Q: How many credits are required for the Information Science Program?
A: The program curriculum consists of 33 credits. Schedule a meeting with a program representative for more information.
Q: Is the program STEM designated?
A: This well-rounded computing and IT degree addresses the multi-faceted challenges IT professionals face every day, from analyzing data to developing web applications and managing IT staff and projects. This program is STEM designated, allowing 36 months total of Optional Practical Training (OPT) compared to 12 months for non-STEM degrees.
Q: Does it matter if I don’t have an engineering or technology undergraduate degree?
A: The program offers a balance of information systems and management theories. During your course of study, you’ll delve into:
- Information system architecture
- Big data and IT emerging technologies
- IT integration and business continuity support
- Cybersecurity, protection, and prevention
- Enterprise solution design
- Enterprise digital transformation
We traditionally look for you to come from a technology or mathematics background. If you come from a different background, we may ask that you complete the pre-requisite course IST 140.
Q: Does the program offer any experiential learning opportunities?
A: Throughout the program, you have opportunities to work with faculty and industry on a variety of projects, including through our Big Data Lab. Faculty conduct research in several key areas, including blockchain, applied machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), smart services, cybersecurity, data mining, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, students have worked on research projects that aim to generate text and audio captions for video indexing and improved accessibility, predict the taste of small molecules through advanced deep learning algorithms, classify negative online behavior, enhance business automation, and more.
Q: Do you allow students to transfer credits into the program?
A: A maximum of 10 graduate credits earned at another accredited institution may be applied. Courses must have been completed, with a grade of B or better, within five years prior to the date of enrollment. Up to 15 credits from Penn State nondegree and graduate certificate courses can be applied to a degree program—more information can be found here. Transfer credit approval is granted by the student's academic adviser and division head after an admission offer has been accepted.
Q: I am worried about flexibility. How are classes delivered?
A: Flexible, seven-week courses let you balance your busy schedule while still reaping the benefits of once-per-week face-to-face classes, like networking and developing interpersonal skills.
Q: I’ve been out of school for 15 years. Will I feel out of place taking classes after all that time?
A: The average age of our students is 32. You will find most of our students share the same concern and worry how they will be able to juggle graduate school with an already busy life. Our information science program is designed for needs of working adults.
We encourage those who are not sure about committing to a master’s degree to consider beginning with a graduate certificate—which, in most cases, allows for credits earned to transfer to the degree program upon admission. Each semester, prospective students can take advantage of our “test drive” program, which offers the opportunity to sit in on a class. To arrange a test drive, email [email protected] and a program representative will reach out to discuss options with you.
Q: How long will it take me to graduate?
A: You can expect to complete your degree in two to three years if attending part-time or about one and a half years if attending full-time.
Q: Are career services provided?
A: Yes. We have a Career Management Services office that provides one-on-one career advancement support, internship guidance, access to career fairs and other career events with local and national companies, as well as an array of other services. An additional perk of being part of the Penn State family is free career services for life!
Q: Is there an application fee? What are the application deadlines?
A: Yes, there is a $65 application fee. Schedule a meeting with a program representative to discuss eligibility for an application fee waiver. We recommend applying no later than July 15 for a fall (end of August) program start, or December 6 for a spring (January) start. See the admission requirements page for more information. International application deadlines may differ; for more information visit the international applicant page.
Q: Is the GMAT or GRE ever waived?
A: The GMAT/GRE is not required for admission, but scores will be considered if submitted.
Q: Where can I find information on scholarships and funding options?
A: There are a variety of scholarships available to half-time and full-time students who meet certain criteria. More information can be found here.
Q: Are there program metrics?
A: The Graduate School provides metrics on admission data, GMAT/GRE scores, enrollment, student demographics, time to degree, and degree conferral; more information can be found here.