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.
Quality & EHS Manager, Packaging Corporation of America
The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design introduced many students to Packaging Corporation of America (PCA). At the time, I had no idea where my summer internship with PCA would take me. I have had many opportunities within PCA, each unique and using different skills I developed while in the Packaging Program.
The small group, hands-on, educational experience, and committed professors exposed me to a diverse set of skills and helped me develop a network of lifelong connections within the industry. In the lab, we learned industry standards for corrugated and package testing. I use this foundation each day to ensure we meet our legal, quality & food safety certification, and customer requirements. Additionally, I understand the importance of sustainability in packaging and the role it plays in the global supply chain. This helps me to communicate the importance of and ensure compliance with our sustainability programs.
The Virginia Tech Packaging Program prepared me for success in the corrugated industry. I hope that you also find a place in the Virginia Tech Packaging Program that provides you with community, education, and professional development. 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
Like to find out more?
If you would like to learn more about the Packaging Systems and Design degree, contact our academic advising center.