The New Graduate Education: Beyond the MBA?

A recent NY Times piece highlighted how educational requirements are changing in the 21st Century job market.  The big nonsurprise:  Master’s degrees are replacing an undergraduate education as the entry level in many fields.  What is surprising is how graduate education is changing in response:

The degree of the moment is the professional science master’s, or P.S.M., combining job-specific training with business skills. Where only a handful of programs existed a few years ago, there are now 239, with scores in development. Florida’s university system, for example, plans 28 by 2013, clustered in areas integral to the state’s economy, including simulation . . . .

While many new master’s are in so-called STEM areas — science, technology, engineering and math — humanities departments, once allergic to applied degrees, are recognizing that not everyone is ivory tower-bound and are drafting credentials for résumé boosting.

“There is a trend toward thinking about professionalizing degrees,” acknowledges Carol B. Lynch, director of professional master’s programs at the Council of Graduate Schools. “At some point you need to get out of the library and out into the real world. . . . “

This, she says, has led to master’s in public history (for work at a historical society or museum), in art (for managing galleries) and in music (for choir directors or the business side of music). Language departments are tweaking master’s degrees so graduates, with a portfolio of cultural knowledge and language skills, can land jobs with multinational companies.

In some ways, this should lessen the demand for management degrees (e.g, MBAs and MPAs) at second-tier schools.  Students that have been enrolling in such programs might be more likely to seek out a program in a subject matter that interests them that provides the work preparation and experience they’d normally get in a management program.  In some ways, this could be a vast improvement over the way things work now.  You can read the full story here.

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