Best Master’s in Software Engineering Degrees

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Software engineering is a global, rapidly growing field, and an occupation of tremendous future growth. Forget the cliché of the computer geek alone at her desk. It’s a collaborative, creative, and demanding profession.

And if you have a phobia of job-boredom, the constantly shifting world of software engineering will probably appeal to you. New languages, paradigms, ideas, algorithms—there is an almost infinite amount of stuff you can learn.  And you will see the outcome of your creativity almost immediately.

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What kind of Software Engineering Degree should you get?

All good software engineering programs are anchored in real-world problems. Keep that in mind as you wade through program info. Software engineers apply professional judgment which you can only acquire through practical experience. So your training must be hands-on, team-centered, and project focused across the curriculum.

And while taking classes in a traditional campus-based program certainly has its benefits, online programs are now an entirely respectable (and convenient) alternative. The same faculty teach online and on-campus courses, and you’ll get exactly the same degree as your campus-based counterparts. If you’re interested, check out College Choice’s ranking of the Best Online Software Engineering Degrees.

How much money do people make with a Software Engineering degree?

Software engineering experts are in demand and will likely continue to be in demand.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineer has been among the fastest growing IT professions in the US. And as the technology-focused business environment expands, that growth promises to continue.

That’s good news for software engineers. Because of the ubiquitous need for talented developers of new software, software engineers can demand a pretty high salary. The BLS puts the current median pay at $102, 280 per annum—though, of course that varies with education and experience.

What can you do with a degree in Software Engineering?

Software engineers are problem solvers who apply new technologies to improve the quality of life. They study the needs of computer users and then design and develop (and continuously modify) software that answer those needs.

From designing security software to gaming systems and educational programs—software engineering is a massive field with almost unlimited potential. No matter what your particular interest, there is probably a niche with your name on it.

What are the requirements for a degree in Software Engineering?

You might expect a background in technology to be a prerequisite for any graduate program in software engineering, but that is not necessarily the case. There are several programs on this ranking that welcome students from all backgrounds. If you don’t have the necessary knowledge, schools provide the foundational courses that will catch you up to speed.

However, all programs on this ranking require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. And some (but not all) programs require that you have good GRE scores.

What are the best Software Engineering degrees?

Considering the time and funds you’re about to invest, you need to make sure you find a program that fits your needs.  

In order to come up with our ranking of the 25 Best Software Engineering  Degrees, we’ve done the research and data collection for you. We collate and compare numbers on national reputation, tuition rates, student assessments, and projected early career earnings.

The extensive research we do means that the score you see on each ranking reflects both academic excellence and return on investment.  Our information comes from publicly available sources like program websites, as well as The National Center for Education Statistics, Payscale.com, and U.S. News and World Report.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $31582

    Overview

    Originally founded in 1948 to train space industry workers at the nearby Kennedy Space Center, Florida Institute of Technology (or Florida Tech) is a private research university. As the name indicates, the school is primarily a technological institution, and Florida Tech has long been recognized for the vast research opportunities available to students as part of its engineering education program

    Program Features

    Florida Tech’s College of Engineering and Computing offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that will give you the skills to manage the development, maintenance, and evolution of software. Students graduate from this program with a comprehensive background in mathematics, computer science and computer organization. Courses include:

    • Software Engineering
    • Software Testing
    • Software Metrics and Modeling

    Notables

    Florida Tech’s M.S. in Software Engineering is a 30-credit, hands-on degree program which combines classroom learning with field work that simulates the challenges you will meet on the job. This program is intended for those with a background in software engineering, computer science, or a related discipline. The courses assume a technical undergraduate degree and significant programming experience.

  2. Carnegie Mellon University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $33657

    Overview

    Founded by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University is a top-ranking private research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school is home to a prestigious School of Engineering that ranks in the top 5 nationally, while their School of Computer Science currently ranks at #1 nationally (US News and World Report).

