PhD Degree Program

PhD 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

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the student must meet the requirements specified below.


To be admitted to the PhD Degree Program in Packaging on regular status, a student must have:

  1. Completed a master's degree program in packaging, or in a related science or engineering area, for which a thesis was required, or a completed bachelor's degree in packaging or related science or engineering area with significant intensive research experience such as having peer-reviewed journal publications as the main author, or conducting several semesters of research work.
  2. A grade–point average of at least 3.4 for the bachelor's or master's degree program.
  3. Acceptable scores on the GRE General Test.
  4. Have a School of Packaging faculty member willing to serve as the student's major advisor.

Provisional admission may be granted to an applicant who does not meet the above requirements but shows outstanding potential.

Guidance Committee

Each student must, with the approval and assistance of their major professor, form a guidance committee consisting of at least four regular faculty members (including the major professor), three must be School of Packaging faculty, and one must be from another department within MSU or from outside the MSU community with special approval. The guidance committee must be formed within the first two semesters of doctoral study. It will meet periodically as needed during the student’s course of study, preferably twice per year, including for administration of the comprehensive examination, and the final dissertation defense.

Program Requirements

Requirements for the PhD Degree Program in Packaging as of FS21 - The student must:                                                                                                                       

  1. Complete one of the following courses (3 credits):
    • PKG 805 Advanced Packaging Dynamics, 3 credits
    • PKG 815 Permeability Shelf Life, 3 credits
  1. Complete both of the following courses (7 credits):
    • PKG 825 Polymeric Packaging Materials, 4 credits
    • PKG 860 Research Methods, 3 credits
  1. Complete an additional 3 credits of 800-level Packaging courses excluding PKG 890.
  2. Complete 24 to 36 credits in PKG 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research.
  3. Pass both a written and an oral comprehensive examination.
  4. Complete a dissertation in one of the following areas of packaging: material science applications in packaging, food packaging, healthcare packaging, mass transport applications, or the dynamics and physical distribution aspects or human factors in packaging.
  5. Successfully defend the dissertation

Additional courses must be completed as specified by the student’s guidance committee and indicated in GradPlan.

It is expected that the program will consist of a minimum of 45 credits. Students are admitted to the PhD Degree Program only in the Fall Semester.

Application Requirements

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