Software Engineering Graduate Degree Program Options

Software engineering graduate programs teach students how to model database systems, manipulate computer languages, perform software testing, and create and engineer software programs.

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Essential Information

Software engineers design, execute, and test software in computer systems. One of the most common degrees offered at the graduate level in this field is a Master of Science in Software Engineering. In graduate level software engineering programs, students participate in didactic classroom lessons and computer laboratory courses that explore software program development.

A bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, or computer engineering is required to enroll in these programs. Most schools will also require students to have at least a year of professional software development experience, as well. Programs typically culminate in a capstone or practical software engineering project.

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  • Computer Engineering Technologies, General
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Systems
  • Software Engineering

Master's Degree in Software Engineering

As a graduate student, you can expect classroom lectures and laboratory courses that focus on both the concepts and practical skills that go into software engineering such as enterprise software, software architecture, and software engineering requirements and management. Other common classes include:

  • Data modeling
  • Quality assurance
  • Testing software programs
  • Project management
  • User interface design
  • Developing web applications

Employment Outlook and Career Info

There were 1,114,000 software developers working in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( These individuals were responsible for developing software programs for healthcare, industrial, business, communication and military organizations. In 2015, the median annual wage for software applications developers was $98,260. In the same year, systems software developers made a yearly median salary of $105,570, the BLS reported.

Certification Information

A number of software companies and vendors offer voluntary certification to individuals who master their software products, which can sometimes help jobseekers in the industry. National certification is not required for software engineering professionals but is available from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE).

Master's degrees in software engineering prepare students for several careers in the field by teaching them skills related to project management, software testing, program development, and more. Voluntary certification is available from many organizations.

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