M.Sc. Packaging Technology Management

Brunel University

Application deadline: any time
Tuition fee:
  • £ 750 / Module (EEA)
  • £ 750 / Module (International)
Start date: September  2014, May  2015
Credits: 180 ECTS
Duration full-time: 60 months
  • English
Delivery mode: Blended
Educational variant: Part-time
Intensity: Flexible
Duration part-time: 60 months
Part-time variant: Flexible
Structure: Self-paced
Student interaction: Online group works/assignments
Attendance: No Attendance
Teacher support: Continuous support with feedback on request

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It is the aim of this course to produce high-calibre packaging technologists and managers who have the vision and flexibility to create opportunities and to solve problems effectively.

The course is relevant to a wide range of industries including:

* raw materials producers;
* packaging converters and printers;
* product manufacturers;
* packaging machine suppliers;
* retailers.

You will benefit from the course if you are involved in the design, manufacture, specification or use of packaging.

Becoming a student on the course provides you with:

* an opportunity to obtain a higher degree whilst pursuing a career;
* enhanced technical and managerial skills;
* contact with students from all sectors of the industry and the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences;
* the potential for accelerated career development;
* the vision to choose the most effective packaging solutions.

Successful completion of the course will allow you direct entry to the industry's professional body, The Institute of Packaging, as a full member.

There are clear benefits to your company too. Active involvement can:

* realise employees' full potential for contributing to the business;
* raise the technical and managerial skill levels within the company;
* help with the recruitment and retention of high-calibre personnel;
* provide cost-effective access to University research facilities.


Assessment is through a mixture of coursework and examinations. Modules 1-6 have a 50/50 split between the two and Modules 7 and 8 are assessed by coursework only.

The assessment will be exactly the same as for the part-time students. You will need to submit assignments and take examinations at the same time as the part-time students.

If you live outside the UK you will be able to take the examinations in your own country. We have an extensive network of organisations (Universities, Colleges and British Council Offices) throughout the world who will provide invigilation services. If we haven't a contact near you we can help you find one. The cost of invigilation away from Brunel University is your responsibility.

Your Career Development

Graduates from this programme typically work as engineers, technologists and managers in the sectors of packaging materials, packaging for FMCG and retail, cosmetics, food and drink, converted products packaging, packaging supply chain and distribution and packaging design. Students graduating from this programme have progressed to careers within world leading organisations involved in the packaging area, including: Coca Cola, Heinz, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, PepsiCo International, Muller, Zeneca Agrochemicals, Dairy Crest, SAB Miller and Bemis Packaging. A number of students who already worked in these organisations have seen, post graduation on this MSc, their careers progress into senior management, technical and developmental positions.



* Overview of Packaging This module provides you with an overview of the packaging industry and acts as an introduction to the whole course. You are taken through the supply chain which runs from raw materials through packaging converters, packaging users, retailers and product users, to the final disposal of the packaging. This chain involves many activities such as design, choice of material, manufacturing, retailing and distribution, all of which are covered in greater depth in subsequent modules.
A significant part of the module focuses on the basic science of materials and lays the foundation for the subsequent technical modules. This allows you and your fellow students to reach a similar level of understanding of the materials science related to the four major groups of packaging materials: plastics, metals, glass, paper and board.
* Polymer Packaging This module focuses on polymers in packaging. You will study the main processing routes: injection moulding; extrusion; thermoforming; coatings; film and bottle production. We will cover a number of characterisation techniques such as FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) and light/electron microscopy to determine the properties and performance of the packaging components. Characterisation of materials is important for a number of reasons and is used in: * The design and testing of new packs
* Evaluation of new and competing materials
* Monitoring of packaging production
* Forensic analysis, to study "What went wrong?"

