Certificate Program in Plastics Engineering Technology

The Plastics Engineering Technology Certificate provides professional training in plastics industry theory and technology. Students are given practical instruction applicable to materials, processing, and design engineering. Courses are taught by the Department of Plastics Engineering's staff of international experts.

This program is designed to serve adult students already working in positions in plastics or packaging who need formal education in their work areas.

Required Courses: (5)

  1. 27.201 Plastics Material Science I (Commodity Thermoplastics) (3cr)
  2. 27.202 Plastics Material Science II (Engineering Resins) (3cr)
  3. 27.219 Introduction to Plastics Processing (Formerly 27.207) (3cr)
  4. 27.331 Injection Molding (3cr)
  5. 27.345 Principles of Extrusion (3cr)

Certificate Requirements

Students enrolled in UMass Lowell certificate programs must complete all courses, generally consisting of both required courses and electives. Students may complete the certificate program at their own pace, enrolling in one or two courses each semester. Courses on-campus typically meet one night per week, three hours each night, during the Fall and Spring semesters. Online students generally log on to their course site one or more times per week to retrieve lectures and assignments or to participate in a chat session. For more information on online courses, visit our online program home page.

In addition to the Fall and Spring semesters, students may also have the opportunity to accelerate their programs of study during two concentrated six-week Summer sessions. Online courses are also offered during the Summer semester, but typically run from May through August unless otherwise noted. All students should anticipate at least two hours of preparation for every hour of classroom instruction. Students are required to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better to receive the certificate.

Application into the Program

Those who wish to enroll in the certificate program should submit a completed application form and arrange to have either their official high school transcript, GED or their most recent college transcript for those with any previous college experience, sent to Continuing Education. Applications, transcripts, and other correspondence should be sent to:

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Online & Continuing Education
OCE Admissions - Southwick Hall, Rm 203
1 University Avenue
Lowell, MA, 01854
Phone: 978-934-2474

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and there is no fee to apply. Upon acceptance, notification will be sent to students.

Registering for Courses

The Division of Online and Continuing Education offers courses during the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Information about current course offerings, schedules, and registration procedures is published regularly on our website. If you would like to receive a printed Course Bulletin, please contact our Faculty and Student Support Center at (978) 934-2474.

You may take courses without being officially enrolled in a certificate or degree program, but you must meet the particular course prerequisites. Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Class size is limited. We recommend that you register early to reserve your place in class.

Transfer Policy

With the program coordinator's approval, one course may be transferred from another accredited institution to satisfy undergraduate certificate program requirements. The course should be equivalent to UMass Lowell instruction, applicable to the intended program, and the student must have received a grade equivalent to a C- (1.70 on a 4.00 scale) or better.

Academic Advising

Program Coordinators and Faculty and Student Support Specialists are available by appointment to help students determine appropriate course loads, discuss admission requirements, and review the transferability of courses. For online advising, email us at Continuing_Education@uml.edu. To schedule an appointment with a Program Coordinator or Faculty and Student Support Specialist, please call Online and Continuing Education at (978) 934-2474. General academic advising is also available at the Faculty and Student Support Center on a drop-in basis, located in Southwick Hall, Room 203 on UMass Lowell North. Call (978) 934-2474 or stop by the office Monday through Thursday between 8:30am-8:00pm and on Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm.

Awarding of Certificates

Upon successful completion of the certificate program, students must submit a completed Certificate Petition Form to Online and Continuing Education. Upon verification, students will be mailed their certificates. Receipt of the certificate will be noted formally on the student's transcript with an award date of October, February, or June.


Please refer to our current course listings published online each semester for up-to-date pricing information or refer to the Online and Continuing Education Course Bulletin each semester.

For More Information

For additional information on any of our programs, call Online and Continuing Education at (978) 934-2474 or email Continuing_Education@uml.edu.

For information on Financial Aid, call the Financial Aid Office at (978) 934-4220.

