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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World 2 Master’s Education THE LANDSCAPE OF MASTER’S EDUCATION Students increasingly find master’s education a valuable pursuit. As measured by the number of degrees awarded, education at the master’s level is growing faster than other sectors of postsecondary education in the United States. Higher education institutions awarded 230,509 master’s degrees in 1970-1971. By 2004-2005, they awarded 574,618, an increase of almost 150 percent. As shown in Table 2-1, this rate of growth was more than double that for bachelor’s degrees and research doctorates during the same time period. Since 1980, the rate of growth in master’s degrees awarded has also been significantly higher than for professional degrees in law, medicine, and dentistry.1 The professional disciplines of education and business dominate the master’s degree programs in the United States. Together they grant 54 percent of all master’s degrees. As shown in Table 2-2 (and Appendix H, Table H-1), these fields—along with health sciences, engineering, public administration and social services professions, psychology, and computer and information sciences—comprise 80 percent of all master’s degrees awarded in 2004-2005. With the exception of education, these fields are also among the fastest growing at this level. Other fields with higher than average growth, as shown in Figure 2-1, include physical education/ exercise science, criminal justice/security and protective services, legal 1 http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2007/section5/table.asp?tableID=741 (accessed October 21, 2007).
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World TABLE 2-1 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees Conferred and Percent Change over Time, Selected Years, 1970-1971 to 2004-2005 Year Bachelor’s Master’s Doctorates 1970-1971 839,730 230,509 32,107 1975-1976 925,746 311,771 34,064 1980-1981 935,140 295,739 32,958 1985-1986 987,823 288,567 33,653 1990-1991 1,094,538 337,168 39,294 1995-1996 1,164,792 406,301 44,652 2000-2001 1,244,171 468,476 44,904 2001-2002 1,291,900 482,118 44,160 2002-2003 1,348,503 512,645 46,024 2003-2004 1,399,542 558,940 48,378 2004-2005 1,439,264 574,618 52,631 Percent change, 1970-1971 to 2004-2005 71% 149% 64% Percent change, 1995-1996 to 2004-2005 24% 41% 18% SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education General Information Survey, “Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred,” surveys 1970-1971 through 1985-1986 and 1990-1991 through 2004-2005; and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, “Completions Survey” (C: 91-99), Fall 2000 through Fall 2005. (See Digest of Education Statistics, 2006, Table 257, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d06/tables/dt06_257.asp, accessed October 22, 2007.) research and studies, and a catchall field, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. With the exception of computer science, the numbers of master’s degrees awarded in natural sciences fields are both small and slow growing. Master’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences grew 27 percent from 1975-1976 to 2004-2005. The number in the mathematics and the physical sciences grew just 16 and 5 percent, respectively, during this 30-year period. Though career-oriented fields now dominate master’s degree programs, this has not always been the case. In Judith Glazer-Raymo’s words, “Throughout its long history, the master’s degree has been variously characterized by graduate faculty and deans as an intermediate degree,
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World TABLE 2-2 Master’s Degrees Conferred, by Field, 2004-2005 Field Number Percentage Education 167,490 29 Business, management, marketing, and personal and culinary services 142,617 25 Health professions and related clinical sciences 46,703 8 Engineering and engineering technologies 35,133 6 Public administration and social service professions 29,552 5 Psychology 18,830 3 Computer and information sciences and support services 18,416 3 Biological sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics 18,354 3 Social sciences, psychology, and history 16,952 3 Other 80,571 14 Total 574,618 100 SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004-05 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005. (See Digest of Education Statistics, 2006, Table 258, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d06/tables/dt06_258.asp, accessed October 22, 2007.) signifying its location following the baccalaureate and preceding the doctorate, as a ‘predoctoral’ or ‘intermediate’ year of graduate school or stepping-stone to the doctorate.”2 Indeed, graduate education that prepares students for the doctorate and professional education that prepares students for practice in law and medicine took divergent paths in the first half of the 20th century. The award of a master’s degree in the context of doctoral education signified either a “stepping-stone” en route to the doctorate or a “consolation prize” for those who were not admitted to candidacy or who dropped out. Professional degrees, by contrast, served as credentials for practice. The surge in the number of master’s degrees awarded in the second half of the 20th century was generated by increases in education, business, and other professionally oriented fields. Indeed, one important thrust of 2 Judith Glazer-Raymo, Professionalizing Graduate Education: The Master’s Degree in the Marketplace (ASHE Higher Education Report, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2005), 1.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World FIGURE 2-1 Percentage of change in number of master’s degrees awarded by discipline, 1975-1976 to 2004-2005. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2004-2005 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005. (See Digest of Education Statistics, 2006, Table 258, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d06/tables/dt06_258.asp, accessed October 22, 2007.)
