UW-Stout News Story

Professional Science Master’s program approved by Regents

October 8, 2012

University of Wisconsin-Stout will be the first UW System campus to offer a new type of innovative advanced degree in industrial and applied mathematics, following action Friday by the Board of Regents.

The regents, meeting at UW-Stout, approved the Professional Science Master’s degree in industrial and applied mathematics. No other UW system school offers a similar degree.

Mary Hopkins-Best, Jeffrey AndersonProfessional Science Master’s degrees are a relatively new course of study intended to give students advanced training in science or mathematics in accordance with the needs of business and industry. Besides the study of science or mathematics, the degree includes a professional component related to the particular profession, such as business and communication skills.

Program graduates are highly employable, officials said, with a national employment rate of 82 percent. Furthermore, 55 percent of the graduates earn $50,000 or more annually.

The program start date is tentatively scheduled for fall 2013.

UW-Stout will have a highly focused 35-credit program with courses in mathematics, statistics and computer science, as well as an industry-based project that will serve as the research component.

“This degree was developed for adult professionals who seek to acquire a deep knowledge of mathematics, excellent problem-solving skills, effective communication skills and the ability to work as team members to answer questions and solve problems in businesses and industry,” said Mary Hopkins-Best, interim provost.

It is clear from a variety of sources that there is a deep industry need for this kind of advanced education in mathematics, she added, and offering the program fits well with UW-Stout’s polytechnic designation. “I am confident that UW-Stout is moving in the right direction to meet an industry need and to create more meaningful educational opportunities,” Hopkins-Best said.

Jeffrey Anderson, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said UW-Stout is at the forefront in Wisconsin of the trend to offer these kinds of advanced degrees for working professionals who want to add to their job-related skills, knowledge and advancement opportunities.

“This will be a real benefit for companies in the Chippewa Valley whose employees need this advanced mathematics education,” Anderson said. “Studies have shown that offering these degrees helps business and industry to retain science and math professionals and makes them more valuable in the workplace.”

Anderson added that the courses will be delivered in a variety of ways — on campus, online and through other methods — to accommodate the needs of working adults and “provide them with broad access and highly successful learning environments."

The program will prepare students to:

•   Demonstrate advanced knowledge in mathematics, statistics and scientific computing

•   Apply advanced skills to answer questions and solve problems in business and industry

•   Analyze data and create mathematical and statistical models

•   Work effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary team

•   Use professional communications skills, such as writing and speaking, in scientific and nonscientific environments.

More details about the program are available here.

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