Ph.D. Degree Program


The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Packaging provides a broad education with specialized training in one of the areas of study such as: 

  • Product and/or package damage in the physical distribution environment
  • Barrier characteristics of packaging systems and materials
  • Quality preservation and storage stability of packaged products
  • Mechanical properties of packaging materials and systems
  • Distribution packaging
  • Packaging systems development and optimization
  • Medical/pharmaceutical packaging
  • Human factors in packaging
  • Packaging in business and marketing
  • Recycling
  • Environmental impacts of packaging

 PH.D. Curriculum

The Ph.D. curriculum is highly individualized.  All students are required to complete the following:

  • PKG 985 Analytical Solutions to Packaging Design (3 credits)|
  • PKG 860 Research Methods (3 credits)
  • PKG 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research (24 credits)

Additional course requirements will be determined by the student's guidance committee. 

Ph.D. Program Admission Requirements

  • M.S. degree with thesis in packaging or a related science or engineering area
  • Grade point average of at least 3.40 (4 point scale) in M.S. program

Students are admitted to the PhD program only in the fall semester (late August) except in unusual circumstances.

Application materials must be submitted by October 15 for the following fall semester. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; submission of application on time is an important requirement for full consideration.

International students are encouraged to apply and submit requirements as early as possible or at least by the October 15 deadline.

Applying to the PhD Program

Application Requirements for the Packaging PhD program:

  1. Apply and pay the application fee at
    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. Complete the School of Packaging Supplemental Application found at Supplemental PhD and upload it to your application.

  3. 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.
    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

  6. Admission is contingent on acceptance of the applicant by a faculty member willing to serve as the applicant’s major professor. Applicants are encouraged to correspond with faculty working in their areas of interest who they would like to have as their major professor, to let faculty know of their interest and qualifications. Acceptance by a major professor does not guarantee admission or funding. Go to the School of Packaging Faculty Directory for a list of faculty and their information.

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

  7. Affidavit of Support -  Find the most current form at Affidavit of Support.

  8. 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:

The English-Language requirement is automatically waived if:

Important Links and Forms

For More Information regarding our program and courses, contact:

Dr. Maria Rubino
Graduate Advisor and Professor
The School of Packaging
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1223
Telephone: 517-355-0172
Fax (517) 353-8999

For more information regarding the application process, contact:

Susan Barnaby
Graduate Secretary
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-884-9566