Interdisciplinary Telecom

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Degrees Offered: 
Distance Education
Master of Science
Master of Engineering

What can you do with a degree from the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program?

The Interdisciplinary Telecom Program (ITP) includes the study of Internet, telecom, and energy communication networks. The program was specifically designed to provide a cross-disciplinary curriculum of electrical engineering, computer science, business, economics, policy, and law that prepares graduates to design, plan, analyze, and manage information networks and telecommunication systems.

Students can enter the program from a wide variety of technical, information technology, and liberal arts undergraduate studies.  After selecting and completing two areas of emphasis for their master’s program, such as wireless networks, network architecture, cyber security, smart grids, and regulatory policy, graduates will be able to apply their learning to careers at telecommunications, utilities, financial services, healthcare, e-commerce, and Internet-based organizations.

Why study at CU-Boulder?

As the oldest and one of the most prestigious graduate telecom programs in the nation, the ITP continuously enhances its curriculum to lead the way in communications and technology.  For more than 40 years, our cross-disciplinary focus has educated students from a variety of backgrounds such as engineering, business, economics, policy, and the legal professions who thrive on this intense and rapidly changing technology environment.

This is a field that is no longer a matter of technology alone; it has matured to link complicated technology, business, and management problems with legal, political, and regulatory challenges. It is essential that today's managers and future leaders understand both the technology and complex multidisciplinary environments that characterize the modern information network.

Through coursework, research, and laboratory studies, ITP students obtain an understanding of the latest thinking and best practices relating to networking, wireless systems, cyber security, 21st century telecom technology, as well as business and regulatory policy frameworks. A new digital energy lab is being launched to provide hands-on experience for students focusing on energy communications networks, integrating digital communications with our century-old electric power grid.

The Boulder-Denver area is home to a large number of high-tech companies dedicated to networking and the Internet, which offer internship opportunities for students.  Boulder also is one of the top cities in the country for start-ups, and the area hosts several national labs, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. government lab focused exclusively on energy which has a close affiliation with CU-Boulder. 

Research Opportunities

The PhD in telecom enables students to address the key challenges of our global society’s communications and networking infrastructure. For example, researchers at CU-Boulder are helping develop WiMAX, the next generation of the Internet — a more mobile version — and ITP is employing the new technology in a laboratory setting to allow students first-hand experience with this technology. For students interested in an energy focus, the Graduate Digital Energy Program represents ITP’s commitment to and expansion into the energy sector — leveraging the study of Internet technology, wireless, network design, security, and other areas to integrate two-way telecommunications technology into the electric power grid.

Where do CU graduates work?

ITP graduates receive job offers from a variety of start-ups as well as medium-sized and Fortune 1000 companies that rely on networks and the integration of two-way telecom technology into existing and newly created information infrastructures. Graduates of the program have received job offers from eBay, Yahoo, Facebook, Level 3 Communications, Intrado, Teletech, Qwest, and Comcast, among others. 

Job Outlook

Employment of computer network, systems, and database administrators is expected to grow much faster than average, with an increase of 30 percent by 2018. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Starting Salary

Starting annual salary will vary depending on the size of a company, location and the telecom graduate’s previous years of work experience. Median annual wages of network and computer systems administrators in the U.S. were $66,310 in 2008.

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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