Meeting challenges in the job market

Recent graduates are facing intense competition for entry level positions in a struggling job market. This is forcing employers to place more importance on applicants’ real world experience and professional skills.

According to the Washington Post, the number of students graduating with master’s degrees has continued to rise in the last 15 years. For students looking to increase their marketability, attending graduate school may be the answer.

Increased return on investment

According to The New York Times, advanced degree holders continue to earn more on average than professionals with an undergraduate degree.

A growing trend in the development of higher education curriculum is professionalizing degrees by placing focus on high demand workforce skills, in combination with mastery of content, in order to enhance graduates’ employability. Universities and regional employers often collaborate on program development in order to ensure students have access to experiential learning opportunities such as internships, co-ops, and practica.

Increased online access to graduate programs appeals to students who work while they are enrolled, which can decrease the financial burden of graduate school. Increased accessibility and flexible program scheduling allows students to earn a higher return on their investment compared to traditional curricula.

Creating career pathways

Universities, including SUNY Oswego, have begun to offer post-baccalaureate certificates to meet the advanced skill demands of students or current professionals already working in a given field.

The push for professional programs has also led to the development of an entirely new degree, the Professional Science Master’s degree (PSM). PSMs are an innovative concept that combines technical STEM curriculum with business in order to equip science majors with the professional skills needed in many current work environments. PSMs are growing quickly, with now over 320 programs offered across the country at more than 140 universities.

SUNY Oswego has worked with regional businesses and healthcare services to develop a number of professionally focused programs in emerging fields such as health informatics, new media, health services administration, gerontology, trauma studies, and health and wellness.

Expanded offerings

Currently in development are 3 full master’s degree programs in Biomedical and Health Informatics, Strategic Communications as well as Graphic Design and New Media. SUNY Oswego has also expanded current programs to meet growing needs in education by offering additional programs in special education and literacy. It is anticipated that the new degrees will be available for registration by the Spring or Fall semesters of 2015.

Oswego also offers a Professional Science Master’s degree in Chemistry and Human-Computer Interaction. The program consists of 2 years of academic training along with professional components such as an internship and cross training in business and communications. The PSM program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to gain additional training and skills in science and business.

Oswego’s new programs provide graduates with the skills needed to pursue career pathways in a growing number of fields.

[Update: As of January 2016, the master's degree program in Graphic Design and Digital Media has been approved and is accepting applications. The Biomedical and Health Informatics and Strategic Communications degree programs are pending final approval.]

Tagged: Grad School