    Program Features

    Carnegie Mellon’s School of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that will help you make your mark on the industry. The program is built on a challenging foundational curriculum in which students produce practical, cost-effective solutions under real-world constraints. The program boasts special strengths in software architecture and software project management. Courses include:

    • Agile Software Development Frameworks
    • System Architectures for Managers
    • Analysis of Software Artifacts

    Notables

    Carnegie Mellon’s M.S. in Software Engineering program is a 16-month program consisting of three traditional semesters and one intensive summer session. The MSE program is open to practicing software developers who have at least two years experience in the field. You can complete the course either full-time (16 months) or part-time (in a flexible, multi-year plan).

  3. Auburn University
    Location

    Auburn, AL

    Tuition

    $21698

    Overview

    Located in the college town of Auburn, Alabama, Auburn University is the second largest public research university in the state. The school ranks among the top 50 public schools in the country (US News and World Report). Auburn’s Ginn College of Engineering, home to some of the best software engineering programs in the country, ranks among the top 100 nationally.

    Program Features

    Auburn’s Ginn College of Engineering offers both a non-thesis master of software engineering (MSwE) or research oriented master of science (MS). Built on a solid foundational curriculum, Auburn’s software engineering program will connect you with your research interests and build upon your undergraduate momentum. Students can also take advantage of fellowships and real-world application for a successful graduate experience. Courses include:

    • Application Development
    • Object-Oriented Technologies
    • Software Processes

    Notables

    Auburn’s MS in Software Engineering program requires 30 credits, while the MSwE (non-thesis) program requires 33 credits. To enter either program you must hold a bachelor’s degree with experience in areas of computer science and/or software engineering. (Students without sufficient experience may be accepted to the program, but will need to take extra courses.)

  4. Kennesaw State University
    Location

    Kennesaw, GA

    Tuition

    $17441

    Overview

    Located in the city of Kennesaw, Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a public research university with a vibrant campus culture. With student-centered programs and state-of-the-art instructional technology, the school is home to nationally ranked Engineering Programs. The Princeton Review recently listed KSU as one of the top 50 schools worldwide to study game design.

    Program Features

    The College of Computing and Software Engineering at Kennesaw State offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that is open to those with no background in computer sciences. Students choose between a thesis or project option, and the program can be completed either online, face-to-face or in a blended format. Core courses include:

    • Requirements Engineering
    • Software Project Planning and Management
    • Software Architecture

    Notables

    Kennesaw State’s M.S. in Software Engineering is comprised of seven core courses, three electives, and either a thesis or capstone project. For those without a background in computer science, there are several foundation courses which provide the skills you’ll need to complete the degree. And if you’re concerned about your budget, Kennesaw also offers one of the more affordable tuition rates on this ranking.

  5. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $31539

    Overview

    Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University is one ofthe largest private research universities in the country. The school consistently ranks among the top national universities and is home to several highly ranked graduate schools. The College of Engineering at BU currently sits at #34 in US News and World Report’s 2018 ranking.

    Program Features

    Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers a unique Master of Science in Software Development that will give you a leg-up among highly skilled software developers. The program prepares students with both the knowledge and hands-on training to implement robust and secure software solutions to real-life problems. Faculty are industry leaders in the IT field and world-class teachers. Courses include:

    • Information Systems with Python
    • Data Structures and Algorithms
    • Agile Software Development

    Notables

    BU’s M.S. in Software Development program is a 32-credit program that students can complete in 16-24 months. The program is open to students with no technology experience—students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply. This is a great program if you are planning to continue working as you study. Courses are available in evening classes and online through BU’s Metropolitan College.

  6. Stevens Institute of Technology
    Location

    Hoboken, NJ

    Tuition

    $37168

    Overview

    Located in Hoboken, New Jersey, Stevens Institute of Technology is a research-intensive private university and one of the oldest technological universities in the US. The school is home to three national Centers of Excellence and one of the top Schools of Systems Engineering in the country. The Computer Engineering program ranks at #86 nationally (US News and World Report).

