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?
Students are required to take twelve graduate level courses, usually three per semester, plus CONT 300b (Ethical Practice in Health-Related Sciences) and the BIOT 212 summer internship. In the fall of the first year, students enroll in BIOL 101 (Molecular Biotechnology), BIOL 156a (Project Laboratory in Biotechnology), and BIOT 200 (Proseminar in Biotechnology); required courses in spring semester of the first year are BCHM 150b (Biochemistry Laboratory), BIOT 203 (Management for Biotechnology), and either BIOL 103b (Mechanisms of Cell Functions), BCHM 100a (Introductory Biochemistry) or BIOL 100b (Advanced Cell Biology). In addition, all students are required to take CONT 300b, usually offered in the spring. The second year required course is BIOT 201 (Business of Biotechnology) in the spring. The remaining graduate elective courses are chosen in consultation with the directors. Graduate level courses are defined as having a number equal to or greater than 100 in the Brandeis Catalog. A summer internship, BIOT 212 is also required and will be done between the first and second years. Students must receive grades of B- or better in all courses and may be terminated from the program if their academic records are unsatisfactory.
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.
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.