Professional science master's degree programs grow in popularity

In PSM programs, students learn both science and business skills.
In PSM programs, students learn both science and business skills.

In 2004, USA Today reported that although almost no one had ever heard of it yet, the professional science master's degree (PSM) would be very popular in the future. Calling it a business degree for scientists and mathematicians, the news outlet reported that the first students graduated with this credential in 2002.

Now, the Boston Business Journal reports that the PSM degree is quickly growing in popularity, with programs being offered in Massachusetts schools like Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts (Umass) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Of these institutions, Northeastern has four PSM degree programs, UMass has 16 and WPI has two.

While USA Today reports that only 400 students earned an PSM degree between 2002 and 2004, in 2009 alone there were over 3,800 students enrolled in one of these programs, according to the National Professional Science Master's Association.

A PSM degree is a two-year graduate program that emphasizes both science and business skills, according to the association. Most programs also stress writing and communication knowledge. Many students use this credential to enter business, government or nonprofit positions.