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The Professional Science Master’s Initiative



The Professional Science Master (PSM) program affiliation is administered by the PSM National Office. The national office implements a peer-review, external review committee process to ensure that the guidelines are met and affiliated programs maintain professional standards. This quality assurance mechanism is sustained by a revolving group of volunteer experts. Reviewers are PSM program directors, industry representatives, and PSM administrators.



The Sloan Foundation PSM initiative began in 1997 with grants to 14 research universities to support the founding of programs in the natural sciences and mathematics, followed by a targeted bioinformatics set of programs at another 12 research institutions. Concurrent with the effort by Sloan, Henry Riggs, the outgoing president of Harvey Mudd College, convinced the Keck Foundation to build an all-new master’s only graduate school designed to educate leaders for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, healthcare product and bioagricultural (biosciences) industries. The resulting Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), associated with the Claremont Colleges in California, enrolled its first class of twenty-eight students in August 2000.

In 2001, a Sloan grant to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) extended the PSM initiative to master’s focused institutions, which award 40% of science/math master’s degrees and where faculty are heavily invested in master’s education. In 2002 CGS conducted a survey for the Ford Foundation that indicated a trend toward professionalization of master’s degrees offered by social sciences and humanities departments at both doctoral-focused and master’s focused institutions. As a result, the Ford Foundation funded a CGS proposal to promote the development of Professional Masters (PMA) programs in the humanities and social sciences. In January 2006, the Council of Graduate Schools assumed primary responsibility for supporting and expanding the Sloan Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Initiative, with the goal of making it a regular feature of U.S. graduate education. Learn about the CGS initiative to institutionalize the PSM Degree.


The Professional Master of Science and Technology at The University of Utah is a member of the National Professional Science Master’s Association.