The MS in telecommunications program combines engineering-oriented courses in wireless and fiber communications systems, networks, computers, and Internet protocols, and courses on telecommunications policy, legal, business, and international aspects. This interdisciplinary program is designed for students who wish to enter the field of telecommunications or are working in the field and want to advance their professional knowledge. It concentrates on practical applications, engineering and IT, in combination with business and policy. The blend of in-depth knowledge of specific elements of telecommunications technology, combined with knowledge of broader issues in telecommunications, is increasingly beneficial for those intending to work in a management or decision-making position within the telecommunications industry, telecommunications-related businesses, or government institutions dealing with telecommunications. Four certificate programs may be incorporated into and taken concurrently with, the MS in Telecommunications.
The innovative, interdisciplinary MS in Telecommunications Program provides a blend of cutting-edge engineering-oriented courses in wireless and fiber communications systems, networks, computers, and Internet protocols, combined with courses on telecommunications policy, legal, business, and international aspects. The interdisciplinary program is designed for students who wish to enter the field of telecommunications or are working in the field and want to advance their knowledge of telecommunications. It concentrates on practical applications of telecommunications rather than on a theoretical approach. It focuses on the engineering and IT aspects of telecommunications, in combination with the interdisciplinary knowledge offered by selected courses in telecommunications business and policy. More than 30 new engineering and IT courses have been designed especially for this program, including four certificate programs that may be incorporated into, and taken concurrently with, the MS in telecommunications.
A novelty of the program is its structure, which consists of four emphasis areas. This structure allows students to identify more clearly the various specialties in telecommunications technology. Students enjoy considerable flexibility because they are able to design their master’s programs to fit their technical preferences, including the option of taking courses in other programs at Mason. A majority of the course material comes from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the Systems Engineering and Operations Research (SEOR) Department. Courses offered by ECE focus on network technologies, such as fiber optics, and Internet protocols; network applications, such as networked multicomputer systems, client-server architectures, and network management; and wireless communications, such as digital communications, satellite communications, mobile communications, and GPS. Unique courses in the telecommunications program, such as Border Gateway Protocols, Interior Gateway Protocols, MPLS, GPS, and Advanced Link Design, complement courses given in ECE programs. In addition to the many new telecommunications courses developed for this program, ECE already offers a number of other graduate courses in communications as part of the graduate electrical engineering and computer engineering programs. Those courses may also be taken for credit under the MS in Telecommunications Program, provided students have the prerequisite background. Courses related to systems engineering, project management, and business of telecommunications (including the design and optimization of large, complex communication networks) are offered by SEOR. Both SEOR fields, systems engineering and operations research, play significant roles in all aspects of the design, operation, and business of telecommunications, and this knowledge is important for students of telecommunications. The blend of in-depth knowledge of specific elements of telecommunications technology, combined with knowledge of broader issues in telecommunications, is increasingly necessary for people who intend to work in a management or decision-making position within the telecommunications industry, telecommunications-related businesses, or government institutions dealing with telecommunications. The MS in telecommunications provides that blend.
An accelerated master’s option is available to students in the information technology, electrical engineering, individualized study, or systems engineering bachelor’s programs. See each listing for specific requirements.
The program consists of 9 credits of mandatory engineering and technology core courses (TCOM 500, TCOM 530 and TCOM 521); 6 credits of electives drawn from an interdisciplinary group of core courses (PUBP 726, TCOM 547, or TCOM 750), and a basic switching lecture and laboratory course (TCOM 514) or an Internet protocol routing lecture and laboratory course (TCOM 515); and four areas of emphasis. Students who enter the program with an undergraduate degree that shows evidence of successfully completing LAN and WAN technologies may substitute TCOM 535 for TCOM 530 in their mandatory core program, respectively.
Students must complete 30 credits of course work through a combination of core and emphasis courses. The core consists of 15 credits, with the remaining 15 credits earned in areas of emphasis. The emphases are sub-areas of telecommunications that provide necessary depth.
Students are usually expected to take courses from at least two emphasis areas. Up to 6 credits from the core program may be carried forward into the emphases, thus permitting up to 6 credits of electives to be taken inside or outside the prime emphasis area chosen by the student. TCOM 530 may be carried forward into emphasis area 1, 2, or 3; TCOM 521 may be carried forward into emphasis area 4. Double counting is not permitted, but the courses carried forward into a given emphasis may permit that area’s credit requirement to be satisfied, thus allowing elective courses to be taken outside that area. Usually, a minimum of 6 credits is needed to satisfy one emphasis area.
Courses are open to students who hold a BS or BA degree from an accredited college or university in engineering, math, science, computer science, business (with a quantitative background), economics, or other analytical disciplines, and students who have equivalent work experience indicating analytical aptitude. Depending on their background, some applicants may be required to complete 3 to 6 credits of preliminary course work before they are allowed to enroll in any of the core courses or emphasis courses in the program. Applicants who have not studied mathematics beyond the equivalent of algebra II/trigonometry at high school or introductory calculus classes (such as those offered in business or database management programs) will be required to take TCOM 575, the foundation course that prepares students for TCOM 500, prior to being allowed to take TCOM 500. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is usually required.
Students may be admitted to the MS program as degree-seeking students, or they may be admitted for nondegree study within the program, which allows them to take individual courses. Students in the nondegree program may apply to the degree program, provided their GPA within the MS in Telecommunications Program is 3.00 or above. Up to 12 credits earned in nondegree study may be transferred into the degree program, provided each of the courses to be transferred in was passed with a grade of B or above.
Applicable BS/Accelerated MS in Telecommunications Programs
These degree programs may be taken as part of an accelerated MS in Telecommunications Program with four undergraduate degree programs: BS in electrical engineering, systems engineering, information technology, and individualized studies. See respective undergraduate degree information for details.
- Systems Engineering, BS/Telecommunications, Accelerated MS
- Information Technology, BS/Telecommunications, Accelerated MS
- Individualized Study, BIS/Telecommunications, Accelerated MS
- Electrical Engineering, BS/Telecommunications, Accelerated MS
Four 15-credit certificates are offered by the MS in TCOM Program. Students may pursue these certificates as stand-alone programs or as part of their degree program. For the former, they are required to submit a graduate program application indicating their desire to enroll in the appropriate graduate certificate program. For the latter, because they are already enrolled in a degree program, they need only add the appropriate graduate certificate to their graduate program status at least one semester prior to the award of the certificate. The courses within the certificates are drawn directly from the MS in TCOM Program. If a student initially signs up for only a certificate program, it is possible to transfer into the degree program later, transferring up to 12 credits into the degree program. Students must therefore ensure they have transferred into the degree program prior to starting course work beyond 12 credits in the certificate program to ensure that all credits from the certificate program may transfer into the degree program. Students who transfer from a certificate program into the degree program may earn the certificate and the degree on satisfactory completion of the respective requirements. Applicable courses may count for the certificate and the degree programs.
Students may transfer in one 3-credit course from another program or institution toward their TCOM certificate, provided the course in question was passed with a B grade or higher. Students are permitted to carry one C grade within their certificate program, provided the overall GPA is 3.00 or above.
Degree Requirements - For a up-to-date information please see catalog.gmu.edu.
The master’s program in telecommunications concentrates on practical applications of telecommunications and focuses on its engineering and IT aspects. It blends engineering-oriented courses in wireless and fiber communications systems, networks, computers, and Internet protocols, with courses on telecommunications policy, and creates a practical multidisciplinary program that prepares students for the future.
Graduates of the program work in management or decision-making positions within the telecommunications industry, telecommunications-related businesses, or government institutions dealing with telecommunications.