Telecommunications professionals work across industries and sectors; they can be found working in Hollywood, on Wall Street, and even in the government. They may be engaged in cybersecurity or integral in building isolated networks. They even work for the world’s biggest technology companies, ensuring that the networks are always running smoothly.
While they may have different positions in different industries, all professionals have one thing in common: they cannot afford to take time off from their current career to earn a traditional on-campus degree. They need a degree that can fit around their schedule, one that will enable them to work while earning an advanced degree. In this ranking, we identify the top 10 accelerated online master of telecommunications programs.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Time to Completion
- Less Than 2 Years: 1 point
- 20 Months or Less: 2 points
- 18 Months or Less: 3 points
- 16 Months or Less: 4 points
- 14 Months or Less: 5 points
- 12 Months or Less: 6 points
- Less Than $20,000: 1 point
- Less Than $15,000: 2 points
- Less Than $10,000: 3 points
- Less Than $5,000: 4 points
Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item
Presence of an Online Student Support Network– 1 point
Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Telecommunications Programs
Our editors first identified an initial pool of 17 online master’s in telecommunications degree programs currently available to develop this ranking. We then applied a tuition and completion time filter, narrowing that pool to only those programs with expenses of less than $20,000 per year and completion times of two years or less. Finally, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and each program’s website. In the case of a tie, the more affordable school is listed higher in the ranking.
#10—Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Online MS in Information Technology: Network Management
Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years
The accelerated online master of telecommunications program from Colorado Technical University is a comprehensive Master of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Network Management. The 48-credit hour curriculum for the program can be completed entirely online and features core IT classes such as:
- Networking and Telecommunications
- Empire Systems Architecture
- Computer Systems Security Foundations
Students will also take classes in the Network Management concentration, including:
- Network Administration
- IT Governance and Risk Management
- Empire Network Architecture
An Information Technology capstone is also required for successful program completion. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Colorado Tech to award the online accelerated master of telecommunications degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s online master’s in computer information technology programs among the top 50 nationwide.
Graduate Tuition: $13,710
#9—George Mason University
Online MS in Telecommunications
Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years
The accelerated online master’s degree in telecommunications from George Mason University is offered through the Volgenau School of Engineering. Technically a hybrid offering, this MS option requires minimal campus visits during the evenings. The curriculum for the program is versatile and features two distinct specializations:
- Advanced Networking Protocols for Telecommunications
- Wireless Communications
Regardless of concentration, enrolled students will take three core courses:
- Modern Telecommunications
- The TCP/IP Suite of Internet Protocols
- Systems Engineering for Telecommunications Management
Graduate certificate options are also available. GMU is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this affordable accelerated master’s in telecommunications online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s online master’s programs in engineering and IT among some of the nation’s best.
Graduate Tuition: $12,144
#8—Oklahoma State University
Online MS in Information Assurance (MSIA)
Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years
Offered through the distinguished Spears School of Business, the accelerated online master’s in telecommunications program from Oklahoma State University is one of the most affordable options in our ranking. The robust curriculum for the MS in Information Assurance program requires a minimum of 32 credit hours of coursework and covers topics such as:
- Legal issues in information assurance
- Risk management
- Offensive and defensive practices
Oklahoma State is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award the affordable accelerated master of telecommunications online. The university has also been recognized as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business separately accredits the MSIA program.
Graduate Tuition: $5,531
#7—East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Online MS in Network Technology
Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years
The accelerated affordable master of telecommunications online offering from East Carolina University is a versatile MS in Network Technology. Offered through the school’s College of Engineering & Technology and the Department of Technology Systems, the program features four concentration options:
- Computer Networking Management
- Information Security
- Web Technologies
- Digital Communications Technology
Core classes comprising the curriculum for the program include:
- Research Methods in Technology
- Statistical Methods in Technology Management
- Information Security Management
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited ECU to award the online accelerated telecommunications master’s credential. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the country’s top national universities.
