Revamped graduate degree program better serves industry, students

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

OLATHE — Through a retooled graduate degree program, Kansas State University's Olathe campus is making it easier for working professionals to step into a leadership role with the skills and confidence necessary to succeed.

The professional science master in applied biosciences is a 30 credit hour graduate program that is comprised of science courses, professional skills, a statistics course and a capstone project. Now, students will select a focus track in either animal health or food safety and security to build out their educational programming according to their career field and goals. The tracks were added to better align with industry.

"We have reoriented the K-State's Olathe professional science master's curriculum and program design to more deliberately align the program with the multifaceted animal health and food safety and security industries," said Rebekkah Stuteville, assistant dean of academic support services, teaching associate professor and director of the professional science master's degree program.

The professional science master in applied biosciences degree was previously named the professional science master's in applied science and technology.

A professional science master's degree, or PSM, is a unique, industry-focused graduate program that fuses advanced training in the sciences with leadership and managerial skills.

K-State Olathe's revamped professional science master degree is geared specifically for professionals in the animal science and food safety and security sectors who aspire to be in a managerial and supervisory role. This could include positions as a lab manager, director of quality assurance, project manager or another mid- to senior-level scientific or technical position at a research unit, laboratory or business and also a governmental or nonprofit organization.

Content is taught through an interdisciplinary lens as a way to present a broader perspective about a topic and how other disciplines factor into a decision or outcome, Stuteville said.

Presenting content through this interdisciplinary lens has received positive feedback from students in the program.

"One of the biggest contributions of the PSM degree to my career was learning and appreciating the importance of a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to solving problems," said Emily Overmyer, a 2019 graduate of the program who oversees retail pricing and formulation at an animal health company. "The courses challenged me to think about how to bring cross-functional groups together, integrate these groups and leverage differences to find creative solutions when facing complex problems."

Overmyer was hired for a supervisor position shortly after earning her professional science master degree at K-State's Olathe campus.

Enrollment is now open for the summer 2020 start of the professional science master in applied biosciences program.

The Olathe campus' professional science master's degree is affiliated with the National Professional Science Master's Association.

Learn more about the degree and enroll at