As our national economy becomes increasingly dependent upon technology, there is a need for people in industry and government to possess scientific expertise as well as leadership and management skills.
In response to these needs, the Sloan Foundation began funding the development of a new MS degree in universities across the United States. The Professional Science Master's (PSM) is a two-year degree that prepares students for work outside academia. Instead of specializing in a research area, you will learn what it takes to become a well-rounded, technically adept professional—just the sort of person that employers are looking for these days!
Rice developed the following degrees: Environmental Analysis (2002), Subsurface Geoscience (2003), Bioscience and Health Policy (2011), Space Studies (2012) and Applied Chemical Sciences in 2020 (Nanoscale Physics in 2002 however, this program was sunsetted in 2008). The curriculum was developed in cooperation with a Board of Affiliates composed of representatives from business and industry. All Board of Affiliates members advise and assist with curriculum development, workforce skill sets updates, recruitment, internships, and job placement.
All degrees are offered through a 16 to 21-month* program that requires both coursework and hands-on training—typically in the form of an internship. The students take advanced science courses alongside doctoral students, but no dissertation is required. PSM students also are required to take courses in management and team training, business, policy and ethics, in addition to a corporate seminar series featuring both outside speakers, faculty, and student speakers. The internship/practical work experience can be completed as a summer internship, or a longer internship during one of the semesters. Students receive intense training to prepare them for the internship search and receive access to a wealth of resources to be successful in their search.
Please find the PSM Guidelines and Procedures here.
Other Resources and Opportunities:
In addition to the curriculum, Rice offers several opportunities for students to expand their experience and knowledge through activities, courses, and events, including:
- access to select MBA elective courses offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business
- exposure to entrepreneurial development and the business investment communities via the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Doerr Institute for New Leaders
- writing and presentation coaching by Rice PSM communication faculty and the Center for Academic and Professional Communication
- policy discussions with members of Rice's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
- involvement in projects coordinated by the Energy and Environment Initiative, the Smalley-Curl Institute, and the Rice Space Institute.
- Inter-Institutional Agreement Program allows full-time students to take a course with a partner universities in Houston. More information can be found on the Office of the Registrar web site
*Based on full-time enrollment. Program length for part-time students will vary with individual background, work experience, and course load. Program length for full-time students will vary depending on length of internship/work experience.
Curriculum developed to guide students into careers in industry and business
Depending on the program chosen, graduates will be able to pursue opportunities globally in many different types of organizations. Please review specific information under each program and read the bios of our graduates to see where they interned and where they found employment.