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Marketplace Begs Academia to Bend

As part of The New York Times' special issue on graduate school, Laura Pappano discusses how, as the master's degree appears to be "the new bachelor's" in many disciplines, academia has begun "to bend itself to the marketplace." In the STEM fields, she says, "the degree of the moment is the professional science master's, or PSM, combining job-specific training with business skills." Carol Lynch, director of professional master's programs at the Council of Graduate Schools, tells Pappano that degrees are being "professionalized." Lynch adds that "at some point you need to get out of the library and out into the real world. If you are not giving people the skills to do that, we are not doing our job." This trend, David King adds, reflects academic institutions' new approach to address a labor problem. "There are several million job vacancies in the country right now, but they don't line up with skills," says King, who directs the unit that oversees PSM degrees across the State University of New York system. "We are bringing the curriculum to the market, instead of expecting the market to come to us," he adds. All things considered, Pappano poses a question of inevitability — at some point, "will the Ph.D. become the new master's?" she asks.

The Scan

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