|Graduate Program Head||Mary Beth Rosson|
|Campus(es)||University Park (Ph.D.)|
|Degrees Conferred||Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)|
|The Graduate Faculty|
The graduate program in Informatics offers advanced graduate education for students contemplating careers in academic teaching and research, or research in a non-academic setting. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and expects scholarship at the highest level exhibiting depth of competency in at least one of the core areas of informatics, and an understanding of the integration of the critical constructs that drive the field: people, information, and technology.
Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 General Admissions Standards.
Applicants to the program are required to submit scores from the general portions of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), three letters of reference, a current resume (including present position and any publications), a 1 to 3 page statement of research background and goals related to pursuing an advanced degree and career in informatics, which also briefly discusses personal motivation for obtaining a Ph.D., and a sample of the applicant’s writing (e.g., technical paper, etc.).
Because the program is multidisciplinary in nature, students from many different disciplines may be accepted for entry into the program. A bachelor's degree in a related area (e.g., engineering and science), while not necessary for admission, is helpful in the successful completion of the degree. It is expected that students will have a basic level of competency in statistics, as well as computer and information technology. Related work experience can be used to demonstrate such competency. A student may be accepted into the program with provisional status for no more than one year while work is completed to meet these expectations.
It is expected that the successful applicant will have an overall grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or higher for his or her undergraduate study and/or graduate-level study. However, accomplishments demonstrated through work experience and recommendation letters from the applicant’s academic adviser or employer will also play an important role in making the admission decision. The most qualified applicants will be accepted into the program until all spaces for new students are filled.
The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Requirements.
The doctoral degree in Informatics requires a minimum of 32 credits, including 8 required core credits.
|IST 501||Interdisciplinary Research Design for Information Sciences and Technology||3|
|Select one of the following foundation courses:||3|
|Foundations in Computational Informatics|
|Foundations in Human-Centered Design|
|Foundations in Social Informatics|
|Research Methodology Courses||12|
To complete a Ph.D. degree, students must in their first semester take the 3-credit introduction to interdisciplinary research methods (IST 501) and one credit of graduate colloquium (IST 590). In their second semester, students must take a second credit of graduate colloquium. During their first two semesters, students must take at least one of the three foundations courses (IST 510, IST 520, or IST 530).
In addition to these first-year requirements, doctoral students must complete 12 credits of research methodology courses selected to introduce or increase proficiency in methods relevant to their doctoral research agenda, and 12 credits of specialization courses, also selected to reinforce their research training.
In addition, all students must be competent in the English language and must have demonstrated skills in the communication of ideas both verbally and in writing commensurate with the requirement of scholarly and professional work. The qualifying examination will be used as an occasion to assess English proficiency and plan for remediation (including additional courses, mentoring, or experiences) for all students. A brief critical literature review in three complementary research areas will be included as part of the qualifying examination. Students must have completed 18 graduate credits before taking the qualifying exam and must pass the qualifying exam within three semesters. Students must pass the Ph.D. comprehensive examination after completion of most of the course work, usually at the end of the student's second year in the program. A research-based dissertation must be completed under the direction of the dissertation committee, with the student submitting a dissertation proposal and defending that proposal in the defense examination. To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must write a dissertation that is accepted by the dissertation committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).
Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.
Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.
- KNOW: Demonstrate appropriate breadth and depth of interdisciplinary knowledge, and comprehension of the major issues in information sciences and technology (IST).
- APPLY/ CREATE: Use interdisciplinary knowledge and methods of IST to plan and conduct a research thesis.
- COMMUNICATE: Communicate the major issues of IST effectively, including publications in high quality journals and presentations at high value conferences.
- THINK: Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking within IST, including across disciplines.
- PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: Know and conduct themselves in accordance with the highest ethical standards, values, and, where these are defined, the best practices of IST (as expressed in SARI training modules).