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This associate degree major is structured to prepare graduates for immediate and continuing employment opportunities in the broad disciplines of information science and technology. This includes positions such as application programmers, associate systems designers, network managers, Web designers and administrators, or information systems support specialists. Specifically, the major is designed to ensure a thorough knowledge of information systems and includes extensive practice using contemporary technologies in the creation, organization, storage, analysis, evaluation, communication, and transmission of information. The major fosters communications, interpersonal, and group interaction skills through appropriate collaborative and active learning projects and experiences. Technical material covers the structure of database systems, Web and multi-media systems, and considerations in the design of information systems. Team projects in most courses, a required internship, and a second-year capstone experience provide additional, focused venues for involving students in the cutting-edge issues and technologies in the field.

The Associate of Science in IST degree will be offered at multiple campuses within the Penn State system of colleges and campuses. Note that not all options will be available at all locations.

Baccalaureate Option

This option provides maximum articulation with the baccalaureate degree. Students who complete this option will meet all lower division requirements for the baccalaureate degree. This is not the case with the remaining options, although the degree of articulation is quite high for all associate degree options.

Generalized Business Option

This option enables students to specialize in the general business areas of accounting, marketing, and management.

Individualized Option

This option enables students to work closely with an adviser to develop a plan of study that meets the dual objectives of allowing a flexible academic program and providing breadth of technical specialization. An example would be a program where a student would take some of the courses listed in the Web Administration option and the remainder in the Software option.

Software Option

This option prepares graduates for entry-level programming support positions in industry. Students take courses in Web programming, database programming, and other contemporary programming environments.

Web Administration Option

This prepares graduates for positions as Web administrators and Web programmers.

Networking Option

This option prepares graduates for positions as entry-level computer network administrators. Students take courses in personal computer hardware, networking essentials, and network administration.

Data/Information Option

This option prepares graduates for entry-level database support positions. Students take courses in relational database systems and database management.

Industrial/Manufacturing Option

This option prepares graduates for entry-level manufacturing information systems positions. Students take courses in electrical and mechanical systems, and business and industrial processes.

Telecommunications Option

This option prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the telecommunications industry. Students take courses in voice and data communications, protocols, networks, and wireless systems.

For the Associate in Science degree in IST, a minimum of 60 credits is required.