Sep 28, 2023
Affiliation: School of Science and Mathematics
Graduates of Truman’s Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program will have the knowledge and skills required to fill the critical need for trained scientific workers in bioscience informatics. Students will benefit from Truman’s unique location at the geographic center of the headquarters or major installations of three pf the nation’s largest agricultural biotechnology companies: Monsanto, Pioneer, and Bayer CropScience. These industry partners report a growing need for individuals with the ability to design, develop, and manage bioengineered traits in commercial crops.
Professional Science Master’s graduates possess advanced knowledge in their primary field of study but also exhibit a product-development mindset and the skills necessary to function productively in a fast-paced business environment. They are thus sought-after workers in industries essential to the continuation of a pre-eminent role of the United States in a very competitive global economy. Truman’s PSM program in Bioscience Informatics is the first in Missouri to have been approved by the Council of Graduate Schools for PSM affiliation.
Truman’s PSM program in Bioscience Informatics seeks to contribute to the development and growth of statewide biotechnology and bioinformatics sectors, through the advanced preparation of a qualified workforce. To achieve this objective, the program has defined clear learning outcomes for its students.
Graduates from Truman’s PSM in Bioscience Informatics will possess:
- Increased understanding and sensitivity to interdisciplinary issues.
- The ability to communicate and work closely with business partners in relevant scientific fields.
- Learned ability to understand, articulate, and apply business principles to science-related fields.
- Increased analytical and synthesis skills.
- Deeper understanding of the realities of running successful biotechnology and bioinformatics businesses in an increasingly complex global economy.
- Increased ability and desire for entrepreneurial activities.
- Increased workplace mobility (both vertically and laterally).
- The ability to leverage personal skills, networks, and business partnerships to solve statewide and national issues in the biotechnology and bioinformatics sectors.
- Increased earning potential.
A total of 36 hours of coursework (includes a 14-hour core plus 22 hours of approved electives) is required. A minimum of 30 hours of coursework must be at the level of 500G or above (i.e., graduate level). Advanced science (STEM) courses account for at least 50% of the total degree credits.
Core Requirements (14 hours)
These courses provide a deep understanding of the scientific process and excellent skills in quantitative analysis and scientific communication.
- BIOL 502G - Biometry Credits: 3 hours
- BIOL 601G - Scientific Writing Credits: 3 hours
- BIOL 606G - Graduate Seminar I Credits: Credits: 1 hour each
- BIOL 607G - Graduate Seminar II Credits: Credits: 1 hour each
- BIOL 6XXG Graduate Internship Credits: 6 hours
PSM students will participate in an internships at an industry partner site. In most cases, the internship will have a research component that will use a specific aspect of the intern’s duties as the base for a research project that must be completed by the end of the internship. Typically, PSM interns will work in the research information technology (IT) area of the company supporting the scientists who are variously involved in biotechnology trait discovery and development, field trials, regulatory approval, marketing, deployment, and follow-up analysis. These activities involve mathematical modeling, bioinformatics, computational biology, data mining, and statistical techniques, all requiring the support of the research IT organization and thus providing opportunities for PSM interns. The intern is required to write a white paper on the research results, and to present them orally at the conclusion of the internship both onsite and in a colloquium series or other appropriate venue on campus.
An alternative option is available to Truman students with significant undergraduate research experience in bioinformatics. Upon approval of the faculty mentor and the PSM committee, an extension of the project at the graduate level can be used to satisfy the research requirement of the master’s degree (in such a case the student enrolls in BIOL 649G Biology Research as part of the learning plan). The student will still be required to complete a full internship experience, but the research component will be independent.
Electives: 22 hours
These courses are divided into two skill groups, the science and technology cluster and the “plus” cluster. Science and technology courses provide knowledge in the biosciences, in the computational and quantitative sciences, and in interdisciplinary topics at the intersection of these two. Extradisciplinary “plus” courses provide competencies for students seeking employment in the corporate environment, specifically business management and leadership skills and ethics. Students are required to develop a learning plan in consultation with the PSM committee, with courses selected from these clusters. The learning plan must contain at least one course from the business management and leadership cluster and one from the ethics cluster. The list below is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it documents courses that might be of interest to PSM students depending on their backgrounds and career interests.
Science and Technology Cluster