Packaging Systems and Design
Areas of Study
The world of packaging is diverse and multifaceted. Packaging comes in many types and uses many materials. Some packaging companies make these materials, some convert materials into packaging, some fill packaging with products, and some provide consulting or logistics services. Students in the Packaging Systems and Design degree acquire multi- and interdisciplinary knowledge to be successful in this exciting career.
General ItemPackaging Science and Materials
Packaging science focuses on development and selection of packaging materials that can increase the shelf-life and safety of food and medical products, and create packaging solutions that reduce the environmental footprint of plastic packaging using novel materials such as bio-based plastics.
General ItemPackaging Design and Business
The packaging design area focuses on understanding how customers make their purchasing decisions, how colors, graphical elements and text affect their perception of the packages in order to create packages that effectively attract the customers and sell the product.
General ItemPackaging Engineering and Technology
The packaging engineering area focuses on designing packages that can protect the goods throughout their travel across the global supply chain. This area covers the different distribution channels, design for shock, vibration, compression, and how to create safe and stable unit loads.
Small Class Sizes = Personal Connection
Our small class sizes provide an opportunity to our students to build more personal connections with our faculty. In addition, our unique mentoring program assigns a faculty member to every packaging student to provide industry connections and career guidance throughout their time at Virginia Tech.
Our close collaboration with industry allows our students to find internships, Co-ops, and employment after graduation. Our extensive network includes major packaging companies such as PCA, International Paper, Smurfit Kappa, Newell, and CHEP as well as packaging users such as Amazon, L'Oreal, Coca-Cola, and Tesla among many others.
The best way to translate the knowledge obtained in the class to real life is to use them to solve real-life packaging problems. Thus, all of our packaging students have a chance to be involved in hands-on packaging projects even during Freshman year including working in our packaging research center, undergraduate research in our chemistry labs, internal summer internships, and industry sponsored senior design projects.
(Director, Sustainability at Brook + Whittle)
Since graduating from Virginia Tech’s packaging science program in 2013, I have held multiple positions in the sustainable packaging industry and received a M.S. in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech in 2015. My experience in the packaging program gave me the foundation to pursue my career and enabled me to grow into the position I’m in today. In my role leading sustainability at Brook + Whittle, I get to work across all stakeholders, ranging from developing our sustainability strategy to working on innovative and sustainable label and packaging solutions to help brands meet their ambitious sustainable packaging targets. Packaging is a large industry with a significant environmental footprint that we must solve as quickly as possible. The reality is that we are behind on curbing climate change. However, I’m optimistic with the next generation of packaging students and peers that we can cut emissions at scale to create a sustainable future. Go Hokies!
Choosing to be part of the Packaging Systems and Design program is not only about the time here, but the opportunities that will be presented to you after graduation. There are abundant career opportunities in the packaging industry. Our program has a 90% employment rate, and our graduates earn on average between $65,000 and $85,000 per year upon graduation. Companies who hire our students cover a wide range of sectors from beauty products to defense companies including Amazon, International Paper, Packaging Corporations of America, HP, Northrop Grumman, L’Oreal, and many others.
Recent job titles for our graduates
Recent employers for our graduates
If you would like to learn more about the Packaging Systems and Design degree, contact our academic advising center.