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Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications

The telecommunications industry is changing at a rapid pace, which means the insights and solutions that come from both scholarly and applied research play a vital role in facilitating a dialog around the problems facing governments, businesses, academia, and society as a whole.

Our PhD students collaborate with peers and professors to advance the research surrounding cyber security, wireless network virtualization, smart grid communications, and spectrum fungibility, as well as to further the policy and economics of telecommunications.

Graduates from our PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications degree program have contributed their expertise to major research universities, research and development organizations, and international government agencies such as BNY Mellon, Mine Safety Appliances, Verizon Wireless, and Cisco.

Degree Requirements

A candidate for the PhD should have broad knowledge of the field of telecommunications as well as a specialization in the area of major interest. Every candidate should have, in addition, a strong background in research methodologies.

The Telecommunications PhD program requires a minimum of 48 credits beyond a master’s degree. Exceptional students with a technical bachelor’s degree may be admitted on occasion and in such cases, a minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required. The 72 credits must include the required courses (or their equivalent) for the MST degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Also included in the 72 credits are:

  • 12 credits of required courses
  • 12 credits of doctoral seminars
  • 6 credits of minor courses
  • At least 18 credits of dissertation research and writing (no more than 18 credits applied toward graduation)
  • 48 of the 72 credits must be advanced coursework beyond the MST degree (or its equivalent).

Admissions Information


You must demonstrate the following prerequisite knowledge. These courses or their equivalents should be taken before seeking admission but may be taken during the first four terms of study. Evidence of academic completion of:

  • Two different scientific computer programming languages,
  • Introductory class in probability and statistics
  • Differential and integral calculus

You must have a Master’s degree from an accredited university, a recognized international program, or the equivalent is required and have attained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (on a scale with an “A” having a value of 4 points per credit). An international student’s GPA will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.

Letters of Recommendation

Identify and seek the recommendations of three 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.

Other Required Documentation

Please include the following with your online application:

  • Statement of Intent (not to exceed 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student’s academic and professional goals in relation to the Telecommunications doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.

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 on the TOEFL or a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS is required.

Optional Documentation

  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities
  • An example of published writing

A description of any published or unpublished research, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue doctoral study successfully

For more information, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates and fees for the upcoming academic year can be found on the University’s Institutional Research Web site.