Online Graduate Student Resources and Information

The Office of Graduate Programs maintains resources and information to provide online graduate students with the tools to succeed, make appropriate academic decisions, and stay on track for their degree.

SARI Training for Degree Students (Required)

SARI (Scholarship and Research Integrity) training is an important component for all graduate programs at Penn State. The SARI training program provides graduate students with the opportunity to identify, examine, and discuss ethical issues relevant to their discipline.

Newly accepted students will receive an email with information on accessing and completing this requirement. Completion of SARI training is required to graduate.

For MPS in Homeland Security – Information Security and Forensics Option students, SARI training is included in HLS 803. Once you have completed that course, you have completed the SARI requirements.

Registration Information

The Graduate Program office will contact you via email prior to the start of each semester with course registration information. This email correspondence will contain information such as registration dates and deadlines.

You should refer to your program’s audit sheet when scheduling courses. We encourage you to follow this audit as it lists all your program requirements and elective course options, and it can be used to track your degree or certificate progress.

If you do happen to diverge from the program audit sheet, please contact the Office of Graduate Programs. We will assist you in recommending which courses to take in the upcoming semester.

Please visit the Registration Timetable to determine when you are eligible to enroll for upcoming semesters. The minimum credits used in the chart include completed credits and currently scheduled credits.

If you are military and/or disabled, you may qualify for priority registration dates in the future. You will need to self-indicate your status by completing the proper steps listed for Military students or Disabled students.

You should register for courses as soon as possible by logging into LionPATH. You are not guaranteed a seat in any course, so don't wait until the last minute to register.

Prior to registering, be sure to complete the following steps in LionPATH:

  • Complete the Pre-Registration Activity Guide
  • Complete the Financial Responsibility Agreement
  • Take care of any holds that may be on your account. If you have a financial hold on your account, you can contact the World Campus Bursar Office at 814-863-8300 or bfo@outreach.psu.edu.

You will receive an email from the College of IST prior to the opening of registration with course offering details. You can view available courses in LionPATH via the Class Search. You may want to uncheck the "Show Open Classes Only" box to view all courses offered, so you can place yourself on the waitlist for a course that is currently full.

Please Note:

  • For 400-level courses and IST 594's 1-credit section, you will need to call World Campus registration staff at 800-252-3592 or email registration@outreach.psu.edu to manually schedule these courses.
  • Several 400-level courses have undergraduate prerequisites, such as IST 220 and SRA 221, that are not required for our graduate students. Please ignore only these prerequisites. LionPATH will restrict you from registering online so please call World Campus to register for any 400-level course. All grad prerequisites are embedded in the courses. There will be courses that you will need to schedule before scheduling others; please see your respective audit sheet to review these prerequisites.

Once you are registered into your courses, be sure to review and purchase the required materials for each course.

To view course materials, complete the following steps.

Prior to registering for a course

  1. Visit the Class Search in LionPATH
  2. Search for and select a class section
  3. Click on "View the World Campus Course Catalog" for course materials, requirements, and a sample syllabus

After registering for a course

  1. Visit your "Student Center" in LionPATH
  2. Click the blue "More" button beside Class Schedule
  3. Click the hyperlinked section number
  4. Click on View the "World Campus Course Catalog" for course materials, requirements, and a sample syllabus

Visit the Paying Your Semester Bill page on the World Campus website for further information regarding payment options. Please direct any billing questions to the World Campus Bursar’s Office at 814-863-8300 or bfo@outreach.psu.edu.

Tuition bills as well as financial aid are viewable and payable within LionPATH. Tuition bills are calculated shortly before the beginning of each semester. You should receive an email when your tuition bill is ready for you to view and pay, but remember to check your LionPATH Student Center regularly for communications regarding financial aid, tuition bills, and other payment notices.

Time Commitment

At the graduate level, expect to spend 3-5 hours per week per credit. For a 3-credit course, you can expect to spend 12-15 hours per week on the course. Please note that this varies per student and course.

