- What is a Professional Science Master’s degree and how is it different from a Master of Science?
Professional Science Master’s (PSM) describes a new type of MS graduate degree program, which combines training in both science and professional skills. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an interdisciplinary area, with a professional component that includes internships and attention to workplace skills, such as business, communications, and regulatory affairs. PSM degree programs have a strong connection to potential employers, who are actively involved in the curriculum design. The PSM is designed to prepare students for entry directly into a career and not as a intermediate degree to be followed by PhD study. PSM status for the Brandeis University Biotechnology program has been approved and awarded by the Council of Graduate Schools. The degree awarded by Brandeis University will be an MS.
- How long does it take to get the PSM degree in Biotechnology?
The program is meant to span two years.
- What are the course requirements for the PSM degree in Biotechnology?
A total of twelve 4-credit, graduate level courses are required for the program. Four lecture courses are mandatory for all biotechnology students. These are BIOL 101a Molecular Biotechnology*, BIOL 205a Masters Proseminar, BIOT 201b Business of Biotechnology, and BIOT 203b Fundamentals of Management for Biotechnology. All biotechnology students are required to take one of the following courses: BCHM 100a Introductory Biochemistry, BIOL 100b Advanced Cell Biology, BIOL 102b Structural Molecular Biology, or BIOL 103b Mechanisms of Cell Function. Two laboratory courses are mandatory, Biol 151 Protein Biochemistry Laboratory and Biol 156 Biotechnology Project Laboratory. All students will take two biology, biochemistry, or chemistry electives numbered higher than 100 and one business elective‡. The remaining courses may be additional biology, biochemistry, or chemistry electives (as above), or relevant business‡, computer science, economics, or sociology courses as well as relevant courses in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, at appropriate levels approved by the program directors, or additional laboratory courses. The laboratory courses may be additional project laboratories (usually numbered BIOL 150-159) or research in laboratories approved by the program directors (students should enroll in Biotechnology Research, BIOT 293).In addition, all students are required to take CONT 300b Responsible Conduct of Science or attend the comparable Division of Science Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) workshop, and take the BIOT 212 internship. Students may not take more than four 4-credit courses in any semester without permission of the director.
*Students who previously have taken a course equivalent to BIOL 101a Molecular Biotechnology may substitute an elective course with the consent of the program directors.
‡Two 2-credit business modules, e.g. BUS 226f Managing Global Human Capital, BUS 228f Management Communication, may be taken in place of a 4-credit course.
- How do I find an internship?
Students work with the program director to identify internship opportunities in pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms or academic research laboratories, and with the office of Career Services of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Hiatt Career Center to craft strong applications. Students who do internships in industry typically find their employers through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Internship Challenge or by applying directly to the companies. Most students who do academic internships find labs by networking.
- Will I be paid for the internship?
This will depend upon the individual internship arranged by the student.
- Is a thesis required for the PSM degree in Biotechnology?
No, although there will be assigned individual and team projects in some of the required courses. The internship will be concluded with a poster presentation of each student’s work.
- Is financial aid available?
Most students obtain financial aid through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For information contact GSAS at (781) 736-3410. Financial aid will not cover the entire cost of tuition.
- Are there course prerequisites for the PSM in Biotechnology program?
Yes, two semesters each of college-level courses in biology and chemistry, with laboratories, are prerequisites. Courses in organic chemistry, economics or business may be helpful but are not required.
- How do I apply?
Apply online at the Brandeis University website.