The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded the California State University a second major grant – of $474,000 – to support CSU’s Professional Science Master’s (PSM) programs, including a Fresno State program.

Regarded as one of the most important innovations in higher education, the PSM programs prepare a scientifically trained, business oriented workforce for the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and energy industries, as well as government. Cal State’s PSM programs operate in partnership with industry and respond to the significant need for science professionals with specialized training in California’s leading science and technology sectors.

“Our graduates are highly trained in science and technology while understanding the business applications of that knowledge,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “They operate as comfortably in the lab as in business settings.”

CSU plans to train some 1,050 science and technology professionals over the next five years with students receiving degrees in biotechnology, bioinformatics, environmental sciences, biostatistics, forensic science, computational science, biomedical science, medical product development management, and genetic counseling.

The Sloan Foundation helped to finance the CSU system-wide expansion of the PSM programs with a grant of $891,000 in December 2006 in an effort to increase the number of professionals in these areas. The CSU now has more than a dozen programs in place or underdevelopment and plans to have at least 30 programs on 18 CSU campuses. These programs are designed to produce workers for the biomedical, computer science, environmental, and other high growth fields. Professionals with this training have the competitive edge in the global economy and are in high demand in industry and the public sector.

Cal State’s PSM strategy shares the goals of the U.S. American Competitiveness Initiative to promote excellence in science and technology and provide 21st century skills to keep America competitive.

Last year, through the America COMPETES Act, Congress authorized $73 million for programs that respond to these goals and for which CSU PSM programs would be eligible.

Recognizing the significance of training in these fields, Abbott recently provided funding to help launch a new PSM program in medical product development management at San José State University.

“The CSU is a vast resource for California’s technical workforce. It has created new and specific instructional programs in emerging areas critical for California’s economy and has kept pace with the evolution of the biomedical research and manufacturing industries,” said David Gollaher, president and Chief Executive Officer of the California Healthcare Institute.

According to Stan Glasgow, president and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics, the PSM programs are critical, for firms like Sony, to retain jobs in California.

“In order to keep our facilities here, we must be able to recruit the talent that enables us to produce the highest quality products,” Glasgow said. “We need individuals skilled in applied sciences and technology. That is precisely what these programs are doing.”

Cal State’s PSM programs have built a strong reputation and are considered national models. They were featured as the most advanced in the nation at the National Governor’s Association Professional Science Master’s Academy held in June in Sacramento. The Academy was comprised of top higher education and economic policy advisors appointed by U.S. governors to work in the implementation of PSM programs in their home states.

CSU campuses currently offering PSM programs or planning them for 2009-10 include:

  • CSU Channel Islands: biotechnology and bioinformatics; biotechnology/MBA
  • CSU Chico: environmental sciences
  • CSU Dominguez Hills: applied biotechnology studies
  • CSU East Bay: biostatistics
  • FRESNO STATE: biotechnology (agricultural); forensic science
  • CSU Fullerton: applied biotechnology studies
  • CSU Los Angeles: applied biotechnology studies
  • Cal Poly Pomona: applied biotechnology studies
  • CSU San Bernardino: environmental sciences
  • San Diego State University: computational science; bioinformatics/medical informatics
  • San Francisco State University: biomedical science and biotechnology
  • San Jose State: master of biotechnology; medical product development management
  • CSU San Marcos: biotechnology
  • CSU Stanislaus: genetic counseling

Related links:

Fresno State PSM program –

CSU program –

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students year round and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 89,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See <>.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit institution, was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr.
<> , then President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation. It makes grants in science, technology, and the quality of American life.