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Master of Science in Telecommunications (MST)

Solving problems in the evolving telecommunications field

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 Program (MST) 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.

Core Courses

The MST program is a 37-credit program that can be completed in one year of full-time study or as many as four years of part-time study.

Prerequisites for admission to the MST program include:
  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Computer programming experience in at least one scientific programming language
  • Completion of a 3-credit course in probability
  • A 3-credit course in calculus
The following courses are pre-requisites for a number of graduate-level telecommunications courses. If you have not taken these, or their equivalent, you will need to do so.
  • Introduction to Telecommunications (TELCOM 2000)
  • Physical Layer of Communications 1 (TELCOM 2200)
  • Software Tools & Techniques (TELCOM 2300).

Completion of the Master of Science in Telecommunications degree requires a minimum of 37credits. Three credits may be in practicum (a structured supervised employment situation) or a thesis. For research-oriented students, the faculty strongly recommends a 3-credit thesis in lieu of course work.

The 37-credit minimum of coursework should include the following:
  • 22 credits of required course work, including the one-credit telecommunications seminar course.
  • 3 credits selected from the management/policy group.
  • 12 credits of elective course work.

Students may choose to take more than the 37 credits required for the MST degree. However, the iSchool is not able to extend any financial aid beyond the required number of courses; any visa issues pursuant to extended study would have to be resolved by the student.

Course Listing

Prerequisites (not included in the 37 credits required for this degree program)
  • Calculus
  • Probability
  • Programming
  • Intro to Telecommunications (TELCOM 2000)
Required Courses (22 credits)
  • INFSCI 1071 Applications of Networks * Prerequisites: INFSCI 0010, INFSCI 0017, INFSCI 1070
  • TELCOM 2120 Network Performance
  • TELCOM 2100 Fundamentals of Telecommunications
  • TELCOM 2321 Wide Area Networks Prerequisites: TELCOM 2310; Corequisites: TELCOM 2120
  • TELCOM 2011 Telecommunications Seminar (1 credit)
  • TELCOM 2700 Wireless Networks
  • TELCOM 2010 Computer Networking Laboratory
  • TELCOM 2810 Information Security and Privacy
Management & Policy Group (3 credits required)
  • BUSBIS 1630 Project Management+
  • BMIS 2051 Project Management
Suggested Electives (12 credits) **
  • Networking
  • TELCOM 2215 Unified Communications
  • TELCOM 2125 Network Science
  • TELCOM 2721 Mobile Data, Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks
  • INFSCI 2550 Client-Server Systems Prerequisite: INFSCI 2500
  • INFSCI 2560 Web Technologies and Standards
  • INFSCI 2710 Database Management Prerequisite: INFSCI 2500
  • INFSCI 2711 Advanced Topics in Database Management Prerequisite: INFSCI 2710
Wireless and Mobile
  • TELCOM 2710 Foundations of Wireless Prerequisite: TELCOM 2210
  • TELCOM 2720 Cellular and Wireless Networks Prerequisite: TELCOM 2210
  • TELCOM 2721 Mobile Computing Prerequisite: TELCOM 2210
  • TELCOM 2727 Application Development for Mobile Devices Prerequisite: TELCOM 2700
  • INFSCI 2801 Geospatial Information Systems
  • INFSCI 2802 Mobile GIS and Location Based Services Prerequisite: INFSCI 2801
  • TELCOM 2813 Security Management Prerequisites: TELCOM 2810/2821 or INFSCI 2150
  • TELCOM 2820 Cryptography Prerequisites: TELCOM 2000/2100 or INFSCI 1070
  • TELCOM 2821 Network Security Prerequisites: TELCOM 2000/2100 or INFSCI 1070, TELCOM 2810/20 or INFSCI 2150
  • INFSCI 2620 Developing Secure Systems Prerequisite: INFSCI 2150
  • TELCOM 2825 Info Sys & Network Infrastructure Protection Prerequisites: TELCOM 2000/2100/ 2810 or INFSCI 1070 or INSCI 2150
  • INFSCI 2731 Security in E-Commerce Prerequisites: TELCOM 2810, INFSCI 2560 INFSCI 2729 Capstone in Security INFSCI 2150/TELCOM 2810, 2821
Other Preapproved Electives in School of Information Sciences
  • INFSCI 2140 Information Storage and Retrieval
  • TELCOM 2515 Information Ethics
  • INFSCI 2160 Data Mining
  • INFSCI 2300 Human Information Processing
  • INFSCI 2470 Interactive System Design Prerequisites: INFSCI 2300, INFSCI 2710
  • INFSCI 2430 Social Computing
  • TELCOM 2512 Information Policy
  • INFSCI 2540 Software Engineering
Preapproved Electives, University of Pittsburgh
  • BUSMIS 2537 Business System Platforms
  • BUSMIS 2586 IS Planning
  • ECE 1710 Power Distribution Systems Engineering and Smart Grids
  • ECE 2521 Analysis of Stochastic Processes
  • ECE 2523 Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 2671 Optimization Methods
  • ECE 3524 Digital Speech Processing
  • ECE 3422 Information Theory
  • CS 2310 Software Engineering
  • CS 3350 Modeling and Simulation
  • CS 2750 Machine Learning
  • CS 2530 Computer and Network Security
Independent Study – must have advisor’s permission
  • TELCOM 2921 in Networking
  • TELCOM 2922 in Communication Systems
  • TELCOM 2923 in Computer Communications
  • TELCOM 2924 in Telecom Administration
  • TELCOM 2925 in Telecom Economics & Policy
  • TELCOM 2926 in Human Communications
  • TELCOM 2927 in Wireless Networks
  • TELCOM 2928 in Security
Special Topics – must have advisor’s permission
  • TELCOM 2931 in Networking
  • TELCOM 2932 in Communication Systems
  • TELCOM 2933 in Computer Communications
  • TELCOM 2934 in Telecom Administration
  • TELCOM 2935 in Telecom Economics & Policy
  • TELCOM 2936 in Human Communications
  • TELCOM 2937 in Wireless Communications
  • TELCOM 2938 in Telecommunications Security
Practical Experience – must have advisor’s permission
  • TELCOM 2940 Practicum
  • TELCOM 2941 Master’s Thesis
  • + Students in the Security Track can substitute TELCOM 2813 Security Management for Project Management

