You are pursuing a career in telecommunications, and now your big challenge is mapping out a professional direction. The Telecommunication Systems Management program can help you meet the challenge. The program is designed to help current and future telecom and networking professionals enhance their skills and credentials, deepen their telecommunications knowledge base, and/or extend their professional expertise to business management or marketing. One of only a very few programs nationwide to take a truly multidisciplinary approach to telecommunications and networking, this program combines resources from graduate programs in the College of Engineering, Computer and Information Science, and Business Administration. For students in the early stages of their telecom and networking career, Northeastern University’s renowned graduate co-op program allows students to work for six to eight months in the telecom industry as part of their program of study.

The Master of Science in Telecommunication Systems Management degree is designed for professionals currently in the dynamic, exciting and thriving telecommunications industry who either wish to enhance their technical skills and credentials or who wish to make a transition to the business side of telecommunications. We also welcome applications from highly qualified prospective students with limited or no industry experience. This multi-disciplinary program, which may be pursued on a full- or part-time basis, gives students the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to their specific interests, backgrounds, and career goals.

The MS in Telecommunication Systems Management can be combined with a Gordon Engineering Leadership certificate. Learn more about the benefits of this unique program.

The minimum semester hours required by students to complete this degree are listed below. Typically full-time students are able to complete these requirements in about two years, however it might take longer if the student participates in co-op.

Degree RequirementsCourse-Only
Required core courses16 SH16 SH
Approved business and technical
elective courses
14 SH0 SH
Leadership coursesN/A16 SH
Minimum semester hours required30 SH30 SH
Learning Outcomes

The M.S. programs' student learning outcome is

  • The ability to use basic engineering concepts flexibly in a variety of contexts.

Program Director

Student Success Stories

Experiential & Cooperative Education

Students have the opportunity to participate in the Cooperative Plan of Education (co-op), for which Northeastern University is nationally renowned.  Northeastern's co-op program, founded nearly a century ago and one of the largest and most innovative in the world, adds depth to classroom studies and provides exposure to career paths and employment opportunities.  Students should understand that there are eligibility requirements for co-op, that the co-op placement process is competitive, and that there are no guarantees that each student will be successful in getting a co-op position with industry.

Telecommunications and Boston

According to the Mass Technology Leadership Council, Massachusetts companies excel in five areas of telecommunications: wireless, broadband, voice-over-Internet, security and distributed computing.

By being located in Boston, a city renowned for innovation in technology, Northeastern students have access to both large and small telecommunications companies located in the Boston metropolitan area directly related to their program of study.

Industrial Advisory Board

The Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) for the TSM program provides guidance and strategic direction to the program.  Board members assist with curriculum development and cooperative efforts with industry, and help ensure that the program remains relevant to industry’s needs.   The IAB meets at least once per year.

Current members of the Industrial Advisory Board include:

  • Steven Blumenthal, CTO, Bridgeport Networks
  • Deepak Chakravadhanula, Systems Engineer, Acme Packet
  • Ofer Gneezy, CEO,  iBasis
  • Dr. David Morgan, VP, Fidelity Investments
  • Gregory Najjar, Director, Sprint
  • Dr. David Oran, Fellow, Cisco Systems
  • Bill Stinson, Senior VP, Verizon

