University of Florida, Gainesville
Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering - University of Florida Polymer Science Program

Program and Courses

The Polymer Program within the Center for Macromolecular Science & Engineering is fully integrated with academic departments on campus, and as such graduate students receive the benefits derived from a fundamental educational approach to his or her discipline. We stress the need to become fully competent in a given field of science or engineering, including an emphasis on polymer structure and behavior.

For example, a graduate student interested in the chemical aspects of macromolecules usually enrolls in the Department of Chemistry. The prospective student must meet the entrance requirements set for any Chemistry student, meaning he or she must have the requisite background to compete in such an environment. The Selection Committee within the department organizes its work around the available space within each polymer oriented research group in the department, then makes its decisions. Entering graduate students then take the correct coursework needed to qualify in one of the five divisions within the department (analytical, biochemical, organic, inorganic, physical), followed by written and oral qualifying examinations. Graduate courses in polymer chemistry are included in the student's coursework as well. The graduate student receives the majority of his or her exposure to the science of polymers in the research laboratory. Again, the exposure is oriented towards the chemical aspects of macromolecules with a focus on mechanism, synthesis, structure proof, and structure behavior relationships. A study of behavior leads to productive interactions with engineering faculty on campus. The end result of being exposed to this environment is the production of a MS or PhD chemist well versed in the fundamentals of chemistry, who also has a strong knowledge of polymer science.

This macromolecular program operates in the same manner within the other departments represented by Center faculty members (Department of Physics, Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Department of Materials Science & Engineering). Each student receives his or her department's degree. The stress is on basics, followed by courses relevant to polymer science or engineering, and eventual interdisciplinary activity between departments. Graduate courses can be taken in various departments to broaden the scholastic exposure to work in macromolecules.

This program's approach to graduate education has led to the Center enjoying a reputation of producing competent polymer scientists and engineers who are well founded in the fundamentals of his or her discipline, who interact in an interdisciplinary across "traditional" boundaries, and who are aware of the importance of teamwork among people possessing a variety of educational backgrounds.

Please see departmental websites for information on applying:
Department of Chemistry
Department of Physics
Department of Chemical Engineering
Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering - University of Florida Polymer Science Program
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