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Undergraduate Certificate inInformation Sciences and Technology

Program summary

Build the foundation for a leadership role in any IT–related field. This 12-credit certificate program focuses on practical skills that can be immediately implemented in the information technology workplace.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by August 18 to start August 26

Credits and costs

12 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Gain IT Skills to Develop Information-Based Solutions

  • Help businesses operate more effectively by creating and implementing technological solutions.

  • Apply interdisciplinary, theoretical knowledge of the information sciences or security sciences.

  • Understand, apply, and adapt various problem-solving strategies, using appropriate technology and methods.

  • Analyze issues and opportunities in terms of the human, information, and technology dimensions, and determine the requirements appropriate to understanding the situation.

  • Design systems, architectures, processes, components, or programs tailored to fulfill specific requirements.

Online Information Technology Certificate Courses

This certificate program is designed to prepare you for a leadership role in any IST–related field. You can enhance your existing skills or prepare for further study as you explore the social, ethical, and policy issues surrounding information technology.

The online certificate in information sciences and technology is a four-course, 12-credit program of study. To earn this certificate, you must successfully complete four IST courses.

Note: Prerequisites as listed may be waived by the course instructor if you can demonstrate the required level of competency.

Prescribed Courses (12 credits)

  • 3

    The use, analysis, and design of information systems and technologies to organize, coordinate, and inform human enterprises.

    • Note

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) requirement.

  • 3

    Introduction to the concept of databases, including the storage, manipulation, evaluation, and display of data, and related issues.

  • 3

    Introduction to digital network topologies, transmission media, signal modulation, digital packet switching and routing, systems integration, communications management, and security.

  • 3

    Introduction to how the World Wide Web utilizes emerging technologies. Students acquire a conceptual understanding of constructing websites.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Start or Advance Your IT Career

Two business professionals reviewing work on a tablet in an office setting

As information technology continues to change, businesses and organizations will need computer and IT professionals with the right skills and training to help them meet their technology demand.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

A career path in IT offers many opportunities for specialization. Depending on your experience and skill set, you could work in start-up companies or established tech firms. Service industries, government, and health care companies also tend to employ a large number of tech workers. 

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • web developer
  • computer support consultant
  • data center operations support
  • media technician
  • help desk analyst
  • technical support specialist

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

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From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Learn more about this program

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State undergraduate certificate?

Apply by August 18 to start August 26. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Paying for Your Certificate

Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.

Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.

Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

Who Should Apply?

This program is ideal if you have some experience in the information systems field but need additional knowledge and skills or want to formalize the skills you already have. The certificate is also a great way to enhance your professional development for your current employment.

Head Start toward a Degree

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Not only can this program help create opportunities in your career, but it can also give you a solid head start toward a degree.

In addition to the information sciences and technology certificate being an excellent stand-alone credential, credits earned in this program can often be applied toward either an Associate in Science in IST or a Bachelor of Science in IST from Penn State if you choose to continue your education. Contact an academic adviser for more information.

Develop practical IT skills through hands-on projects and an internship. This online degree program is designed for working professionals without formal IT training who want to pursue a career in technology management.

Learn more about the Associate in Science in Information Sciences and Technology

This online bachelor’s IT degree program explores how we can strengthen the power of information and technology and use it to increase human potential. The course work focuses on creating innovative systems and technology solutions in a wide range of industries.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology

Set Your Own Pace

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Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). If you plan to take a heavy course load, you should expect your course work to be your primary focus and discuss your schedule with your academic adviser. 

To Finish Your Certificate in One Year

  • Take 2 courses each semester 

To Finish Your Certificate in Two Years

  • Take 1 course each semester


Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

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Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

How to Apply to Penn State

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Apply by August 18 to start August 26

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by August 18 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by January 1 to start January 13
  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by May 5, 2025, to start May 19, 2025

Steps to Apply

  1. To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.

  2. 2. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, email [email protected] or call 814-865-1146.

Contact Us

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Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

For questions about admissions and applications, please contact World Campus Central:

World Campus Central
Phone: 814-865-1146
[email protected]

Learn from the Best

Learn from expert faculty who are leaders in the field. Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty who have special training and experience teaching in an online environment. You can expect the same caliber of academic quality that you associate with Penn State.


  • Michael R. Bartolacci

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      MBA, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      B.A., Engineering, Lafayette College

    Dr. Michael R. Bartolacci is an associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Berks. He conducts research in telecommunications modeling, electronic commerce modeling, customer relationship management, manufacturing modeling, and international aspects of telecommunications.

  • Megan Costello

    • Degree
      J.D., University of New Hampshire
    • Degree
      B.S., Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State

    Megan Costello is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. Her areas of interest are copyright and trademark registration, business law matters, contract disputes, and privacy law. Prior to her appointment in the College of IST, she was the founder and solo practitioner for a boutique law practice that focused on cyberlaw issues and intellectual property.

  • Nannette D'Imperio

    • Degree
      M.S., Computer Education, Philadelphia University
    • Degree
      B.S., Elementary Education, concentration in Mathematics, West Chester University

    Nannette D'Imperio is a lecturer of information sciences and technology at Penn State Brandywine. Her areas of interest are programming languages, web-based learning, and applications.

  • Joseph Oakes

    • Degree
      M.S., Information Science, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Information Systems, Philadelphia University

    Joseph Oakes is a senior lecturer in information sciences and technology at Penn State Abington. His areas of interest are android, software development for mobile devices, gaming, cryptography, and cluster networks.

  • Gregory O'Toole

    Ph.D., Media and Communication, European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland

    Dr. Gregory O'Toole is a lecturer in information sciences and technology at Penn State Abington. His areas of interest are open source web design and development, web research, and education.

  • Jeffrey Rimland

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Information Sciences, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Computer Science, Penn State

    Dr. Jeffrey Rimland is an assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology. His areas of interest are software development, vocal synthesis techniques, information fusion, assistive mobile device technology, and human-centric information.


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State undergraduate certificate?

Apply by August 18 to start August 26. How to Apply