A range of low molecular weight synthetic polymers has been characterised by means of desorption electrospray ionisation (DESI) combined with both mass spectrometry (MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Accurate mass experiments were used to aid the structural determination of some of the oligomeric materials. The polymers analysed were poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), polypropylene glycol (PPG), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and poly(α-methyl styrene). An application of the technique for characterisation of a polymer used as part of an active ingredient in a pharmaceutical tablet is described. The mass spectra and tandem mass spectra of all of the polymers were obtained in seconds, indicating the sensitivity of the technique.