The last semester of college is bittersweet: The years spent on campus are coming to an end, but so is the homework. The years studying are finally culminating into a degree. However, one can’t help but wonder: Will I get a job in my field?
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences realizes this is a concern. That’s where the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree comes in.
About the Professional Science Masters
On average, the employment rate after graduation is 82 percent. The national PSM graduation rate is 91 percent.
This degree balances business and science, making it marketable to a wider variety of science positions.
A student chooses a science track from the following: biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology and planning, mathematics or physics, astronomy and materials science. Then the student simultaneously works on business classes.
In addition to the business classes, students in this program participate in an offsite internship instead of a traditional thesis.
“A lot of thesis students like the thesis because their eventual goal is a PhD program, so they want to gain experience in writing and presenting things at an advanced level,” Dr. Kyoungtae Kim, associate dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences said.
With the PSM, students are not planning on going further than their masters. This makes the need for a thesis less necessary and practical experience more important.
The PSM program typically takes two years, unless you apply for the four plus one program. This program allows a student to start taking graduate courses during senior year and count the courses for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Students in the program: Vy Nguyen
Vy Nguyen, a student on the biology PSM track, wants to work in the pharmaceutical business after graduation. This requires business courses and makes her more marketable. She will graduate summer 2019.
Nguyen also likes the program because she thinks it is more practical. Already she sees overlap in Kim’s lab where she conducts research and math from her accounting classes.
Nguyen wants to do a lot of research-based work, hoping to gain a foundation in research before she starts her internship in December.
Greg Illy, who is on the chemistry PSM track, works at the Highway Patrol in their crime lab as a crime technician. This is also his internship site.
“Right now, I’m actually working on validating a new method for extracting drugs from urine and blood,” said Illy.
Illy thinks the internship offers him more than a traditional thesis since a doctoral program isn’t in his future. He believes the business aspect will allow him to better work in management positions in the science world.
Ben Parnell, a student on the biology track, was able to intern at the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. Since he wants to work with water resources, this gave him an up-close look at the field.
Parnell praises the internship component, saying it was more valuable than any class he has taken. He hopes that the business component will also lead him to more leadership positions.
The PSM program at Missouri State University is growing. This year there are four students enrolled. Kim, who is also the director for the PSM program, hopes to raise those numbers with increased awareness of this interdisciplinary program.