Graduate Tuition: $4,749
#6—Fort Hays State University
Online MPS in Computer Networking and Telecommunications
Minimum Time to Completion: 2 Years
The accelerated telecommunications master’s online program from Fort Hays State University is a Master of Professional Science option in Computer Networking and Telecommunications. The program can be completed entirely online or via a blended learning format. Once enrolled, students will take core and major courses such as:
- Advanced Routing
- Research Methods in Informatics
- Advanced LAN Switching
- Seminar in Informatics: Internetwork Troubleshooting
Elective classes are also available and include options like:
- Modern Telephony
- Wireless and Cellular Systems
- Management of Information Security
A capstone course in informatics is also required prior to graduation. Fort Hays State holds the institutional accreditation to confer this online master’s in telecommunications from The Higher Learning Commission. The school has been ranked among the country’s top regional universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition: $3,582
#5—SUNY Polytechnic University
Utica, New York
Online MS in Cybersecurity: Network and Computer Security
Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months
SUNY Polytechnic University’s online accelerated master’s in telecommunications option is an 18-month MS in Cybersecurity with a specialization in Network and Computer Security. The 33-credit hour curriculum for the program includes core courses such as:
- Data Communications
- Information Assurance Fundamentals
- Secure Protocols
Enrolled students will also choose between nine and twelve credit hours of elective classes, including:
- Network Intrusion Prevention and Detection
- Wireless and Mobile Networks
- Internet of Things Security
A research project or thesis is also required before graduation. SUNY Polytechnic is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to confer the master’s in telecommunications online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 15 regional universities in the North.
Graduate Tuition: $11,310
#4—Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Online MS in Information Technology: Networking
Minimum Time to Completion:15 months
Offered through the Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech’s accelerated telecommunications master’s online program can be completed in just 15 months of full-time study. This MS in Information Technology with a specialization in Networking is comprised of 33 credit hours of coursework, including core IT courses such as:
- Information Systems Design & Database Concepts
- Fundamentals of Computer Systems
- Strategic Leadership in Technology-Based Organizations
Students enrolled in the Networking concentration will also take two courses in Networks and Protocols. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Virginia Tech to confer the accelerated master’s in telecommunications online credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s online graduate programs in computer information technology among the top five nationwide.
Graduate Tuition: $13,701
Online MS in Networking and Telecommunications
Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months
The affordable accelerated master of telecommunications online option from Stratford University is made available through the university’s School of Computer Science and Information Technology. The program is designed to be completed within just 15 months and features core courses such as:
- Wireless Communications
- Routing and Switching
- Network Security
- Project Management
Elective options are abundant and include:
- Cloud Computing
- Wireless and Fixed Hybrid Networks
- Fiber Optic Communications
- Internet Protocols
A capstone course in Software Engineering is also required for successful program completion. In addition, an optional cooperative education experience is available for interested students. Stratford University holds institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
Graduate Tuition: $13,368
Online MS in Information Technology: Network Design and Security
Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months
The accelerated online master of telecommunications option from Liberty University is an MS in Information Technology program with an emphasis in Network Design and Security. The program is convenient, enabling students to complete their studies within just 18 months of study. Once enrolled, students will fulfill 36 credit hours of coursework, including core IT classes such as:
- Information Technology Infrastructure
- Database Design & Development
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- Computer Networks
Students will also take courses in the Network Design and Security Cognate, including:
- Applied Network Security
- Network Architecture and Design
- Telecommunications and Network Security
An integrated capstone course is also required before graduation. Liberty University holds its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school has been recognized as a leading national university by U.S. News & World Report.
Graduate Tuition: $7,980
#1—Florida International University
Online MS in Computer Engineering: Network Security
Minimum Time to Completion: 10 Months
One of the most accelerated online master’s in telecommunications programs available, the online MS in Computer Engineering with a concentration in Network Security from Florida International University can be completed in just 10 months. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses such as:
- Random Signal Principles
- Advanced Malware Reverse Engineering
- Network Security
- Advanced Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures
Coursework for the program can be completed entirely online. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has extended accreditation to FIU to award the accelerated master’s telecommunication online degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s graduate computer science programs among some of the nation’s best.
Graduate Tuition: $8,912
About the Field of Telecommunications
Telecommunications is a specific field of study that deals with the technology of communications. Since communication methods are continually advancing, those who choose to study telecommunications must continually update their skills and technical knowledge in the industry. These students often pursue careers with cellular, Internet, and cable providers as systems engineers, telecommunications consultants, network analysts, and network architects.