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World change in the last several decades has been toward the professionalization of master’s education.3 So, the master’s degree now means different things to different stakeholders and has a varied purpose across fields. To some, this has seemed a source of confusion or even chaos. To others, this ability to mean different things to different people in varied settings is the key to its “silent success” as a degree4 and its ability to be responsive to the changing needs of both students and society. “Students pursue master’s degrees,” writes the Council of Graduate Schools, “to prepare for further advanced study or for entry into public school or community college teaching, to improve and upgrade their professional skills, to change professional fields, and to explore their own personal intellectual development.”5 Many factors have spurred this change in master’s education. Primary factors have been the need for students to obtain sufficient knowledge in an area of practice and to acquire an awareness of professional standards in order to gain access to and recognition in a profession. Professional and master’s education in business, public administration, and public health developed to meet these needs in response to the demands of the marketplace as institutions adapted to important changes in our society, economy, or government. (See Appendix F.) The development of the master of business administration (MBA) is illustrative. In 1881, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania became the first institution to offer such a degree, but the MBA degree did not immediately take off. Only in the 20th century did it grow in popularity in response to employers’ need for staff who could apply scientific methods to management and labor as American industry matured. Only after World War II did pressure from accreditors and foundations lead to graduate rather than undergraduate business schools. Business school curricula have evolved over the last century with the development of new management approaches: quality control in the 1920s; operations research and cybernetics by the 1950s; total quality management in the 1980s; and reengineering in the 1990s—all further responses to industry change.6 The development of professional education in public administration and public health has followed similar trajectories, and in these fields the master’s degree supplanted the bachelor’s as the credential for entry 3 As the award of so many master’s degrees in what are, for most recipients, areas of professional practice, Judith Glazer-Raymo suggests that for many, professional and master’s education are re-converging. Ibid., 16. 4 Clifton Conrad, Jennifer Grant Haworth, and Susan Bolyard Millar, A Silent Success: Master’s Education in the United States (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). 5 Council of Graduate Schools, Professional Master’s Education: A CGS Guide to Establishing Programs (Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools, 2006), ix. 6 Glazer-Raymo, Professionalizing Graduate Education. Conrad et al., A Silent Success.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Box 2-1 Master’s Education for Science and Mathematics Teachers The most frequently awarded master’s degrees in the United States are in education, with nearly 170,000 in the 2004-2005 academic year. Teachers’ salaries are generally strongly linked to degrees earned and courses taken, as well as time in service. Education master’s programs are therefore important factors in the teacher professional development enterprises that are ubiquitous in state and local elementary and secondary education systems. In her book Professionalizing Graduate Education, Judith Glazer-Raymo asserts, “The master’s degree is a pivotal step toward professionalization of teaching.” Though that assertion is consistent with the position our committee has taken here with respect to non-research careers in the sciences, the master’s degree in education does not fall within our charge. (Another NRC committee, The Committee on the Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States, will issue a report addressing this issue within several months of our committee’s report.) Nevertheless, we would suggest that attention be given to the development of professional science master’s degree programs designed specifically for science teachers. Like other aspects of our K-12 educational systems, education master’s programs have become the focus of increasing attention and concerns about their quality, coherence, and performance accountability. To help address the issue of teacher quality in science and mathematics education, Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommends providing grants to research universities to offer, over five years, 50,000 current middle and high school science, mathematics, and technology teachers two-year part-time master’s degree programs that focus on rigorous science and mathematics content and pedagogy. The report offers as a model for the action the University of Pennsylvania Science Teacher Institute. In addition to the natural science content, we offer that such programs could also focus on exploring the growing body of research-based knowledge of optimal pedagogical techniques in the teaching of science. SOURCE: Judith Glazer-Raymo, Professionalizing Graduate Education: The Master’s Degree in the Marketplace (ASHE Higher Education Report, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2005), 1. into the field. In other fields, the acquisition of a master’s degree is not necessarily the entry-level professional degree, but it is often important for advancement. In elementary and secondary education, for example, teachers are typically required to obtain additional education and professional development, and their salary increases are often pegged to this continuing education and the award of a master’s degree. (See Box 2-1.) In engineering, the bachelor’s degree has typically been the entry-level professional degree for most subfields, but there has been an almost continuous 130-year discussion regarding the body of knowledge necessary in order to become a “professional” engineer. Bruce Seely describes
