Polymer Science

polymers lab students
Polymer Science

A Breadth of Properties and Applications

No other class of materials displays the breadth of properties and applications of polymers – they are simply everywhere! Polymers are an unusual class of materials because they simultaneously exhibit both fluid and solid like behavior. This quirk of polymers enables scientists and engineers to design polymeric materials for a range of applications. While many people are familiar with plastics – a specific type of engineered polymers – this only represents a sliver of the applications. Polymers can be found in everyday commodity products such as shampoos, food, over-the-counter medications, paints and sports products. But they are also commonplace in high-end performance applications including aerospace composites, medical implants and flexible displays. Polymers play a critical part in the fields of optics, semiconductors and molecular sensors. Within the field of optics, OLED and LCD displays rely heavily on polymers as both part of the assembly and in the case of OLEDs, the functional light emitting material. Every integrated circuit (semiconductor) relies on polymers for the lithography and etching steps needed to create the patterning of the microchip. The molecular sensor used to detect traces of TNT is in fact a polymer!

Students who have completed 9-month 
paid internships since 1998
average annualized internship 
compensation for offers in past year
graduates who are employed in their field 
within three months
Polymer lab

What is polymer science?

Polymer Science is chemistry applied toward designing and understanding materials. This interdisciplinary field encompasses organic chemistry, materials science and engineering, combines organic chemistry and engineering fundamentals towards applications-based science.

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For the fifth year in a row, the UO has conferred the most master’s degrees in physics in the country.


KCGIP students

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a long-term partner of the Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program, has committed $20,000/year over the next 5 years to support Inclusion & Diversity scholarships.