IST Advising Center, 104 IST Building, 814‐865‐8947, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions:
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
Computer science uses math and physics to design and create the computer software. It develops
creators of IT and its primary focus is on mathematics and physics. Its foundation is based on building
and deconstructing operating systems.
What can I do with an SRA (Security and Risk Analysis) degree?
SRA can help put you on the front line in confronting threats to our security, responding to emergencies,
protecting vital information, and helping to create laws and policies that ensure personal privacy. More
than ever, problem solvers with broad skills and relevant experience are needed to meet the challenges
posted by identity theft, cyber terrorism, and other global problems. With the three options in SRA, you
can choose to:
Focus on strategic and tactical levels of intelligence collection, analysis, and decision‐making,
Focus on network security, cyber‐threat defense, information warfare, and critical infrastructure
Focus on legal, regulatory, ethical, and a vast array of other topics associated with security and
Is there any special housing for College of IST students?
Yes, at University Park. The IST Special Living Option (SLO) is available to students who would like to live
among others with similar interests. Students are able to assist each other with school work and build
friendships outside the classroom. There are also special events sponsored by the IST SLO, which are not
available to everyone living on campus.
How can I get involved in extracurricular activities?
The College of IST and Penn State offer many student organizations spanning a broad range of interests.
Visit the college's student organization Web page and Penn State's student activity directory for more
When will I enter into a major?
The entrance to a major becomes official during the summer semester after your sophomore year. All
first‐semester students entering the College of IST are admitted into a common year (pre‐major) status,
called INFST. Students officially declare their major online using Penn State's eLion system during the
second semester of their sophomore year.
Are there any requirements for getting into the ISTBS or SRA major for the 2009‐2010 admits?
Students interested in ISTBS need to take IST 110, IST 210, IST 220 with a C or better by the end of
Spring 2011. Students interested in SRA need to complete IST 110, SRA 111, SRA 211 with a C or better
by the end of Spring 2011. Both majors require a cumulative grade‐point average of 2.0 or higher by the
end of Fall 2010 and maintained through Spring 2011.
Are there any requirements for getting into the ISTBA major for the 2009‐2010 admits?
Yes. To be eligible for entrance to the Information Sciences and Technology (ISTBA) major, students
must have the following:
Achieved at least third semester classification and no greater than fourth semester classification
while pursuing a program of study appropriate for entry to the major as shown in the Bulletin.
Achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 prior to and through the end of the
semester during which the entrance‐to‐major procedure is carried out.
Consulted with an officially designated College of Information Sciences and Technology
academic adviser prior to the completion of 60 credits of course work to design a formal and
approved program that meets specific and appropriate educational and/or career goals.
Please refer to the IST BA Student Guide for further information.
How do I make an appointment with an Academic Adviser in the College of IST?
To schedule appointments students can call the Advising Center at 814‐865‐8947, stop by 104 IST, or
email email@example.com. Appointments cannot be made online or through emailing your assigned
adviser. Students enrolled in the College of IST will meet with their assigned adviser, which can be found
by running a degree audit through eLion. Registration is a busy period for the advisers; it is
recommended that you contact the Advising Center early, at least two weeks before your
registration date, to schedule an appointment.
I am considering doing a minor. Where can I find information on what minors are available?
Minors are great ways to supplement your educational goals. Information on minors can be found in the
University Bulletin. Also, you can check out the FAQ page on the IST minor website for additional
information. Use eLion to obtain a degree audit for the minor you are considering and plan to meet with
your adviser to review how minor courses can be used in your IST or SRA degree.
Can I study abroad as a student in the College of IST?
Yes. Penn State has programs that vary in length from a summer to a full academic year in various parts
of the world. Programs include ones in which courses are taught in English and others in which courses
are taught in the language of the country. Credit and grades for courses taken in international
institutions with which Penn State has agreements may be used to meet degree requirements. Early
planning is essential in determining that course work taken abroad will be appropriate to meet degree
requirements in your degree program. College of IST students are encouraged to participate in
international programs through Penn State. See International Programs for more information about
How do I go about late dropping a course, when is the deadline to do so?
A student should consult with an adviser before late dropping a course. A student can late drop a course
(1) by using the eLion Late Course Drop application prior to the deadline for the transaction or (2) by
completing a registration drop/add form and taking it to the Registrar's office in the Shields Building.
The student will be charged a processing fee for every credit that is late dropped. Please keep in mind
that students have a total of 16 late drop credits that may be used during their academic careers.
I would like some assistance/tutoring for some of my courses where can I go for help? Is
there help available for IST/SRA courses?
Penn State Learning provides free tutoring for numerous undergraduate courses. Please visit their
website to learn more about their locations, hours and services. The IST Honor’s Society provides free
tutoring; all IST and SRA students are eligible for services. To request a tutor complete the request form
on their website.
I would like to add a course to my schedule that is full, what is the policy on doing that?
Here are some strategies that students have used in the past to schedule a course that is full. Keep
checking eLion daily to see if a new section has been added or if a seat has become available.
Department phone numbers and locations can be found on the Schedule of Courses, some departments
may have a wait list for certain courses. Check to see if the course is offered through the World Campus.
If you have additional questions please make an appointment with your academic adviser.
What courses should I take next semester, including how many credits will keep me on track
to graduate on time?
Please refer to the semester by semester plans for your major and option, these can be found on the IST
website. Typically students take 14‐17 credit semesters. Please see your adviser to discuss your
individual academic plan.
Do I need special permission to take more than 19 credits?
Students should consult with their adviser before adding a credit overload. Please see the following
policy on adding above 19 credits.
How do I meet my Foreign Language requirement?
The College of IST requires all students to be proficient to the 12th credit level in one language. Students
can choose to continue with the language they studied in high school, placement is based on number of
years completed. Please read the policy on Foreign Language placement. Students can also choose to
begin a new language.
How do I meet my Foreign Cultures requirement?
IL courses will be accepted as satisfying a Foreign Cultures requirement. If you do an Advanced Search
on the Schedule of Courses, you can find a listing of IL courses. Courses cannot double count as an IST
Foreign Culture and General Education in your degree audit. These are two separate requirements.
I would like to switch to the College of Information Sciences and Technology…what do I do?
Take a look at information on majors and options within the college. Then set up an appointment with
an adviser in the College of IST to discuss your educational goals and answer questions you may have.
Where can I locate my registration date for the following semester?
Your date for registration can be located using the Registration timetable found on the Schedule of
Courses or by requesting a degree audit through eLion. The registration date will appear on the first
page of your audit. Information on how to read your degree audit can be found on the Registrar’s