About 25 years ago, the Cal Poly Chemistry and Biochemistry Department embarked on an effort to develop a unique, quality undergraduate concentration in polymers and coatings chemistry. Through a cooperative effort with industry, this program has become recognized as one of the truly outstanding undergraduate programs in polymer chemistry in the nation, and one of only a handful of undergraduate programs that offers specialized training in the applications of polymers to modern coatings.
Through continued cooperative efforts with industry, a pilot master's degree in polymers and coatings science was launched in 2002 and converted to permanent status in 2008. The program offers students a unique, focused educational opportunity closely tied to industry. Students gain academic preparation in polymers and coatings science through lecture and laboratory courses and are expected to undertake a rigorous industrial internship or industry-sponsored research. This program is unique in California and relies on the close relationship between the department and the polymers and coatings industry for its success.
Through its newly established Kenneth N. Edwards Western Coatings Technology Center, the program offers intensive short courses, testing services, contract research and other collaborative opportunities to the industry.