May 29, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024 
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024

Information Technology M.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments

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 Focus Track.
  • 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 Focus Track requires completion of an upper level finance course prior to enrollment.

The core and Focus Track 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 Focus Track 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 Focus Tracks. 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 Focus Track. 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 Focus Tracks.
  • 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

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)

* For Co-terminal ITWS students and students who are dual MS with Management, replace ITWS 6300  with a 4000/6000 level MGMT elective approved by advisor.

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

Software Design and Engineering

Human Computer Interaction

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

Focus Track Requirements

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

The current Focus Tracks are Cognitive Computing, Data Science and Analytics, Database and Intelligent Systems, Financial Engineering, Human Computer Interaction, Information Dominance, Information Security, Information Systems Engineering, Management Information Systems, Networking, Software Design and Documentation, and Web Science.

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

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments