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Master of Science in Telecommunications

As telecommunications systems become more complex, talented professionals will be needed to design, manage, and secure networks and telecommunications systems. The opportunities are vast—from keeping networks reliable to preventing cyber attacks—and the demand is high in every industry.

By enrolling in our Master of Science in Telecommunications (MST) degree program you’ll get hands-on experience in world-class lab facilities and will have the chance to participate in federally funded research. We offer challenging courses in topics such as application development for mobile devices, intelligent networks, distributed multi-media systems, and network security and cryptography.

MST Degree Requirements

Completion of the Master of Science in Telecommunications degree requires a minimum of 37 credits. Three credits may be in practicum (a structured supervised employment situation) or a thesis. Students should know that a thesis is not a requirement of the MST degree but for research-oriented students, the faculty strongly recommends a 3-credit thesis in lieu of course work.

The 37-credit minimum of course work should include the following:

  • 19 credits of required courses, including the one-credit telecommunications seminar course.
  • 3 credits selected from the management/policy group.
  • 15 credits of elective course work.

The general course of study allows you to sample courses from all the specializations in preparation for dealing with the constant changes in telecommunications technology. Since change is the only constant in the telecommunications industry, your versatility as a generalist will enable you to handle challenges as they arise in the industry. Employers such as carriers, manufacturers, consultants, and other organizations (especially smaller ones) are seeking those graduates with a broad set of skills for careers as system engineers, network designers or managers, and telecommunications managers.


You may elect a specialization on your application for admission. You then follow a more stringent distribution of credits depending on your specialization.  As well, some specializations have additional pre-requisites for admission and therefore you may need to complete courses above and beyond the standard 37 credit requirement.

Please note: Specializations for the MST degree are not noted on your final transcripts or other official documents.

Computer Networks

Computer networking enables efficient communication and information sharing to take place among widely dispersed participants. The global Internet-and the availability of ever cheaper, more powerful computation and communication devices-is paving the way for a new generation of ubiquitous and pervasive networks.

In this specialization, you will explore a variety of problems encountered in designing computer networks and learn common techniques to solve these problems. Courses are designed to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills required to contribute to the field of data communication and networking. The focus is on network models and architectures, protocol design and implementation, resource management, quality of service support, and security. You will acquire a solid conceptual and practical understanding of how computer network technologies operate and the ability to analyze the benefits and limitations of current and future networking technologies. You will also gain valuable insights into the design, management, and security of computer networks, and have an opportunity to take additional electives from the Department of Computer Science, depending on your interests.


Wireless systems have become a vital infrastructure in today’s society, and significant professional opportunities exist in this growing field. In this area, you will investigate the physical technology and enabling processes; the systems that provide cellular telephony, wireless LANs, and sensor networks; and mobile applications. You may select additional electives from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Graduates of this track have been hired by wireless carriers, manufacturers, and other organizations as system engineers and wireless network designers.


Just as we safeguard data within computers, we must also ensure that the information flowing over networks is protected. In this specialization, you will investigate firewalls, encryption, fault tolerant network design, and other procedures for information assurance. Additional electives may be taken from both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics. If you follow this track, you will be prepared for a career as a network security specialist with carriers, manufacturers, consulting firms, the government, financial institutions, and other enterprises.

Internet of Things

Information regarding this new specialization is forthcoming

Admissions Information

The Department of Informatics and Networked Systems seeks students with diverse interests and abilities. The admission requirements for the Master of Science in Telecommunications degree (MST) reflect the interdisciplinary nature of our program and roughly correspond to an undergraduate degree in a technical discipline (e.g., math, physics, computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, information science, etc.)

You must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better

  • Computer programming skill in at least one scientific programming language
  • A 3-credit college level course in probability
  • A 3-credit college level course in calculus

Note, other courses, such as an introduction to telecommunications class may be a pre-requisite for many courses in the program. It is not a requirement for admission but the equivalent Pitt course (TELCOM 2000) will not count toward the MST degree.

Letters of Recommendation

Identify and seek the recommendations of two individuals (e.g., professors, employers, information professionals) who are in a position to evaluate your academic performance or your potential as an information professional.


Only scanned copies of official transcripts will be accepted and processed at the application stage.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

You are required to submit a recent score (within five years of the date of application) on the Graduate Record Examination as part of your admission credentials. Scores on all three sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the General Section should be submitted. While submission of the GRE scores are preferred, a recent and strong performance on the GMAT will be accepted in lieu of taking the GRE exam.

Other Required Documentation

Please include the following with your online application:

  • Resume; and
  • Statement of Intent of no more than 500 words outlining your career goals

Your resume and Statement of Intent should reflect and highlight relevant work experience.

For International Applicants

Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to participate successfully in graduate study. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). A minimum score of 80 (Internet-based)/550 (paper-based) on the TOEFL or a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS is required.