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 three degrees (Environmental Analysis and Decision Making, Nanoscale Physics and Subsurface Geoscience) in cooperation with a Board of Affiliates composed of representatives from business and industry, and added two more degrees: Bioscience and Health Policy in 2011, and Space Studies in 2012. A second Board of Affiliates was created focusing on the Space Studies track, only. Both Board of Affiliates will advise and assist with curriculum, recruitment, internships, and job placement.
All five degrees are offered through a 21-month* program that requires both coursework and hands-on training—typically in the form of an internship. The students take science courses alongside doctoral students, but no dissertation is required. Instead PSM students take required courses in management and team training, and policy and ethics. They also take a seminar series featuring both outside speakers, faculty, and student speakers.
In addition to the curriculum, Rice offers several opportunities for students to expand their experience and knowledge through activities, courses, and events, including:
*Based on full-time enrollment. Program length for part-time students will vary with individual background, work experience, and course load.