Online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering

Enhance Your Skills. Energize Your Career.

WSU’s online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering (MSSE) prepares students for professional software engineering careers. The program equips students with advanced skills in design, development, validation, maintenance, reuse, management, and security of software products. Graduates of the program learn the principles of software engineering, together with the tools, methods, and techniques used in modern software engineering practice. They also gain knowledge in the managerial and leadership skills needed to advance in the industry.

The MSSE degree is offered entirely online through the WSU Global Campus. It can be completed in under two years with a full-time course load. Working professionals may prefer to attend part-time for maximum flexibility.


Employment in software engineering is growing rapidly. As a graduate of the MSSE program, you should be well prepared to apply your knowledge and skills to implement high-quality software, provide innovative solutions, and take leadership roles in industry and government.

Possible software engineering careers include computer systems analyst, software developer, user interface designer, software testing engineer, requirements engineer, quality assurance engineer, computer systems administrator, project manager, and sales engineer.


Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

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Program Details

In this section:

Objectives, Outcomes, and Requirements

Program Objectives

The objectives of the Online MSSE program are to allow students to acquire the education and professional skills necessary to:

  • Identify and solve problems relevant to the software engineering discipline.
  • Compete and advance in the software engineering industry.

Student Learning Outcomes

The MSSE program enables students to attain, by the time of graduation:

  • Professional Software Engineering Knowledge: Mastery of software engineering knowledge and skills and of the professional standards necessary to practice as a software engineer.
  • Technical Software Engineering Knowledge: Understanding of and ability to apply appropriate theories, models, and techniques that provide a basis for problem identification and analysis, software design, development, implementation, verification, and documentation.
  • Leadership and Teamwork: Demonstrating leadership and the ability to be an effective member of a team (including teams that are geographically distributed), effectively communicate both orally and in writing, and to lead or manage projects.
  • Depth: Mastery of one or more subdomains in software engineering.

Program Requirements

WSU’s online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering requires the completion of 30 semester credits:

  • Core courses on fundamentals of software engineering and computer science (9 credits)
  • Advanced courses on software maintenance, software testing, and software quality (9 credits)
  • Professional courses in leadership, supervision, and project management (6 credits)
  • Elective courses on various topics in computer science (6 credits)

Visit the WSU Global Campus MSSE page for required courses and sample full-time and part-time study plans.

Participating Faculty

Admission to the Program


For admission to the MS in Software Engineering, you need to have a BS degree in computer science or a related field, or have had industry experience as a computer scientist or software engineer.

Applicants should satisfy the following:

  • A four-year bachelor’s degree in a major from an accredited institution in the United States or an equivalent international degree.
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher in a completed bachelor’s degree or higher program.
  • Advanced capability in a programming language such as C/C++, Java, Python, etc.
  • Background in object-oriented programming, advanced data structures, and algorithm design/analysis.

Applicants without a prior degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or Computer Engineering may need to complete additional prerequisites before they pursue advanced software engineering courses. These prerequisites can be waived if the student has taken equivalent courses in other institutions or if the student has extensive industry experience in programming and/or software engineering.

Applicants need to submit their applications in order for the admission committee review them and identify the prerequisites that need to be completed. The committee will look into the transcripts from prior institutions and any information the applicant provides about the work experience and suggest prerequisites that need to be completed.


To apply for the MS in Software Engineering, you must first be admitted to WSU’s Graduate School. Applicants are required to submit:

  1. A complete application, including $75 application fee.
  2. A letter of intent and introduction outlining areas of interest in software engineering, career objectives, and any academic or professional experiences that recommend you as an applicant.
  3. Three (3) original letters of recommendation from persons qualified to speak to your academic qualifications and potential.
  4. Official copies of transcripts (including all colleges or universities from which you have earned or expect to earn a degree, and all colleges or universities at which you have taken graduate-level coursework.).
  5. Official TOEFL score (for international applicants).

GRE is not required for admission.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have an undergraduate degree in another field but have worked in industry as a software engineer, you can expand your career options in various aspects of software engineering by earning this degree.

If you have an undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or information sciences, you can enter this program to stay competitive and drive innovation and changes in the global environment.

In 2020-21, the per-credit cost for students is $609.80 per credit. If enrolled for more than 10 credits (up to 18 credits), students pay a fixed amount of $6,098 per semester. If enrolled for more than 18 credits, cost is $609.80 per additional credit (in addition to full-time tuition). Visit WSU Global Campus Tuition and Fees for more information. Books required for classes are additional. Details of any increase will be announced as soon as they are available.

The most common way to do this is to use non-degree graduate status. This classification is for applicants who wish to explore graduate studies on a limited basis. Applications for non-degree graduate status are processed by the Graduate School without departmental recommendation, and applicants are subject to the following rules:

  • Required to pay graduate fees.
  • Permitted to enroll in courses only with permission of the instructor and the department offering the courses. Some departments do not allow non-degree students to register for their courses. Students who register without department approval may be disenrolled.
  • Permitted to remain in non-degree graduate status for up to one calendar year.
  • Permitted to apply up to 6 hours of non-degree graduate status credit to the graduate degree requirements if admitted by the WSU Graduate School to a degree program. Use of non-degree graduate status credits will be held to the usual time restrictions for program completion.

Further, there is no guarantee that they will be accepted if they apply. If the students apply to a degree-seeking program and are accepted, they will be appropriately reclassified as Regular or Provisional. International students who require a student visa are not eligible for non-degree graduate status.


Fall 2017.

It is assumed that a student will enroll in and complete a course within a normal WSU semester. If the work is to be extended beyond the end of the semester, the following policy applies.

An incomplete (“I”) is the term indicating that a grade has been deferred. It is given to a student who, for reasons beyond the student’s control, is unable to complete the assigned work on time. The “I” grade for a graduate-level course (all courses numbered 500 and above) and an undergraduate course (all courses numbered 499 or lower) will be changed to an “F” if the work is not completed within one academic year following the semester in which the “I” grade was assigned, unless a shorter time is specified by the instructor. The student may not repeat the course to remove an incomplete grade. Graduate students may not graduate with an “I” grade on their transcript. (See Academic Regulation 90h.)

While each instructor is different, typical instructor interaction policies are as follows:

  • Response to emails within 24 hours.
  • Grading turn around within one week. If scheduled in advance, faculty members can be available via email in real time.

Proctors are required for courses in this program. Review information about proctored exams.

Graded graduate-level coursework (with a grade of B or higher) taken toward a completed master’s degree at an accredited institution may NOT be used toward another master’s degree at WSU. All other graded graduate-level coursework (with a grade of B or higher) taken as a graduate student, but not taken towards a completed graduate degree, may be used toward a master’s degree or a doctoral degree at WSU with the approval of the student’s committee and program director. In all transfer cases, the number of such credit hours is limited to no more than half of the total graded course credits required by the program that is listed on the Program of Study. Online coursework will be considered for transfer to a graduate degree program only upon an exception to policy request to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Additional Questions?

Contact the program coordinator: