California State University has become the first statewide higher education system in the nation to launch the prestigious Professional Science Master's Degree program on multiple campuses. An $891,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will enable the CSU to initiate the program on 12 of the university's 23 campuses, including Cal Poly Pomona.
The Professional Science Master's (PSM) Degree is an innovative two-year graduate program created to meet industry needs by providing math, science and engineering graduates the skills essential to excel in todays high-growth technical industries.
CSU plans to launch 16 new PSM programs on the 12 campuses within the next three years, which will be implemented in a variety of fields, including: bioinformatics, biostatistics, biotechnology, clinical project management, computational science, ecological economics, environmental science and forensics. PSM programs also feature internships, which provide essential industry-based experience and exposure.
“Professional Science Master's Degree programs supply the labor market with highly skilled workers that are essential to the state's future economy,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “We are extremely pleased that the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recognizes the exceptional quality of the graduate science programs that our campuses offer, and their potential for growth due to this generous contribution.”
The 12 CSU campuses that will initially launch PSM programs are:
Additional support for the initiative has been committed by the CSU, the participating campuses, and business and industry partners. Long-term institutionalization within the CSU is planned to sustain the programs.
Currently, there are approximately 100 PSM programs spread across the nation. These programs are increasingly recognized as the vehicle best suited to prepare scientists and professionals to meet the demands of top employers.
CSU's PSM programs will be developed in concert with the state's largest growth industries, such as biotechnology, medical and computational sciences, by building on successful models already piloted on CSU campuses. San Diego State University, a pilot campus, will play a key role in administering the new grant.
“In the first five years of this master's degree project, we anticipate preparing more than 1,100 PSM graduates for the workforce,” said Keith Boyum, CSU associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, who has led the systemwide initiative to develop the PSM. “Students who go through these programs will have excellent employment prospects because they will have the training needed by the state's highest growth employment sectors.”
The PSM has received substantial interest nationally due to the positive impact it has on local and the national economies. In fact, proposed new federal legislation the National Innovation Act would provide $20 million to support national PSM programs as an important component in building the nation's innovation infrastructure.
“The Professional Science Master's degree is one of the most significant new innovations in higher education in the nation,” said Boyum. “An initiative like this can only enhance the CSU's already high caliber, cutting-edge programs.”