We also look at new developments in polymers such as water solubility, biodegradability and nanotechnology. We will investigate environmental and legal legislation relating to polymers as these are often country dependent.
* Metals, Glass, Papers and Board This module covers the processing and production of metallic packaging using steel, tinplate and aluminium. We look at the various pack formats and how the packaging interacts with the pack contents. Corrosion is an important aspect and can limit the use of metals packaging. Glass and papers and board are given a similar treatment. We look at glass bottles, jars and vials. For papers and board, we study fibreboard, cartons, corrugated cardboard, tubes and labels. In all cases, we look at the suitability of the packaging materials for purpose. Are they the best? As with Polymer Packaging we look at characterisation techniques and consider environmental and legal issues.
* Financial Management In this module you focus on those aspects of financial management that relate most to internal decision-making within companies. These include an understanding of the major tools such as balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, and cash flow statements.
Financial decision making in projects is important and you learn of the major methods such as simple payback, discounted cash flow and internal rate of return. Budgeting is an integral part of any financial control mechanism and you learn how to produce meaningful budgets.
* Project Management Projects involving multi-disciplinary teams are becoming a common and important feature of modern management. Most of your work in the medium/long term will take the form of projects. Indeed, your participation in the MSc course could, in itself, be viewed as a project. Whatever your current and future roles, you will need to understand how to manage projects effectively.
This module teaches you the major factors in successful project management. We recognise that there are two sides to project management: the specific tools to manage project "milestones", and the "human" aspects of managing the team. Both are covered in the module, but the strongest emphasis is on the human aspects such as leadership, team building, motivation, problem-solving, decision-making and managing meetings. The specific tools for project management, such as critical path analysis, Gantt charts and PERT are reviewed in detail. This gives you an understanding of their attributes and supports your use of the software packages that are now widely available. Other issues covered in the module include legal aspects of projects, health and safety, and project audit.
* Managing People and Organisations This module explores in depth and evaluates contemporary issues and trends in the management of people and organisations focusing upon Human Resources Management whilst developing your management skills. After looking at the nature and culture of organisations, further topics include current issues in engineering management and underpinning concepts and theories. Also covered is change management which will always be an important issue.
* Packaging Design This module introduces you to the principles and criteria to be considered in good packaging design. Many of these criteria are drawn from the needs of the distribution and retailing chains and these are considered in some depth. You are made aware of the conflicts in finding a practical solution to a packaging design problem: cost reduction, differentiation, barrier requirements, environmental issues, ergonomics, and 'user friendliness'.
The needs of distributors are considered: palletisation, transportation, automatic warehousing, bar coding. This module also includes a comprehensive analysis of the major printing and decoration techniques for packaging.
* Operations Strategy, Quality and Reliability This module provides an understanding of the role and formulation of operations strategy in an organization, one that puts emphasis on the quality and reliability aspects of an operation.
In order to be able to apply quality and reliability thinking to the organization, it is imperative that you obtain an in-depth understanding of the principles of modern quality assurance which underpin the discipline and their application in engineering and manufacturing; it is also equally important that you obtain a professional level of working knowledge of the advanced techniques in reliability engineering and are able to apply them to improve the maintenance, the maintainability and the safety of existing and proposed plant in their workplace.
This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills in these areas.
* Dissertation The dissertation, to be completed by Master's degree students, is designed to reinforce many of the skills acquired on the preceding modules. You are encouraged to choose a project that involves multi-disciplinary skills which will help to broaden your experience within your company.
Distance-learning students undertake their dissertation on company premises and it is designed to address real issues. For Full-time students the dissertation is undertaken at the University, however owing to the School's extensive industrial links, there are opportunities for students to complete their dissertation in conjunction with companies. The project is supervised jointly by the University and the company and you can have access to the full resources of the University if required.


A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification or HND or Diploma of Institute of Packaging with relevant experience. The course is designed to accommodate students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6
TOEFL paper-based test score : 550
TOEFL iBT® test: 79

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


The Brunel International Scholarship

The Brunel International Scholarship is an annual award scheme designed to promote talent and encourage excellence in scholars coming to Brunel from around the globe. For 2010/11, 35 awards of either £3,000 or £2,000 are available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have been offered a place on a full-time course at Brunel.

All applications must be submitted online before 26 May 2010.


Bursaries may be available from your School, and your course director once you have secured and accepted a place on a course for information on any funding opportunities.

* A limited number of part-scholarships of £1,500 are available for the MA programmes in Music and Drama. Details will be sent to candidates who have confirmed their intention to study at Brunel in the 2010/11 academic year.
* The Leaders of Tomorrow PhD Bursary in Human Centred Design is supported by a donation from Brunel graduate and philanthropist Peter Ilori. The bursary provides £5,000 of financial support towards the study fees of high-achieving graduates who wish to pursue a PhD in Human Centred Design. Selection is based on the quality of applicants´ PhD study proposal.

Extra-curricular scholarships

Extra-curricular scholarships do not cover living costs or tuition fees. They are available to both taught and research students.

A number of Music Awards to help cover music tuition costs are made each year to students who are not studying music performance as part of their academic course.

The Brunel Sports Scholarship helps elite performance athletes by supporting their academic study and sporting needs simultaneously.



All four AMEE courses are accredited by both the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of

Engineering and Technology (IET), providing a route to Chartered Engineer status in the UK.

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