Course Descriptions

PTEC.2030 Plastics Material Science III -Thermosetting Resin

Provides an in-depth review of the major families of thermosetting resins: phenolics, aminos, polyesters, epoxies, silicones, and various polyurethane systems. Emphasis is on basic chemistry, inherent physical properties and process ability, and the effect of incorporating fillers, reinforcements, colorants, lubricants, and other chemical additives in order to engineer-in necessary processing ease, and to meet functional performance end-use demands. 3 credits.

PTEC.4400 Commercial Development of Plastics

The concepts of industrial marketing will be reviewed for research, pricing strategies, and product planning for market segmentation, place (distribution), and promotional activities. Topics will include creating a demand, selling, and servicing base resins and additives. 3 credits.

27.201 Plastics Material Science I (Commodity Thermoplastics)

Serves as an introductory course reviewing the history, classification, definitions and terminology, raw materials, methods of manufacturing, testing-characterization of typical physical properties, and end-uses of polymeric materials systems. Emphasis will be on the commodity thermoplastics, polyolefins, vinyls and styrenics. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.202 Plastics Material Science II (Engineering Resins)

Presents a continuation of 27.201, emphasizing engineering thermoplastics, nylons and acetals, acrylics and cellulosics, polycarbonates, polysulfones, modified PPE, polyesters, fluoropolymers, polyamides, PPS, PEI and LCPs, copolymers, alloys and blends. Discussions will review the chemistry, properties, process ability and design limitations of these high-performance engineering and specialty polymers. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.219 Introduction to Plastics Processing (Formerly 27.207)

The first part of the course will cover bulk properties, rheology, and miscellaneous properties which affect processing. Basic equipment such as drives, heater bands, various instrumentation, and barrels and screws will be thoroughly examined and discussed. The third core portion of the course will address basic extrusion. The remainder of the course will cover material designed to permit seamless transition to the injection molding course. Depending on the interests and backgrounds of course participants, the instructor will explore various forming processes, such as blown film, flat film, and profiles and pipes. Other processes and troubleshooting will be covered as time permits. 3 credits. Prerequisite: 27.201 Special Notes: Special Notes: Packaging Certificate enrollees only; NOT acceptable as credit course in the baccalaureate program.

27.301 Additives for Polymeric Materials

Presents an analysis of additives including stabilizers, plasticizers, fillers and reinforcements, biocides, flame retardants, anti-static agents, and release agents. Special emphasis will be placed on the characteristics of each type of additive, compatibility interactions and effects on processing. A review of the most current methods of testing efficiency of each additive system will also be covered. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.331 Injection Molding

This course is an overview of the injection molding industry-its productivity; utilization; and yield -as well as an introductory discussion of applicable materials for injection molding, the theories of plastication and morphology, and the industrial standards used to specify the types of injection molding machinery, safety considerations, and recent innovations in injection molding processing technologies. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.332 Advanced Injection Molding

Comprehensive review of the injection molding process is combined with discussions of the underlying engineering principles as well as their application in the molding environment. Discussion of the basics of the process and practical analysis which may be applied to improving efficiency in the molding shop. Prerequisite: 27.331 3 credits. Prerequisite: 27.331

27.333 Polymer Processing

This course provides an introduction to the major industrial processes used to manufacture products from commercial thermoplastic materials. Topics covered in the course include the processing behavior of thermoplastic materials, and the primary manufacturing processes including compounding and mixing, single- and twin-screw extrusion, injection molding and injection molding variants (multi-shot, gas-assisted and co-injection), blow molding and thermoforming. Attention is also given to the function, design and characterization of the plasticating screw systems used in the primary processes, power and energy consumption, and the cooling processes used to finalize the finished products. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.341 Extrusion Die Design

Fundamental principles of extrusion die design and die technology. Both theoretical and practical applications of extrusion dies are discussed, including materials of construction. Die types covered in the course include blown film, flat film, sheet, tubing, pipe, wire coating and profile dies. Concepts related to viscous fluid flow and elastic effects, as it relates to die swell, are covered. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.342 Principles of Compounding (See new course #27.343)

This course, involving both lectures and demonstration laboratory sessions, focuses on the technology, economics, and challenges of extrusion compounding. Basic rheological behavior, the fundamentals of polymer modifiers and additives, and the influence of equipment (two-roll mill, single-and twin-screw extrusion) will be examined. 3 credits.

