Professional Science Master's Program

PSM Overview

Professional Science Master's (PSM) programs involve a two-year graduate course of study that is created to meet industry needs by providing math, science and engineering graduates the skills essential to excel in today's high-growth technical industries and that results in a master of science degree.

California State University is the largest statewide higher education system in the nation to launch the prestigious Professional Science Master's Degree program on multiple campuses. Grant support of $1.365 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has helped support PSM program development on 17 campuses, with the program projected to expand to include all or most of the university's 23 campuses

Background

Professional Science Master's (PSM) programs are an innovative approach to earning a master of science degree that is designed to prepare students for science careers in business, government, or non-profit organizations.

Because of their ongoing relationships with employers, PSM programs are also unusually nimble in adjusting to changing workforce demands and technologies.

Surveys of recent PSM graduates show that they are working primarily in business and industry, with median starting salaries of $55,000-$65,000. PSM graduates employed in government and non-profit organizations report salaries of between $45,000 and $55,000.

The PSM has been recognized in several major pieces of proposed Congressional legislation. The America COMPETES Act, passed in 2007, contains a $73 million congressional authorization to support local PSM programs.

The California State University (CSU) has initiated the largest systemwide PSM support program in the nation. CSU currently has 22 PSM programs on 17 campuses. All are designed as rigorous two-year master's degree programs preparing professionals with the science and management skills needed by the state's science and technology industries.

Several CSU programs are in biotechnology and biosciences. Additional programs are in bioinformatics, medical product development management, biostatistics, computational science, environmental science, forensic science, and genetic counseling.

The CSU PSM initiative is expected to prepare nearly 1,150 PSM graduates for California's high growth sectors over the next five years, contributing to the state's economic competitiveness by significantly enhancing workforce preparation. It reflects the commitment of the CSU system to development of California’s workforce, a central feature of its strategic plan, Access to Excellence.