About

Do you see yourself developing and designing computer software? Are you interested in managing large software projects? Are you interested in software analysis and testing?

Software engineering is an interdisciplinary field that combines the disciplines of computer science and engineering. The master of science in software engineering prepares students to specify, model, implement, and manage large software system projects using industry-standard practices. The program also focuses on meeting the career development needs of professionals practicing in fields related to software systems.

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field who want to expand their knowledge and experience in software development, software testing, software architecture, or software project management are excellent candidates for this master's degree program. The curriculum includes software engineering foundation, software construction, software architecture and design, software systems modeling and analysis, and software verification and validation.

ECU Advantage

ECU has the first MS degree in software engineering in North Carolina. It is offered both face-to-face and online, and has specializations suitable for new software engineers and for the practicing professional software developer. Classes are small. All students are required to complete a project or thesis under the supervision of a faculty member, and the project or thesis greatly enhances the value of the degree.

Job prospects and salary for graduates of the Master of Science in Software Engineering are very good. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce or continue in a current role at a higher level.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Nasseh Tabrizi (110-C Science and Technology Building; 252-328-9691; tabrizim@ecu.edu)

The master of science in software engineering is designed to provide students with practical knowledge, skills, and professional practices needed to succeed and excel in a rapidly changing software engineering industry. The program also prepares students to pursue further graduate work leading to a PhD degree.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions requirements and process as stated in the admission and retention section of this catalog and the graduate admissions website. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required. Thirtieth (30th) percentile score on the GRE General test is required. Foreign nationals must score 6.5 in the IELTS or 80 on the TOEFL (20 on each section) and must have met all other admission criteria prior to registering for the first semester courses.

    Pathways for Entry into the Programs

    Two pathways are available for completing the software engineering program requirements. The appropriate pathway depends on the undergraduate major. 

      Traditional Pathway

      The traditional entry pathway is for students whose bachelor's degrees are in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, information technology, management information systems, or a similar computing discipline. Thirty (30) semester hours are required to earn the degree.

        Nontraditional Pathway

        The nontraditional entry pathway is for students whose bachelor's degrees are in engineering, mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, or similar analytic and quantitative discipline. Students entering through this pathway are required to complete two specially designed courses during their first semester of study (SENG 5000 and SENG 5005). The goals of these two courses are to impart prerequisite knowledge and skills essential to succeed in the program. Thirty-eight (38) hours are required to earn the degree.

        Plan of Study

        Students are required to complete a Plan of Study Form in consultation with the graduate program director before they begin their graduate study. This is usually done during the week before the first day of classes of first semester.

          Degree Requirements

          (Choose the appropriate pathway based upon undergraduate major.)

            Traditional Pathway

            Minimum degree requirement is 30 s.h. of credit as follows:

              Core - 9 s.h.
              • SENG 6230 - Software Engineering Foundations
              • SENG 6235 - Software Project Management
              • SENG 6265 - Foundations of Software Testing
              Electives - 21 s.h.

              (Choose the 21 s.h. of electives from one of the following three options.)

              Course Work Only Option

              Twenty-one (21) s.h. from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The semester hours from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine (9).

              Project Option

              Eighteen (18) semester hours from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The semester hours from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine (9). Additionally, SENG 6290 - Software Engineering Project with a written project report is required for this option.

              The project option involves collecting research literature on a topic of interest, critically examining it, and summarizing the research in the form of a formal technical report. This option may also involve developing software systems or proof of concept systems. Students must deliver an oral presentation of their findings. Students select topics for their projects in consultation with research advisors prior to the beginning of the last semester of study. SENG 6290 is typically completed during the last semester of study.

              Thesis Option

              Fifteen s.h. from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The semester hours from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine (9). Additionally, SENG 7000 - Thesis with a written thesis report is required for this option.

              Nontraditional Pathway

              Minimum degree requirement is 38 s.h. of credit as follows:

                Preparatory courses - 8 s.h.
                • SENG 5000 - Programming and Data Structures Foundations
                • SENG 5005 - Discrete Structures and Algorithmic Foundations
                Core - 9 s.h.
                • SENG 6230 - Software Engineering Foundations
                • SENG 6235 - Software Project Management
                • SENG 6265 - Foundations of Software Testing
                Electives - 21 s.h.

                (Choose the 21 s.h. from one of the following three options.)

                Course Work Only Option

                Twenty-one (21) s.h. from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The semester hours from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine (9).

                Project Option

                Eighteen (18) s.h. from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The semester hours from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine 9. Additionally, SENG 6290 - Software Engineering Project with a written project report is required for this option.

                The project option involves collecting research literature on a topic of interest, critically examining it, and summarizing the research in the form of a formal technical report. This option may also involve developing software systems or proof of concept systems. Students must deliver an oral presentation of their findings. Students select topics for their projects in consultation with research advisors prior to the beginning of the last semester of study. SENG 6290 is typically completed during the last semester of study.

                Thesis Option

                Fifteen (15) s.h. from 6000-level software engineering (SENG) courses and 6000-level computer science (CSCI) courses. The s.h. from the CSCI courses must not exceed nine (9). Additionally, SENG 7000 - Thesis with a written thesis report is required for this option.

                For the thesis option, students must summarize their research work in the form of a formal written document and deliver an oral presentation. Thesis research work is typically conducted over two semesters.

              Note:

              A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 must be submitted for all graduate courses. No more than 6 s.h. of course work evaluated as C may be counted toward the degree.

                For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

                Careers With This Degree

                Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

                • Computer Software Engineering
                • Engineering Managers
                • Computer Software Engineers, Applications
                • Education and Training
                • Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
                • Computer Software Engineering

                Career Opportunities

                ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

                NC Tower

                This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

                • Self-employed;
                • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
                • Work outside of North Carolina.

                US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

                This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

                Degree-specific internships

                For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

                Back To Top