On supermarket shelves, in toy stores, drugstores and in warehouses, most people are interested in the products available and not so much in their containers. But packaging is more than just a pretty bottle. Manufacturers have specific requirements for a product’s packaging: it may need to withstand certain temperatures, be a certain shape, be tamper-resistant, contain a pump capable of releasing a fine mist, or have other properties. The manufacture of packaged goods is a multi-billion-dollar business and has a significant impact on both the New Jersey and US economies.
Packaging engineering is a multi-disciplinary field within the Applied Sciences in Engineering major at RU that draws on chemical, industrial, materials, and mechanical engineering in order to design and create boxes, cartons, bottles, and other packing materials that meet specific criteria. Packaging engineers typically collaborate with colleagues in research and development, manufacturing, marketing, graphic design, and regulatory departments to address technical and marketing challenges.
Increased concern for the environment has created greater demand for packaging engineers. As companies strive to “go green” they seek innovative, sustainable, lightweight packaging that can minimize the amount of fuel used and greenhouse gases emitted during transportation. Waste disposal is also a key consideration as manufacturers seek packaging that can be recycled or biodegrade naturally.
Rutgers offers the nation’s only packaging program in the nation housed in an engineering school. Rutgers students who enroll in the Packaging Engineering option in Applied Sciences follow the specific Packaging Engineering curriculum, which includes courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, computers and business. Students in any major who complete certain coursework may earn a certificate in Packaging Engineering.
New Jersey has a concentration of blue-chip companies that rely on innovative, efficient, sustainable packaging. The Rutgers Packaging Engineering program enjoys the support of many of these companies, including Bayer HealthCare, Estée Lauder, InterParfums and L'Oréal Paris. The program’s advisory board includes scientists and executives from Avon, Bristol Myers Squibb, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Mally Beauty, HCP-USA Packaging, Pfizer, Coty, Mary Kay and Revlon. These companies provide technical and financial support to the program and provide our students with training and job opportunities.
Hands on Experience
Many of our students gain hands-on business and engineering experience through internships and co-op programs, where they can earn up to six degree credits for work experience in an industrial environment and make valuable networking connections. They are often offered full-time positions after graduation.