Rigor and Relevance: College Adds New Applied Mathematics Professional Master's Degree
With its launch in fall 2013, IIT College of Science will provide new academic pathways for students to follow, including new professional master's degree (PSM) programs. Like traditional programs in the college, the professional master's degree programs are both rigorous and relevant. But they are designed specifically for people who are already working in or who plan to work in non-academic environments.
Described as "a hybrid of science and business," "the MBA of science," and "the business of science," IIT's professional master's degrees in science or math give students an alternative to the traditional Ph.D. track by combining science or math courses with business and communications courses. Such degrees respond to industry's need for science and math-based employees who understand the needs of business.
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) refers to professional master's programs as "rigorous, interdisciplinary programs that give students advanced training in science and mathematics, while emphasizing professional skills that are highly valued by employers in a wide range of fields."
CSL offers five of these innovative and effective degrees: professional master's of biology, analytical chemistry, health physics, materials chemistry, and the new applied mathematics degree (available starting in fall 2013). An additional new program in data analytics is planned. All are designed to prepare students for science or mathematical careers in business, government, and non-profit agencies.
The PSM offers more science or math than a Master of Business Administration while incorporating more professional skills than a Master of Science. Graduates are able to seek interdisciplinary careers and excel in professional environments.
Working professionals are able to complete programs on a part-time basis while seeking career advancement. IIT offers online classes, adding the opportunity to study anytime or anywhere.
Advisory boards offer guidance on current industry demands and future trends, allowing the programs to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the industry. Additionally, professional master's programs at IIT draw from advancements generated by the National Professional Science Master's Association (NPSMA), a group of program directors, faculty, administrators, industry representatives, alumni, and students who support professional master's degree initiatives.
A recent survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) found that 90 percent of professional master's graduates are working in a job that is in, or closely related to, their field of study and nearly 80 percent are highly satisfied with their post-graduation employment prospects. In fact, in the article "Employment Levels Remain High for Professional Science Master's Degree Holders," CGS President Debra W. Stewart said, "The majority of PSM alumni are enjoying immediate returns on their educational investments….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."
Matt Sbertolli, a high school chemistry teacher currently enrolled in IIT's materials chemistry program, said, "I chose IIT because…they offer Internet courses which are the only way I can earn a degree while teaching full-time. The staff has definitely not disappointed, and while the work can be rigorous, I'm confident it will be worth it."
For more information, please visit iit.edu/csl/programs/professional_masters/