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A Professional Science Master's (PSM) is an reasonably new (about a decade old) graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics, while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an emerging or interdisciplinary area, along with a professional component that may include internships and "cross-training" in workplace skills, such as business, communications, and regulatory affairs. The programs are developed in concert with employers and are designed to dovetail into present and future professional career opportunities. They are designed to allow students to pursue advanced training and excel in science without a Ph.D., while simultaneously developing highly-valued business skills without an MBA.

According to industry reports, there are 356 PSM programs offered through 165 different PSM-affiliated institutions -- and the number of programs is expanding.  The following links provide more details about institutions and programs within STEM related fields covered on the Career Cornerstone Center website:

You may also wish to browse a list of current PSMs within Professional Science Masters website.

Interdisciplinary Approach
Most PSM programs are interdisciplinary, and require a Bachelor's degree for admission. For example, physics majors may wish to study physics entrepreneurship, health physics, or nanoscale physics, while microbiology students might choose a PSM in food safety, microbial systems analysis, or industrial microbiology. Examples of PSM program fields include:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Forensic Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Microbial Biotechnology
  • Physics with Business Applications
  • Quantitative Finance

Pathway to Employment
PSM students learn career search skills, and some interact from their first day on campus with local business and public sector employers, who act as advisors to their program. It is this close cooperation with local employers that
guarantees that the skills and subject matter taught are cutting edge and
relevant. Employers of recent PSM graduates in the biosciences range from large, multinational pharmaceutical companies to newer biotechnology companies. Graduates with an interest in intellectual property and technology transfer are working with the federal government or for university technology transfer operations, while financial mathematics graduates are popular hires for banks, brokerage houses, and the insurance industry. Forensic chemists are finding exciting opportunities with state and local forensic laboratories. Regardless of the employment sector, PSM graduates are finding exciting, well-compensated careers.

Other Resources

Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) Professional Science Master's Initiative
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is working to make the Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree a regular feature of U.S. graduate education by providing information, guidance, and “best practices” on how to develop new programs, curricula, and internship opportunities and by articulating the need for, and value of, the PSM to its membership and the community at large.

National Professional Science Master's Association
The National Professional Science Master's Association is a collaborative of PSM degree program directors, faculty, administrators, alumni, and students that supports PSM degree initiatives. It engages businesses, industries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and trade associations in the development of PSM degree programs and with internship and job placement for PSM degree students and graduates.

Professional Science Masters
Professional Science Masters is an online resource with additional information about PSMs along with resources for both students and faculty.




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