    Program Features

    SIT’s School of Systems and Enterprises offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that will train you in all aspects of software creation. The program combines a core in S.E. principles and practices with application to real-world challenges. This is a rigorous project- and team-based program that exceeds the IEEE/ACM software engineering curriculum standards. Courses include:

    • Fundamentals of Software Engineering
    • Software Architecture and Component-Based Design
    • Software Engineering Studio

    Notables

    SIT’s Software Engineering 30-credit master’s program consists of eight required courses and two electives. Students from varied backgrounds are welcomed to the program. All you need are good GRE scores and quantitative skills. And the program has a flexible delivery format—you can choose from on-site (day or evening) or online formats.

  7. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $32084

    Overview

    Situated in Chicago, just blocks from Lake Michigan, DePaul University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the country by enrollment. The school has a deep commitment to providing a high-quality education to people from diverse backgrounds. DePaul ranks among the top 120 universities nationally (US News and World Report) and is home to an innovative College of Computing and Digital Media.

    Program Features

    DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that provides students with widely applicable and in-demand skills. As a student, you’ll be introduced to processes, methodologies, techniques, and tools of developing high-quality software systems in a cost-effective manner. Students choose from four concentrations:

    • Entrepreneurship and Technology Leadership
    • Real-Time Game Systems
    • Software Architecture
    • Software Development

    Notables

    DePaul’s M.S. in Software Engineering is a 52-credit program, comprised of required core and concentration classes, and electives. The program is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any academic field. For those without a background in computing, the school provides a series of introductory classes to catch you up to speed.

  8. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $32932

    Overview

    Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is a private research university. The school is known as a global hub for arts, technology, and international trade, and ranks among the top 25 national universities in the US. The Viterbi School of Engineering is no exception to the tradition of excellence, currently ranking at #11 nationally (US News and World Report).

    Program Features

    USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that includes experience in real-client class projects and state-of-the-art evaluation assignments. The program provides skills in software development, as well as systems engineering, customer collaboration, and management skills. Courses include:

    • Analysis of Algorithms
    • Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
    • Web Technologies

    Notables

    USC’s M.S. in Software Engineering is a 32-credit program which can include an internship and thesis. This program is great for those wanting an industrial leadership career in software engineering. And if you’re interested in pursuing further graduate work, it can act as an introduction to this area for research leading to a Ph.D.

  9. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $13300

    Overview

    Founded in 1907, East Carolina University is a large, nationally-ranked, public research university located in Greenville, North Carolina. The school is home to several highly ranked programs and a School of Engineering and Technology that provides innovative, industry-recognized programs to a diverse student body.

    Program Features

    The College of Engineering and Technology and ECU offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering that blends traditional computer science with the rapidly evolving field of software engineering. In this program, you’ll learn to design, develop, test and maintain high-quality, reliable software systems. The curriculum focuses on both theory and practical application. Students choose from three concentrations:

    • Software Design and Development
    • Software Project Management and Quality Assurance
    • Software Testing

    Notables

    ECU’s M.S. in Software Engineering is a 30-credit program (nine credits of which are electives). ECU prefers that applicants have an undergraduate degree in a computing-related discipline. However, students from other disciplines or applicants with limited technical expertise are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This program is available both on-campus and online.

  10. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $40615

    Overview

    Located in in Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University is a private university with a reputation for being a highly innovative technological university. The school was the first to have a completely wireless campus, and its cooperative education program allows students to graduate with extensive work experience. Drexel’s Computer Engineering programs rank at #49 in the US (US News and World Report).

    Program Features

    Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering which prepares students to become software engineers in a wide variety of industries. The curriculum blends theory and practice to provide a solid understanding of the fundamentals of software systems. On graduation, you’ll have a working knowledge of the many languages, methods, and systems used in the field. Courses include:

    • Software Design
    • Requirements Engineering and Management
    • Software Reliability and Testing

    Notables

    Drexel’s M.S. in Software Engineering degree is a 45-credit program comprised of seven required courses and several electives, including a capstone project. This is a flexible degree program that you can complete on a part-time or full-time basis and either on campus or online.

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