** Other electives may be chosen with permission of advisor. Students may take up to 6 credits of relevant graduate coursework offered by another accredited university


Students who wish to focus on one of our specializations are encouraged to take as many courses as possible in either one area of specialization or across more than one specialization area as part of the 21 credits of electives.

Telecommunications Systems

Telecommunications systems are built on an infrastructure, similar to that classically used for telephony. In this specialization, you will investigate the physical technologies (copper and fiber) used for information transmission, the enabling transmission processes (such as multiplexing, synchronization, and noise filtering), and the systems that provide telephony (classic circuit switched and VOIP).

Computer Networks

Computer networking enables efficient communication and information sharing to take place among widely dispersed participants. The recent emergence of 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 technologies. You will also gain valuable insights into the design, management, and security of computer networks, and have the opportunity to take additional electives from the Department of Computer Science.

Policy and Management

Telecommunications systems exist in both social and organizational contexts. In this specialization, you will explore the relationships among telecommunications technologies, service providers, end users, and governmental entities. In telecommunications, industry structure and government regulation are closely tied to the details of technology, so it is important that students forging a career in this area have a thorough understanding of not only the technology, but also the historical and existing economic and political structures. You may take additional courses from the Katz Graduate School of Business or the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.


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.


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 choose not to specialize in one particular area, the general course of study will allow you to sample courses from each specialization in preparation for dealing with the constant changes in telecommunications technology. Your versatility as a generalist will enable you to handle challenges as they arise.

Statute of Limitations

The MST program must be completed within four years of the first term in which courses were taken after admission. The normal full-time course load is 9 to 12 credits per term; thus, a full-time student will complete the program in three or four terms. The normal part-time course load is 6 credits per term, which permits the part-time students to complete the program in six terms. Faculty must approve exceptions to the four-year limit if extenuating circumstances exist.

Residence Requirements

To maintain active student status, students must register for at least 3 credits during one of the three terms of the calendar year. It is recommended, however, that part-time students register for at least 6 credits during two of the three terms of the academic year to maintain reasonable progress through the program.


Contact:  Shabana Reza, Recruitment and Admissions

Phone: 1-800-672-9435 or 412-624-3988