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Information on Master of Science (MS) Degree Programs in Software Engineering

Majors Overview September 8, 2015

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Software Engineering and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree Programs in Software Engineering

Bachelor’s degree holders who want to learn how to manage, maintain, test, design and analyze software systems could benefit from enrolling into a 2-year master’s degree program in software engineering. Students can become adept at weighing costs and benefits of software enhancements. They can gain a grasp of the impact of the global market on existing software and its relation to new applications. Students can gain expertise in tailoring software design to education, industry, government and healthcare.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a major related to computers, including information systems, software engineering, computer science or information technology. At some schools, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are also required to be submitted.


Students complete degree programs in this field within 30 semester hours of coursework that typically incorporates the study of theoretical and practical aspects of software systems. In some programs, coursework focuses on a specialized course of study, including enterprise technology, systems engineering, or networking. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Information systems analysis and design
•Database management
•Software project management
•Computer hardware
•Dependable software systems
•Software design
•Formal language theory
•Computer networks
•Human-computer interaction

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek a career related to technology, networking, and software development. They can seek jobs that require them to provide assistance to companies in the construction, maintenance, and repair of software systems. They may choose from job titles such as:

•Software applications engineer
•Computer support director
•Database Analyst
•Network administrator
•Data communications specialist

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, software developers are expected to see a faster-than-average job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). During the same period, applications software developers are expected to enjoy a job growth of 23% while systems software developers are expected to witness a 20% job growth (BLS).

In May 2014, systems developers brought in an average annual wage of $106,050. Over the same period, application developers earned a median wage of $99,530.

During the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of 12% has been predicted for network and computer systems administrators; in May 2013, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $77,910 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education can enroll in the graduate certificate program in software engineering. Further specialization is available through participation in topic areas such as computer networking or systems science. They may also choose to earn doctoral degrees in software engineering that could lead to careers in academia or research.

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