IST student in a server room

Undergraduate Certificate in
Information 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.

Application deadline

Apply by August 14 to start August 21

Credits and costs

12 Credits $620/$664 per credit

A Certificate in IST Can Help Move Your Career Forward

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 needs.

Our 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.

Why an Online Undergraduate Certificate in IST at Penn State?

This online certificate program will give you the opportunity to interact with dedicated educators from one of the nation's most respected research universities. These are the same faculty who teach on-campus courses in Penn State's highly regarded IST programs.

If you choose to continue your education, 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. Contact an academic adviser for more information.

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 your present skills. The certificate is also a great way to enhance your professional development for your current employment.


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.

The core courses in this program are online group classes, with a group of students progressing together through each course. Courses are offered in a timeframe that is comparable to a traditional semester schedule, with fixed start and end dates.

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.

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.

2022–23 Academic Year Rates

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $620 per credit $664 per credit
12 or more $7,527 per semester $8,125 per semester

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.

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.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

All supporting materials should be sent following the submission of your application.

  • Fall DeadlineApply by August 14 to start August 21
  • Spring DeadlineApply by January 1 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by May 5, 2024, to start May 13, 2024

For current and future course registration deadlines, visit the Registrar's website to view the academic calendar by semester

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact [email protected].

Admission Requirements 

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

Technical Requirements

Review the technical requirements for this program.

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.

* required 1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. I understand my information may also be shared with select providers to offer ads that may be of interest to me. Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Learn more about this program

Download Program Brochure All my programs 

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

Apply by August 14 to start August 21. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

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

A career 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.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

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

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

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 

Contact Us

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

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


  • 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 14 to start August 21. How to Apply