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B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology

The Bachelor of Science degree in Information Sciences and Technology provides students with the theoretical framework and skills necessary to compete and be a leader in the emerging digital global economy.

The program focuses on building an understanding of core information technologies and related subjects, helping students apply various information sciences and related technologies, and sharpening their ability to think critically and work in teams. Team projects, a required internship, and a capstone senior project provide additional, focused venues to involve students in the cutting-edge issues and technologies of the field.

Students can choose from three different options within the major, allowing them to prepare for the career they want.

Information Systems: Design and Development Option
The Information Systems: Design and Development option focuses on systems development where systems are typically complex, distributed, and socio-technical in scope. These systems consist of hardware, software, people, and a range of supporting cognitive aids (e.g., manuals, personal devices, even yellow stickies). Systems are designed and developed to solve some problem or to capitalize on some opportunity in an application domain. This option takes into account the "wicked" nature of many of these problems and the multiplicity of stakeholders that are involved in how they are addressed.

The IST perspective on systems development requires that students understand how development projects emerge in an organizational context, the role that people and society play in the form these systems take, the methods that are used to represent systems design, and the materials used to build information systems.

Core topic areas include computer languages and language paradigms, systems design and design representation methods, design and development tools, distributed systems, software engineering, designing for humans, and designing for human-computer interaction. Special focus is given to object-oriented design and programming as the most effective way to represent and build today's complex systems.


Information Technology: Integration and Application Option
In this option, You will learn how business organizations work, and how information technology can be used to support them. You will cover several specialized topics including value chain, process modeling, workflow analysis, change management, enterprise systems, and middleware solutions. To succeed in the real world of IT consulting, the skills you will learn include project management, teamwork, problem-solving, and presentation skills.

The core topics in this option include information and organizations, systems and enterprise integration, and technologies and applications. These topics build on the central theme of use of IT to support organizational functions. You will also have the opportunity to emphasize organization and design of information systems and the information environment.


Information Context: People, Organizations, and Society Option
The third option focuses on the human dimension of information technology. This option provides students with the skills and knowledge to understand how people influence the design, development, diffusion, use, and management of information technology. Students in this option will also learn how information technology is implicated in social change, and the affects of these social changes for individuals, communities, organizations, nations, and global environments.

Specific skills for studying in this option include assessing the special information needs of particular groups of users, understanding users, organization and society, and their influence on the development and use of information technology, and exploring the economic, cultural, legal, ethical, and social issues that emerge from our increasing reliance on information and communications technologies.

Students will also be able to discuss the major themes in information policy studies (e.g. community, privacy, access, economic participation, security) and user studies (human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work), and be able to relate these themes to the applications of particular technologies. They will be able to describe policy frameworks and issues, as well as the legal and social implications of these choices.

The degree program is offered days and evenings for working, location-bound students.

For information about IST programs at Penn State go to: http://www.ist.psu.edu/

To request information about the Information Sciences and Technology program, please go to our online Request Information Form.

You may also contact us by phone or email.

For more information, contact the program coordinator: Dr. Susanne Samson, 610-396-6133, E-mail: mss21@psu.edu at the Berks campus.

For admissions information, contact the Berks Admissions Office at 610-396-6060.

 

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