Pennsylvania State University - World Campus Review

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers several career-oriented degree programs to meet the needs of students with diverse professional goals.

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The Good

Good selection of degree subjects

Pennsylvania State University-Global Campus (PSU-Global Campus) offers three online master’s degree programs in information technology, while most other top programs offer only one. You can choose an information studies degree designed to prepare you for technology development and management positions in businesses and organizations. This degree includes courses in information analysis, data-based decision-making, and cyber security, among other subjects. A second degree is available in information security and forensics, which is designed to prepare you for work in government and private-sector homeland security careers. You can also choose a master’s program in geographic information systems (GIS). This award-winning program, delivered by the PSU Department of Geography, trains you to build, maintain, and modify GIS and geospatial intelligence systems. Graduates go on to pursue careers in environmental resource management, transportation planning, and urban and regional planning.

Highly selective admissions

Pennsylvania State University-Global Campus information technology programs have a strong reputation for academic excellence. This reputation has been achieved through the creation of a top-quality faculty and a strong student body. In its recent survey of online graduate information technology programs, U.S. News and World Report ranks PSU-Global Campus as the third-most selective in the country. The average student in a PSU-Global Campus information technology program has an undergraduate GPA of 3.35 and a GRE Verbal Reasoning score of 158, both of which rank among the top two or three online programs in the nation. While some students may consider a selective admissions policy to be a negative factor, if you have the qualifications to get into PSU-Global Campus, you’ll no doubt appreciate the chance to work with the highly qualified classmates and instructors that you’ll find there.

Top 10 national program

U.S. News and World Report ranks PSU-Global Campus among the top 10 online information technology programs in the country. This ranking is based on a variety of factors, including admissions selectivity, student services, faculty quality, and student engagement efforts. PSU-Global Campus performs well across the board, earning special praise for its online student services. As a PSU-Global Campus student, you get access to academic advising services, free online tutoring services, and career development services. Even the world-class PSU library system offers comprehensive online services, including access to a catalog of 200,000 e-books and 100,000 full-text online journals. You can even check out general circulation books using the library’s distance delivery services. Simply log in and register your check-out request, and the books will be mailed to you as soon as they are available. You only need to pay for return shipping.

Moderate tuition rates

With a per-credit tuition rate of $825, PSU-Global Campus ranks among several programs in the middle tier of affordability. Mississippi State University leads all of the top online information technology programs by a substantial margin with a tuition rate of about $371 per credit. In the middle tier, a handful of programs hover around $700 or $800, including Pennsylvania State University-Global Campus. In fact, these programs are quite affordable when compared with most other top programs, which charge between $1,050 and $1,650 per credit.

The Bad

Graduation rates are comparatively low

For all the praise Pennsylvania State University-Global Campus information technology programs receive, they do fall behind other top programs in a key measure of student success: graduation rates. In recent years, PSU-Global Campus reports an average three-year graduation rate of only about 50%, a rate that lags behind several other top programs of similar size. While it’s hard to determine from available data whether students are dropping out or just taking longer than three years to complete a degree, it would be nice to see higher rates of completion than those reported.

Prior coursework or work experience required

If you’re interested in either the GIS degree program or the information security and forensics degree program, you’ll need to show substantial experience in related technical subjects. Both programs require either a bachelor’s degree in a closely related discipline or a combination of work experience and workplace training sufficient to prepare you for high-level academic work in the subject. For help determining whether you have the required background, contact a PSU-Global Campus admissions adviser. If you are interested in the third degree program, information studies, you only need to show that you have basic competency in information technology, computer language, and statistics. This program accepts bachelor’s graduates from virtually any discipline.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2004-2005
  • Application Deadline: June 15
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Location: PA
  • Number of Graduate Info Tech Programs: 4
  • Region: Northeast
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In-State: $825
  • Out-of-State: $825


  • Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences
  • Master of Geographic Information Systems
  • Masters in Software Engineering


  • Enterprise Architecture

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Average Student Age: 33
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.35
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 4.1
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 154
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 158
  • Gender Ratio: 28.1% female, 71.9% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 50
  • Total Enrollment: 313


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 4 years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 32
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 15

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 97%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 73%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 77%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 77%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 46%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 48%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 3
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 74/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 15
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 70/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 13
  • Student Engagement Score: 68/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 4
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 71/100

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