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Packaging Systems and Design

Learn about packaging systems and design

To many people, packaging is invisible, but to students in the Packaging Systems & Design major, packaging means big opportunities and exciting careers.

Dr. Laszlo Horvath and student.

Dr. Laszlo Horvath and student.

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.

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    Packaging Science and Materials
    Packaging 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.

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    Packaging Design and Business
    Packaging 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.

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    Packaging Engineering and Technology
    Packaging 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.

Our Program

Dr. Laszlo Horvath teaching class.

Dr. Laszlo Horvath teaching class.

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.

Student talking to employer

Student talking to employer

Industrial Connections

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.

Students getting hands on experience

Students getting hands on experience

Hands-On Experience

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.

  Our Alumni

Tyler Matusevich

Tyler Matusevich
Tyler Matusevich, Class of 2013

Tyler Matusevich

(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!

After Graduation

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

Word cloud of positions our alumni hold.

Word cloud of positions held by our alumni.

Company logo cloud

Company logo cloud

     If you would like to learn more about the Packaging Systems and Design degree, contact our academic advising center.

Dana McGuire

Dana McGuire

Dana McGuire

Academic Advisor, Sustainable Biomaterials and Assistant Director of Academic Advising
540-231-8032
Dana McGuire  dana.mcguire@vt.edu 
138 Cheatham Hall