Photo by Tyler Meuter

During the January Board of Regents meeting, Tech administrators requested the end of four Masters programs in Polymers, Textiles and Fibers. They were already being phased out, however, over the last five years.

In Fall 2009, the Dean of Engineering Don Giddens met with the chair of the Materials Science and Engineering School (MSE),  and the chair of the Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering (PTFE) School to suggest a merge between the two disciplines resulting in a single department known as the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

“This merge was effective July of 2010 and work was already in progress in trying to redefine a cohesive curriculum that would satisfy the requirements and cover the fundamentals for both majors,” said Susan Bowman, Academic Advising Manager for the MSE School. “However, we still had to ensure that students who were already enrolled in the programs could continue if they wished.”

Currently, the MSE department is in the process of completing Undergraduate and Graduate level students who were enrolled to the school as PTFE majors.

The Fall 2010 semester was the last year that students could apply to the PTFE major. The merge was not due to any financial constraints or a lack of demand for the majors.

“At the time, the PTFE student enrollment was actually larger than the MSE department,” Bowman said. “The merge wasn’t because of having very few students in the majors. Rather it was about strengthening the two departments as a whole and
providing a more comprehensive education.”

A merge would result in less duplication in Tech’s curriculum, because of the similarities between the two disciplines.

Students wishing to take courses related to PTFE can still do so. The only difference is that it is under a different major and a different title.

Currently, there are seven students enrolled in the Master’s program for PTFE. Four of these students will be graduating this spring. The transition phase is coming to an end with the new tracks and course plans having already been finalized.

“Overall, the merge has been very positive and has flowed smoothly. There has been a lot of synergy between the students and faculty and no one has been affected by it,” Bowman said.

There haven’t been complaints from students, faculty or staff, according to Bowman.