B.S. Plastics Engineering

Do you like materials science and design?
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Careers & Salaries Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus

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 (PLE) will teach you product and mold design, materials science and advanced processing techniques. Hands-on experiences will prepare you to create biodegradable and compostable plastics. You'll be ready to develop innovations in medical, automotive and other plastic products.

UW-Stout's B.S. Plastics Engineering degree will teach you skills in how to create biodegradable and compostable plastics to help protect the earth. / UW-Stout

The Plastics Engineering program is a calculus-based program that progresses from solid foundations in mathematics through analysis and design. Our industry-experienced faculty has developed a math- and a science-based curriculum grounded in plastics materials science and mechanical engineering principles.


Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


UW-Stout Plastics Engineering graduates effectively meet the outcome criteria for the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. ABET accredits university STEM programs that meet a high level of quality and whose graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce.

Meet our faculty:

Your hands-on preparation to work with plastics 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.


100% of Our Graduates are Employed or Continuing Education

Plastics engineers are in high demand. Internships or co-op jobs will prepare you 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.You can change the future of plastics. 

#1 in 2022 Best Value Polymer & Plastics Engineering Schools

UW-Stout has been ranked as the #1 best value school two years in a row!

"I have had many great professors that have always gone the extra mile for me to make sure I understood the material. This is a great school for people who love to learn hands-on, which is what brought me here."

-- Riley Wittmann
B.S. Plastics Engineering

Learn how to lead the way. Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Bachelor of Science degree in Plastics Engineering.

Request Information

Scholarships Available for PLE Freshmen 2022–2023:

  • Advanced Molding Technologies (2)
  • Andersen Corporation (2)
  • EVCO (1)
  • Five Star Plastics (1)
  • Nolato Contour (1)
  • Norflex (1)
  • Phillips-Medisize (1)
    *Phillips-Medisize also sponsors a $1,500 scholarship for Plastics Engineering sophomores.
  • RTP (1)
  • Scientific Molding Corporation (2)

More Information on Scholarships >

Advance Molding Technologies logo Anderson Windows logo  EVCO logo  
Five Star Plastics logo  Isometric Micro Molding  Nolato logo   Norflex logo    Phillips Medisize logo
RTP logo    Scientific Molding Corporation      


Admission Requirements

The following requirements are only for these four Engineering programs:

New First-Year Students - Spring 2023

All first-year students will be admitted as Pre-Engineering students to their specific program. For example, B.S. Computer and Electrical Engineering applicants will be admitted as Pre-Computer and Electrical Engineering students. Students will then follow the major change request process once they meet the criteria to be accepted into their intended Engineering program.

Major Change Criteria:

You have earned college credit while in high school or while attending UW-Stout for 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


You have earned college credit while in high school or while attending UW-Stout for 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

New First-Year Students - Fall 2023+

  • There are no additional requirements for new first-year students. Students accepted into the university will be admitted directly into the engineering program of their choice.

Transfer Students - Spring 2023

Only ONE of the following three need be met:

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

  • Test A 
    • have a minimum ACT composite score of 22 (or SAT equivalent)
    • 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.

Transfer Students - Fall 2023+

  • There are no additional requirements for new transfer students. Students accepted into the university will be admitted directly into the engineering program of their choice.
Did You Know?
  • Plastics only consume a fraction of the energy it takes to process metals/glasses/papers. Plastics actually help protect the earth.
  • 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 Restaurant and the Pawn Cafe 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.
Career Opportunities

UW-Stout's Bachelor of Science degree in Plastics Engineering (PLE) will 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


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.

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 identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
Society of Plastics Engineers Student Chapter

UW-Stout's Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) student chapter is part of the leading technical society for the global plastics industry. It is a community of individuals involved in the technical and commercial aspects of the plastics and polymer industry. It is a place where individuals can interact, learn and develop skills to meet their personal and professional goals. This community fosters technical innovation and industry competitiveness through scientific development and commercialization.

SPE student chapter meets in the Jarvis Hall Tech Wing, Room 170 (plastics lab), one or two times a month. The SPE 2016-2017 Constitution outlines the organization's purpose and membership qualifications.

For more information email SPE@uwstout.edu.


Employers of Our Graduates

The following companies want to hire our graduates today. We have a waiting list of companies interested in hiring UW-Stout B.S. Plastics Engineering graduates.

  • 3M
  • Andersen Corporation
  • Arburg
  • Bobcat
  • Boston-Scientific
  • Donatelle
  • Nordson Extrusion Dies Industries
  • EirMed
  • Five-Star Plastics
  • Flambeau
  • Imark Molding
  • Innovative Injection Technologies
  • Loparex
  • Medtronic
  • Moldcraft Tool & Design
  • Molex
  • Nolato Contour
  • Phillips-Medisize
  • Polaris
  • Priamus System Technologies
  • RTP Company
  • Scientific Molding Corporation
  • Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical
  • Team Vantage
  • The Madison Group
Program Sponsors

The following companies have donated materials or provided research funding for the B.S. Plastics Engineering program.

  • Autodesk – provided moldflow software
  • RTP Company – donated thermoplastic resins (PP, LDPE, HDPE, PC, ABS, PC/ABS, PC/PET, PA66)
  • SABIC – donated thermoplastic resins (PC, ABS)
  • Priamus – donated multiple sensors as well as Priamus eDAQ system for process monitoring and control
  • RJG – donated many pressure/temperature sensors and 4 edarts for process monitoring and control
  • Arburg – loaned a 66T electric molding machine and integrated sprue picker from 2/2010-9/2011 and from 6/2016-present
  • Milacron – loaned a 55T electric molding machine, hopper drier, sprue picker, and hot runner controller from 9/2016-present
  • SMC – donated 2 77T Arburg injection molding machines and machined molds and sensors
  • Donatelle – donated 35T Engel injection molding machine and machined sensors in molds
  • Innovative Injection Technologies (I2Tech) – started plastics engineering scholarship
  • Badger Meter – donated 35T and 55T Van Dorn injection molding machines
  • Flambeau – donated a 24T Boy injection molding machine
  • Phillips Medisize – machined sensors in molds
  • Nolato Contour – donated a mold
  • Nordson EDI – donated an extrusion die and lent a Haake Rheomix machine
  • iMark molding – machined a mold
  • GaMra Composites – machined an extrusion die
  • WIScale – provided a large digital scale to the program with significantly reduced price
  • WiSys Technology Foundation – provided funding for faculty research

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