About Master’s Degree Programs in Telecommunications
Master’s degree programs in telecommunications allow students to hone their skills and even specialize in a sub-field of telecommunications such as network security, telecommunications management, or systems engineering. These advanced study programs typically require a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and take approximately two years to complete. Master’s in telecommunications programs are available to students who hold a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications or a related field and who desire to continue their studies and advance their career opportunities in the industry.
About Accelerated Online Master of Telecommunications Programs
Nontraditional students, such as those with full-time jobs or family responsibilities, may benefit from an accelerated online master of telecommunications program. These flexible distance education options enable working professionals and busy adults to pursue an advanced credential in the industry at their own pace and at times that accommodate their hectic schedules. Accelerated master’s in telecommunications online degree plans provide a way for students to fulfill coursework from the convenience of their home and meet all degree requirements in two years or less.
Types of Online Accelerated Master’s in Telecommunications Degree Options
Accelerated online telecommunications master’s degree programs share some things in common: a condensed curriculum and an online delivery method. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all of these graduate programs are the same, though. Below, we will discuss some key differences among these educational offerings.
Hybrid Versus Fully Online Master of Telecommunications Programs
The majority of programs labeled as online master’s in telecommunications are, in fact, fully online programs. A few are actually hybrid offerings, however. These types of programs blend distance education instruction with traditional class meetings on campus. Hybrid programs are less convenient but allow students to experience interactive and personalized program features not available in 100% online programs.
Part-Time Versus Full-Time Online Telecommunications Master’s Degrees
When considering an online master of telecommunications program, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to study on a part-time or full-time basis. Some colleges and universities offer one or the other option for their online students while others offer both. When making your decision, keep in mind that part-time options may require less of your time in the short-term, but it may take longer to fulfill all degree requirements. You’ll have to work harder to succeed in a full-time online telecommunications master’s program, but you’ll earn your credential sooner.
Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Online Master’s in Telecommunications Degree Programs
Another way that online telecommunications master’s programs differ is in their content delivery methods. Some programs rely on synchronous content delivery, meaning instruction occurs in real-time. Programmatic features for these types of degree plans include live-streamed lectures and interactive online discussions on platforms like Zoom. Conversely, asynchronous online master of telecommunications programs feature pre-recorded lectures and discussion forums that can be accessed at the students’ convenience. What these programs lack in interactivity, they make up for in heightened flexibility.
Admissions Requirements for Accelerated Master’s Telecommunications Online Programs
Like any graduate degree program, there are certain requirements you’ll need to meet to be admitted to an accelerated master’s in telecommunications online program. At a minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field. Some colleges and universities admit students with non-related undergraduate degrees but require them to take additional prerequisite courses that lengthen their degree completion times. Other admissions criteria may include:
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Professional resume
- Letters of recommendation
- Essays/Statements of Purpose
- GRE scores
These are just general guidelines as admissions criteria will vary depending on the school you attend. For specific information about a particular online master’s in telecommunications program, it’s best to speak to the school’s admissions counselor or visit the program’s website.
Curriculum for Online Accelerated Telecommunications Master’s Degrees
Just as admissions criteria may vary from school to school, the curriculum details for accelerated online telecommunications master’s degree programs will also differ depending on the specific program you choose. Even so, most of these degree plans follow a similar structure in that they consist of three distinct elements:
- Core Telecommunications Courses
- Elective or Specialization Classes
- Culminating Element
We’ll address these elements separately and give examples to illustrate each.
Core Telecommunications Courses
Core telecommunications courses represent a significant component of any accelerated online telecommunications master’s program. These classes are required for the degree and address fundamental topics in the field of telecommunications. To give you an idea of the breadth and scope of core telecommunications courses, we’ve provided some sample course titles taken from actual programs:
- Data Networking
- Technology Project Management
- Systems Analysis, Modeling, and Design
- Software Development
- Computer Communications Network
- Engineering Design of Microprocessor Based Operating System
- Virtual Systems
These are examples provided for the sake of reference. Actual core courses will vary by school and program.
