Employment Levels Remain High for Professional Science Master's Degree Holders
    September 18, 2012

    Julia Kent
    (202) 223-3791


    Washington, DC – Recent graduates of Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree programs are reporting strong rates of employment, according to the second annual PSM Student Outcomes Survey released by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). The report tracks initial hiring trends and perceived satisfaction among 2010-11 and 2011-12 graduates of PSM degree programs.


    The PSM is an innovative graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics, while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM programs prepare graduates for careers in business, government, and non-profit organizations, combining rigorous study in science and/or mathematics with coursework in management, policy, law and related fields. Most PSM programs require a final project or team experience, as well as a “real-world” internship in a business or public sector enterprise.


    According to the survey, 78 percent of respondents who graduated during the 2011-12 academic year were employed within 12 months of receiving their degree, despite beginning their careers in the most challenging job market in recent history. Perhaps more encouraging, the findings suggest PSM students have not had to lower their expectations to land a job: 90 percent of those employed were working in a job that is closely or somewhat related to their field of study. The typical graduate reports earning above $50,000 a year, and 78 percent are very satisfied or generally satisfied with the post-graduation employment prospects provided by their PSM degree.


    “The majority of PSM alumni are enjoying immediate returns on their educational investments,” commented Debra W. Stewart, CGS President. “The high proportion of graduates working in their intended fields is a sign that employers recognize the value of science and mathematics training honed in applied professional settings.”


    The survey report includes data on the reasons students enrolled in PSM programs, their experiences and satisfaction with them, their current employment status, salaries, and the perceived value of a PSM degree. Key findings include:

    • 83% of 2011-12 PSM graduates were satisfied with the distinctive nature/reputation of the program and with the quality of their non-scientific and/or mathematical professional training (a key element of PSM degrees).
    • Among those 2011-12 PSM graduates who were employed, 77% were working in business/industry, about 9% were working in government, 10% in academia and 3% in non-profit organizations.
    • Among 2011-12 PSM graduates in new jobs, 21% secured that employment because of their PSM internship.
    • Over 62% of 2011-12 PSM graduates employed full-time earned $50,000 or more in annual salary.
    • Two attributes of PSM programs that stood out as being of particularly high value to recent graduates were the internships and ‘real world’ experiences, and the quality of scientific and/or mathematical training.

    Created in 1997 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PSM programs are offered at 126 institutions of higher education, as of August 2012. An estimated 5,000 PSM degrees have been conferred since the program’s inception.


    The full report, Outcomes for PSM Alumni 2011/12, is available here. More information about the PSM can be found at http://sciencemasters.com.

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 81% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.

    * Based on data from the 2011 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS members receive regular updates of legislative and regulatory proposals impacting graduate education and are provided resources to use in advocacy efforts on their campuses and with policymakers and other constituents. 
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.