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World this discussion as one that has been marked by major studies every 10 to 15 years led by a variety of stakeholders (engineering faculty, practicing engineers—as represented by the leading professional societies—and leadership of major employers of engineers). The discussions have been remarkably consistent in focusing on the content and length of the engineering curricula and the relationship of theory and practice.7 Of significant interest, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has now determined that the traditional baccalaureate is insufficient preparation for professional civil engineering work. Twenty-first-century technical requirements, plus nontechnical requirements, cannot be met in four years. ASCE therefore advocates the “Baccalaureate + 30”: a baccalaureate degree plus 30 extra credits, which could be graduate school or distance education.8 Engineering educators have resisted the trend of other professional fields to respond to the increasing knowledge and complexity of those fields by adding to the education required to prepare for professional practice. Discussions of what the engineer of 2020 should bring to the workplace, however, now presume both increased knowledge and skills in communication, business or economics, the social sciences, cross-cultural studies, and important technologies. Adding this knowledge to a strong engineering curriculum may mean that the first professional degree will need to be the master’s rather than the baccalaureate.9 ROLES OF MASTER’S EDUCATION IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES Conrad et al. created a useful typology for categorizing the diverse missions of master’s degree programs. In their scheme, master’s degrees may focus on career preparation, professional development, community service, or preparation for doctoral work. An alternative typology suggests master’s degree programs can be categorized as classical, applied, professional, or a hybrid. (See Box 2-2.) In the natural sciences—the physical sciences, biological sciences, 7 Bruce E. Seely, “The Other Re-engineering of Engineering Education, 1900-1965,” Journal of Engineering Education, July 1999. See http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3886/is_199907/ai_n8865889/pg_1 (accessed December 12, 2007). 8 Engineering the Future of Civil Engineering: Report of the Task Committee on the First Professional Degree to the Executive Committee, Board of Direction, American Society of Civil Engineering. See http://www.asce.org/pdf/fpd-execsumm.pdf (accessed October 23, 2007). 9 National Academy of Engineering, Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004) and Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005).
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Box 2-2 Typologies of Master’s Degree Programs In their work on the master’s degree, A Silent Success, Clifton Conrad, Jennifer Grant Haworth, and Susan Bolyard Millar suggest master’s programs could be categorized as follows: Career advancement programs: Master’s programs that focus on providing the student with practical skills for well-understood career opportunities. Typical of this sort of program would be one in education or business offered by a college or university for which master’s education is an institutional focus. Ancillary programs: Master’s programs that are defined largely in relation to, and are typically subordinate to, doctoral programs. The master’s program is frequently used as a screen for the doctoral program. The master’s degree is offered as either a stepping-stone to the Ph.D. or as a consolation prize for those who do not continue. These programs are most often found in institutions that focus on research and doctoral education. Apprenticeship programs: These master’s programs often coexist with doctoral programs and may even be found in research-intensive institutions. Very often, the faculty in certain fields, such as electrical engineering, believe in a strong ethic of professional preparation at the master’s level and devote themselves to teaching at the master’s as well as at the doctoral level. Community-centered programs: Some master’s programs are focused on creating for their participants not only an arena of intellectual engagement but also a strong sense of giving to the communities in which they work. Conrad et al. provide the example of a summer master’s program in English that attracts many teachers from rural and urban areas. Participants are engaged in the substance of the program, which they complete over four summers, and also use what they learn in the schools they return to. —Adapted from Clifton Conrad, Jennifer Grant Haworth, and Susan Bolyard Millar, A Silent Success: Master’s Education in the United States (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). geosciences, mathematics, and computer science—master’s education is as varied in its purpose as it is in any broad field. As shown in Table 2-3 (and Appendix H, Table H-2), the ratio of master’s degrees to doctorates awarded each year ranges from 20.9:1 in computer science (similar to ratios in health fields and some subfields of engineering) to as low as 1.3:1 in the biological sciences and just 1:1 in chemistry. In fields like computer science and the geosciences (a subfield of earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences), students mainly pursue master’s degrees as an intentional degree in an applied field for use in professional practice. In natural sciences fields like the biological sciences, physics, and chemistry, by
