Courses of Study 2017-2018 
    May 23, 2022  
Courses of Study 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fiber Science

In the College of Human Ecology .

Course Offerings  

The Fiber Science major is unique in the Ivy League.  Students study the physical, chemical, biomedical, and engineering properties of fibrous materials, advanced engineering composites, geotextiles, nanofibers and textiles for functional, smart and protective clothing.

The scientific study of fibrous materials, builds on foundations in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Students learn how various fibers are made and how their chemical, mechanical, biological and physical properties can be controlled. Students also learn how the principles of fiber science influence the design and fabrication of traditional and innovative products, from clothing to skate boards and life-saving medical implants. Because fiber science has applications in so many areas of contemporary technology, majors can tailor their studies to meet personal, academic and professional goals.

Within this major, students get individual attention and develop one-on-one relationships with faculty.  Each student has the opportunity to individualize their plan of study 50% of their course credits chosen from broad categories or as free electives. The curriculum provides great flexibility for students to pursue pre-med, materials science, biomedical materials, ergonomics or technical design. With its rigorous requirement of physical science courses it can be excellent preparation for a range of graduate and professional studies including medical school.  The major is an excellent fit for students with both scientific and artistic talents. 

Beyond formal course work, all Fiber Science students have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research under mentoring of a faculty member and in special projects with student teams. Field placements, joining a faculty member’s research team, or conducting independent research can add a significant experiential component to the course of study, providing valuable practical knowledge while testing students’ academic or career interests.  Many students choose to study abroad or participate in an international exchange program for one semester during their Junior year. 


J. Fan, chair (HEB T57A, (607) 255-3151); J. Hinestroza, director of graduate studies; M. Frey, director of undergraduate studies; S. Ashdown, C. C. Chu, C. Coffman, A. Lemley, T. Lewis, V.D. Lewis, A. Netravali, S. K. Obendorf, A. Racine, J. Shin

Academic Advising

All Fiber Science majors are matched with a faculty advisor by the director of undergraduate studies, Professor Margaret Frey. Students are strongly urged to discuss their goals, course selection and sequence, electives, and career plans with their faculty advisor. Students in apparel design must begin working with their advisors early to develop a professional portfolio of their work. Students are free to change advisors; changes must be recorded with the director of undergraduate studies. Although advisors oversee course selection for the following semester, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of his or her courses and to make sure that the program meets graduation requirements for his or her major and college.

Student Work

All apparel design work done as part of the academic program will be held by the department until it has been released by the instructor. Certain exceptional work may be used by the department to exhibit for academic purposes. The department is not responsible for the loss or theft of student work.

Course Fees

No grade will be given in a course unless the course fee has been paid and equipment returned by the last week of classes. 

Career Opportunities

Recent graduates of the Fiber Science program have begun careers in the fiber and textile industries as well as with government agencies developing and evaluating new products, conducting research, providing technical services, helping to ensure product safety, and coordinating consumer information programs.  Students have continued to graduate studies in science, engineering, technology and society programs or to medical, business or law school.