UMass Amherst Polymer Science and Engineering (PSE)—

Defining the frontiers of polymers and soft materials through research, scholarship and community

Welcome! Thanks for your interest in PSE and for visiting our website. This website is for prospective students and we hope you find the information you are looking for here.

Why PSE?

We provide a broad education, spanning core principles in synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry, materials science, and engineering.

PSE is a dynamic and inclusive department with an international reputation for defining the frontiers of polymer science and engineering research. Our primary mission is to educate the future leaders in our field, through impactful research programs and teaching endeavors.

Academic excellence

Top-notch research and education are the central value of PSE.

Conte community

PSE is a family—We offer multiple mentoring and networking opportunities.

Beyond Ph.D.

Graduate placement and outcomes after PSE program are outstanding.

PSE by the numbers

88 %

Ph.D. graduation rate

4.9 yrs

Average time to degree


Active faculty


Publications in 2020

Alumni Stories

Kyle Bryson

The breadth of focus of PSE’s faculty within the field of soft materials creates a great deal of flexibility in the topic of their degrees.  This breadth also deepens the technical toolbox of the students – being around so many different types of projects truly promotes an environment in which “learning by osmosis” is a constant process.  Only after I began my current job in product development at 3M did I realize how important this was.  Truth can be found in the adage that, after graduation, a student will never work in their exact field of graduate study, and so the learning environment must include more than just preparing for a dissertation if the student will be impactful after school.  PSE at UMass truly excels in creating such an environment.

Coralie Backlund

Why PSE? I wanted to be part of an emerging field with tangible benefits to humanity. My time in PSE afforded me a multitude of research opportunities within the department, across campus, and abroad. My experiences strengthened my enthusiasm to participate in robust collaborations between international scientific research groups, broadened my perspective on science, and reinforced the importance of communication between scientists. Since graduating, the skills I learned during my time in PSE have directly translated into my postdoctoral work at MIT. PSE’s progression to promote excellent research and establish scientific relationships across many disciplines makes me proud to be an alumna.

S Piril Ertem

Once I started working as a senior formulation scientist at Axalta Coatings Systems, I could see the strength and value of the multidisciplinary approach of my education in PSE. It prepared me to work and collaborate with people from different scientific backgrounds. Being well-rounded with a strong understanding of the structure-property relationship of polymers has helped me determine key problems and possible solutions quickly. Having had hands-on experience with the large number of instrumentation techniques available in PSE allowed me to adjust very quickly to a new work environment and laboratory settings. I also believe the rooted culture of openness in PSE contributed to my success significantly. From the moment I joined PSE, I knew I was part of a big family and it’s been a privilege for me of have had the chance to meet, study, and work with all these great people.

After PSE

Contact us


Email and phone:

For further information on the PSE Program

Please email Graduate Program Manager, Lisa Groth


Phone: (413) 545-0433


Department of Polymer Science and Engineering

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Silvio O. Conte National Center

for Polymer Research
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9263