Projections show the nation is facing shortages in college-educated graduates with the professional problem-solving, management, and communication skills needed to fill many high-demand fields, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Professional master’s degrees (often called Professional Science Master’s (PSM) or Professional Engineering Master’s degrees) aim to redress this mismatch by preparing students for a wide variety of career options that meet the needs of nonacademic employers, including industry, government, and the non-profit sector.
Launched in 1997 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PSM programs typically combine intensive graduate-level training in science, engineering, or a mathematics-related field with coursework that provides business skills in fields such as financial and project management, communication, statistics, ethics, intellectual property, and regulatory affairs. PSMs have been hailed as the “21st Century MBA” and have grown dramatically. One of their key features is deep corporate involvement from the onset, to create curricula, sponsor internships, and provide financial support, and to ensure that graduates have a seamless transition into high-demand STEM jobs.
Several organizations are deeply involved in maintaining the quality of PSM programs, including the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), the National PSM Association, and the National Science Foundation.
Read more about PSM programs in BHEF’s Issue Brief: Aligning Higher Education STEM Production with Workforce Demand through Professional Master’s Degrees.
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