May 24, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2017-2018 
Rensselaer Catalog 2017-2018 [Archived Catalog]

Information Technology M.S.

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Both a professional and research track are offered for the M.S. in IT degree.  

Students admitted to the M.S. in IT develop an approved Plan of Study. 

  • Ten courses (a minimum of 30 credits)
  • A minimum of six courses (18 credit hours or more) at the graduate level (6XXX-level courses)
  • Five core courses; one from each of the five core areas.  For the research track, replace the “Management of Technology” core course requirement with one of the two-semester ITWS 6990 Master’s Thesis or ITWS 6980 Master’s Project
  • A minimum of three courses (9 credit hours or more) in an approved Concentration
  • One elective approved by the adviser to add further depth to the degree
  • One of:  ITWS 6800 - Information Technology Master’s Capstone, ITWS 6990 - Master’s Thesis, or ITWS 6980 - Master’s Project

The Financial Engineering Concentration requires completion of an upper level finance course prior to enrollment.

The core and concentration courses are designed to accommodate a wide range of backgrounds. If students have previously completed the basic required Core course, they must then complete the next level required course to add depth in that core area. For example, if an equivalent course to Database Systems was completed in a prior degree, the Core area requirement could be satisfied by taking Database Mining. Students may request transfer credit only for the elective, subject to adviser approval. Additionally, no more than half of all credits used towards the M.S. in IT degree may be taken from courses offered by the Lally School of Management and Technology. These courses are coded MGMT.

The M.S. in IT Master’s Capstone course integrates the knowledge and professional practice of IT core and concentration courses. The Capstone utilizes an Information Technology Team Project with a real organization to practice the major concepts of the IT master’s degree. The Team Project involves strategic and business planning, systems development, and technology implementation. Expertise in database systems, data analytics, networking, software design, decision sciences, management of technology, human computer interaction, and ethics are applied within a framework of global e-business strategy.

Full-time students normally begin in the fall term and take four courses in the fall, four courses the following spring, participate in an internship/co-op over the summer and complete the final four courses in the fall. This option may allow a student to compelte two concentrations. Students also have the option to take five courses in the fall and five in the spring to complete the program in two semesters with one concentration. Part-time students typically complete the program in two and one-half years of continuous study.

Rensselaer currently offers numerous Ph.D. degrees with significant information technology and web science related research, e.g. computational chemistry and physics, science and technology studies, decision sciences, applied mathematics, and human-computer interaction, among many others. Students who are planning doctoral study may choose to apply simultaneously for admission to the Ph.D. in the relevant Rensselaer department and also for the M.S. in IT.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum
Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • demonstrate core knowledge in Database Systems, Data Analytics, Software Design and Engineering, Management of Technology and Human Computer Interaction.
  • demonstrate detailed knowledge in one or more ITWS concentration areas.
  • communicate effectively with colleagues, both technical and non-technical.
  • professionally execute IT projects or research (Professional Track).
  • demonstrate proficiency in research methods and analysis (Research Track).

M.S. in IT Core Requirements

To acquire a breadth of IT experience, master’s degree students take the five Core courses listed below. Alternate courses are also listed for those who have previously completed the required Core course. Also noted is the usual term in which the required Troy campus Core course is offered. Course offerings change frequently to keep pace with rapid advancement in IT; some courses are delivered in alternate years. Please see the Troy ITWS Web site for the most current information:

M.S. in IT Core Area

Database Systems

Data Analytics

Software Design and Engineering

Mangement of Technology

  • ITWS 6300 - Business Issues for Engineers and Scientists Credit Hours: 4 (undergraduate); 3 (graduate) (Professional track only)
  • ITWS 6990 - Master’s Thesis Credit Hours: 3 or ITWS 6980 - Master’s Project Credit Hours: 3 (Research track only)

Human Computer Interaction

M.S. in IT Advanced Core

Students who have already completed the core courses listed above select one of the advanced courses noted below.

Database Systems

Data Analytics

Sofware Design and Engineering

One of:

  • ITWS 6800 - Information Technology Master’s Capstone Credit Hours: 3 
  • ITWS 6980 - Master’s Project Credit Hours: 3
  • ITWS 6990 - Master’s Thesis Credit Hours: 3

Concentration Requirements

The ITWS faculty designed the concentrations to provide an in-depth, leading-edge experience in the application of information technology. Students often select areas that complement their prior backgrounds (e.g., students with strong computer backgrounds may select MIS or Information Systems Engineering). Alternately, some students select a Concentration related to their prior backgrounds and then expand on that background through higher-level course work. The course taken to complete a Core requirement does not count toward the Concentration.

Rensselaer’s course offerings are dynamic and new courses are developed each term, making course listings subject to change. Some courses are offered in alternate years.  For current status, please visit

Cognitive Computing

Select three of the following courses:

  • COGS-496X - The Linguistics of Computation Linguistics Credit Hours: 4
  • COGS-696X - Affective Computing Credit Hours: 3
  • COGS-696X - Computational Linguistics Credit Hours: 3
  • CSCI-696X - Natural Language Processing Credit Hours: 3
  • CSCI-696X - Cognitive Computing Credit Hours: 3
  • CSCI-696X - Computational Social Choice Credit Hours: 3

Data Science and Analytics

Select two or three of the following courses:

If only two of the above were chosen, select one more of the following courses:

  • ARTS 496X - Creative Data Design Credit Hours: 4
  • CSCI 696X - Natural Language Processing Credit Hours: 3
  • ITWS 696X - Data and Society Credit Hours: 3
  • ITWS 696X - Big Data Policies Credit Hours: 3
  • ITWS 696X - Data Analysis Research Lab Credit Hours: 3
  • MGMT 496X - Applied Analytics and Predictive Modeling Credit Hours: 3

Information Dominance

Web Science

Database and Intelligent Systems

Select three of the following courses:

Information Security

Select two or three of the following courses:

If only two of the above were chosen, select one more of the following courses:

Information Systems Engineering

Select three of the following courses:

  • CSCI 696X - Computational Finance Credit Hours: 3
  • ISYE 696X - Data Analytics Research Lab Credit Hours: 3


Software Design and Engineering

Management Information Systems

Financial Engineering

Human-Computer Interaction


  1. A maximum of five management courses (code: MGMT) may be taken towards the IT degree.

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