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The professional master’s degree is a promising new initiative that is shaping graduate education in direct response to changing workforce needs in the business, nonprofit, and government sectors. …In the STEM fields, the PSM combines advanced study with professional and interdisciplinary training. The two-year PSM degree includes four basic components: advanced science or mathematics courses which comprise approximately two-thirds of requirements; “plus” courses in business principles and other professional skills, such as written and oral communication, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship; a summer internship in a targeted employment sector; and a capstone project often done as part of an interdisciplinary team. PSM programs are specifically designed to meet the needs of local, nonacademic employers with input from advisory boards representing the employment sector…. The combination of advanced science or math, interdisciplinary exposure, and professional business skills creates highly adaptable graduates interested in innovation. As such, the PSM can serve as a model for professional stand-alone master’s degrees in a wide range of fields…. Recommendation: Continue to expand innovative professional master’s degrees in order to address pressing national needs in such critical fields as mathematics, science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities.
Professional Science Masters (PSM) programs are useful tools for helping states meet the increasing need for well-trained problem solvers in technology-based industries. PSM is an innovative new graduate degree developed to provide advanced training in science or mathematics while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. Many postsecondary institutions and, increasingly, states are adopting PSM as a tool to meet workforce needs. In 2006, the California State University (CSU) became the first statewide higher education system in the nation to make PSM degrees available on multiple campuses. CSU’s PSM-degree programs have been developed in concert with the growth industries in biotechnology, medical, and computational sciences.