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NPSMA to Announce First Board of Advisors
November 20, 2008

The National Professional Science Master’s Association (NPSMA) will name four corporate executives, three university presidents, and four educational leaders to its inaugural national advisory board when it convenes its first national conference in Atlanta. The organization, headquartered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), was established in 2007 with a $500,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to promote and support professional master’s degree programs at universities across the nation and to encourage the continued expansion of such programs.

Professional science master’s (PSM) degrees are designed for students in the sciences who plan to work in professional positions in industry, rather than in academia. A total of 126 programs are offered by 62 colleges and universities (WPI offers two, in financial and industrial mathematics). The programs, which combine rigorous graduate study in science or mathematics with the development of business skills (including written and verbal communication, leadership, and team building), prepare students for science and technology careers in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. The programs are typically developed in close collaboration with industry, which sees the PSM degree as an important way to increase America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

The National Research Council, in a 2008 report titled “Science Professionals: Master’s Education for a Competitive World,” concluded that the master’s trained segment of the science workforce is critical to America’s continued innovation and competitive success, and strongly endorsed programs, including PSMs, that are interdisciplinary, emphasize communication and problem solving, and prepare students to innovate, adapt to change, and lead. The report also endorsed the efforts of the NPSMA to work with leaders in business and academia to promote and expand PSM programs nationwide.

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