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PSM @ AU:
Lessons
Learned
PSM = MS in Applied Science
3 tracks:
• Applied Computing (Scientific Computing)
• Biotechnology
• Environmental Science and Assessment
History
- Prof.
Larry Medsker (Physics)
- 2003 Sloan Foundation Funding
- Advisory Council established
- first enrolments in Fall 2004
- first graduations Spring 2006
- first in the Baltimore/Washington area
2 year degree (36 credit hours)
• Tool of research = analytical courses (9 credit hours)
• Non thesis course work = 6 credit hours in 600-level
courses
• No thesis
• No comprehensive examinations
• Compulsory internship
• Compulsory capstone research project
Rationale:
• provide a practical, applied degree with a significant
professional skills component which prepares the
graduate for employment in their chosen field
• not a replacement, or competition, for a traditional
research-based Master’s degree
• the expectation is that PSM graduates will not go
onto further study (PhD’s)
• build flexibility and individuality into the degree for
each graduate
• compulsory internship and capstone project component
provide important workplace skills and contacts
Multidisciplinary with current course offerings in:
Biology
Chemistry
Computer Science
Math/Stat
Environmental Studies
Students are also encouraged to find classes outside of
their elected tracks to provide the necessary professional
skills component.
Examples include classes in Public Administration,
Kogod Business School, School of Communications,
School of International Service and the Washington
College of Law.
Student Demographics:
31 students admitted since 2004
12 students have graduated since spring 2006
7 new admits for the fall 07 semester
Ranking:
1. Biotechnology
2. Environmental Science and Assessment
3. Applied Computing
Female = ~65%, F/T employed = ~70%
Lessons:
- Evolve
- Diversify
- Stay flexible
- Find your niche
Evolution
Don’t be afraid to evolve!
-Change with a changing student demographic
-Change with a changing workplace
- Change with a changing campus
Diversity
Students, like life itself, need diversity
- Diversity of course offerings
- Diversity of professional skills electives
- Diversity of capstone projects
- Diversity of internship opportunities
Flexibility
Be nimble & flexible to survive
- be flexible at the program level
- be flexible at the discipline level
- be flexible at the individual level
Specialization
Find your niche to evade predation & competition
- “ideal” versus “realized” niche
- explore new niches
- interact with your “ecosystem”
Future: survive, thrive, adapt & evolve
• Increase enrolments
• Evolve courses to accommodate changing enrolments
• Increase, and formalize, professional skills component
• Extend course options to more parts of AU’s campus
• Develop new internship & capstone opportunities
• Expand and evolve advisory council members &
interaction with industry/market
A PSM student

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