Master of Professional Science

About the Program

The Master of Professional Science (MPS) degree prepares students for science careers in industry, government, and non-profit organizations, where employment demands are growing. MPS degrees were developed and implemented nationally in response to employer demands for well-rounded, highly trained employees with a breadth of knowledge and practical skills to address emerging environmental issues and improve the management of natural and cultural resources. The curriculum is structured to allow students to complete their degree in as little as 12 months, with the training and real-world experience necessary to prepare them for careers in today’s professional science job market.

Background

In 1997, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation helped launch the first Professional Science Masters degree in response to a growing need for a workforce with science and interdisciplinary training that was not being met by traditional research-based graduate education. Their goal was to better prepare scientists for employment in new and emerging industries that lie at the intersection of science and business, law, media, and other non-traditional fields. As described by Dr. Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation, MPS programs “aim to engage students with professional goals and help them become scientists uniquely suited to the 21st-century workplace, equipped with a deeper and broader scientific knowledge than that acquired with a Bachelor of Science degree and the skills to apply it”.

MPS degrees give students a distinct advantage in both obtaining employment in their field of study and with their salaries once employed. The private industry and government agencies have both testified to the need for employees with these skills and, according to a recent National Research Council study, the salaries of those who hold masters degrees in science and engineering have grown faster over the last 10 years than salaries of those with either BS or PhD degrees.

Further Reading

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