M.S. Degree Program - On-Campus


Overview - Packaging Master of Science On-Campus Program

The Master of Science degree in Packaging provides a broad education with specialized training in one of the areas of study listed below:

  • 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
  • Environmental impacts of packaging
  • Recycling
  • Automatic identification
  • Packaging in business and marketing
  • 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

M.S. Curriculum

Core Courses

The formal program for the M.S. degree consists of a minimum of 30 acceptable course credits. More than half of the program credits must be at the 800 level or higher.

Program Options

In the Thesis Option, students must complete PKG 825, PKG 860, and either PKG 805 or PKG 815. Thesis credits (PKG 899) must equal at least 6 but not more than 8. For the balance of requirements, go to the School of Packaging Graduate Handbook.

In the Non-thesis Option, a final examination is required. Students must complete PKG 825, 815 and 805, along with at least 3 additional credits of 800-level packaging courses, excluding PKG 890 and 899. For the balance of requirements, go to the School of Packaging Graduate Handbook.

Collateral Courses

Students who do not have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in packaging must enroll in core undergraduate packaging courses (or alternatively PKG 801, 803 & 804), in addition to completing the regular M.S. requirements. Collateral courses do not count towards the 30 required program credits. The students major advisor will work with the student to determine the courses.

M.S. Program Admission Requirements

The following are required for admission consideration:

  • Bachelor's degree in packaging or a related field
  • 3.0 (B) grade point average in last two years of undergraduate program
  • One year of college physics
  • One year of college chemistry, including introductory organic chemistry
  • One semester of calculus

Applicants to the graduate program are expected to have a year of college level chemistry (including introductory organic chemistry), a year of college level physics, and a semester of calculus. Prospective students who do not have this background are encouraged to take equivalent courses at a community college or university in their locale prior to coming to Michigan State University, as completion of these courses is ordinarily required before admission to the M.S. program.

Applying to the M.S. On-Campus 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 who do not hold a previous degree in Packaging will only be considered for the fall Semester. Students who do hold a Packaging degree may apply for fall or spring semester.

Application materials must be submitted by February 15 for the following fall semester.  Submission of application on time is required for full consideration.  International students are encouraged to apply and submit requirements as early as possible.

To apply for the M.S. On-campus program the following are required:

  1. Apply to our program and pay the application fee by going to https://admissions.msu.edu/apply and clicking on "Learn More" under Graduate Applications.
    International Students: Please print your name on the application exactly as it appears in your passport. The information will be used to complete the necessary visa documents, so matching your passport information is critical.

  2. Official Transcripts (Non-MSU) – 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 School of Packaging Graduate Program Coordinator. These records must show courses taken and grades earned and must be translated into English if the original records are in another language. A transcript of work taken at Michigan State University need not be requested. 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 later. If a document is translated, it should be certified as accurate and correct by an appropriate public or school official, or sponsoring agency or government.  The original record should be also included.

    • 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!

    • MSU Transcripts - please upload a copy of MSU transcripts to your application.

    • Admission to a graduate program requires completion of a level of education comparable/equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. 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. A Post Graduate Degree is not equivalent to a Master's.

  3. Three letters of recommendation

  4. Official Graduate Record of Examination (GRE) scores
    1. The GRE is a requirement for admission consideration. 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. Affidavit of Support – International students must submit the Statement of Financial Proof (Affidavit of Support) for the academic year you are applying for. These are found under "financial proof" at International Applicants | The Graduate School (msu.edu) 

    Financial proof must be provided in order to comply with U.S. Government regulations. Final admission will not be granted until the Office of Admissions is satisfied that all documents are complete and correct. At that time, your immigration document will be issued.  At the School of Packaging, Financial Proof does not need to be submitted unless you are accepted to our program.

  6. English-Language Scores -https://grad.msu.edu/english-language-competency

    All international applicants and applicants whose first language is not English must be able to be proficient in English as a condition for regular admission to Michigan State University. Such applicants will be required to demonstrate their proficiency by meeting certain minimum standards.

    Applicants should have all test scores sent from the testing agency directly to Michigan State University Most testing authorities are able to send scores electronically. In the rare case that a physical copy must be sent, it should be sent to; Office of Admissions; Hannah Administration Building; 426 Auditorium Road, Room 250; East Lansing, Michigan 48824-2604.

    Provisional admission status will continue until university minimum language proficiency requirements for English (regular admission proficiency) are attained. Provisionally admitted students are required to take the MSU English Language Test (MSUELT) upon arrival at MSU. The results of the MSU English Language Test determine whether students will:

    • Enroll in full-time academic courses.
    • Enroll in full-time English Language courses through the English Language Center.
    • Enroll in a combination of both academic courses and English Language courses.

    You may not enroll in full-time academic courses until you meet the university's minimum language proficiency requirement for English. Enrollment in English Language Center courses is NOT negotiable. Any questions regarding the university's minimum language proficiency requirements for English can be answered by the English Language Center; elc@msu.edu; 517-353-0800; https://elc.msu.edu/

    English language tests for international students: Due to cancellations of many international English language proficiency tests, MSU will be temporarily accepting the following tests for international students applying for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022: Duolingo English Test, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and the IELTS Indicator tests

    The English-Language requirement is automatically waived if: 

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

Helpful Links:

For advising and information regarding our Graduate programs:

Dr. Laura Bix
Graduate Advisor and Professor
Master's with thesis, and PhD
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-355-4556
E-mail: bixlaura@msu.edu 

Aaron Tucker
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Asst. Graduate Director of Advising
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-355-9580
E-mail: tucker68@msu.edu

For information regarding the application process, contact:

Cathie Allison
Graduate Program Coordinator
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-884-9566 
E-mail:  allisonc@msu.edu