Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Dec 07, 2023
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Telecommunications and Networking, MST

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

The Telecommunications and Networking program offers hands-on learning opportunities in telecommunications systems, computer networks, policy and management, wireless systems, and network security so that you will find a rewarding career in industry, government, education or the nonprofit sector.

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
  • and 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.

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. 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.

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.



Students who wish to focus on one of our specializations are encouraged to take as many courses as possible in that area of specialization as part of the 15 credits of electives.

Students can specialize in more than one area by taking offered courses in those particular areas, again as part of their 15 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). If you pursue this track, you would likely be hired by a carrier, equipment manufacturer, consultant, or business for a career as a system engineer, network designer or manager, switching system designer, or telecom manager.

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 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.

Policy and Management

Telecommunications systems exist in 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 is 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. In this specialization you may take additional courses from the Katz Graduate School of Business or the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, depending on your interests. Upon graduation, you will be prepared for a career as a policy analyst or network manager.


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 assure 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.


If you choose not to specialize in one particular area, 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.

A generalist can take courses from any of the areas of specialization in consultation with the faculty advisor.


Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation