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File: UTEP Graduation | Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP Communications

New UTEP Master’s Program Blends Science and Professional Skills

Graduates from the College of Science at The University of Texas at El Paso will have a new postgraduate option starting in the spring 2017 semester.

The University of Texas Regents recently approved the Professional Master of Science (PSM). The degree program is composed of two graduate certificates and is the first of its kind in the UT System.

“In the 21st century economy, there is enormous demand for professionals who have a foundation in science,” said Robert Kirken, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science. “We are constantly looking at satisfying future employment demand by projecting trends. This master’s degree allows our students to blend their science knowledge with another discipline, like business or health, which we anticipate will make them more marketable and readily employable.”

The first certificate, consisting of 15-18 hours, is offered by the College of Science. The second graduate certificate, consisting of 15-18 hours, can be taken in the College of Science, any other college at UTEP, or outside UTEP in class or online.

“The purpose of the degree was to enhance the marketability of students at the master’s level by blending disciplines,” explained Associate Dean of Science for Academic Programs Nancy Marcus, Ph.D. “We want our students to be successful. This provides a new opportunity for students not going on for their doctorate degree.”

For example, a student with a bachelor’s degree in science who is interested in forensic science may consider getting certifications in biology and forensic DNA; or if a student is interested in banking and insurance, they may consider certificates in mathematics and business through the program.

The resulting master’s degree may give them an edge when applying for jobs. Students can choose from endless graduate certificate combinations.

Marcus and Kirken developed the new degree plan after several meetings with national employers in the industry and months of brainstorming. They said degrees like the PSM are critical to the future because they are interdisciplinary and can evolve as employer needs fluctuate.

The college is currently recruiting for the degree’s inaugural semester. The program takes about two years to complete. Interested students can send an email to nancymarcus@utep.edu.

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