The MS in Software Engineering (MS-SWE) program provides specialized knowledge and experience in developing and modifying large, complex software systems. It emphasizes technical and management aspects of software engineering development.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 30 credits corresponding to 10 graduate courses.

The course work is divided into three categories: a breadth requirement of 12 credits of core courses, a depth requirement of 9 credits of emphasis courses, and 9 credits of elective courses.

Four core courses are required of all MS-SWE graduates:

Students may choose an emphasis by taking three courses from one of the following emphases areas : Software Design, Secure Software Engineering, Software Management, or Web Applications. With permission from the advisor, a student may choose to not take an emphasis.

The emphasis area courses are:

Software Design
  • SWE 626 - Software Project Laboratory 
  • SWE 632 - User Interface Design and Development 
  • SWE 681 - Secure Software Design and Programming 
  • SWE 721 - Reusable Software Architectures
  • SWE 722 - Service Oriented Architecture 
  • SWE 727 - Quality of Service for Software Architectures 
  • SWE 760 - Software Analysis and Design of Real-Time Systems

Secure Software Engineering
  • ISA 562 - Information Security Theory and Practice 
  • SWE 642 - Software Engineering for the World Wide Web
  • SWE 681 - Secure Software Design and Programming 
  • ISA 673 - Operating Systems Security 
  • SWE 737 - Advanced Software Testing

Software Management
  • OR 540 - Management Science 
  • SWE 620 - Software Requirements Analysis and Specification 
  • SWE 625 - Software Project Management 
  • SWE 626 - Software Project Laboratory 
  • ISA 650 - Security Policy 

Web Applications Design and Development
  • INFS 614 - Database Management  or CS 550 - Database Systems  
    (Note: Credit will not be given for both INFS 614 and CS 550)
  • SWE 632 - User Interface Design and Development 
  • SWE 642 - Software Engineering for the World Wide Web 
  • SWE 645 - Component-Based Software Development 
  • SWE 722 - Service Oriented Architecture
  • SWE 737 - Advanced Software Testing 

Elective Courses (9 credits)

Students may select the remaining courses from the list of approved elective courses, including other emphasis areas and courses from other MS programs in the department and the Volgenau School. Students may choose other graduate electives with the consent of their faculty advisor and the graduate coordinator.

Thesis (optional):

Students, with the consent of a faculty sponsor and faculty advisor, may also elect courses in individualized study, special topics, or a 6-credit thesis (SWE 799), which is primarily intended for students planning to pursue a PhD in Information Technology with a concentration in Software Engineering. The course designations are:

  • SWE 699 - Special Topics in Software Engineering 
  • SWE 795 - Advanced Topics in Software Engineering 
  • SWE 796 - Directed Readings in Software Engineering 
  • SWE 798 - Research Project 
  • SWE 799 - Thesis 

Additional Information

For additional information on the degree requirements of the MS in Information Systems:

  • The MS-SWE section of the Mason Catalog is the official source for the degree requirements of the program.
  • These slides from the orientation for new MS students provide an overview of the program, as well as additional useful information.

Academic Advising

A plan of study form for the MS degree should be completed and submitted by the student soon after admission to the program. This serves as a planning guide for the student. This plan should be kept up to date by regular consultation with the academic advisor. A final signed version of the plan must be included when the student submits a graduation application.

Plan of Study forms for all the MS degrees offered by the CS department are available at this web page.

For more information, please see the academic advising pages and the FAQ for Masters students.