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World In Professional Master’s Education, the Council of Graduate Schools offers a similar typology: Classical Program: A classical program is either a stepping-stone to the Ph.D…. or one with the characteristics of a classical program, whether or not described as a terminal master’s (often found when the university does not have a Ph.D. program in the field). Applied Program: An applied program focuses upon application of the fundamentals of the discipline to a specific area of practice (e.g., aging studies programs within sociology). Such programs often require work entirely within or minimal work outside of the department. Some programs also may lead to a specific, focused career track, but generally do not have a direct relationship to prospective employers…. Professional: A professional master’s degree program often includes activities and relationships that cross the boundaries between departments and between the university and employers. An active interaction with potential employers provides opportunities for skills development, experience, and contacts that are closely aligned with marketplace demand. Hybrid: In addition, there are programs with characteristics of more than one of these three categories, so it is possible to have a classical/applied mix or an applied/professional mix. —Excerpted from Council of Graduate Schools, Professional Master’s Education: A CGS Guide to Establishing Programs (Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools, 2006), 43-44. contrast, the master’s degree is more likely to represent a stepping-stone or consolation prize because doctorate-level scientists are highly sought for both academic and industry careers. Relatively little data exist that differentiate types of masters degrees: those intended master’s pursued for a job or career, those that are a milestone en route to the Ph.D., or those awarded when a student leaves a Ph.D. program. For a national cohort, we can estimate a breakdown for the 9,000 graduate students in the biological sciences who entered in 1997: 3,700 earned the master’s degree and no other degree (see Figures 2-2 and 2-3); 700 earned a master’s degree and an advanced degree other than the
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World TABLE 2-3 Ratio of Master’s Degrees to Doctorates Awarded by U.S. Institutions, by Field, 2004 Field Ratio of Master’s Degrees to Ph.D.s Health 21.7 Computer science 20.9 Social sciences 6.7 Engineering 5.9 Psychology 4.6 Mathematics 4.0 Life sciences 1.7 Agricultural science 4.0 Biological sciences 1.3 Physical sciences 1.2 Earth/Atmospheric/Ocean sciences 2.3 Physics 1.4 Chemistry 1.0 SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2006. Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-2004. Arlington, VA: January 2007. doctorate (for instance, medicine, law, business); 2,400 earned a master’s, mainly as a stepping-stone to the doctorate; and 3,600 earned only a doctorate. There are no national data sources that will allow us to tease out how many of those 3,700 who earned only a master’s degree intended to do so and how many had hoped to go on to a doctorate and received the master’s as a consolation prize. (See Appendix E.) The University of Utah, however, has compiled just such data for selected fields in the natural sciences and they are likely to be reasonably illustrative of experiences across graduate schools. As seen in Table 2-4, most master’s degrees awarded in geology, mathematics, and meteorology were terminal: preparation for a job. The same was true for the university’s Professional Master’s of Science and Technology tracks. By contrast, most master’s degrees awarded in biology and chemistry were merely consolation prizes for those discontinuing doctoral study, and there was a relatively low ratio of master’s degrees to doctorates awarded in those fields. Few Ph.D. recipients in biology or chemistry received a master’s degree en route.10 At a national level, we do know where those who earn master’s degrees in the biological sciences—whether that degree was the original intent of the graduate student or not—will end up working. As shown in 10 David Chapman, Dean of the Graduate School, University of Utah, presentation to the study committee, July 14, 2007.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World FIGURE 2-2 S&E master’s degree recipient, with no additional advanced degrees 10 or more years after first S&E master’s degree, by broad field, 2003 (percentage). SOURCE: National Science Foundation (Mark Regets, presentation to committee, July 14, 2007). FIGURE 2-3 S&E master’s degree recipient, with no additional advanced degrees 10 or more years after first S&E master’s degree, by fine field, 2003 (percentage). SOURCE: National Science Foundation (Mark Regets, presentation to committee, July 14, 2007).
