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A Master Of Science Program In Telecommunications Engineering Technology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Graduate Education in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.59.1 - 9.59.8

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Paper Authors

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Warren Koontz

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2650

A Master of Science Program in Telecommunications Engineering Technology Warren L G Koontz Rochester Institute of Technology


About 35 years ago, Bell Telephone Laboratories, the research and development arm of the Bell System, provided a program to train newly hired Members of Technical Staff. A new MTS, who usually joined Bell Labs just after receiving a BS degree in either electrical or mechanical engineering, was first sent off to get a Master of Science in EE or ME. But even this was not enough. Upon completing the MS, the still unripe MTS had to complete a series of “Bell System Technology” courses before he or she was considered ready to work effectively on telecommunications projects. That is, Bell Labs used its own resources to fill what it perceived to be a gap in the engineering curricula.

Bell Labs was in a unique position to offer telecommunications education to its employees. It was part of a regulated monopoly and faced no significant competition. All of this changed around the time of the break-up of the Bell System in 1984. Bell Labs, which was now part of the new AT&T Corporation, became one of many telecommunications companies competing for people who could become productive quickly without elaborate company-provided training. Thus the advent of competition in telecommunications led to growth in demand for telecommunications professionals.

Several universities have responded to this demand by establishing programs in telecommunications engineering or telecommunications engineering technology. Southwestern Tennessee Community College has offered an AS degree in Telecommunications Engineering Technology since 1971 and there are currently 6 bachelors programs and 3 associates programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)2.

RIT launched a Bachelor of Science program in Telecommunications Engineering Technology in 1990 and in 1994 the program became the first of its kind to be accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. In 1992 RIT added three certificate programs to its telecommunications offering. In the late 1990s, the RIT’s Telecommunications Industrial Advisory Board recommended that the telecommunications faculty at RIT develop a graduate program. Around the same time, the RIT admissions office reported a surge of inquiries about such a program. Program development got underway in 2000. The program was approved by the

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Koontz, W. (2004, June), A Master Of Science Program In Telecommunications Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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