If you take two courses per semester for fall, spring, and summer, you can expect to complete your degree (33 credits) in two years. Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Information and Security Technology Architecture certificates (9 credits) can be completed in as little as two semesters and the Information Systems Cybersecurity certificate (15 credits) can be completed in as little as three semesters. All degrees and certificates may be completed in a longer time period. Graduate degrees are expected to be completed in eight years from your first registered semester unless an extension is granted.

Course Access

Penn State's Course Management System is Canvas. Use your Penn State user ID and password to log in.

Information Sciences and Technology and Enterprise Architecture courses will be accessible a week before the semester starts. Other courses may not be accessible until the first day of classes. If you do not see a course or can't access it on the second day of the semester, please contact ISTonlinegrad@psu.edu.

Your assignments and quizzes will be submitted electronically through Canvas. At the graduate level, you will participate in team-based projects and labs instead of proctored exams.

To ensure that you have the right equipment to be successful in your online courses, please review the basic World Campus Technical Requirements.

You may drop or swap your courses through LionPath. Beginning in the second week of classes, students who drop below full-time or their originally registered credit level may be assessed a tuition penalty. The tuition adjustment is determined by the effective date of the drop and is made according to Penn State's Tuition Adjustment Policy.

Managing Your Degree or Certificate

Refer to the audit sheets available for the degree or certificate that you are pursuing. These sheets can help you:

  • track which courses you have taken
  • identify which courses you still need to complete
  • know during which semesters courses are typically offered so you are able to plan ahead*

*Any courses other than EA/IST/HLS are often controlled for specific majors. Please refer to your audit sheet to know which semesters these courses are offered to your major. Refer to the semester registration email for the specific course section open to your major. Refer to the semester registration email for the specific course section open to your major.

Please only schedule courses listed on the audit sheet that pertains to your degree or certificate.

You may schedule one or two courses per semester; three courses are not recommended. If you are using federal financial aid, you are required to schedule a minimum of five credits. Note that your final semester could work out to be less than five credits.

MPS Audit Check Sheets

Certificate Audit Check Sheets

 

CYMPS, INSCI/CIA, EABT and HLS/ISF Degree Students:

If you currently hold the CISSP certification, please email ISTOnlinegrad@psu.edu to request the CISSP Waiver Request form. We will verify your certification and review our options to waive a course if you hold this certification.

ISSEC Certificate Students:

If you currently hold the CISSP certification, please email ISTOnlinegrad@psu.edu to request the CISSP Waiver Request form.

While we can’t waive the IST 815 course for you since the certificate requires 15 credits, we could allow you to take a different course instead of IST 815 if you felt an alternative course would be more benificial.

After you have started taking classes during your first semester and have courses or credits from another institution that you would like to transfer toward your current degree, please email ISTonlinegrad@psu.edu for the appropriate form and instructions.

The courses must meet the following Graduate School criteria per policy GCAC-309:

  • The credits were not used already to obtain a degree.
  • The credits are from another regionally accredited institution.
  • The credits were obtained in the last five years.
  • The credits received a grade of B or better (B- is not acceptable).
  • The credits are for courses that pertain to your current degree program.

If you have courses to transfer that meet all the requirements above, they are most often transferred in as electives. Typically, no more than nine credits or three courses can be transferred in.

After your first semester or later, if you decide you would like to continue your education beyond your current master's degree, you could look into completing a concurrent degree. Please review the policy GCAC-209 for more details.

The main items to consider are listed below for a quick reference. If you are interested after reviewing all information provided, please email ISTonlinegrad@psu.edu to request the form to complete.

  • You must have six or more credits completed on your transcript already but submit for a concurrent degree before you are 75% complete with your home degree (first degree)*.
  • You must have and maintain a 3.5 GPA.
  • You must complete two separate capstone projects/theses, one for each degree.
  • You may typically double count four courses towards both degrees. The number of credits for the second concurrent degree program determines whether you can double count additional courses.
  • The two degrees must have courses that each degree program is willing to count towards their degree.

In your final two semesters, you should schedule your 594 capstone course. This course is 3-credits total but is scheduled in a 2-credit/1-credit consecutive sequence during your final two semesters. You should schedule your 2-credit 594 course in your next to last semester and the 1-credit 594 course in your final semester. You will have the same instructor for both semesters. You will discuss your research project or paper with your 594 instructor individually as well as decide on your research methodologies and begin your research in the 2-credit course. Then, you will finalize your research, write your paper, and present your work in the 1-credit course.

