One of the strengths of The City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is the breadth of the online degree programs offered to students. When Holly Osborne, an alumna now living in the Bay Area, discovered their online MS in Research Administration and Compliance program, she knew it was the right fit for her. As Gothamist learned when speaking with Holly, the diverse classes and student population have continued to engage her throughout her CUNY experience.

  • How did your previous work experience shape your studies at CUNY SPS?

Since I currently work in research administration, I wanted to find a program related to my daily work for professional and career development purposes. Unfortunately, there are limited graduate programs across the nation that focus on research administration. After looking at all of the options, I found that CUNY SPS started a new program in Fall 2018 in research administration and compliance that is 100% online. The program is accessible and affordable, so I decided to apply.

  • How has your time at CUNY SPS impacted your current work as a training and development manager and as an institutional official for grants and contracts?

I have had the opportunity to take classes that supplement my current knowledge in my daily job. Last semester, I took a clinical research class that gave me experience about clinical trials, an area in which I have limited knowledge. As the only trainer in my office, I am used to training and teaching, whilst being a resource for everyone else. In this graduate program, I get ideas for training, teaching, and how I can improve delivery of the training to the employees I work with.

  • Was there anything that surprised you about the CUNY SPS experience?

I have been pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the student population. Everyone’s background is so different, and they bring different viewpoints to discussions. There are students from across the country (and Canada!), all in different jobs related to research administration. This makes the discussion board posts interesting and enjoyable. I look forward to participating in the discussions to see others’ viewpoints.

  • Describe something truly unique about your CUNY SPS experience.

Having the opportunity to get a master’s degree in research administration and compliance online is a pretty unique opportunity in itself. I enjoy the diversity of the classes, the small class size, and the interactions you have with the professors. This isn’t something you can get at many schools these days.

Holly Osborne

Holly Osborne
  • Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, do you get to come to New York City? If so, do you have any go-to NYC spots/activities that you’d recommend to Gothamist readers?

I am originally from the East Coast and my family still lives there, so I love NYC and visit as much as I can. I don’t have any recommendations, but I am heading to NYC in December for the holidays and have tickets for the Rockettes Holiday show, which I am excited about.

  • What advice would you give to potential CUNY SPS students?

The advice I would give to potential CUNY SPS students is to take advantage of all of the opportunities that CUNY offers you. Participate in the discussions in class as you get the opportunity to meet other professionals from across the country with diverse backgrounds. This helps you build a network and you never know who you will meet!

For more information about the CUNY School of Professional Studies and how to continue your own education, visit and see what works for you.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between CUNY SPS and Gothamist staff.