Message from the Director

February 2020

Rutgers Professional Science Master's Program is Ten Years Old!

 In 2008, after 20 years as a full professor in engineering who was increasingly connecting with private industry through my research and continuing-education efforts, I wondered where the working STEM professionals in New Jersey were going for graduate education. Were they continuing to take science classes?

This question was one of many posed by a small but dedicated group of colleagues who, like me, were aware of a major education gap impacting both STEM-industry employers and working professionals alike: employers seeking candidates with a blend of advanced, science-based knowledge and comprehensive business skills were not finding them. STEM professionals seeking advanced, science-based education for non-academic career advancement could not find such programs at Rutgers.

The solution was to create a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program at Rutgers. Established in 1997 by the Sloan Foundation—an entity dedicated to advancing STEM research and education—PSMs combine advanced, STEM-based education with professionally guided business instruction.

With seed funding from the Sloan Foundation, full efforts to establish a truly collaborative master’s program got underway. Writing a proposal to the National Science Foundation, I outlined how Rutgers’ academic excellence, vast resources, and geographic location within a STEM/tech corridor would yield premier science-based graduate education that could fuel innovation and economic growth in New Jersey. The resulting award of $700,000 supported our first student cohort, which we welcomed in 2010.

Ten years later, Rutgers University boasts one of the most comprehensive PSMs in the nation.

Operating on all three campuses and overseen by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Barbara A. Lee, our program offers more than 25 professionally-focused concentrations in three major areas: Life Sciences, Engineering, and Computer & Information Sciences.

As Executive Director since its inception, I am excited not only to celebrate the milestone tenth anniversary of our Professional Science Master’s program (as well as the corresponding Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree), but to commemorate our success—Rutgers’ success—in advancing STEM graduate education and responding to the ever-changing needs of our global economy.

In this tenth academic year, we have many significant achievements for which to be grateful and many colleagues and staff to thank. Among Our Achievements:

  • Year over year, our fully self-sustained program continues to expand in breadth and depth. Through our ever-increasing alumni network and strong industry partnerships, our rigorous academic curriculum has been augmented by experiential-learning opportunities at some of the world’s most prestigious companies.
  • Student-centric curricula, personalized academic planning, and individualized career coaching ensure that each student’s educational journey and personal development will culminate in success both during our program and beyond. Our advisors, who continue to offer their expertise and serve as valuable resources to our students well beyond graduation, have established ongoing connections that have greatly contributed to alumni affinity—yielding a network of graduates who are involved and dedicated to the ongoing success of our program.
  • Our geographic location within the New York / New Jersey STEM-tech corridor has helped us cultivate strong business relationships that not only strengthen university-industry ties, but offer a rich employment landscape for our graduates, who apply their talents at companies such as Bloomberg, Merck, L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Nielsen, Sanofi, Mondelez, and PSE&G—contributing to the economy of our state, our nation, and the world.
  • Our student body of more than 400 STEM-based professionals—most of whom work full time—achieves true gender parity and reflects our program’s success in attracting top students at both the domestic and international levels—making our program one of the largest in the country, as well as one of the most diverse and lauded.

Augmenting our Success:

  • An unprecedented number of multidisciplinary partnerships among the graduate schools on all three Rutgers campuses.
  • Continued research that examines real-time labor trends and STEM workforce demands—enabling us to constantly keep pace with ever-changing, ever-emerging dynamics during an era of rapid growth and industry shifts.
  • Internship and externship programs that offer students rigorous, activity-based learning opportunities.
  • A recent grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate, in collaboration with the Council of Graduate Schools, masters’ STEM education and workforce development.

Finally, as AI continues to become more sophisticated, our blended curriculum remains designed to cultivate the very “human skills” that can’t be outsourced: leadership, project-management, communication, problem-solving, and the ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary STEM-based team.

We look forward to a bold and dynamic future for our program, the students we serve, and the companies and industries enriched by our graduates’ contributions. We are excited to see what the next decade will bring.

Rutgers Professional Science Master's Program​
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

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