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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Penn State World Campus

Information Sciences and Technology 

Abington College (ISSAB)
Berks College (ISSBL)
Capital College (ISSCA)
University College: Penn State Beaver, Penn State Brandywine, Penn State Greater Allegheny, Penn State Hazleton, Penn State New Kensington, Penn State Lehigh Valley, Penn State Mont Alto, Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Penn State Worthington Scranton, Penn State York (ISSCC)
World Campus

University Park, College of Information Sciences and Technology (ISTBS)

Mary Beth Rosson, Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, College of IST

Not all options are available at every campus. Contact the campus you are interested in attending to determine which options are offered.

This major is structured to provide students with the theoretical frameworks and skill sets necessary to compete and be productive in the information technology-intensive global context that defines the new "Information Age." Specifically, the degree will be focused on a program that will build an understanding of core information technologies and related areas of study; will prepare students for the practical application of various information sciences and related technologies; and engage students in sharpening their abilities to think critically and to work in teams. All this will be done with considerable interdisciplinary integration in order to expose students to the cognitive, social, institutional, and global environments of IST. Team projects in most courses, a required internship, and a senior capstone experience provide additional, focused venues for involving students in the cutting-edge issues and technologies of the field.

INFORMATION CONTEXT: PEOPLE, ORGANIZATIONS, AND SOCIETY OPTION: This option focuses on how information technology affects social change and the delivery of information to the consumer. This includes the human-machine interface; organization and retrieval of information; digital libraries; information and telecommunications services; information and media industry structures; software services and intermediaries; telecommunications and information law and policy; sociological aspects of technology change; multimedia; and art, design, and aesthetics.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS: DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT OPTION: This option is focused on expanding the skills needed to develop advanced information technology systems using state-of-the-art tools and techniques. The emphasis is on providing the student with both knowledge in the design, implementation, testing and evolution of complex software systems as well as a set of project-oriented, team-programming experiences.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: INTEGRATION & APPLICATION OPTION: This option is designed to prepare students to use information technology to realize a variety of system-based goals (e.g., reliability, accessibility, efficiency, etc.). It is focused on developing a theoretical foundation and the skill set needed for integrating information technology into different systems for the purpose of enhancing system performance. The emphasis is on providing the student with both the theoretical frameworks needed to use information technology as a system attribute as well as a set of application-oriented experiences and skills.

Entrance Requirements: To be eligible for entrance to the Information Sciences and Technology (ISTBS) major, students must:

  1. have completed the following entrance-to-major requirements with a grade of C or better in each: IST 110(3); IST 210(3); and IST 220(3).
  2. have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 prior to and through the end of the semester during which the entrance-to-major procedure is carried out.

The Integrated Undergraduate Graduate (IUG) program is available for strong undergraduate students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a shorter period of time than would be necessary if the degrees were pursued separately. Information Sciences and Technology undergraduates may apply for admission to the ISTBS/ISTMS IUG program as early as the end of their sophomore year but no later than the end of their junior year after completing a minimum of 60 credits, if they meet the following admission requirements:

  1. Must be enrolled in the ISTBS undergraduate degree program.
  2. Must have completed 60 credits of an ISTBS undergraduate degree program.
  3. Must apply to the IUG program by the end of their junior year.
  4. Must apply to and be accepted without reservation into the Graduate School and M.S. program in IST.  Students must complete the Graduate School application.
  5. Must have an overall GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major.
  6. Must present an approved plan of study. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser.
  7. Must present two letters of recommendation from faculty members. (Note: For Schreyer Honors College students, these can be the same two letters required by the Schreyer Honors College.)
  8. Must meet with both the Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the Graduate Program Coordinator to declare interest and receive information about the IUG program.

For Schreyer Honors College students, students must also follow guidelines and procedures for applying for IUG in the Schreyer Honors College:
http://www.shc.psu.edu/students/iug/program/
Students admitted to the IUG program may double-count a maximum of 12 credits toward their graduate and undergraduate degrees in Information Sciences and Technology. Thesis or scholarly paper credits may not double-count.

For the B.S. degree in Information Sciences and Technology, a minimum of 125 credits is required.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(12 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of the Bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

UNITED STATES CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURES:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 8 credits

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 84 credits
(This includes 12 credits of General Education courses: 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; and 3 credits of GWS courses.)

COMMON REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR (ALL OPTIONS): 60 credits

PRESCRIBED COURSES (26 credits)
IST 110 GS(3)[1], IST 210(3)[1], IST 220(3)[1], IST 230(3)[1] (Sem: 1-4)
STAT 200 GQ(4) (Sem: 3-6)
IST 495(1)[1] (Sem: 3-8)
IST 301(3)[1], IST 331(3)[1] (Sem: 5-8)
IST 440W(3)[1] (Sem: 7-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (13 credits)
CMPSC 101 GQ(3)[1], CMPSC 121 GQ(3)[1], or IST 140(3)[1] (Sem: 1-4)
ECON 014 GS(3), ECON 102 GS(3), or ECON 104 GS(3) (Sem: 1-4)
ENGL 202C GWS(3) or ENGL 202D GWS(3) (Sem: 1-4)
MATH 110 GQ(4) or MATH 140 GQ(4) (Sem: 1-4)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (21 credits)
Attainment of third-level proficiency in a single foreign language (12 credits). Proficiency must be demonstrated by either examination or course work. See the admission section of the general information in this Bulletin for the placement policy for Penn State foreign language courses. (Sem: 1-4)
Select 6 credits of international courses in foreign culture from College-approved list (Sem: 5-8)
Select 3 credits[1] at the 400 level in emerging issues and technologies from College-approved list (Sem: 5-8)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE OPTION: 24 credits

