Public Affairs

A Higher Degree of Preparation for Health Discoveries

June 13, 2011
By Erik Fallis

Hundreds of recent CSU alumni are finding a hot job market and an economy eager for their skills.  Newly conferred Professional Science Master's (PSM) degrees have armed these graduates with scientific and industry knowledge that is keyed in to specific high-tech, high pay, high-demand employers.  Statewide, the CSU boasts a 96 percent employment/PhD program placement rate for the more than 400 students graduating from PSM programs during the last four years. 

These alumni include graduates of PSM programs in biotechnology, bioinformatics and other health related fields.  Health related industries have a huge need for the PSM's unique interdisciplinary approach to help discover and implement new technologies in medicine and medical devices.  The PSM combines research in various scientific fields with industry specific know-how and professional soft skills.  In the CSU, this training comes with internships that place students directly into active labs and worksites.

The CSU offers 22 PSM degrees at 17 of its 23 campuses – more than half of the programs qualify students to work in a health-related field.  Every CSU PSM program can boast student and graduate successes.  Below are a few examples:

The first cohort of students from CSU Channel Islands' Master of Science in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics with an emphasis in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management Program graduated in September of 2010.  All had job offers.  Some of the students have already published papers in the nation’s most prestigious journals.  The second cohort of students will graduate in September of 2011 and are currently working as student interns at Scripps Research Institute, UCSB, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, University of Southern California and City of Hope.

Two in the inaugural class of those earning a master of biotechnology degree from Cal State Fullerton are Nahal Ghahremanio and Ronald Morley, center. Flanking them at May 22 commencement ceremonies are: Robert A. Koch, acting dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, far left,  Kathryn Dickson, acting chair and professor of biological science, second from right, and David Dyer, director of the Program for Applied Biotechnology Studies, far right. Photo by Greg AndersenEmployers did not even wait for students of CSU Fullerton's Program for Applied Biotechnology Studies to graduate before extending job offers.  The PSM program helped build the connections that led to job placement through a 10-week student internship at local biotech companies and a 26-week applied master’s project.

All eight 2011 graduates from Sacramento State's PSM program have jobs lined up.  With a $1.3 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the program partners Sacramento State’s Department of Biological Sciences and the UC Davis Stem Cell Program.  The program placed students into practical lab settings with mentors in order to specifically prepare graduates for careers as stem cell professionals.

The CSU congratulates all of the recent PSM graduates, and has committed to continue leading the national effort to expand PSM degree programs.