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Networking and System Administration MS

Program overview

Trends in network communications–unifying wired and wireless infrastructures, Cloud computing, scalability, collaboration tools, and security–can only be coalesced into reliable communication services if there are highly educated and technically proficient networking and system administration professionals who understand both traditional and emerging communication technologies as well as how to apply these technologies to organizational needs and opportunities.

The explosion in ubiquitous computing today means an increased need for greater efficiency and for better management oversight in the provision of IT services. Network environments are not only becoming increasingly complex, there is a greater recognition of the power of information technology to be a strategic enabler of corporate growth and adaptation.

The master of science program in networking and system administration is designed to provide both the knowledge and the technical skills needed to successfully compete in this environment. It is uniquely focused to address current issues in networking and systems administration through investigation of both the theoretical and the practical aspects of this continually evolving field. Course work examines the organizational and technological issues involved in enterprise scale networking, including emerging network technologies, network processing, high performance computing, network programming, and security.

The program is intended to prepare graduates to assume leadership positions in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations dealing with evolving networking solutions or to continue their education through advanced degrees. It is available for full- and part-time study in both an online format as well as a traditional on-campus setting.


The program consists of two required core courses, a three-course knowledge domain sequence, up to four technical electives (depending upon the capstone option chosen), and a capstone thesis or project.

Knowledge domains

Students are required to complete a three-course sequence in one of the following knowledge domains. 

ACCT-703 Accounting for Decision Makers
DEC-744 Project Management
MGMT-740 Organizational Behavior and Leadership
NSSA-620 Emerging Computing and Networking Technologies
NSSA-621 Design and Deployment of Wireless Networks
NSSA-622 Carrier Networks
NSSA-610 Advanced Wired Networking Concepts
NSSA-611 Advanced Topics in Wireless Networks and Technologies
NSSA-612 Network Modeling and Analysis


Students are required to choose up to four electives from the following choices.

NSSA-710 Network Management
NSSA-711 Advanced Routing Protocols
NSSA-712 Advanced Storeage Technologies
NSSA-713 Enterprise Service Provisioning
NSSA-714 Advanced Large Scale Computing
NSSA-715 Network Design and Performance
NSSA-716 Enterprise Mobile Computing

Networking and system administration (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
NSSA-601 Research Methods and Proposal Development 3
NSSA-602 Enterprise Computing 3
  Knowledge Domain Courses 9
  Electives 6
NSSA-790 MS Thesis 3
Second Year
  Elective 3
NSSA-790 MS Thesis 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Networking and system administration (project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
NSSA-601 Research Methods and Proposal Development 3
NSSA-602 Enterprise Computing 3
  Knowledge Domain Courses 9
  Electives 9
Second Year
  Elective 3
NSSA-791 MS Project 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in networking and system administration, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution,
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B)*,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Submit two professional recommendations, and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (Internet-based) are required. Applicants with a lower TOEFL score may be admitted conditionally, but will be required to complete a prescribed program in English preparation along with a reduced program course load. Applicants from foreign universities also must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Visa forms cannot be issued by RIT for part-time or distance education.

* The GRE is recommended for those applicant's whose undergraduate grade point average is less than 3.0.

Additional information

Bridge courses

Students must have solid backgrounds in computer programming (C++ required); networking and systems administration theory and practice; and statistics. Students whose undergraduate preparation or industrial experience does not satisfy these prerequisites can make up deficiencies through additional study. The graduate program director will make recommendations on prerequisite course work. Formal acceptance into the program may be possible even though the applicant must complete bridge courses.

Bridge courses are not part of the required curriculum for the master’s degree. Grades for these courses are only included in the student's GPA if courses are completed after matriculation. Bridge course work can be designed in a variety of ways. Other courses can be substituted, or courses at other colleges can be applied. Contact the graduate program director for more information.

Study options

This program may be completed on a full- or part-time basis, through on-campus instruction or via online learning. Full-time students may be able to complete the program in two years; part-time students may take approximately four years.

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

System Administrator, IT Technician, Network System Administrator, Network Technician, Desktop Support Specialist.

Recent Employers

5LINX Technologies, America Online, Anheuser-Busch, Inc, Atlantic Broadband, Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., LLC, Con Edison (Consolidated Edison, Inc.), Eastman Kodak, Enterasys, FBI, Fidelity Investments, GEICO, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., Global Crossing, Hurricane Technologies, IBM, Info Directions, Inc., Intel Corp, M&T Bank, National Security Agency, Nationwide Insurance, Network Performance, Northrop Grumman Corp., Oceana, One Communications, PAETEC Communications, Inc., Paychex, Railcomm, Progressive Insurance, RIT, Rochester City School District, SafeNet, Inc., SecureWorks, Single Digits, Sky-Scan, SunGard higher Education, Susquehanna International Group, Inc., Symantec, The Reader’s Digest Association., Inc., The Travelers Companies, The United Illuminating Company, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner Cable, Tyco Electronics, US Army CERDEC HQ, US Air Force research

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