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21-month training program prepares students for careers in biomedical research

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) announced it will offer a master’s degree that will prepare scientists for careers in laboratory research in industries including biotech, life science, pharmaceutical, academia and government. The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree program is designed for working professionals, with evening classes held exclusively at the Doylestown Campus located within the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.

“GCSOM’s PSM program builds upon our partnerships with industry and links our faculty and students to cutting-edge research,” said V. Scott Koerwer, vice dean of GCSOM’s School of Graduate Education. “The program was developed with input from a board of industry leaders, including representatives from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Arbutus Pharmaceuticals, JBS Life Sciences and Genesis Biotechnology Group, among others. The program is designed to provide job-ready lab skills to students with an interest in research. The program also includes a business focus that will help students understand the needs of the future employers in the biotech sphere.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Employment projects the need for medical scientists will grow 13 percent through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Medical scientists will continue to be needed because they contribute to the development of treatments and medicines that improve human health, the Bureau states.

 “There is a huge demand for professionals with both laboratory and business skills,” said John Kulp, PhD, regional assistant dean, Doylestown Campus. Dr. Kulp, who is also an associate professor and director of academic affairs at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute (BSBI) and CEO of Conifer Point Pharmaceuticals, notes that the setting for the PSM program is uniquely suited to preparing tomorrow’s laboratory scientists. “The PSM will be offered at GCSOM’s Doylestown campus, which is housed at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, a biotech incubator with more than 40 life-sciences firms, as well as BSBI and the Hepatitis B Foundation. So not only will we prepare students for in-demand jobs, we are placing them in close proximity to potential employers and mentors.”

The PSM program at GCSOM is a highly specialized interdisciplinary program that offers a combination of biomedical courses, business courses and extensive research training with a required “real world” externship in an academic or biotech company laboratory, followed by completion of a project thesis.

“To meet the recent trends in corporate biomedical research, we engaged the private sector to advise us on how we can fulfill a wide range of scientific positions in the biotech sector,” said John Arnott, PhD, director of the PSM program. “Students enrolling in the program will be fully immersed in scientific research, as well as trained in laboratory management and business leadership.  This combination of skills should make our students competitive in both academic and industrial job settings.”

Successful completion of the program prepares students for employment opportunities as lab managers, lab technicians, core facility operators and staff scientists.  This training program can also prepare students for admission into a PhD program should they decide to extend their research training.

Eligible students must have a bachelor’s degree and an interest in science and research. Applications are now being accepted for classes starting in Fall 2019. To apply or learn more, please visit our PSM admissions pages.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Elizabeth Zygmunt
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