May 08, 2021  
2015-2016 Catalog 
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Plastics and Composites Engineering, BS

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Department of Engineering and Design, College of Science and Engineering

186 (148+ program credits)


Students enrolled in Western’s Plastics & Composites Engineering (PCE) program study the relationship between molecular structure, processing, and properties of polymers and composites. The PCE curriculum prepares graduates who understand and apply established scientific and engineering knowledge to support engineering activities in manufacturing environments. The technical curriculum is built upon a firm base of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and materials science. Practical experience in design, materials, processing, economics, testing, characterization, and analysis is a crucial part of the hands-on curriculum that is provided in the program’s extensive and well-equipped laboratory facilities.

Why Consider a Plastics and Composites Engineering Major?

A plastics and composites engineer can be involved in the development, design analysis, planning, supervision, or construction of the materials, methods, and equipment for the production of industrial or consumer goods in the plastics or composites industry. The PCE graduate will help to solve the complex problems associated with plastics or composites manufacturing operations. PCE graduates work in teams with engineers, scientists, and technicians to solve manufacturing-related problems.

Contact Information

Engineering and Design Departmental Website:

Plastics and Composites
Engineering Program Director

Nicole Larson
Engineering Technology 117

Program Coordinator
and Pre-Major Advisor

Lisa Ochs
Engineering Technology 204

Sample Careers

Manufacturing Engineer | Composite Design Engineer | Plastics Engineer | Material Scientist

Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Program Admissions: Admission to the Plastics and Composites major is a two-phase process. When students initially declare, they are designated as pre-majors. Students must complete the courses listed below in order to apply to the major. Admission to full major status is determined by academic performance as a pre-major and other factors. Admission to the major is competitive. Neither completion of the prerequisites nor attainment of any specific GPA guarantees admission.

Major Prerequisite courses: CHEM 121, CHEM 122, MATH 124, MATH 125, PHYS 161, ENGR 104 (ETEC 112), ENGR 170 (ETEC 220), and ENGR 214 (ETEC 224). Students may be currently enrolled in no more than two of the above courses when they apply for major admission. A final decision on applications may be delayed until receipt of final grades for in-progress courses. Students must obtain at least a C- in the above courses and an overall GPA in them of 2.0 or higher to be considered. AP scores are converted to GPA as follows: 5 = A; 4 = B; 3 = C.  Decisions are based primarily on cumulative GPA in the prerequisite courses, but successful completion of other required Major courses, GPA in the Major, and overall GPA are also considerations.

Application: In addition to academic performance as described above, acceptance decisions will also be based on an essay (500 words or less) explaining why you want a degree in Plastics and Composites Engineering.

Applications are due by noon on the first Friday in February to ET 204. Only complete, on-time applications will be considered. Applicants will be notified by the end of the following week. Students who are accepted must register for PCE 371, MFGE 231 and MFGE 261 spring quarter before the end of Phase II registration unless they are given explicit permission from a PCE advisor not to do so. Students who do not register by the end of Phase II registration may lose their major status. Students need to have a plan to complete PHYS 163 by fall quarter junior year or graduation will be delayed.

Other quarters: If additional spaces become available, all pre-Majors will be notified by email that applications are being accepted, including the application deadline.

Transfer Students: A student that will be transferring to Western Washington University will be designated as a pre-major and will need to apply to the major. Transfer students who believe they are ready to apply to the MFGE major should contact the department program coordinator for advising the quarter they intend to start at Western.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


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