The Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials is internationally known for the excellence of its educational and research programs. Close ties with industry and government agencies are maintained to assure that teaching and research programs remain in step with the rapidly changing science and technology of the area. Knowledge of polymers is a desirable foundation for a career as a professional chemist in industry. More than 80 percent of the industrial chemists work with polymers, and many physicists and engineers also work on polymer-related projects.
Within the broad area of polymers, the department puts special emphasis on coatings. Coatings are encountered so often in everyday life they may be taken for granted. Paint on walls, coatings on the outside of automobiles, aircraft or space shuttles, liners for the interior of beverage cans, coatings to protect bridges from corrosion, coatings on magnetic tapes and computer chips, and body implants are only a few selected examples. Closely related fields are adhesives, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics, food, and biotechnology. Since only five other universities in the U.S. offer programs in coatings, employment opportunities far exceed the number of graduates. To encourage students to study in the field, companies and organizations fund undergraduate scholarships of up to $2,250 a year. Entering freshmen and transfer students apply for these scholarships through the Office of Admission. Undergraduates already enrolled at NDSU please see the application guidelines on the undergraduate page located here.
The Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials does not offer an undergraduate major. Undergraduates interested in Coatings and Polymeric Materials are encouraged to pursue a minor in Coatings and Polymeric Materials. The Coatings and Polymeric Materials minor provides excellent preparation for professional employment at the B.S. level and for graduate school. Students are strongly advised to plan their programs so that the entire coatings course (CPM 474, 475) and laboratory sequence (CPM 484, 485 for chemistry majors) (CPM 484 for ME majors) can be taken during the same academic year. Chemistry majors with the Coatings and Polymeric Materials minor are also required to take polymer synthesis (CPM 473) prior to graduation.
Coatings and Polymeric Materials offers a major at the graduate level for programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Coatings and Polymeric Materials Science.
NDSU started offering polymer and coatings chemistry courses in 1906. Of the few universities around the world which offer training that focuses on special polymers used in coatings, NDSU has the longest and most extensive experience. Over the decades, the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials has established a worldwide reputation for education and research; as well as enhancing international diversity through interactions between students and research/administration staff with leading companies and universities in the United States and abroad. Today, there is a growing shortage of polymer and coatings scientists at all degree levels; therefore, providing Coatings and Polymeric Materials graduates with abundant job opportunities. NDSU graduates, at all levels, are especially sought after by coating and chemical/polymer industries, and are employed by major coatings, polymer, chemical, biomedical, electronic, and petroleum companies, with many graduates attaining upper management positions. At the undergraduate level, we now offer a Coatings and Polymeric Materials minor. This no longer limits the undergraduate students in the program to be chemistry or mechanical engineering majors. At the graduate level, MS and Ph.D. degrees are offered in Coatings and Polymeric Materials Science.