In a year when many recent graduates are struggling to find work, those who received Professional Science Masters (PSM) degrees during the 2010-11 or 2011-12 academic year appear to be enjoying high levels of well-paid employment, according to a report released on 18 September by the Council of Graduate Schools, an association of more than 500 North American universities. The survey was conducted in June and July 2012.
Graduates of 81 different programs run at 44
universities responded to the survey, out of the total of 291 PSM programs currently offered by 126
universities. Just over 90 percent of the respondents graduating in 2010-2011 and 78 percent of those graduating in 2011-12 reported being employed, more than 90 percent of them in jobs related to their field of study. [Editor’s note: Those employment rates may not sound that great–9+% reported not having jobs a year after graduating–but the majority of those not employed reportedly were pursuing more education; presumably that means that after completing the PSM they decided to learn some more science, most often, one suspects, pursuing a Ph.D. Readers can decide for themselves whether that is a good outcome. According to the survey just 3.2% of 2011 PSM graduates were unemployed in the usual sense.]
Two thirds of all respondents reported earning above $50,000 a year, with 20 percent reporting a salary of $60,000 to $69,000 and 4 percent over $100,000. The earlier graduates, not surprisingly, commanded higher salaries than the more recent ones. More than three out of four of the total respondents worked in industry. More than four out of five of the respondents declared themselves satisfied with the degree.
The lower employment rate for the 2011-12 graduates may, the report suggests, reflect the fact that the survey was taken soon after many members of that cohort finished their studies.