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Processing and Manufacturing Option

Students in this option can develop an in-depth understanding of the science and technology involved in converting wood into useful products. They study the material science and engineering of using wood and wood fiber as manufacturing materials.

This option is designed primarily for those who have an interest in applied or basic research, technical service, or manufacturing. By selecting technical electives, students can specialize in fiber science, materials science, engineering, or chemistry. This option builds a sound foundation for advanced degree study.

Graduates with training in applied or basic research, technical service, and manufacturing processes can be key players in initiatives to satisfy the growing demand for wood products.

Some may find employment in government agencies, universities, small businesses, and large companies such as Georgia Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, Trus Joist - a Weyerhaeuser Company, National Caseins, International Paper, and the Union Camp Corporation.

Job opportunities in manufacturing are diverse. Graduates may find employment as production supervisors in plywood mills, as design engineers for companies specializing in timber construction, or as process-control technicians in papermills. Many graduates eventually become plant managers and corporate executives.

Graduates also may work as technical service representatives who help solve industry problems, answer consumer questions, and set quality standards. Many Penn State graduates have filled technical service positions in the cabinet, furniture, sawmill, wood composite, adhesive, paint, and finishing industries.

The Processing and Manufacturing option provides a sound foundation for advanced study. Students may continue their education in a master's or Ph.D. program with a science and engineering orientation. Those with advanced degrees often are involved in research positions in government, university, and industry programs. Research projects range from developing a new plastic from wood to finding a way to cut wood without producing sawdust.