Another significant component of an accelerated telecommunications master’s online program is elective and specialization classes. Elective classes are courses not required for the degree or any specific concentration but chosen based on the student’s individual interests or career goals. Specialization classes are similar to elective courses but are chosen specifically to fulfill a pre-defined specialization or area of emphasis. Some sample specialization/elective classes are listed below for illustration:
- Current Topics in Software Engineering
- Distributed Computing Systems
- Advanced Network Protocols and Standards
- VoIP and Multimedia Security
- Machine Learning With Big Data
- Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things
Like core courses, elective and specialization classes will vary depending on the college or university you attend for your online accelerated master’s in telecommunications degree.
The vast majority of accelerated online telecommunications master’s programs will require students to complete some type of culminating element toward the end of their degree plan. Sometimes called capstones, these program elements encourage students to synthesize and apply their learning. Culminating elements can take different forms, depending on the program. Examples include:
- Scholarly research project
- Capstone course
- Comprehensive Exam
Popular Concentrations for Online Accelerated Master’s in Telecommunications Degrees
Some accelerated online master of telecommunications programs include optional concentrations. These custom tracks enable students to specialize their studies in a specific telecommunications niche. Below, we briefly discuss some of the common concentration options students find within these programs.
Students interested in the cybersecurity side of telecommunications may consider an accelerated online telecommunications master’s degree program with a concentration in Information Security. Students enrolled in a program of this kind may take specialization courses such as:
- Advanced Network Security
- Network Intrusion Detection and Incident Response
- System Integrity for Information Technology
Digital Communications Technology
Telecommunications professionals interested in wireless technology may consider an accelerated master of telecommunications online program with a concentration in Digital Communications Technology. Course titles that may comprise a specialization of this kind could include:
- Advanced Networking Technology
- Communication Technology
- Communications Strategies for Industry
Systems Engineering of Telecommunications
An online master of telecommunications degree plan with a concentration in Systems Engineering of Telecommunications addresses the actual design and construction of telecommunications systems. Course titles comprising such a specialization may include:
- Decision Support Systems Engineering
- Security, Privacy, and Applied Cryptography for Telecommunications
- Total Systems Engineering, Reengineering, and Enterprise Integration
Frequently-Asked Questions About Accelerated Online Telecommunications Master’s Degree Programs
Individuals considering an accelerated online master’s in telecommunications program often have numerous questions. Below, we’ve addressed some of the most common questions we receive about programs of this kind. When reading through the answers, our editors have provided below, keep in mind that the information is general in nature and not meant to replace advice from an admissions counselor or other college or university representative.
Q: How much does an accelerated online master of telecommunications program cost?
A: Tuition varies significantly from one school to the next. Our research discovered online telecommunications master’s programs ranging in cost from less than $4,000 a year to over $50,000 annually.
Q: How long does it take to complete an accelerated master’s in telecommunications online?
A: Completion times vary. The online accelerated telecommunications master’s programs in our ranking range in length from 10 months to 2 years.
Q: Can I enroll in an online master’s in telecommunications program on a part-time basis?
A: Yes. Not all accelerated master of telecommunications online programs offer part-time tracks, but some of them do. Keep in mind that the most accelerated online degree programs are usually full-time options.
Q: What is the best online accelerated telecommunications master’s degree program?
A: There is no single best accelerated master of telecommunications online program. To find the best fit for you, it’s important to consider factors like a program’s cost, accreditation, curriculum, and scheduling options.
Career Questions for Online Accelerated Telecommunications Master’s Degrees
Q: What can I do with an online master of telecommunications credential?
A: Upon graduation from a telecommunications master’s online program, you will have numerous opportunities to advance in your current role or take on a new position in the industry. Some possible job titles include:
- Computer Software Engineer
- Telecommunications Systems Manager
- Telecommunications Engineer
- Penetration Tester
Q: How much will I earn with an online telecommunications master’s degree?
A: Your exact salary will vary based on your terms of employment. However, PayScale reports the average salary for professionals with a Master of Science in Telecommunications to be just under $90,000 per year.
Q: What professional organizations can I join with an online master of telecommunications?
A: Joining a professional organization in telecommunications can grant you access to networking and professional development opportunities in the industry. Some popular options include:
- Network and Systems Professionals Organization
- Telecommunications Industry Association
- Building Industry Consulting Service International
- National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians
- American Mobile Telecommunications Association