United States in such areas as business, public health, and medicine. (See Appendix F.) In 1997, the William M. Keck Foundation provided initial funding of $50 million to launch the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI) as an independent college within the Claremont Colleges Consortium. KGI played a pioneering role in master’s education by developing a two-year program in applied life sciences that culminates in the professional master of bioscience (MBS) degree. (See Box 2-3.) The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been especially instrumental in promoting broadly the development of master’s programs that produce science-educated professionals. The foundation has provided seed money to establish more than 120 “Professional Science Master’s” (PSM) programs in 50 institutions across 20 states. (See Box 2-4.)

PSM programs prepare graduates for work in science outside of academia, which leads to a wider variety of career options than traditional graduate programs provide.18 The MBS and PSM have been developed with several core, defining features in mind, namely, that professional master’s education can provide:

  • additional scientific knowledge beyond a four-year bachelor’s degree;

  • more interdisciplinary training, often in informatics, computation, or engineering, than a typical science degree, which allows a student to bring relevant knowledge from a variety of fields to the workplace;

  • a focus on acquiring scientific and technical knowledge that can be applied in a variety of positions in business, government, or nonprofits rather than acquiring research skills as provided in a doctoral program;

  • a perspective on a business culture that values applied research and commercialization of scientific discovery; and

  • job-relevant skills in teamwork, project management, communication, business administration, statistics, ethics, and legal/regulatory issues.

Sheila Tobias and Lindy Brigham have noted, “Some programs are more interdisciplinary than others, but all PSM tracks, without exception, feature a quantitative and/or analytic approach to their subject.”19 (See Box 2-5 for the Council of Graduate Schools’ Guidelines for Formal Recognition as a PSM program.)

Careful attention must be paid to the way courses and curricula are


The detail in this section draws from Lynch, ibid.; Sheila Tobias and Lindy Brigham, “Report on PSM Programs: Distillation of 2005 Questionnaires,” unpublished report to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, March 31, 2006; and CGS, Professional Master’s Education.



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