Master of Science in Quality Assurance (MSQA) degree programs provide instruction in the quality and regulatory issues affecting the food, chemical, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries. Through interdisciplinary instruction in both the technical and administrative aspects of this field, students in these programs learn to design quality assurance programs, perform reliability and safety audits, and ensure that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines are met. Prior to graduation, students must submit a capstone project or a master's thesis.
The main prerequisite for master's degree programs in quality assurance is a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field from an accredited institute of higher learning. Additionally, many MSQA degree programs give preference to applicants with professional experience in a technical work environment. Many programs are offered in both on-campus and online formats.
Master's Degree in Quality Assurance
In these programs, students can expect to study domestic and international regulations as well as quality principles and practices used in a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, engineering, and government. Some of the common core and elective courses include:
- Drug development procedures
- Introduction to food and drug law
- Quality audit systems and procedures
- Global regulatory reports
- Principles of regulatory affairs
- Managing quality guidelines
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of an MSQA program are generally qualified for upper-level leadership or management positions in a variety of industries that require quality assurance regulation. According to PayScale.com, quality assurance managers earned a median salary of $78,544 annually as of September 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that jobs in industrial production management would see little or no change (1%) between the years of 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2018, the industry with the highest level of employment was machinery manufacturing.
Continuing education for graduates of an MSQA degree program may include certifications or a doctoral degree in a related field, such as management, engineering, or healthcare. Professional certification courses and credentials are typically offered through organizations like the American Society for Quality (www.asq.org).
By earning a master's degree in quality assurance management, students gain the expertise they need to develop and execute quality strategies in a wide variety of industries. They can choose to pursue a doctorate degree or professional certification to improve their employment prospects.