27.345 Principles of Extrusion

This course, involving both lectures and demonstration laboratory sessions, is an overview of the extrusion industry. The basic concepts of extrusion will be developed through commercial applications such as the manufacturing of film and sheet, profile, tubing and piping, and fibers. Basic compounding technologies, including single-and twin-screw extrusion will be examined. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.373 Plastics Mold Design I

Explores material in both the class and laboratory format. Topics include an introduction to the principles of basic mold and die design and construction and laboratory design of molds and/or dies to be constructed in continuing portions of this course. Lecture, laboratory and demonstrations will be offered at the discretion of the instructor. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.375 Injection Molding Simulation Using Moldflow(TM)

This course provides students with the necessary understanding and skills to utilize in practice Moldflow's(TM) injection molding simulation software during the design to manufacturing process of injection molded plastic parts. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.376 Plastics Mold Engineering II

Serves as a continuation of 27.373 3 credits. Prerequisite: 27.373

27.403 Physical Properties of Polymers I

Introduces basic mechanical properties of polymers as linear viscoelastic materials. The concepts of creep, stress relaxation, and superposition principles are emphasized. Dynamic mechanical behavior, interrelations between various properties, electrical behavior, miscellaneous mechanical properties, and optical properties will also be covered. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.406 Polymer Structures/Properties

Presents the fundamental relationship between molecular structure, properties, and end-use application of plastics materials. Molecular structural features include chemical composition, molecular size and flexibility, intermolecular order and bonding, and super molecular structure. Properties to be covered include process ability, mechanical, acoustic, thermal, electrical, optical and chemical properties, price, and balance of properties. Applications to be discussed include rigid solids, flexible solids, foams, film, and non-plastic applications. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.407 Plastics Industry Organization

Discusses the economics of producing plastics raw materials and converting them into end products, from research and development to plant construction, operation and marketing. Market analysis of plastics production, processing, and consumer patterns; co 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.418 Plastics Product Design

Discusses the theoretical principles and sound engineering practices involved in the design of new end products made from polymers, applying the total systems approach to the balance between product design, choice of materials, tool design, and process techniques, as they affect competitive choices for commercial success. A semester project is required. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.425 Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Plastics I

Focuses on the principles, experimental techniques, and investigative strategies for characterizing the viscoelastic behavior of polymers using dynamic mechanical techniques. Lectures and demonstrations will review the methodology for identifying the important theological characteristics of polymeric solutions, melts, and solids. Comparisons with other, more traditional practices will be established for quality of data, sensitivity of macromolecular architecture, and components of materials engineering. 3 credits. Prerequisite: None.

27.426 Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Plastics II

Serves as a continuation of the 27.425 introductory course. 3 credits. Prerequisite: 27.425

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Admission Into the Program

Apply Online or complete the Certificate Program Application Form (pdf)

Register for Courses

Approximately 2 months prior to the start of each semester, Online and Continuing Education posts the new course schedule to the website. Once you've decided which course(s) you would like to take, returning students can register using SIS self-service, while new students must use the Non Degree Registration Form.

Questions? Contact Us!

Email our Student Support Center at Continuing_Education@uml.edu for assistance, or call for advising at (800) 480-3190 and press 1 to speak with an advisor. You may also set up an appointment to speak with an advisor in person, by phone, or by Skype. See links at the bottom of this page for technical assistance with your online course.