test scores are valid up to 2 years prior to the start of the enrollment semester. For detailed information, go to: http://elc.msu.edu/

The English-Language requirement is automatically waived if:

    • the applicant has been awarded a Bachelor's degree earned in the U.S.
    • the applicant has been awarded a Master's degree earned at an AAU Institution on a U.S. campus go to https://www.aau.edu/who-we-are/our-members


Michigan State University will not be offering certain online programs to students based on their residence at the time of application for admission to Michigan State University - see State-By-State Summary https://esp.msu.edu/StateSummary.pdf 

Important Links and Forms

M.S. Degree Program - On-Campus - School of Packaging

For advising and information regarding our Graduate programs:

Dr. Maria Rubino
Graduate Advisor and Professor
Master's Plan A (with thesis) and PhD
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-355-0172
E-mail: mariar@msu.edu

Aaron Tucker
Academic Advisor, Undergraduate and Plan B Masters
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-355-9580
E-mail: tucker68@msu.edu

For information regarding the application process, contact:

Susan Barnaby
Graduate Secretary
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-884-9566 
E-Mail: barnaby@msu.edu