Program FAQs

General questions for prospective applicants

  1. Can I just take one or two TSM courses without having to apply for a degree?
    Yes, you may apply as a Special or Non-Degree student. However, you still need to submit transcripts and recommendations. This option is only available to part-time students, and is not available to international applicants. The maximum number of courses that a Special student can take is three (3). To take any more courses, a student will need to apply to join a formal degree program.
  2. What are the research opportunities on the TSM program?
    The TSM program is a professional master's program, ie, a program focused on industry, not a research program. Students who wish to do academic research should apply instead to a research master's degree program at Northeastern with, for example, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering or the College of Computer and Information Science
  3. Is it possible to get fellowships or scholarships?
    No fellowships are specifically available for this program. Most fellowship programs administered by the University are open only to United States citizens or permanent residents. There are no scholarships available to students on MS programs like the telecom program. However, many students go on an industry co-op which may help to defray the cost of tuition.
  4. Does the TSM program provide RA/TA positions?
    SGAs (Stipended Graduate Assistantships), in the form of either Teaching Assistantships (TAs) or Research Assistantships (RAs), are not available to students on the Telecommunication Systems Management program nor to any master's students at Northeastern.
    Students may be employed as graders or lab assistants on telecommunications courses, usually on a semester basis. In general, students need to have completed at least one semester of study before becoming eligible for such a position. To be qualified for a grader or lab assistant position in a TSM course, a student will need to have demonstrated prior knowledge of the course material and to have a high overall GPA. With these positions, students may be expected to provide five to 20 hours of support during each week of the semester. There is no tuition remission associated with these positions.
    Also, as mentioned above, many students go on an industry co-op which may help to defray the cost of tuition.
  5. What would be the job profile of a typical graduate of the TSM program?
    Graduates of the TSM program have been very successful in finding positions in the telecom industry. Because the TSM program is truly interdisciplinary, the job profile depends on a student's area of specialization and prior work experience. However, most TSM graduates join the telecommunications workforce through technology positions. Furthermore, our alumni have been active in letting us know of job opportunities for our current crop of TSM graduates.
  6. Can you identify some companies that have hired recent graduates of the program?
    Large companies who have recently hired our graduates include Oracle (AcmePacket), Cisco, Verizon, Ericsson, Akamai, Alcatel-Lucent, Sprint, Juniper and EMC. Many of our graduates have also accepted positions with much smaller companies.
  7. How long has the TSM program been in existence and how many students are currently in the program?
    The TSM program started in the fall of 2002 with just four students, and our first graduates entered the workforce in May 2004. We now have over 200 students active in the program.
  8. What other activities are TSM students involved in?
    A number of TSM students also participate in activities of the NU student branch of the IEEE and Graduate Engineering Bridges (GEB). Many TSM students have taken advantage of free passes to industry conferences held in the Boston area and have attended technical presentations at other local universities such as MIT


  1. What are the admission requirements for the program?
    Admission to all graduate programs in the College of Engineering is highly competitive. A completed application will include a complete transcript of your educational background (universities only), at least two letters of recommendation, a brief resume or CV, and a statement of purpose along with GRE and TOEFL scores.
  2. Is the TOEFL required?
    Yes, the TOEFL is required for all applicants except those who have received their BS or MS degree from a university in an English speaking department; applicants who received a joint degree from a university in an English speaking country and one in a non-English speaking country will need to submit a TOELF score. Although the TOEFL is the preferred test of English proficiency, we will also accept an IELTS score as a substitute. For applicants to this program, a TOEFL score of at least 90 (or IELTS of 7.0) is desirable, although we will consider all applicants who meet the minimum requirement of the Graduate School of Engineering.
  3. Is the GRE required?
    Yes, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all applicants who have not received or will not receive a bachelor’s degree in an ABET accredited engineering program from a college or university that is located within the U.S. The quantitative part of this score is the most important for application to the TSM program. For applicants to this program, a GRE-quantitative score of at least 155/700 is desirable although we will consider applicants who have at least a GRE-quantitative score of 151/650. We accept both versions (old and new) of the GRE. We also accept GMAT scores as substitutes for GRE scores.
  4. I have taken the GRE/TOEFL tests more than once. Which scores will you use in considering my application?
    We consider your best score for admission purposes.
  5. Is prior experience in the telecommunication and networking industry required for admission?
    No, prior experience is not mandatory. However, relevant experience with a telecom operator or supplier is highly desirable and may contribute to a favorable admission decision.
  6. What are the major factors considered in making an admission decision?
    The primary factor considered is the quality of the applicant’s undergraduate degree program, especially grades earned in relevant courses and overall grade as a percentage or as a GPA. (On the application, please submit the overall average grade as provided by your university, ie, do not convert your grade to an American-style GPA.) GRE-quantitative and TOEFL scores are also major contributing factors to admission decisions, as well as any prior experience in the telecommunication and networking industry. We also review letters of recommendation, the resume/C.V. and the statement of purpose as part of the review process.