Master’s Degrees with Meaning


By Master’s Degrees with Meaning

Published 3.20.17

We Offer 'Realist Idealists' Master’s Degrees with Meaning

Reflections from Richard Gray, PhD.


What are the motivators of human decisions and action? There are at least three:


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) concluded that pleasure is the governing principle in life. In the final analysis, pleasure is what we seek, consciously or unconsciously, and what we use as the yardstick for our actions.


Alfred Adler (1870-1937) posited, on the other hand, that power is the governing principle in our lives. His notion of overcoming the “inferiority complex” was derived from this position.


Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), in his experience of four different Nazi concentration camps and his study of those who survived (if they were not executed) concluded, on the other hand, that we can endure almost any how if we have a why. His development of logotherapy was based on the premise that meaning is the principle that governs human behavior.

Presidio Graduate School's decision to offer programs in sustainable management was based in large part on Frankl’s conclusion. The M.B.A. and M.P.A. degrees at PGS were conceived of, and remain in the category of, “master’s degrees with meaning.”


The type of degree we offer has appeal to, and significance for, women and men who are realistic idealists. Whereas “realistic realists” tend to look for programs focused entirely on pragmatic results, and “idealistic idealists” seek to remake society in a salutary (but unrealistic) image, realistic idealists are people who are sound in their thinking but who want to strive in their business and/or public policy decisions to make the world a better place.

Master’s Degrees with Meaning

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