Professional Science Master's Degree Programs Praised for Meeting Needs of 21st Century Workforce

November 13, 2013

6,000 Students in 302 Programs at 129 Academic Institutions

Professional Science Master's Degree Programs Praised for Meeting Needs of 21st Century Workforce
L-R: James Sterling, Richard Hanna, Nancy Zimpher, Juliette Bell, David King at the Professional Science Masters event at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2014 — With the number of Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree programs exploding since its inception in 1997, leaders of academia, business, and government celebrated the degree and lauded its impact on education and industry Tuesday (11/12) at an event at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

"The PSM is becoming recognized as the graduate degree that provides the best preparation in science, regulatory affairs, and the financial context in an industry sector," said Jim Sterling, Keck Graduate Institute's vice president for academic affairs and administrator of the PSM affiliation process. "All of this momentum validates the PSM as being the most responsive approach to immediately contributing to the high-tech workforce."

Rep. Richard Hanna of New York's 22nd Congressional district said, “The value-added nature of education transforms people and countries. As more people obtain higher degrees with advanced technical skills, like a Professional Science Master's degree, it will only further propel America's economy and make us more competitive in the 21st century. It is a privilege to support the State University of New York at Cortland in its implementation of the Sustainable Energy Systems PSM degree, the 300th PSM program in existence. I congratulate the PSM community on this milestone and am pleased to see the program continue its great work throughout the nation."

Leaders of SUNY Cortland, where the Sustainable Energy Systems program recently became the 300th affiliated PSM program, participated in the event at the Library of Congress.

Established in 1997 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PSM degrees provide training in areas such as management, marketing, communications, regulatory affairs, intellectual property and business ethics with an emphasis on experiential learning components such as internships and capstone projects guided by industry advisors.

“I think of it as a 21st century degree,” said David King, Director of the SUNY PSM Consortium and president of the NPSMA. “It's a hybrid, which I think is more agile. It's responsive to the rapidly changing needs of the job market. Our numbers speak to our success. In just 15 years, the PSM has rapidly expanded to 302 programs at 129 institutions (as off November 11, 2013), integrating business skills with advanced scientific training to meet the demands of a high-tech workforce.”

Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey's 12th Congressional district said in a statement, “PSM graduates bring so many skills to the world outside of academia. They bring, of course, scientific expertise – whether in cybersecurity, molecular genetics, human-computer interactions, or any of a host of other fields.

But just as importantly, they bring scientific thinking to the private sector. They help everyone in a company to “think like scientists” – to employ statistical reasoning, to recognize opportunities to gain data from experimentation, and to remain alert to the mental tricks humans all play on ourselves.”

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) said, “If we continue to educate students through the PSM, they will be carriers of STEM, helping our economy, our institutions, and our nation.”

Gary Benzion, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, agreed. “We can't have new hires coming into our office scratching their heads about the science. We can teach them the law, but we cannot teach the science. We also need people who can speak and write effectively. We need more PSM graduates.”

In 2012, nearly 6,000 students were enrolled in PSM programs, with most of them attending U.S. colleges and universities. A recent survey by the Council of Graduate Schools found that 91% of PSM graduates are working in their field.

A comprehensive PSM program list and resources are available at

Additional information from the event, including photographs and video excerpts, can be found at

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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