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Box 2-6 Business Intelligence Business intelligence is the application of systems thinking, data mining, pattern recognition, mathematical modeling, statistics, computing, and simulation to solve challenging business problems. This young discipline, also called business analytics or systems analytics, began in the mid-1990s when powerful desktop computers, computer-network communications services, massive data storage options, and advanced data mining and data visualization software tools all became available. Many large companies have created business intelligence work groups. Dow Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Proctor & Gamble are leading manufacturers with successful pioneering business intelligence efforts. This approach has proven effective in many aspects of these corporations: strategic planning, systems engineering, marketing, sales and order fulfillment, risk analysis, purchasing, warranty management, technology and capabilities analysis, supply chain management, etc. These areas greatly expand traditional mathematical efforts in computer-aided engineering. The banking and insurance industries successfully apply business intelligence to investment portfolio and credit risk analysis. Wal-Mart is a leading user among retailers of business intelligence. The health services delivery sector has begun to apply this approach to its vast and complex data. Business intelligence projects typically involve the integration of data from internal and external sources. Data types include numeric, text, geographic, and image data. Biotechnology analytics has genomic data at its center. Data volumes are often so large that manual analysis is impossible. “Artificial intelligence” methods enable researchers to cluster data and explore for patterns. Specialists in business intelligence create mathematical models and simulations to represent problems, study business alternatives and scenarios, and generate forecasts. Successful projects provide management with insights and better decision-making tools, based on current data. These increase management awareness of business performance and dynamics and clarify competitive pressures and growth opportunities. The new efforts in business intelligence are a significant contribution to American competitiveness in the global economy. Masters-educated graduates with appropriate preparation are ready to contribute to this growing field and are likely to become its staffing backbone. The approximately 20 mathematics-centered professional science master’s degree programs available today in such fields as industrial mathematics, financial mathematics, bioinformatics, and mathematical entrepreneurship are outstanding training grounds for a career in business intelligence, as the employment opportunities afforded to their graduates testify. who can fill positions in program management, sales, and other corporate areas. IBM, a corporation that transformed itself from a firm that focused on hardware to one increasingly dedicated to providing services, has initiated the creation of a new field—namely, SSME. Much like PSM
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Box 2-7 Service Science, Management, and Engineering The world economy is experiencing the largest labor force migration in history. Driven by an environment that includes global communications, business growth, and technology innovation, services now account for more than 50 percent of the labor force in Brazil, Russia, Japan, and Germany, as well as 75 percent of the labor force in the United States and the United Kingdom. This unparalleled segment growth is changing the way companies organize themselves, creating a ripple effect in industries and universities that are closely tied to these organizations. For instance, historically, most scientific research has been geared to supporting and assisting manufacturing, which was once a dominant force in the world economy. Now that economies are shifting, industrial and academic research facilities need to apply more scientific rigor to the practices of services, such as finding better ways to use mathematical optimization to increase productivity and efficiency on demand. This shift to focusing on services has created a skills gap, especially in the area of high-value services, which requires people who are knowledgeable about business and information technology as well as the human factors that go into a successful services operation. Many leading universities have begun exploring and investing in this area, working in tandem with thought leaders in the business world. In May 2004, this group suggested that an entirely new academic discipline may be called for—first roughly described as “services science” at a summit held at IBM. Subsequent meetings have caused the discipline to evolve into the more appropriate service science, management, and engineering (SSME) title now used. Service design, development, marketing, and delivery all require methodologies and techniques to make service businesses more efficient and scalable. Both depth and breadth are needed in technology, business, and organizational studies, even at the undergraduate level. SSME hopes to provide that depth and breadth by bringing together ongoing work in computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, business strategy, management sciences, social and cognitive sciences, and legal sciences to develop the skills required in a services-led economy. The goal of the SSME discipline is to make productivity, quality, sustainability, and learning and innovation rates more predictable across the service sector. SOURCE: Adapted from “Service Science, Management and Engineering,” IBM Incorporated http://www.research.ibm.com/ssme/ and http://www-304.ibm.com/jct09002c/university/scholars/skills/ssme/index.html (accessed October 20, 2007). programs, programs in this field emphasize the education of “T-shaped” employees who have depth in science and also breadth in terms of business and customer skills. (See Box 2-7.) The U.S. Department of Defense has documented its need to hire an increasing number of science- and technology-savvy U.S. citizens with
