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PSM Check-Up

A new Council of Graduate Schools report looks into how professional science master's degree program graduates are faring. Within six months of graduation, 81.4 percent of respondents who earned PSM degrees during the 2010/2011 academic year said they were working during the week of June 20, 2011. Among those working, 88.4 percent said they were employed in positions "closely or somewhat related to their fields of study."

In their report, the council's Nathan Bell and Jeffrey Allum discuss initial hiring outcomes of PSM graduates, with whom they will follow up for up to five years after graduation. With their survey — which received 320 responses from graduates of 58 PSM programs at 36 institutions — Bell and Allum also sought to assess PSM graduates' reasons for enrolling in their programs and "perceived satisfaction with the PSM degree." Most PSM graduates reported enrolling in PSM programs "to acquire specific skills and knowledge" — 68.6 percent of respondents indicated this motivation — and "to learn more about something in which they were particularly interested" — for which 59.2 percent said so. More than half of the survey respondents indicated that they enrolled in a PSM program to increase their opportunities for "promotion, advancement, and/or pay" within the field in which they had already been employed, while 39 percent say they enrolled to facilitate a career change. Bell and Allum add that, "overall, respondents were generally satisfied with their PSM program of study and reported the highest levels of satisfaction with the quality of their scientific and/or mathematical training, the distinctive nature of the program, and the quality of their non-scientific professional training."

The survey also collected salary information. The authors found that of those respondents who reported working during the week of June 20, 2011, those in business and industry were most likely to be earning between $40,000 and $69,999 per year; those in academia, between $30,000 and $39,999 annually; and those in government were earning anywhere "from $29,999 or less to $100,000 or more."

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