At Penn State’s College of IST, you will receive multidisciplinary training to prepare you to address complex issues related to technology and society. We welcome applicants from diverse academic backgrounds including computer science, behavioral sciences, cognitive and brain sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, information sciences, law, life sciences, health sciences, management, philosophy, physical sciences, policy, mathematics, statistics, social sciences (sociology, economics).
In our M.S. program, you will engage more deeply in an intellectual conversation with research and science. An M.S. degree typically opens up advanced career opportunities; both in industry and as a preparation for a Ph.D.
M.S. Course Requirements
The M.S. in IST is a 30 credit degree program, which takes 2 years to complete on a full-time basis. A complete discussion of degree requirements can be found in our IST M.S. Roadmap.
As an M.S. IST student you will complete two core courses, which will provide a broad understanding of the core constructs of people, information, technology, and the significant interactions among these elements. These courses include:
- IST 504: Foundations of Theories and Methods of Information Sciences (3 credits)
- IST 505: Foundations of Research Design in Information Sciences and Technology (3 credits)
Under the direction of your adviser, you will complete a minimum 6 research credits.
You will complete a minimum of 6 credits of research methodology coursework. The goal is for you to develop a basic understanding of the research methods utilized in the information sciences. A research methodology course can be in IST, communications, computer science, political science, statistics or any area that is linked to the information sciences.
You will complete a minimum of 12 credits of specialty area coursework. A specialty area course could be in IST, law, business, education, engineering, the liberal arts or any area that is linked to the information sciences.
In addition to coursework, the M.S. program includes several milestones:
- You will select a graduate faculty member as your adviser and begin working with your adviser by mid-September of your first year.
- In conjunction with your adviser you will determine by the end of your first semester if you will complete a thesis or scholarly paper.
- You will formally select your M.S. degree committee no later than the completion of your first year of study.
- You will defend thesis or submit your scholarly paper for approval.
Financial support for M.S. students is not guaranteed. However, in special circumstances where there is research or teaching support needs, a M.S. student may receive funding in the form of a graduate assistantship. Assistantships terminate at the conclusion of each semester and carry no guarantee of renewal.
The College of IST provides funding to support students for professional travel. These funds are intended to assist graduate student travel to present results from their research at professional meetings or to present their creative work in a professional venue.
For other financial aid, such as loans and grants, contact the Office of Student Aid's Loans. In addition, the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards has information on internal and external fellowships.