FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 15, 2006
Chico to Offer Professional Science Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences
California State University, Chico is one of 12 CSU campuses to offer the new Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree and the only one to have a program in environmental sciences.
The new programs are being started thanks to an $891,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which was announced Tuesday, Dec. 12, at CSU headquarters in Long Beach.
The two-year PSM degree is an innovative approach to meeting the growing needs of industry by training students and working professionals in areas necessary to succeed: math, science, business, engineering and technology. PSM graduate students will take classes as well as do internship projects at private businesses or government agencies.
Jim Houpis, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, said CSU, Chico’s emphasis on environmental sciences is a natural fit. “It plays to the strengths of our campus and our region,” he said. He pointed to the number of agencies and companies in the North State that focus on resource management, adding that the PSM will help fill a growing need for skilled professionals in the area.
In addition, Houpis said CSU, Chico has strong academic programs in environmental sciences, plus the University operates three research and teaching reserves, including the 3,950-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.
Four of the planned areas of concentration for students in the CSU, Chico program will be natural resource management, policy, environmental biotechnology and industrial ecology. The interdisciplinary program will be based in the College of Natural Sciences with courses also offered by the College of Business and the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management.
Along with industry internships, students will have intensive laboratory time, technical writing training and MBA-level business courses to prepare them for work – and make them more employable – in the private or public sector, Houpis said.
Houpis said he expects students will be enrolling in the PSM program starting in fall 2007. Eventually, the program will serve about 20 students, he said.
The other CSU campuses to offer the PSM degree are CSU, Dominguez Hills; CSU, East Bay; CSU, Fullerton; Fresno State; CSU, Los Angeles; Cal Poly Pomona; San Diego State; San Francisco State; San Jose State; CSU, San Marcos and CSU, Stanislaus. Some of the areas of emphasis on other campuses are bioinformatics, biostatistics, biotechnology, clinical project management, computational science and ecological economics.