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World management skills for positions in technology, acquisitions, and logistics.22 We believe that U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies have a similar increasing demand for employees with these characteristics. These agencies are poised to become potentially large consumers of graduates from PSM programs. Other federal or state agencies could also become substantial consumers. The Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce is already hiring PSM graduates into examiner positions. Others, such as the Department of Energy or the Food and Drug Administration, could hire into similar positions as well. In general, experience with many existing PSM programs, the KGI MBS program, and IBM’s SSME programs shows that graduates are well prepared to contribute in technically challenging positions in business and government. In the for-profit sector, PSM graduates may contribute in specific ways, such as program management, in large companies. For relatively smaller companies, they may be particularly valuable since there is often a need for one individual to assume several different responsibilities. This kind of flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit is characteristic of the students attracted to the PSM type degree. Through the fall of 2005, there were 1,300 graduates of PSM programs from six cohorts. While a small number—in light of the more than 18,000 master’s degrees awarded in the natural sciences (biological sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics) in the 2003-2004 academic year—the number has been growing each year. The biological sciences and applied mathematics fields are leading the way. Indeed, KGI is increasing its enrollments.23 The Institute’s graduates typically receive multiple offers. As shown in Table 2-6, about half have accepted offers by the time of graduation and nearly all who seek employment have lined up a position within six months of receiving their degrees. There are fewer PSM programs in the geological sciences and computer sciences, but most master’s programs in these fields are already focused on preparing graduates for the workplace. There has been less growth in PSM programs in chemistry and physics, though that may change if government agencies 22 Dr. Ronald M. Sega, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Testimony to U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, March 9, 2005. Dr. William Berry, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Presentation on “Professional Science Masters Program: DOD Needs,” to PSM Biennial Conference, Washington, D.C., October 6, 2005. Dr. William S. Rees, Jr., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Presentation on “DOD STEM Education: Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART), A Defense Scholarship/Fellowship Program,” to National Science Board, September 28, 2006. 23 Beryl Lieff Benderly, “Mastering the Job Market,” Science, March 7, 2008.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World TABLE 2-6 Employment and Salaries for MBS Graduates, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, 2001-2002 to 2006-2007 Employment FY 01-02 2002 FY 02-03 2003 FY 03-04 2004 FY 04-05 2005 FY 05-06 2006 FY 06-07 2007 Accepted offers as of graduation 54% 28% 29% 41% 39% 51% Accepted offers 6 months out 84% Chose travel/further educationa n/a n/a 20% 4.50% 9.70% 11.00% No. of converted internships n/a 1 5 4 5 8 Starting salary rangea n/a $34-95K $37-80K $57-96K $36-90K $55-75K Salary average n/a $55K $59K $72.1K $67.2K $60.6K Total no. of students 28 28 34 22 31 36 aNotes for Class of 2007: As of July 23, 83 percent were employed, 17 percent were actively involved in job searches, and 16 percent were not seeking employment. Of the 6 not seeking employment, 2 students are entering Ph.D. programs and 4 are traveling. Mean salary for the 25 employed graduates is $61,200. SOURCE: Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World in the military, homeland security, and intelligence that require technical staff see PSM graduates as a resource. Data presented to the committee suggest that demand for these graduates is strong. In 2003, starting salaries for new hires with any master’s degree in the biological sciences was $40,000, the physical sciences $49,000, and mathematics and statistics $54,000. PSM graduates in these fields, on the other hand, had starting salaries of $45,000 to $55,000 in nonprofits and government, and $55,000 to $62,000 in private industry.24 As shown in Table 2-6, MBS graduates from KGI have had relatively higher starting salaries, with a range of $55,000 to $75,000 for the class of 2007. In addition to data showing both increased demand for master’s-educated scientists and more specific demand building for a professional science master’s, there has been a growing appreciation among national organizations for PSM programs. In just the last few years, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the National Science Board, the National Governors Association, the Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group of 15 prominent business organizations, the Association of American Universities, and the Council of Graduate Schools have all recommended a national effort to develop and expand the number of PSM degree programs in the nation. These reports represent the collective voice of government, industry, and higher education, and in each case the recommendation to establish and increase the number of PSM programs was seen as a key part of a package designed to address U.S. competitiveness and innovation. To cap it all, this past summer Congress authorized the NSF to develop a program of grants to four-year institutions to create or expand PSM programs. This was enacted in Section 7034 of the America COMPETES Act, which was signed into law by the president. (See Appendix I.) DEVELOPING PSM PROGRAMS The opportunity for master’s-educated professionals in the sciences to contribute to our national economy is clear. But how flexible are U.S. universities willing to be in responding to changing workforce needs? The CGS has produced a guide25 for establishing professional master’s programs that provides advice on: Feasibility planning: Garnering faculty support, securing the support of university administrators, addressing cultural challenges, deter- 24 Lynch, ibid. 25 CGS, Professional Master’s Education.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World mining local/regional workforce needs, and establishing an external advisory board Developing a program: Curriculum, business/financial plan, and program approvals Start-up and operations: Appointing a program director/coordinator, staffing, advertising, recruiting, handling applications/admissions, advising, and providing student services Assessing the program: Performance, student satisfaction and outcomes, and employer satisfaction Sustainability: Program flexibility, financial viability, and institutional support. The CGS guide, along with the results of successful PSM models across fields, provides enough practical guidance for any institution to launch a professional master’s program. Initially, as Tobias and Brigham have reported, it took programs “a minimum of two years to plan a PSM, gain appropriate administrative approval, recruit, and actually enroll students.” Now, however, they note that this “time has been reduced, partly because there are PSM models to learn from, and an outreach network from which to draw strength and advice.”26 The track record for PSM programs begun with Sloan seed money has been very good so far. One way to assess their progress is to discuss “those few instances where PSM programs have been discontinued.” Tobias and