As would be expected in a field that changes as quickly as polymers, our curriculum rapidly evolves to reflect both current trends and fundamental polymer studies. First-year candidates in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department are fully supported by the department, without teaching requirements, to concentrate on their coursework; all polymer science and engineering students join intensive research groups within the first year. All doctoral candidates are supported year-round by a stipend and tuition waiver.
Polymer science and engineering courses at the graduate level are available to all University of Massachusetts graduate students, and such courses are frequently taught as interdisciplinary efforts involving faculty in related fields such as chemistry, chemical engineering, and biology. These courses are also available to advanced undergraduates with instructor permission.
The Department also offers a large number of special topics courses that last from two weeks to a full semester. They are taught by professors who have a special interest in these topics, and they are extremely popular with both PSE and other students.
In addition to semester-long courses, we regularly offer one- or two-day short courses on focused academic topics such as electron microscopy, NMR spectroscopy, or surface analysis. These short courses are suitable for both industrial scientists and the public. The Center for Research on Polymers (CUMIRP) housed in Conte, coordinates many of these short courses.
Although formally supporting only a doctoral program, our department teaches and trains at all levels, from K-12 through adult education. Programs regularly available to undergraduates within the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Five College Area include overview polymer courses and opportunities for faculty-supervised research.
Both faculty and students participate in educational outreach beyond the local university community. PSE graduate students are heavily involved in local K-12 educational activities that introduce younger students to polymers. Our faculty members also teach short courses on evolving science and engineering topics at professional meetings across the country.