Program Requirements

The focus of the Master of Software Engineering (MSE) degree program is to teach the advanced state-of-the-art technologies in software development with hands-on experience, and to apply the knowledge to some challenging real-world problems. The program will guide the students to acquire both technical skills and software project management skills that are required to lead and to carry out software development projects.

Prerequisites for Admission

The students who wish to gain admission into the MSE program should have taken courses on the following topics or should have knowledge in these areas (evidence or supporting materials required):

  1. A modern programming language such as C, C++, Java, Eiffel, C#, or Smalltalk (UW-L equivalents: C-S 120, C-S 220, and C-S 224)
  2. Data structures and algorithms that includes abstract data types such as List, Stack, Queue, Tree and Graph (UW-L equivalent: C-S 340)
  3. Discrete mathematics that includes topics on set theory, predicate logic, functions and relations (UW-L equivalent: MTH 225)

Students who lack any of these prerequisites must take additional courses (not counted for credit towards the MSE program) to meet the prerequisites requirement. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.85/4.0 is required in these courses. This restriction on GPA for the prerequisite courses has been imposed to ensure that the students have adequate background in software development. In particular, non-computer science students may also be admitted into the MSE program (see the admission requirements below), and hence a thorough knowledge of the topics covered in the prerequisite courses is necessary.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the prerequisites identified above, each student also must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  1. The student must have a bachelor's degree in software engineering, computer science, computer engineering or an equivalent major, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.85/4.0 or a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 in the last half of all undergraduate work or a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 for no fewer than 12 semester credits of graduate study at another accredited graduate institution.
  2. The student must have a bachelor's degree in any other discipline with an overall GPA of at least 2.85/4.0 or a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 in the last half of all undergraduate work, and should at least have two years of working experience in software development. In this case, the student should provide at least two references from the work place. The referees should be able to comment on the knowledge and skills of the student in software development.

More information can be obtained at

Application deadline is May 1 of each year for fall semester and November 1 for spring semester.

Program Requirements (36 Credits)

Each student in the program should complete 24 credits of course work and 12 credits of project work. The course work consists of five core courses and three elective courses.

Core Courses: (15 credits) Credits
C-S 546 Object-Oriented Software Development 3
C-S 741 Software Engineering Principles 3
C-S 742 Formal Methods in Software Development 3
C-S 743 Software Verification and Validation 3
C-S 744 Management Issues in Software Engineering 3
Elective Courses: (9 credits) Credits
C-S 521 Programming Language Concepts 3
C-S 542 Structure of Compilers 3
C-S 549 Advances in Software Engineering 3
C-S 551 User Interface Design 3
C-S 554 Digital Image Processing 3
C-S 555 Fundamentals of Information Security 3
C-S 564 Advanced Database Management Systems 3
C-S 570 Parallel and Distributed Computing 3
C-S 571 Data Communications 3
C-S 750 Topics in Software Engineering 1-3
C-S 751 Seminar in Software Engineering 1-3
C-S 752 Independent Study 1-3
Capstone Project Work: (12 credits) Credits
C-S 798 Software Development Project 1-6

C-S 798 is a 12-credit course involving a major software development project and requires the development of software for a particular application. Upon registering for this course, a student should choose a problem, analyze its feasibility in terms of time limits and resources, develop the requirements document and design (architectural and detailed) document, implement the design and demonstrate the product with appropriate test cases. A project proposal must be submitted to the Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) in the computer science department for approval before starting the project. This proposal should include the goals, project plan, time schedule, resource requirements and other details pertinent to the project. A student can register for the project course at any time by submitting the project proposal, and continue to work on the project thereafter. Depending on the work done in each term, the student will be given appropriate number of credits per term (a maximum of 12) as outlined in the project proposal. PEC is responsible for checking the work proposed/done in each term and giving the appropriate number of credits.

At the completion of the project, the student should submit a written project report that satisfies the requirements stated in A Guide for Writing a Software Development Project Report (available from the computer science department). This report will be evaluated by PEC. After PEC has read the report (normally within a month after submission), an oral examination will be conducted. Members of PEC and the project supervisors/advisers (stated below) will serve as the examiners for this oral examination. The student will be given a pass/fail grade for the course at the end of the oral examination.

The project will address a real-world problem and hence will be selected from a source outside the computer science department. The purpose of this project work is to apply the knowledge gained in the course work to a real-world problem. The sources for selecting the problem include other departments (academic and administrative) in the university and industries. A faculty member in the computer science department and a supervisor in the unit from where the problem is chosen (another department or industry) will jointly supervise/guide the student. In the event of not being able to find a suitable project outside the computer science department, the student may seek a project given by one of the faculty members in the department. The same faculty will supervise/guide the student. The latter option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in software engineering.