Today's global economy requires that people be proficient in teamwork. Organizations are spread across continents. People increasingly work from home. You have to be able to work with all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations, at all hours of the day; and you will have to do it well.

To put your learning into real-world teaming situations, all of our courses require some sort of team or group work. While there is no course offered in the curriculum on how to work in teams, you will have repeated opportunities to refine your skills each semester. Below, we offer three important reminders to help you achieve successful team collaborations in the program.

  1. Schedule a get-to-know-you meeting in advance of doing any assigned work. Teams who are invested in each other and trust one another perform better than teams that do not.
  2. Write a team “contract” or MOU to establish expectations for the team. Talk through and record individual and team goals for a project, milestone due dates for the project, technologies for collaborating, and expectations for communicating with one another on a regular basis as well as when something goes awry.
  3. Establish a time to evaluate yourselves as a team half-way through your project work. Consider using the 3-Bin Assessment tool to talk about what is going great, what is passable, and what needs to improve; and using the Improvement Plan Template to indicate what you will work on improving as a team. Also, see the sample Improvement Plan for an idea of how to complete this exercise. Taking stock of how you are doing and how you can improve before major issues arise will keep most teams on track for a good experience.

Resources

Below are some team resources to use as you begin navigating through your course programs.

  • Canvas Group Spaces allow easy collaboration right inside your course, including the ability for your group to:
    • Store and share files
    • Start a discussion
    • Send a message
    • Create group collaborations
  • Google Docs makes it possible for teams to edit papers and share changes in real-time. To get started, create a document on Google Docs and invite your group members as collaborators via email so that they can edit on it. Take the Google Docs Tour.
  • Google Calendar allows you to share your calendar with other members to schedule meetings. With Google Calendar, you can see every other member's schedule right next to your own, which makes scheduling meetings more easy and efficient. For more information, please see "How to Use Google Calendar as a Project Management Tool".
  • Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are chat programs that you might utilize for group communications. Decide on the chat software, if any, that you will use for this course.
  • Facebook Groups might also be beneficial to your team's communication.

You may take semesters off as needed without incurring any extra fees or having to reapply to their programs. If you decide not to schedule any courses in either the fall or spring semester, you will need to complete a resume study form before scheduling courses again for the following semester. However, this form is not required if you do not schedule courses over the summer semester.

Degree students must apply for graduation in LionPATH at the beginning of the semester they will be completing their degree requirements. Instructions and the deadline for each semester will be emailed at the beginning of each semester. Please watch your Penn State email for this important information and the deadline.

After the intent to graduate deadline has passed for the respective semester, students who applied for graduation will receive further information via email.

Diplomas are mailed to you approximately 4-8 weeks after commencement. Degrees are posted to transcripts approximately 1-2 weeks after commencement.

World Campus holds a separate graduation reception event and campus tour the Friday evening before commencement. Information is sent directly to graduating students.

If attending commencement, you need to reserve your seat. Information will be shared via email. Seating for family and friends is first-come, first-serve.

Dates for upcoming commencements can be found on the Commencement website.

All degree graduates may attend commencement at University Park campus. HLS degree students may opt to attend commencement at the Penn State Harrisburg campus instead. Information will be sent directly to HLS students from the HLS Program Office regarding this option.

If you will be attending, please use the following information to assist you in completing the online form for reserving your seat and information regarding hood colors when contacting the Penn State Bookstore.

  • Degree Type = Master’s
  • Campus = Penn State World Campus (WD or WC)
  • Program = Enterprise Architecture (EA), Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations (CYMPS), Information Sciences (INSCI) or Homeland Security (HLS)
  • Hood Color = gold for science
  • Military Honor Cords: All graduating students who are military veterans, currently serving on active duty, in the reserve, or National Guard, or who will be granted a commission obtained through Penn State Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) are eligible to receive a red, white and blue cord to wear with the approved academic dress at commencement ceremonies. Personnel who have already been granted priority registration status will automatically receive the cord in the mail from World Campus. If you have any questions/issues, please email militarycords@outreach.psu.edu.