B.S. Plastics Engineering | University of Wisconsin - Stout

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Do you like materials science and design?
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
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If you are interested in an industry that has a worldwide impact – now and in the future – plastics engineering is the right fit for you. UW-Stout's Bachelor of Science degree in Plastics Engineering focuses on plastics materials engineering and industrial plastics processing lab activities and engineering design projects to prepare you for career opportunities in:

  • Materials science
  • Product design
  • Research and development
  • Mold and/or tool design
  • Failure analysis
  • Process simulation
  • Quality sciences
  • Experimental design
  • Manufacturing

Our industry-experienced faculty has developed a math- and a science-based curriculum grounded in plastics materials science and mechanical engineering principles. You will progress from solid foundations in mathematics through analysis and design, to in-depth study in heat transfer, fluid mechanic and design principles.

The Plastics Engineering program prepares pragmatic plastics engineers who will respond aggressively to the changing needs of the global marketplace. / UW-Stout

The Plastics Engineering program is a calculus-based program that progresses from solid foundations in mathematics through analysis and design. The program emphasizes lab activities and student engineering design projects, with a particular focus on plastics materials and processing. 

100% of Our Graduates are Employed or Continuing Education

Your preparation will give you a competitive edge, so you can help bring the region's plastics industries to the forefront of the field in the design, development, and manufacture of plastic products. UW-Stout offers the only undergraduate Plastics Engineering program in the UW System.

Big Idea winner, a plastics machine, to compete for state prize

The winner of UW-Stout’s Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament will compete for the $2,000 top prize in the state tournament
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Plastics engineers are in high demand. Internships or co-op jobs will get you ready to tackle global materials and processing issues as a process/project engineer, manufacturing engineer, or product design engineer. There is almost no aspect of modern life that is not dependent on plastic. It's easy to see why talented, knowledgeable, well-trained plastics engineers are in high demand. If you want to be a part of an industry that has a worldwide impact – now and in the future – plastics may be the right fit for you.

Preparing for Plastics Engineering

You must have an aptitude for science and mathematics as a foundation for success in this program. We encourage you to take as many upper-level math and science courses in high school as possible, including mathematics through algebra and trigonometry, physics and chemistry. Early development of computer skills is also very helpful.

Starting Out

The first two years of the program include English composition, communication and other general education offerings, as well as mathematics, physics and engineering fundamentals.

At the end of your sophomore and/or junior year you will complete a paid, off-campus plastics industry co-op opportunity. The average hourly wage for Plastics Engineering co-ops during the 2013-2014 academic year was $16.15/hour. Toward the end of your program, you'll integrate all your previous coursework into capstone courses involving advanced product design or independent research.

Admission Requirements

New Freshmen

  • Rank in the top 40 percent of your class (or for high schools that do not rank, earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) with a minimum ACT math score of 22 (or SAT equivalent)
    or
  • have a minimum ACT score of 22 (or SAT equivalent) with a minimum ACT math score of 22 (or SAT equivalent)

Students who do not meet one of the academic requirements above will be admitted as Pre-Engineering and may qualify for the Engineering major by completing the appropriate courses at UW-Stout.

Transfer Students

1. Both "Test A" and "Test B" below must be satisfied:

  • Test A 
    • have a minimum ACT composite score of 22 (or SAT equivalent)
      or
    • rank in the top 40 percent of your high school graduating class (or for high schools that do not rank, earn a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  • Test B
    • have a minimum ACT math score of 22

2. You have transferred either of the following Calculus courses with a grade of "B" or better (note: a grade of "B-" is not sufficient):

  • MATH-153: Calculus I  or  MATH-156: Calculus and Analytic Geometry I

3. You have transferred the following sequence of courses with an earned cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale:

  • MATH-153: Calculus I  or  MATH-156: Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH-154: Calculus II  or  MATH-157: Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
  • PHYS-291: Statics  or  PHYS-281: University Physics I
  • CHEM-135: College Chemistry I

If you do not meet any of the academic requirements above, but do meet the requirements for general admission to the university, you will be admitted to the university as Pre-Engineering. You may qualify for the engineering major by meeting either requirement 2 or 3 once at UW-Stout.

Objectives & Outcomes

Program Educational Objectives 

The Plastics Engineering program develops plastics engineers who are: 

  • In demand by plastics industry employers.
  • Recognized for their ability to apply engineering expertise in the plastics industry.
  • Recognized for their leadership and teamwork skills.
  • Demonstrating continued career growth and professional development. 

Student Outcomes

UW-Stout Plastics Engineering program graduates who have:

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  4. an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  7. an ability to communicate effectively
  8. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  10. a knowledge of contemporary issues
  11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  12. the ability to apply knowledge of the material properties of plastics to part design and processing.
Facts About Plastics

Did you know:

  • Plastic grocery bags use less energy, fewer fossil fuels, less water, and produce less waste than paper grocery bags? Plastic bags are also recyclable at most grocery stores.
  • All plasticware (cups, spoons, forks, knives) used at the Terrace and the Pawn in UW-Stout's Memorial Student Center are made from plastic derived from corn starch? These plastics derived from corn are also compostable!
  • Plastics researchers are working with plastics that degrade in the human body (breaking down into natural substances that your body already produces and excretes) in order to repair or replace diseased or damaged human tissue.
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