School of Information SciencesTelecommunications and Networking
The School of Information Sciences offers a Master's degree, Certificate of Advanced Study in
Telecommunications and a PhD degree in Information Sciences with a focus in Telecommunications. This program prepares students for careers in a variety of arenas including industry, business, government, health care, education, and the nonprofit sector in positions such as network engineers or analysts, network administrators or managers, consultants, systems engineers, and research and development engineers (with appropriate undergraduate education).
Members of the faculty are active researchers with funding from
governmental and/or corporate sources. Both master's and doctoral
students have an opportunity to work with faculty on research projects,
and doctoral students conduct independent research for their dissertations. Faculty members and students conduct research on a wide variety of topics including (but not limited to) wireless networks and security, network design and survivability, computer networks, network policy, and economics of the telecommunications industry.
- Telecommunications Program
- School of Information Sciences
- 135 North Bellefield Avenue
- 412-624-3988 or 800-672-9435
- Fax: 412-624-5231
- E-mail: email@example.com
Master of Science in Telecommunications Degree Program
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.
For complete program details, visit www.ischool.pitt.edu/tele/degrees/mst-program.php
To qualify for admission, an applicant must be a graduate of an
accredited college or university. Preference will be given to candidates with a scholastic average B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.
All MST applicants are required to submit a recent score
(within three years of the date of application) on the Graduate
Record Examination as part of their 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. The institutional number for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927 and the department code is 0404.
The student must have completed the following course work (at the undergraduate or graduate level), with a grade of B or better, prior to admission to the MST program:
- Computer programming skill in at least one scientific programming language
- Probability (a 3-credit course)
- Calculus (a 3-credit course).
The following courses (or their equivalent), while not counting towards the 37-credit degree, may be required depending upon previous educational background:
- Introduction to Telecommunications (Telcom 2000)
- Physical Layer of Communications I (Telcom 2200)
- Software Tools and Techniques (Telcom 2300)
English Language Proficiency
Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to study without being hindered by language problems, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be taken if the applicant’s native language is not English. The institution code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927 and the department code is 90.
A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to graduate study in this program. The requirement to take the TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has received a degree from an accredited institution in the United States.
Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores less than 600 (paper-based) or 100 (Internet- based) will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test (The Michigan Test) . If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the Michigan Test of English Proficiency, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.
Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students must receive a score of Band 6.5. Students who do not achieve a score of Band 7.0 or better will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the Michigan Test of English Proficiency, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.
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:
- Twenty-two credits of required courses.
- Three credits selected from the management/policy group.
- Twelve credits of elective course work.
Each student is assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission
to graduate study. These assignments are made primarily on the
basis of the student’s background and interests as shown
in the application. The student may at any time elect to change
advisors—any such change requires the consent of the new
advisor and must be reported to the Program Chair.
In consultation with the advisor, the student must complete a
Plan of Study at the time of registration. The Plan of Study
forms are available here. A Plan of Studies is a series
of courses designed to meet the minimum exit competencies judged
by the faculty to be necessary for employment as an information
professional. All Plans of Study must have the approval of the
advisor and will be used to ensure that the student has met all
requirements for graduation.
Statute of Limitations
The Master’s Degree 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. The faculty, in response to a student petition, may
approve exceptions to the four-year limit if extenuating circumstances
Registration and Residence Requirements
To maintain active student status, students must register for
at least 1 credit 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.
Certificate of Advanced StudyTelecommunications and Networking
Students who have graduated from a master's program
may pursue a certificate in Telecommunications.
In consultation with an advisor, students project a Plan of Studies
to meet their specific interests or needs, and these plans may
change as the program proceeds. Students may select graduate-level
courses in other departments within the University as well as at
Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education-cooperating institutions.
Admission to all courses is contingent upon meeting course prerequisites
and is subject to the advisor's approval.
Candidates for the Telecommunications certificate must complete the
- A total of 24 credits in graduate-level courses acceptable to
the advisor and passed with a grade point average of at least
B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale)
- Fifteen of the 24 credits must be taken from among
the approved courses for the MST degree program.
Course work must be completed within a period of four calendar
years from the student's initial registration in the certificate
Program details are available at: www.ischool.pitt.edu/tele/degree/cas.php
The PhD in Information Science with a Focus in Telecommunications
The Doctor of Philosophy degree program provides research-oriented
graduate study and professional specialization in telecommunications. The candidate must give evidence of superior scholarship,
mastery of a specialized field of knowledge, and demonstration
of ability to do significant and relevant research. Students interested
in the PhD degree should consult the Web site, www.ischool.pitt.edu/tele/degrees/phd.php.
