MS Degree: 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 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) 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.

MS Degree Requirements

The master’s degree program in packaging without thesis.  A total of 30 credits is required for the degree.  The student’s program of study must be discussed with the MS Advisor and approved by the Graduate Director and the Current Chair of the Graduate Committee.

Requirements for MS without thesis, the student must:

  • Complete a minimum of 30 credits with required and approved coursework.
  • Complete a minimum of 16 credits at the 800 level.
  • A maximum of 14 credits can be completed at the 400 level.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic statistics.
  • Have the Program Plan completed by the end of the second semester or after 15 degree credits.

Course Requirements for MS with thesis:

  • Packaging 805
  • Packaging 815
  • Packaging 825.
  • An additional 6 credits in 800-900 level Packaging courses excluding Packaging 888, 890, and 899.
  • Pass a final thesis capstone paper.

Note that courses can count in multiple categories.

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 who hold a Packaging degree may begin their M.S. On-line graduate program either in the fall, spring or summer semesters, though fall semester is preferred. Students who do not hold a previous degree in Packaging will only be considered for the fall Semester. For full consideration, the application for admission and all requirements must be received at least two (2) months prior for U.S. Citizens and three (3) months prior for all International students, prior to the anticipated first semesters of enrollment. 

How to Apply - Application Requirements:

  • Apply to our program by going to 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.

  • 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 Secretary. 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. 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. A Post Graduate Degree is not equivalent to a Master's.

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • Official Graduate Record of Examination (GRE) scores.
    1. The GRE is required. 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:

  • English Language Test Scores

    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 must 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. Test scores are only valid up to 2 years prior to the start of the enrollment semester. For detailed information, go to

    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;; 517-353-0800;

    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


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 

Helpful Links:

For advising and information regarding our MS Degree Online Graduate Program:

Aaron Tucker
Asst. Graduate Director of Advising
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-355-9580

For information regarding the application process:

Cathie Allison
Graduate Program Coordinator
The School of Packaging
Telephone: 517-884-9566