THE FIRST PSM DEGREE IN WASHINGTON STATE
The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in molecular biosciences is designed to help students transition into the workplace by training them in skills that employers need. The interdisciplinary option is available online, or students can choose to take some courses on the Pullman campus.
The PSM combines science with training in ethics, business, management, and communication, bridging the gap between academia and the workplace. One career-oriented aspect of the program is that it requires a business internship rather than a thesis. The nationwide shortage of scientists with managerial and business training means PSM graduates will be well positioned for employment.
The PSM can be obtained completely online, or on-campus or in a hybrid format. The core components of the minimum 33-credit PSM, are courses in molecular biosciences, one course from each of 5 Professional core areas in Ethics, Communication, Business Focus, Management and Skills Seminar and a workplace based Internship. The PSM is an excellent career choice for:
- Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in science who want to expand their science knowledge and develop the business skills needed to enter their chosen career.
- Midcareer professionals seeking advancement and enrichment in their current careers.
- K-12 science teachers seeking additional education for career promotion and increased compensation.
Meet Brandi Heath, who works as a Post Bachelors Research Associate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with the Department of Energy in Richland, WA. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University, and was active on campus in the peer leader program and the National Honor Society. Ms. Heath planned on going to dental school to become an orthodontist, but was drawn towards the research industry. She is currently pursuing a Professional Science Masters degree in Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. She spends her free time volunteering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and recently completed the Komen Race for the Cure. She also loves to spend time knitting, playing volleyball, and playing with her puppy. To learn more about Brandi Heath, visit her FabFems profile at: http://www.fabfems.org/users/brandi-heath.
As a manager of a clinical laboratory with the US Air Force (USAF), Captain Cordy Herring needs to have science, business, and managerial expertise to do his job well. After he was selected to further his education in a USAF program, he looked at universities that would broaden those skills and the WSU Professional Science Master’s Program rose to the top of his list. “I called WSU and when the program was described to me it was exactly what I was looking for,” said Herring, who has served with the USAF for 19 years and will be promoted to major later this year. Students working toward a Professional Science Master’s degree (PSM) through the WSU School of Molecular Biosciences complete science classes and coursework in professional areas such as ethics, management, communications, business, and professional skills. Students also complete an internship during their final year. “Before, getting an MBA was the only option,” explained Norah McCabe, a clinical associate professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences and director of the Professional Science Master’s program. More versatile than the MBA, the PSM gives students the opportunity to expand their scientific knowledge and learn needed business and communication skills. “It is truly an interdisciplinary degree,” said McCabe, who helped develop the new master’s option in 2010. Designed for recent graduates and returning professionals, it has grown from one student to 21 students in just two years. The program has already graduated two students, both of whom are now employed full-time. While a traditional science master’s degree may be better suited for those wanting a career in a scientific laboratory, many students are interested in applying their scientific knowledge in different ways in the workplace. And that is what appealed to Captain Herring. “My job in the clinical laboratory is a blend of science and business,” said Herring. Because leaders and policy makers may not always have a background in science, Herring believes the education he is receiving at WSU can help bridge that gap. “I will be able to help explain the science to people who develop policy,” said Herring. “It will add understanding between leaders, R&D people, and clinicians.” In his final year of the program, Herring is an intern with the WSU Research Foundation, which works to license WSU-developed technologies in the private sector. “It is a great fit for me because I wanted more experience with the business side,” said Herring. “I can’t wait to go back and tell the Air Force leaders about the program and how well it fits with what we do.” To learn more about the professional science master’s program in the School for Molecular Biosciences, visit www.smb.wsu.edu/graduates/PSM.htm