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ERIC Number: ED522242
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Aligning Higher Education STEM Production with Workforce Demand through Professional Master's Degrees. BHEF Issue Brief
Business-Higher Education Forum (NJ1)
Graduate education in the natural sciences has traditionally emphasized doctoral training for academic or research careers. This training, however, is not meeting the demand for professionals in business, industry, and the public sector, where individuals with a combination of scientific, technical, and managerial skills will be required. Professional master's degrees (often called Professional Science Master's (PSM) or Professional Engineering Master's degrees) aim to redress this mismatch by providing students with intensive interdisciplinary graduate level coursework in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, combined with training in management. PSMs have been hailed as the "21st Century MBA" and have grown dramatically recently. One of their key features is that business has been deeply involved in their development from the onset, to ensure that graduates have a seamless transition into high-demand STEM jobs. This paper calls to employers that they should support their employees' participation in PSM programs through tuition assistance or reimbursements. Businesses should incorporate programs leading to these new professional degrees in their research collaborations with universities. They should retool their recruiting practices to ensure that they draw from the advanced talent and training that professional graduate-level programs produce. Similarly, research universities have an invaluable role to play in doing more to collaborate with corporations to develop additional professional master's programs. Continued innovation is needed to design and execute programs that align in focus and content with workforce needs. Universities should continue and expand their practice of engaging with corporate partners in the development of professional master's programs. Finally, policy makers need to become better aware of the potential of professional master's degrees in enhancing innovation and competitiveness in both the public and private sectors. Future legislation should include and support such programs. (Contains 10 endnotes.)
Business-Higher Education Forum. 2025 M Street NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-367-1189; Fax: 202-367-2269; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Authoring Institution: Business-Higher Education Forum