Purdue unveils new master of science degree

(Provided Photo/Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has approved Purdue University’s new Master of Science in Graduate Studies degree. Purdue says this is the first degree to be conferred through the Graduate School on the West Lafayette campus. 

“Education is changing, and students want a powerful learning experience where they can draw from many different disciplines,” said Linda Mason, dean of the Graduate School. “With the new MS in Graduate Studies, students will be able to integrate several academic disciplines to become interdisciplinary thinkers and creative problem solvers in emerging fields.”

Associate Dean James Mohler says there was already “great interest” among West Lafayette faculty to build interdisciplinary degrees that are not housed in a single department.

“I am amazed by the number of units approaching us about this,” Mohler said. “The MS in Graduate Studies provides a vehicle for faculty to operate outside of the confines of their normal disciplinary structures to create combinations that we have never seen before. It gets rid of the traditional approach to curricula development and gives a framework for faculty to experiment. It is actually creating some unique conversations across the university.”

Mohler says six curricular combinations were already being developed in the framework of the new degree, and two of the programs are now set to launch. One is the corporate training and communication leadership major, which is an effort between the university’s College of Education and the Brian Lamb School of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. The program mixes two graduate certificates, one from each school, with different coursework to make a new interdisciplinary major. 

“This new major has been driven by students who have an interest in building organizational and employee performance through communication and education initiatives,” said Bart Collins, professor of practice and director of the online Master of Science program in strategic communication for the Brian Lamb School of Communication. “From an institutional perspective, these sorts of approaches can create flexibility in curriculum to reach new needs among professionals seeking to augment their education.”

The other major set to launch is secondary STEM education with an initial license. The major is meant to grow the number of STEM educators in the state as part of a $5.1 million grant from the Department of Education. Students will receive three credentials: Indiana state teaching license in a math or science field, K-12 Integrated STEM Education Graduate Certificate, and the MS in Graduate Studies degree in secondary education.