Brigham write: “Some number of PSM tracks never made it to launch though their sister tracks on the same campus did. In almost every such instance, the faculty member who was most enthusiastic left or was promoted to a position where he/she could not manage the program.”27 They found that the factors compelling discontinuation of program tracks—fewer than ten nationwide—were typically external to the program as most had reasonable success at recruiting and placing students: (i) the university decided to downplay or discontinue all its master’s programs, (ii) a PSM program was hijacked by another department wishing to capture (or recapture) master’s students in the field, or (iii) senior administrators change and the new cohort decides to reverse or simply to underfund programs started by the previous administration.28 “Remarkably,” Tobias and Brigham conclude, “almost no programs were canceled after outside (Sloan) funding ran out.” This sustainability is a key point: these programs fill an important need and become self-sustaining in the long run. For many of these programs, the long run was 26 Tobias and Brigham, ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World at least five years: the initial grant period was for three years, but with no-cost grant extensions almost all programs at research universities spent their initial funding over a period of five years.29 Four areas require additional attention before any PSM program can be called institutionalized: faculty involvement, communication with employers, student financial support, and program delivery. First, there remains the need to provide incentives to faculty to develop and market master’s-level programs. Many faculty members in the natural sciences continue to view master’s degrees as incidental and unimportant elements of graduate programs focused primarily on preparing doctoral students. Others more enthusiastically embrace professional master’s programs. Somewhere in between these two extremes are the views of most faculty who are busy—focused on research, distracted by many university demands, or indifferent to master’s education. They may not have the time or capacity to mentor master’s students. Incentives are needed to attract these faculty to develop master’s programs. Financial incentives are one possibility. Another incentive is the opportunity to interact with industry, learn their needs, and find new and interesting avenues of research and consulting. There is also an important role for scientific societies to play in promoting professional science master’s programs, sharing information about programs, and encouraging and rewarding faculty in these endeavors. (See Box 2-8.) Beyond the issue of incentives is the importance of matching faculty to courses. Core courses may be taught by existing faculty. Some of the most innovative and effective and often interdisciplinary curricular elements probably are not within the expertise of the faculty or of a faculty member teaching alone. The KGI solution to this problem has been to hire faculty with both industrial and academic experience. This option will not be open to most institutions and will present a real challenge. These institutions may bring in outside experts to teach the “plus courses” or the “plus components” of core courses in the curriculum. They may also engage in providing additional training to faculty across PSM programs at an institution. One important component of building sustainable PSM programs and an appropriate and dedicated faculty is the appointment of a coordinator or director of the program. Unlike undergraduate programs that are mostly run (in terms of recruiting and marketing) by admissions offices, and Ph.D. programs that are mostly advisor-driven, PSM programs need a dedicated individual. Successful institutions have arranged this in different ways—sometimes as a staff person and sometimes as a faculty/ staff position—but this position is typically critical to success. 29 Ibid.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World Box 2-8 Scientific Societies and the Master’s Degree There are several varieties of scientific societies: multidisciplinary (American Association for the Advancement of Science; Sigma Xi—The Scientific Research Society), disciplinary (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology), and targeted to a particular underrepresented group (Association for Women in Science; American Indian Science and Engineering Society). Whatever the type, these societies are voluntary organizations that reinforce professional identity, provide forums for face-to-face interaction, and represent a special kind of “club” for those who elect to join. Many scientific disciplinary communities and their principal professional associations are wrestling now with their role in advancing education. Given the dominance of doctoral education in the sciences it is not surprising that these associations tend to reward behavior that validates contributions and status associated with that degree—primarily advancing knowledge through research and publication. For some, however, there is now at least some philosophical discussion of the place of education broadly construed in their mission. And for others, societies have moved further ahead, making this an important transition period, both generally and potentially for master’s education. Professional societies play a vital role in the lives of scientists. They bridge the world of education to the world of work by providing members—both individuals and organizations—with access and support. These societies serve as advocates, watchdogs, certification agents, clearinghouses, and recruitment and placement services. They monitor the match between skills and opportunities, supply and demand, the marketable and the actual market. If scientific societies are integral to learning “what matters” to excel professionally, then their role in master’s education will only grow through the 21st century. To accomplish this they may develop an overall strategy for addressing education, including master’s education and the PSM, in their fields. To specifically further the PSM, they could create society-wide committees on master’s education, dedicate conference sessions and presentations to master’s education and PSM programs, recognize faculty who have led successful PSM programs, and serve as a field-specific clearinghouse of information on PSMs. More broadly, the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST) manages a clearinghouse on the latest data and information about master’s education in science, mathematics, and engineering. It includes a database (http://sciencemasters.org/) of more than 2,000 programs from over 300 institutions as well as articles, tables, and data pertaining to science master’s education and the master’s workforce. Second, programs and institutions need to work continuously to develop and enhance communication with employers. At present, some external advisory boards “are very active and involved,” report Tobias and Brigham. Others, however, meet only once a year or are “nominal,” which means “advisers signed on but aren’t doing any work.” Commu-
