The worlds of science and business are increasingly interconnected, creating strong demand for individuals who can bridge these two disciplines. Systematics is the science devoted to the discovery, description, and classification of the earth’s biological diversity. The need for an accurate and comprehensive knowledge of biological diversity is now recognized by a broad array of interests in the public and private sectors. Plants and fungi are the focus of current initiatives in the conservation of endangered species, the restoration of native ecosystems, and the control of invasive weeds. Industry, private environmental consulting firms, and government agencies have an increasing need for individuals with expertise in plant identification and experience in survey techniques.
The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Applied Systematics in Botany at OSU is the first program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and was created with the help of professional affiliates employed in leadership roles in plant biology and conservation. The objective of this degree is to train students to be able to function effectively in a variety of work environments. Special training in business management, communications, and ethics complement core science curriculum, and students are required to complete an internship in lieu of thesis research.
The PSM program can usually be completed in two years, based on full-time study and at least 54 credit hours. Courses in plant and fungal diversity form the foundation of this program (BOT 516, BOT 561, BOT 514, BOT 565 or BOT 566, and BOT 525). Approved elective options (e.g., plant ecology, biological conservation, statistics) give students flexibility to create their program of study based on career interests. Professional courses are required in communication, research ethics, and business management (PSM 513, PSM 565, PSM 566, PSM 567, COMM 550 and PHL 547). These courses are designed to be taken in sequence during the first academic year. Students are required to complete a 3 to 6 month internship (6–12 credits) in lieu of thesis research (BOT 510).