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M.S. in Data Communications

Focuses on the planning, managing and securing of sophisticated networks of linked computers, both within organizations and across the Internet.

For industry professionals, recent computer science graduates, as well as newcomers to the industry.

Career options include:

  • Network Administrator
  • Network Analyst
  • Network Architect
  • Network Consultant
  • Network Engineer
  • Network Manager

Program Requirements


Core Courses
12 credits



Data Communications
Required Courses
12 credits



Data Communications
Elective Courses
9 credits



Total Courses
33 credits

M.S. in Data Communications Required Courses

MSIN 640

Data Communications

Introduces students to data communications and related terminology, including LAN/WAN network components and their corresponding functions. Students learn how data flows throughout a network and how "connections" and "communications" are achieved in various network configurations. Students also develop an in-depth understanding of the functionality of the Internet and gain knowledge of data communications networking technologies.
Prerequisite: Completion of required prerequisite courses (if applicable).
3 Credits

MSIN 641

Advanced Data Communications and Internet Technologies

This course covers critical design process issues, such as TCP/IP V4 subnetting and supernetting, VLSM and CIDR, ipv6 addressing, name resolution (DNS), security issues as related to TCP/IP communications (NAT and Firewalls), network management (SNMP), Directory Services Protocol (LDAP), Storage Area Networking (SAN), and cloud computing. The contents of the course are based on industry best practices, lessons learned, and practical knowledge obtained by the instructor and other subject matter experts. This course will complement the basic knowledge learned by students in some of these topics from earlier courses and prepares them for life as a networking IT Architect or IT Specialist following graduation.
Prerequisite: MSIN 640 & MSIN 647
3 Credits

MSIN 645

Network Security

Key aspects of information security, from the basics to advanced cryptography, authentication, secure Web and e-mail services, and emerging security standards. Students gain the knowledge and skills needed to design a secure network infrastructure. They also learn how to model threats and analyze security risks in order to meet business requirements for securing computers in a networked environment. The course develops decision-making skills through simulation of scenarios that may be encountered in real life; students learn how to collect information and sort through the details in order to resolve given security requirements.
Prerequisite: MSIN 647
3 Credits

MSIN 647

Computer Networking: Routing and Switching

Uses a structured approach to explain how networks work, including the physical layer of networking, computer hardware and transmission systems, network applications such as e-mail, the domain name system (DNS), the World-Wide Web, and various forms of multimedia. It also encompasses current network technologies including wireless networks, Bluetooth, video conferencing, streaming video, and Voice-over IP (VoIP).
Pre-or Corequisite: MSIN 640
3 Credits

Data Communications Elective Courses

MSIN 643

Advanced Topics in LAN

This course combines lectures with hands-on labs to expand students' knowledge of setting up enterprise networks, creating Windows Server based Active Directory forests, trees, and domains. The primary focus will be on Active Directory design and configuration, administrative tools, user and group administration, role of registry keys, backup and restore, environment variables, file access management, use of group policy as a configuration tool, and to distribute software, setup folder redirection, delegation and Microsoft Management Console, disk administration, distributed file system, printer configuration, application support, infrastructure components/setup and virtualization.
Prerequisite: MSIN 647
3 Credits

MSIN 644

Wireless Networks

Provides the background knowledge and practical skills needed to design, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot wireless local area networks (WLANs). Starting with an overview of the technology and architecture of WLANs, this course explains the services and advanced features that such networks can provide. Students receive practical design guidance and deployment recommendations, beginning with an overview of Ethernet technologies, 802.11 standards, and physical layer technologies, and how to address challenges and solutions associated with security, mobility, and Quality of Service (QoS). Radio frequency fundamentals and site-surveying methods are reviewed in detail. A series of case studies that highlight WLAN design considerations in various business environments help place all the concepts covered in the context of real-world applications.
Prerequisite: MSIN 640
3 Credits