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World nication between higher education and industry works best, and the program developed will best suit industry’s needs when there is a working and interactive relationship between a master’s program and industry.30 Industry advisors and representatives can help develop and interact with master’s programs in many ways: They can participate in industry advisory councils that help oversee a program and provide a network for both input from and outreach to potential employers. They can provide advice on curriculum development. They can provide mentors, adjunct faculty, internships, financial support to programs and students, and employment for graduates. They can fund students’ projects—KGI’s MBS curriculum includes a business-sponsored team project for which businesses provide the project definition and $50,000 per project in support. But even with all of this interaction, programs must market themselves aggressively. Each program should have a Web site that provides such information as program goals, career opportunities for graduates, the curriculum, and members of the industry advisor council. Representatives of the program should also regularly speak about it at various local and regional gatherings of industry representatives. Beyond this, however, there is an even broader need for marketing. The master’s degree is evolving into an important professional degree in a growing array of STEM-based professions in a high-tech globally competitive world. That fact is not well understood by employers who aim to hire people just as they always have, but the benefits of employer involvement in PSM programs are substantial. Employers who serve on advisory boards, for example, have access to a pool of well-trained, highly qualified master’s-level professionals for future hires. Moreover, they often get to have an “extended interview” with them prior to making an offer through internships and employer-sponsored projects and they have the opportunity to help shape their education and training through curriculum development. A study by the California Council on Science and Technology for the California State University system provided four recommendations, each of which targeted the need to improve communication between industry and institutes of higher education.31 30 Ibid. 31 California Council on Science and Technology, Industry Perspective of the Professional Science Master’s Degree in California: Prepared for the California State University System, January 2005, http://www.ccst.us/publications/2005/2005PSM.php (accessed October 31, 2007).
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World The PSM program must establish credibility in order to be accepted on a widespread basis: “Despite recent publicity in a variety of articles… many [in industry] had never heard of the PSM, and those who had did not have a clear perception of what the degree entailed.” In order to succeed, the PSM must be targeted to industries where it is best suited: employers most likely to support the PSM were large companies with multidisciplinary interests, companies with an interdisciplinary focus, and government agencies. Additional “missionary work” is needed to establish the credibility of professional master’s degrees in the biotechnology industry. Industry and universities need to develop better working relationships: many connections are on a personal basis. Beyond collaboration through advisory boards, programs/institutions should invite people from industry to regularly serve as guest speakers, and program heads should attend and speak at industry association meetings. Statewide partnerships should be explored. The development of statewide networks or a high-level advisory board for the chancellor’s office of the California State University system was seen as a way to facilitate placement of interns and graduates and to continue to publicize the PSM degree. By addressing these recommendations, information and perception gaps can be bridged, further contributing to program expansion. Third, there is a need to address the question of what is—and how to provide—adequate student financial support. Originally, the Sloan Foundation anticipated that, being professional, PSM students would fund their master’s educations with the expectation that their future earning would make their investments in themselves and their careers worthwhile in the long run. Tobias and Brigham report that “student support is probably the factor limiting expansion [of programs], especially as PhD programs in mathematics and the physical sciences become more aggressive in their recruitment efforts.”32 KGI, by contrast, assumed some student support was critical. Initially KGI provided students with 100 percent support during their first year of study. They planned for first-year support for students to decline to an average of 50 percent over the next several years which KGI successfully accomplished, but some student support remains. As noted earlier, students attracted to PSM programs typically differ from other graduate students. They include more women and, in general, tend to be older. For the most part, they are students who would not have gone back to graduate school in a program other than a PSM, which 32 Tobias and Brigham, ibid.
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Science Professionals: Master‘s Education for a Competitive World provides opportunities for a change in career or advancement within a current career. Additional student financial support will provide incentives to individuals—particularly underrepresented minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds—to pursue PSM degrees. As a result, programs will be able to expand enrollment and produce more science-trained professionals who will contribute to our economy. Fourth, additional thought should be given to the delivery of PSM programs and courses. KGI has just now established a program for students who are working full time. The program takes three years instead of two because the students participate in the program on a part-time basis. Moreover, to address the needs of students who are already busy professionals, KGI is formulating plans to deliver the courses online or, if campus based, in the evenings or weekends. PSM programs could potentially make greater use of online course delivery. Institutions like the University of Maryland University College have pioneered the development of a successful model of distance education that is now technology driven and delivers course content to students globally.33 This model could possibly be adapted for certain courses or programs for PSM degrees as well. 33 Susan Aldridge, President, University of Maryland University College, presentation to the study committee, July 16, 2007.