INFORMATION CONTEXT: PEOPLE, ORGANIZATIONS, AND SOCIETY OPTION: 24 credits

PRESCRIBED COURSES (6 credits)[1]
IST 431(3) and IST 432(3) (Sem: 5-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (6 credits)[1]
IST 240(3) or IST 242(3) (Sem: 1-4)
IST 302(3) or IST 413(3) (Sem: 1-4)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (12 credits)
Select 12 credits from College-approved list (Sem: 5-8)

INFORMATION SYSTEMS: DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT OPTION: 24 credits

PRESCRIBED COURSES (6 credits)[1]
IST 242(3) (Sem: 1-4)
IST 311(3) (Sem: 5-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (9 credits)[1]
Select 3 credits from IST 261(3) or IST 361(3) (Sem: 5-8)
Select 6 credits from IST 411(3), IST 412(3), or IST 413(3) (Sem: 5-8)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (9 credits)
Select 9 credits from College-approved list (Sem: 5-8)

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: INTEGRATION & APPLICATION OPTION: 24 credits

PRESCRIBED COURSES (9 credits)[1]
IST 302(3), IST 420(3), IST 421(3) (Sem: 5-8)

ADDITIONAL COURSES (3 credits)[1]
IST 240(3) or IST 242(3) (Sem: 1-4)

SUPPORTING COURSES AND RELATED AREAS (12 credits)
Select 12 credits from College-approved list (Sem: 5-8)

Integrated B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology / M.S. in Information Sciences and Technology
The College of Information Sciences and Technology offers an integrated B.S./M.S. (IUG) program designed to allow academically superior students in the Information Sciences and Technology major to obtain both the bachelor’s in Information Sciences and Technology and M.S. degree in Information Sciences and Technology in a shorter period of time than would be necessary if the degrees were pursued separately. The first two to three years of undergraduate coursework follow the same undergraduate curriculum that other students follow in the Information Sciences & Technology major. Interested students may apply for admission to the IUG program as early as the end of their sophomore year but no later than the end of their junior year after completing a minimum of 60 credits. If admitted to the IUG, the final years of study include two graduate courses, Foundations of Theories and Methods of Information Sciences and Technology Research (IST 504) in the fall and Foundations of Research Design in Information Sciences and Technology (IST 505) in the spring, plus six credits of research methods courses, twelve credits of graduate specialty courses, and six credits of graduate thesis (IST 600) or scholarly paper (IST 594).

(Note: For Schreyer Honors College students, those who complete the graduate thesis for the Master’s requirement may use the graduate thesis, itself, to fulfill the undergraduate honors thesis requirement, as well. Honors students who opt for the Master’s scholarly paper must also complete an undergraduate honors thesis.)

The integrated B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology /M.S. in Information Sciences and Technology (IUG) degree meets the needs of the most academically talented students in the Information Sciences and Technology undergraduate major. A proportion of these successful students wish to pursue graduate studies sometime after graduation. Offering the IUG benefits these students by offering an accelerated path to a graduate degree. Additionally, the IUG program can provide these students with a more cohesive program of study with opportunities to engage in more comprehensive research leading to both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

For the B.S. in Information Sciences & Technology/M.S. in Information Sciences & Technology IUG program, a minimum of 125 credits are required for the bachelor’s degree and 30 credits for the M.S. degree. Students admitted to the IUG program may double-count a maximum of 12 credits to their graduate and undergraduate degrees. The required 6 credits of IST 504 and IST 505 will apply to both the graduate program and the undergraduate program. Students may choose an additional 6 credits to double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the following: IST 411, IST 412, IST 413, IST 420, IST 421, IST 431, IST 432. Graduate thesis or scholarly paper credits may not double-count.

The objectives of the Integrated Undergraduate Graduate Program include:

  1. To offer highly qualified students the opportunity to earn two degrees in less time than it would take to do two sequential degrees. In particular, IUG students may count up to 12 credits towards both their B.S. and M.S. degree requirements.
  2. To permit coherent planning of studies through the graduate degree, with advising informed by not only the requirements of the baccalaureate program, but also the longer-range goals of the graduate degree.
  3. To introduce undergraduate students to the rigors of both graduate study and graduate faculty.
  4. To make the resources of the Graduate School available to IUG students.
  5. To allow students with IUG status to benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work and whose intensity of interest and commitment parallel their own.

