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Associate Degree in IST

IST is Penn State's visionary response to the rapidly growing need in almost every field for leadership in Information Sciences and related technologies.

What is IST?

We are a community of scholars and practitioners – comprised of faculty, students, and partners – that values collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking. Our collaborative efforts, in both education and research, are producing advances in technology and our understanding of the way IT shapes our lives. The College of Information Sciences and Technology is truly helping to guide and direct the course of development of the entire field of information sciences and technology.

Questions you will encounter in the classroom include: How can we keep computers safe from cyber threats? How can technology improve the health care system? Can computers really mimic human behavior? Explore questions like these at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). Through the College of IST, you will develop the skills needed to succeed in today’s challenging job market from a university that is well-known and widely respected.

All of our majors go beyond simply learning computer hardware and software; in addition, they prepare graduates for jobs that combine business and technology to tackle cutting-edge problems in government, industry, and non-profit organizations.

What is the difference between Information Sciences and Technology and Computer Science?

IST bridges the gap between creators and users of IT. It uses hardware and software (and other types of information technology), as well as communications and business skills to solve problems in any field. The primary focus is on computer, behavioral, and social sciences. Many students that enroll into IST have the following in common:

  • They enjoy using technology
  • They like working with people
  • They like the challenge of solving problems
  • They are comfortable working with math
  • They want to make a difference

Go where you want to go with a two-year degree in IST

Like the College of Information Sciences and Technology’s four-year bachelor’s degrees, the two-year associate degree can help you become a person who makes a difference. Pick almost any field—manufacturing, health care, business and finance, security, education, aerospace, forensics, biotechnology, law enforcement, government—and you’ll find that what you learn in IST gives you an edge.

Why an Associate Degree in IST?

An associate degree in IST can significantly boost your earning potential and broaden your career opportunities over a high school diploma while only requiring a two-year commitment. The internship component of our program will boost your resume. Interested in changing careers? A degree in IST can provide you with a knowledge and skill set to help make that possible.

What about internships?

An internship is required for all College of IST students and must be completed before the student can graduate. Most internships are done in the summer, so there is normally no delay in graduation. Students on internships must register for one credit and consequently are still considered full-time students, even though they are working and may be earning income. Some internships may or may not be paid.


Lisa Reeves-Bertin