Students pursuing their Master of Professional Science learn across disciplines. From left to right, students Fei Yu, Amanda Krzywinski, Holly Hall and Evan Galloway.

Students pursuing their Master of Professional Science learn across disciplines. From left to right, students Fei Yu, Amanda Krzywinski, Holly Hall and Evan Galloway.

New master’s degree program prepares students to become leaders in the life sciences industry

Evan Galloway has an educational background rich in the study of science and bioinformatics and has worked as a science writer and editor. He now works full-time within Duke University’s technology transfer department—and, also full-time, he is a member of the inaugural class of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Program.

Galloway began his work toward a Master of Professional Science (MPS) in biomedical and health informatics in fall semester 2014.

Application for admission increased 59 percent between fall 2010 and fall 2013.

Nationally, PSM degree programs have grown rapidly since first developed in 1997, with Sloan Foundation support. Application for admission increased 59 percent between fall 2010 and fall 2013. i

“I was looking at more general analytics/information programs, knowing that I wanted to focus on the health sector, as a result of my background and interests,” Galloway says. “So I was thrilled to find a program that combined these two threads. Moreover, I was excited that the program drew upon the resources of many of the outstanding departments at UNC, especially the schools of Public Health and Information and Library Science.”

91 percent of employed 2012-13 PSM graduates responding to a survey said their job relates to their area of study.

91 percent of employed 2012-13 PSM graduates responding to a survey said their job relates to their area of study.ii

The PSM is designed to meet the needs of today’s professionals who want to expand their technical and business knowledge and apply it to emerging professional fields within science and health. The road leading to the creation of Carolina’s first two PSM programs—the MPS in biomedical and health informatics and the MPS in toxicology—began after years of collaborative planning among The Graduate School, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and external board members with significant industry experience.

Dob Njinimbam, center, is focusing on biomedical and health informatics within the Professional Science Master’s.

Dob Njinimbam, center, is focusing on biomedical and health informatics within the Professional Science Master’s.

PSM program director Heidi Harkins says demand is accelerating for professionals who have a specialized understanding of business fundamentals and science. “Managing data and managing health threats are two tremendous challenges for our world, and our University’s first two PSM programs are intended to directly respond. Our faculty members are deeply committed to these students’ success.”

Professional fields for employed 2012-13 PSM graduates

Professional fields for employed 2012-13 PSM graduates ii

Students learn within an interdisciplinary curriculum and can complete their degrees in 16 months of full-time study. A rigorous professional internship, which is a required degree component, provides the opportunity to put knowledge into practice, Harkins says.

“We have only to look toward Research Triangle Park in our own backyard to see our state’s critical need for professionals who have a strong background in business and science,” says Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School. “We are committed to building more of these industry-academic partnerships to better meet the changing needs of North Carolina.”

The MPS in biomedical and health informatics prepares students to:

  • Manage large-scale projects related to clinical and public health information systems.
  • Develop and evaluate health information systems that influence clinical decision making and health-care quality.
  • Analyze and manage health data for enhancements to clinical practice, biomedical research and public health services.
The MPS in toxicology prepares students to:

  • Prevent the adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents on life and the environment.
  • Advance knowledge of existing and potential health threats.
  • Develop appropriate regulations in a wide variety of public and private enterprises.
Sources:

  1. Council of Graduate Schools data
  2. Council of Graduate Schools 2013 PSM Student Outcomes Survey