Professional Science Master’s Degrees in Study Phase


A recent report by the National Research Council (NRC) calls for an increase in professionally oriented master’s degree programs that combine a broad-based knowledge of science with business and communications skills. New professional science master’s (P.S.M.) degree programs have come online in the past 10 years to meet market demand.

Buffalo State College has been awarded a planning grant from SUNY, which recently received a systemwide grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to begin planning P.S.M. degree programs.

P.S.M. programs typically offer coursework in organizational behavior, leadership, and management as well as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, technology, and physics. Such programs are becoming increasingly recognized as terminal degrees in preparation for technical or scientific management careers. Banks, financial firms, biotech industries, and defense firms are among those that seek employees with these interdisciplinary skills. The P.S.M. currently has one of the highest growth rates of all master’s degree programs in the United States.

“There is a growing need for individuals with knowledge of science, technology, and/or mathematics, along with mastery of organizational and management skills,” said Kevin Railey, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “Buffalo State is excited about its ability to develop programs in these areas.”

The NRC report stated that P.S.M. degrees offer excellent salaries upon graduation. The median salaries of master’s degree recipients tend to exceed those of Ph.D. recipients within the first five years of degree conferral, according to the report.

More than 125 P.S.M. programs are currently offered at more than 60 universities across the country, including five in New York State, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

Currently, the college has teams of faculty members working to develop degree programs in applied mathematics, mechanical engineering technology, and the health sciences. The college plans to submit letters of intent to SUNY in 2009.


Correction: September 8, 2008
The original version of this article, published September 4, incorrectly reported that, according to the Council of Graduate Schools, no P.S.M. programs exist in New York State. In fact, five New York schools currently offer P.S.M. programs.