Professional Science Master’s Degree Celebrates 300th Program
In 2000, KGI launched one first PSM’s with MBS program, now administers the PSM affiliation process
When Kyle Mak- now a supply chain manager at biotech giant Amgen- was thinking about his career path, he took some advice from his brother, who cautioned him against incurring a lot of debt to get a PhD, which he might not even use. So, Mak, who had always been interested in science and who had earned an undergraduate degree in microbiology, decided to prefer a Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree via a Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree.
"I only had a year of professional experience before I went back to get my PSM degree," Mak said, "so it was a great opportunity for me to continue developing my professional skills and get a better understanding of the biotechnology industry."
Established in 1997 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PSM degrees provide training in areas such as management, marketing, communications, regulatory affairs, intellectual property and business ethics with an emphasis on experiential learning components such as internships and capstone projects guided by industry advisors.
In fact, Mak and his fellow MBS graduates are part of growing trend of students with an interest in science and business who are opting to pursue the two-year PSM degree. Although KGI launched one the first PSM programs when it started the MBS program in 2000, in just 15 years, the PSM has rapidly expanded to 300 programs at 127 institutions, integrating business skills with advanced scientific training to meet the demands of a high-tech workforce.
In fact, the Sustainable Energy Systems program at State University of New York at Cortland became the 300th affiliated PSM program. This milestone will be celebrated at the National Professional Science Master's Association (NPSMA) conference on Tuesday, November 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Such interdisciplinary training keeps the U.S. globally competitive. Nearly 6,000 students were enrolled in PSM programs in the fall of 2012, with most of them attending U.S.-based institutions, according to a survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools last year.
PSM graduates represent the next generation of STEM leaders who are able to translate research into commercialization, according to Michael Teitelbaum, senior advisor to the Sloan Foundation.
"This milestone is an indication that this effort developed strategically with a lot of enthusiasm from various stakeholders," he said, citing support from academia, private industry, the nonprofit sector and government. Government support includes the American COMPETES Act, which was passed by Congress in 2007 and provides additional grants through the National Science Foundation to create or expand PSM programs, he added.
Since 2012, KGI has reviewed and approved PSM programs to ensure quality control through the PSM National Office. Previously, the Council of Graduate Schools housed the office.
"Imagine a genomics expert who is able to pen a business plan, parse a budget, speak intelligently with the legal department and negotiate with governmental agencies," said Jim Sterling, KGI's vice president for academic affairs and dean of the School of Applied Life Sciences. "All of this momentum validates the PSM as being the most responsive approach to providing graduates who are prepared to immediately contribute to the high-tech workforce."
A comprehensive PSM program list and resources are available at www.sciencemasters.com.