Students seeking admission to the PhD program with a focus
in Telecommunications must:
- Hold a master’s degree from an accredited university,
a recognized international program, or the equivalent.
- Have maintained in graduate work of a minimum grade point average of 3.3 (on a scale with A having a value of 4 points
per credit). An international student’s grade point average
will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities
that use a different scale.
- Submit scores from a predictor test (if not taken previously) such as the Graduate Record
Examination (GRE) or equivalent examination. Scores on all three
sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the GRE must
- Provide evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work,
in an essay (not exceeding 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.
- Provide at least three references from persons in the profession and academic communities.
- Have successfully completed:
- Two different scientific computer programming language classes
- Coursework in probability and statistics
- Differential and integral calculus classes
PhD Degree Requirements
The Telecommunications PhD program requires a minimum of 72
credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree. 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
- twelve credits of required courses
- twelve credits of doctoral seminars
- Six credits of minor courses
- At least 18 credits of dissertation research and writing
Forty-eight of the 72 credits must be advanced coursework beyond
the MST degree (or its equivalent).
Graduation depends upon meeting the minimum credit requirements
and all other requirements. Graduate degrees are conferred only
on those students who have completed all courses required for the
degree with at least a 3.3 GPA. Grades of C or lower are unacceptable
for graduation credit.
All students who are candidates for doctoral degrees are governed
by the regulations of the University Council on Graduate Study,
which establishes minimum standards for graduate work throughout
the University as well as by those regulations established by the iSchool faculty.
Full-time study on campus is considered most beneficial to students, but it is recognized that students may have off-campus responsibilities as well. The PhD degree, therefore, can be completed by a combination of full-time and part-time study. Three terms of full-time study are required, two of which must be consecutive and must be taken after successful completion of the preliminary ex a mini at ion. Full-time study is defined as nine or more graduate credits per term.
Preliminary Examination Requirement
The preliminary examination, according to Regulations Governing
Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh, is held:
...to assess the breadth of the student’s
knowledge of the discipline, the student’s achievement
during the first year of graduate study, and the potential to
apply research methods independently.... The evaluation is
used to identify those students who may be expected to complete
a doctoral program successfully and also to reveal areas of weakness
in the student’s preparation.
The Telecommunications and Networking faculty has clarified further that the overall objectives of the
preliminary examination are:
- To test the PhD students for breadth of knowledge
- To evaluate their skills, and their ability to apply them
- To evaluate their ability to do research, and
The prelim will consist of undertaking a research project, submitting a research paper, and an oral presentation and defense. For more details, see http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/tele/documents/PhD_description.pdf.
With the successful completion of the preliminary examination,
the student is fully admitted to doctoral study in telecommunications.
The Program Chair will notify the
student, in writing, of admission to doctoral study. After admission,
the student must complete the remaining coursework including doctoral
level seminars; probability and statistics, research design, and information
science course requirements; and the residency requirement.
The student must satisfactorily pass a comprehensive examination
designed to assess mastery of the general field of telecommunications,
acquisition of both depth and breadth in the area of specialization
within the field, and ability to use the research methods of the
discipline. The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to
assess the student’s ability to understand a sub-area of
telecommunications in depth. In order to do research, a student
must be able to read, understand, present, and criticize research
papers in the field. It is also important that the student be able
to explain such papers in depth to someone who is unfamiliar with that area.
Thus, this examination centers on the development of a tutorial
as well as a lecture in which the student must explain the subject
to the satisfaction of the faculty. From
a learning perspective, this provides the student with an experience
of structuring and explaining a technical topic in detail. It is
expected that a student has completed the minimum 30 credits of
coursework before taking the comprehensive exam.
Candidacy and Dissertation Requirements
Doctoral students are required to take a minimum of 18 dissertation credits as part of their study. After successfully completing the comprehensive examination, the
student will select a dissertation advisor and a committee. Then,
the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor, must
prepare a dissertation proposal which is then presented to the
committee in a public session. The dissertation committee must
unanimously approve the dissertation topic and research plan before
the student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.
When the proposal has been successfully defended, the chair of
the student’s dissertation committee shall notify the Chair
of the PhD Committee, the Telecommunications
Program Chair, and the Dean of the School of Information Sciences that the student has achieved
Statute of Limitations
All requirements for the PhD degree must be completed in not more than six calendar years from the time of first registration. Students may, in extenuating circumstances, submit a formal request for extension of their statute of limitations or for a leave of absence from the program.
All PhD students are mandatorily required to submit an article
of publishable quality to a journal before the degree is awarded.