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Columbia Campus    
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Feb 03, 2023
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Professional Science Master, P.S.M.

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László Márton, Ph.D., Program Manager


The Professional Science Master (P.S.M.) program is a master’s-level program designed to provide students with the skills needed for success in the development, application, and/or marketing of science and technology in a business setting. As an alternative to the traditional research-based M.S. or Ph.D. programs, the P.S.M. attracts students who are interested in careers in science- and technology-based business. The student selects from one of four areas of emphasis: biotechnology (offered by the Department of Biological Sciences), bioinformatics (offered by the Department of Biological Sciences in cooperation with the Department of Statistics and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and Information Technology), environmental geosciences (offered by the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences), and modeling for corporate applications (offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy). However, the program is not currently accepting applicants into the environmental geosciences or modeling for corporate applications emphases.

The ultimate goal of the P.S.M. is the successful placement of the graduate into a rewarding career in an evolving, high-tech job market. It is for this reason that this degree involves case studies and problem-solving, group projects, and internships with industry. Students also benefit from the collaboration of the Moore School of Business, the USC School of Law, and the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. The professional skills component of the program enhances students’ scientific training with the practical skills needed to apply their technical proficiency to problem solving in a business setting.

Program components:

  • Core courses in the chosen science discipline, plus supplementary math or statistics courses.
  • Course modules or seminars focusing on professional skills and real-world case studies.
  • An internship with industry.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate professional knowledge of science and technology needed for business/industry settings, specifically managerial, financial, legal, and regulatory issues.
  • Students will demonstrate problem-solving skills applicable to science and technology-oriented businesses and industries.  
  • Students will demonstrate communication skills appropriate for professional level employment in science and technology based business/industry.  
  • Students will gain professional level employment in science and technology based business/industry.  


The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, with competence in a science field related to the chosen area of emphasis. The applicant’s undergraduate transcript and GPA must reflect the ability to handle advanced science course work (usually a 3.00 or higher in science courses) since the applicant review occurs in the science department that offers the chosen area of emphasis. All applicants must also submit scores from the general GRE. Deficiencies in one area may be compensated for by strengths in another.

Degree Requirements (33-37 Hours)

Depending on the chosen area of emphasis, a professional science master’s degree program is 33 semester hours of graduate credit. At least half of the credit hours on the master’s program of study must be earned in courses numbered 700 and above, so students should exercise care in selecting course work to meet this requirement.

Core Requirements (9 Hours)

All students enrolled in the professional science master’s degree program are required to take the following courses for a 9-credit hour core:

Area of Emphasis

Remaining credit hours are listed by area of emphasis and selected with advisement from the area of emphasis list.

Biotechnology (24 Hours)

Bioinformatics (24 Hours)

Environmental Geosciences* (24 Hours)

A core course in flow in porous media will be required for 3 credit hours starting in the 2004-2005 academic year. Additional requirements:

Modeling for Corporate Applications* (24 Hours)

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