Admission Requirements

To initiate the application process, students must submit an Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree in Information Sciences and Technology Form, a transcript, and two letters of recommendation (both from faculty members) to the IST Graduate Programs Office. The Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Graduate Programs Coordinator, will help undergraduate candidates determine a proposed sequence of courses that will prepare them for acceptance into the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) degree program. Acceptance into the IST IUG program will be determined by the Graduate Recruitment Committee.

Information Sciences and Technology undergraduate majors may apply for admission as early as the end of their sophomore year but no later than the end of their junior year after completing a minimum of 60 credits, if they meet the following admission requirements:

  1. Must be enrolled in the ISTBS undergraduate degree program.
  2. Must have completed 60 credits of an ISTBS undergraduate degree program.
  3. Must apply to the IUG program by the end of their junior year.
  4. Must apply to and be accepted without reservation into the Graduate School and M.S. program in IST.  Students must complete the Graduate School application.
  5. Must have an overall GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major.
  6. Must present an approved plan of study. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser.
  7. Must present two letters of recommendation from faculty members. (Note: For Schreyer Honors College students, these can be the same two letters required by the Schreyer Honors College.)
  8. Must meet with both the Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the Graduate Program Coordinator to declare interest and receive information about the IUG program.

For Schreyer Honors College students, students must also follow guidelines and procedures for applying for IUG in the Schreyer Honors College:
http://www.shc.psu.edu/students/iug/program/
In addition, applicants must apply to and be admitted to the Graduate School of the Pennsylvania State University at the time of their application to the IUG degree program. These admission standards are high, as it is thought the program will only be appropriate for students with high levels of academic skills. The program area does have discretion in admitting Information Sciences and Technology majors into the integrated program, and extenuating circumstances can always be considered in terms of possible admission. Individuals who are unable to be admitted into the integrated program of study can apply for regular admission to the graduate program when they complete their undergraduate program of study.

Sample Sequence of Graduate Coursework in Addition to Undergraduate Courses

Year Fall Spring MS Credits
Year 1 (Senior Undergraduate Year)

IST 504: Foundations 3

Methods course (3)**

IST 505: Research Design (3)

Methods course (3)**

30*
Year 2 (Super Senior Undergraduate Year)

IST 600 or IST 594 Thesis Research (3)

Grad Speciality Course (3)**

Grad Speciality Course (3)**

Methods course (3)**

IST 600 or IST 594 Thesis Research (3)

Grad Speciality Course (3)**

Grad Speciality Course (3)**

* Students admitted to the IUG program may double-count a maximum of 12 credits toward their graduate and undergraduate degrees in Information Sciences and Technology. In their senior year, IUG students will take 6 credits of specified graduate work, courses IST 504 and IST 505, and 6 credits of methods courses. These 6 credits of IST 504 and IST 505 will apply to both the graduate program and the undergraduate IST/B.S. support of option requirement. In their super senior year, students may choose an additional 6 credits to double-count for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. These courses must be at the 400-level or above. Students may choose any 400-level undergraduate option course (IST 411, IST 412, IST 413, IST 420, IST 421, IST 431, IST 432) that they are using to fulfill an undergraduate option requirement and apply the credits to both the undergraduate option requirement and the graduate specialty course requirement. Credits associated with the thesis or culminating scholarly paper, i.e., IST 600 and IST 594, may not be double-counted. However, for Schreyer Honors College students, the Master’s thesis deliverable, itself, may double-count for the undergraduate thesis deliverable requirement.

** Choose graduate level methods course after consultation in advance with the student’s faculty adviser.

*** Choose any 400 or 500 level course that contributes to the student’s chosen area of specialty with a maximum of six credits at the 400 level.

The total resulting credits will be a minimum of 155 credits, with 125 credits completed for the undergraduate IST degree. Twelve graduate credits will be completed in the senior year, and the remaining 18 graduate credits will be completed in the super senior year.

If for any reason a student admitted to the B.S./M.S. program is unable to complete the requirement for the Master of Science degree program in Information Sciences and Technology, the student will be permitted to receive the Bachelor’s degree assuming all degree requirements have been satisfactorily completed.

Student performance will be monitored on an on-going basis by the student’s adviser and Graduate Programs. Students admitted to the integrated program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.3 overall and a minimum 3.0 GPA in all courses used toward the M.S. degree in order to maintain good academic standing and meet graduation requirements. (See information on Grade-Point Average in the Graduate Bulletin: http://bulletins.psu.edu/bulletins/whitebook/degree_requirements.cfm?section=masters.) For Schreyer Honors College students in the IUG program, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 overall and a minimum 3.0 GPA in all courses used toward the M.S. degree in order to maintain good academic standing and meet graduation requirements. (See Grade Point Average Requirement in the Schreyer Honors College Student Handbook: https://www.shc.psu.edu/documents/academic/handbook/handbook_1415.pdf.) Successful completion of a Schreyer Scholar’s Master’s thesis will be accepted as completion of the honors thesis requirement.

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.
[2] Students in the Information Systems: Design and Development Option are expected to take IST 242 prior to taking the prescribed and additional courses for that option.

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2016

Blue Sheet Item #: 44-04-020

Review Date: 1/26/2016

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