MSIN 646

Network Architecture and Design

A historical perspective and structured approach to the design of networks in today's environments. The course presents both strengths and weaknesses of current technologies and discusses methods of using these elements to produce workable solutions for emerging communication needs. Beginning with how networks meet basic connectivity requirements, it expands to how networks interconnect and how they are optimized to satisfy the needs of applications layered upon them. Sample case studies may include current initiatives in VoIP and Video over IP. A special focus on Internet optimization lends relevance to these discussions with real-world engineering challenges.
Pre-or Corequisite: MSIN 647
3 Credits

MSIN 648

Virtualization Technologies

Virtualization course covers virtualization technology basics, which includes; choosing best hypervisor for implementation, setup, planning hardware and resource requirements, networking design, testing and development, server consolidation, basic iSCSI storage setup, failover and fault tolerance tests, VMware vMotion and vCenter, and Microsoft Application Virtualization with AppV 4.6, with the following virtualization platforms: Microsoft Hyper-VR2 and VMware ESX (i).
Prerequisite: MSIN 645
3 Credits

MSIN 652

Unix/Linux System Administration

This course provides students with knowledge of standard and advanced techniques needed to set up and maintain a UNIX/Linux environment. Focusing on aspects of configuring and managing an Internet-based server with the Linux operating system. Students learn Linux software configuration and installation, user management, security, and data integrity.
Prerequisite: MSIN 640
3 Credits

MSIN 655

Advanced Computer Networking: High Performance Networks

Performance concepts and issues regarding the TCP/IP protocol over wired, wireless, optical, and satellite networks. Concepts covered include TCP/IP network performance evaluation methods, network traffic management in routers and hosts, and implementations of the TCP/IP protocol stack in hardware and software.
Prerequisite: MSIN 647
3 Credits

MSIN 675

Professional Internship Experience

The student will work in a professional environment, for a minimum of 480 hours over a period of at least two semesters. Students may secure an internship independently or may work with the GST Department of Career Services. Weekly logs and examples of work are required for the successful completion of the internship, and are reviewed by the Faculty Internship Coordinator, upon completion of the internship. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with practical, hands-on experience in their chosen field of expertise to complement their coursework. The Internship must be approved in advance by the program chair.
Pre- or Corequisite: Permission of the Program Chair
3 Credits

Any Other Elective Approved by the Dean

M.S. in Data Communications Preparatory Courses

Students with insufficient background in computer science or information systems degree, will be required to complete some or all of these courses:

MSIN 411

Computer Concepts Tutorial

The IT Essentials (ITE) curriculum emphasizes practical experience to help students develop fundamental computer and career skills. ITE helps students prepare for entry-level career opportunities in ICT and the CompTIA A+ certification. The course also provides a learning pathway to Cisco CCNA.
1 Credit

GCO 202

Networking Essentials

Introduces networking concepts, principles and related terminology; presents real world examples of basic networks; describes network hardware, media, design, components and their corresponding functions; Introduces different network operating environments; and generates a basic understanding of how "connection" and "communication" are achieved in a network. Networking communications and protocols Architectures and Administration are also discussed. Some networking technology is discussed in a very fundamental manner. This will also be a major step in helping the student prepare Network+, MCTS, CCNA, and Security+.
3 Credits

GCO 354

Local Area Network Concepts and Software (LAN)

This course teaches students, through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, textbook exercises, and classroom labs, the skills and knowledge necessary to help prepare them to take the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Exam. It introduces the various tools for administering and configuring Windows 8 including the Microsoft Management Console, Task Scheduler, Control Panel, Device Manager, the registry editor, and a variety of wizards.
3 Credits

GCO 355

Advanced Local Area Network Architectures and Software

Introduces students to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 through lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and hands-on labs. Students will install Windows Server 2012, DHCP, DNS, and configure a secure Windows based LAN. It teaches students the skills and knowledge necessary to manage, maintain, and secure a network based on the Microsoft Windows Server 2012.
3 Credits

GCO 223

Wide Area Networks (WAN)

This is the first course of the curriculum designed to provide students with classroom and laboratory experience in current and emerging networking technology and teach the skills needed to become network technicians, computer technicians, and help desk technicians.

The course introduces the architecture, structure, functions, components, and models of the Internet and other computer networks. The principles and structure of IP addressing and the fundamentals of Ethernet concepts, media, and operations are introduced to provide a foundation for the CCNA curriculum.
3 Credits