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Best Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Hezekiah Oluwole - June 09, 2022


Getting a master’s degree can help you climb the professional ladder and qualify for management positions. This reality is the same when it comes to software engineering. That’s why this article will cover the best online software engineering master’s degrees, as well as the best software engineering master’s degree jobs.

As you advance educationally and professionally, you’ll qualify for higher-paying positions and specializations within the software engineering field. While pursuing an online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering will provide the same outcome as an in-person software engineering master’s degree program, online programs are more convenient and accomodating to a wider variety of students.

Where Can I Get a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Online?

You can get a software engineering master’s degree online at many universities throughout the US. Two popular universities to pursue this degree are Grand Canyon University and Regis University. They have been chosen because they are affordable, offer relevant core courses, and have an above-average graduation rate. Likewise, all the universities in this article are accredited and recognized by relevant regulatory bodies in the US.

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What Schools Offer the Best Software Engineering Masters Degrees?

  • Arizona State University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Kansas State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

Most online software engineering master’s degrees require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in engineering, computer science, or information science. Some schools accept students who have earned undergraduate degrees in other fields, as long as they can demonstrate relevant work experience.

Further, some programs may require some courses prior to enrollment in topics such as operating systems, programming languages, algorithm analysis, and calculus. While it’s possible to enroll in an online software engineering master’s degree without a degree in a relevant field, some schools require students to complete certain courses beforehand, in order to ensure students are prepared for the master’s program curricula.

A minimum undergraduate GPA and good GRE or GMAT scores are also often required, in addition to other typical admissions requirements. Likewise, a letter of recommendation and resume, while not always necessary, can go a long way to show the admissions team that you’re ready for the program.

Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • Have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field (exceptions can be made, depending on the school)
  • Have a minimum GPA score (determined by each school)
  • Provide GRE/GMAT scores
  • Submit letters of recommendation
  • Send your resume

How to Get a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Online

To earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering online, you need to complete the required number of credits, which is usually a minimum of 30. At the graduate level, most courses will be major courses and elective courses, as general education courses typically only apply to undergraduate programs.

Earning your master’s degree will require you to complete all of your assignments, exams, and projects while maintaining a minimum GPA score. Some online programs will require you to attend live classes, while others are asynchronous, providing you with more flexibility in completing your work.

It typically takes two years to complete your master’s degree program, although this timeframe is depending on the number of courses you take per semester, in addition to the school’s program length. Lastly, you’ll be required to complete a thesis or capstone project, which typically should cover everything you’ve learned throughout your software engineering master’s degree program.

Software Engineering Degree Requirements

  • Complete the required number of credits
  • Maintain a minimum GPA
  • Attend live classes (if applicable)
  • Complete a thesis or capstone project

Best Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Arizona State University Master of Science in Engineering in Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
East Carolina University Master of Science in Software Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Grand Canyon University Master of Science in Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Kansas State University Master of Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Kennesaw State University Master of Science in Software Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Regis University Master of Science in Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Texas Tech University Master of Science in Software Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
University of Houston-Clear Lake Master of Science in Software Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
University of Maryland Global Campus Master of Science in Information Technology with a Software Engineering Specialization Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Washington State University Master of Science in Software Engineering Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Best Schools for Software Engineering: Top Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

Below are 10 of the best schools for software engineering master’s degree programs. All 10 schools are regionally or nationally accredited, which ensures they adhere to high education standards set by the accrediting bodies.

1

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University (ASU), located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, is one of the nation's major public universities. It was founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature. ASU is one of three universities in Arizona overseen by the Arizona Board of Regents. There are  90,000 undergraduate students and almost 20,000 postgraduate students throughout ASU's five campuses and four regional learning centers.

Master of Science in Engineering in Software Engineering

This Master of Science in Software Engineering program covers the most important software development methods, processes, equipment, and procedures. This program is based on the IEEE Computer Society's Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. Practical projects and assignments relevant to the student's workplace are emphasized in each course.

Core courses in this program include CSE 565, which deals with software verification, validation, and testing, and CSE 566, which focuses on the management of projects, processes, and quality standards. Students are required to complete 18 to 21 credit hours per semester. The school offers several forms of financial aid to lessen the financial burden.

Master of Science in Engineering in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $17,608/year
  • Required Credits: 27-30 credits
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 24%

Master of Science in Engineering in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: Knowledge of calculus and other computer science-related courses

Applying to Arizona State University

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Send official transcripts
2

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

East Carolina University offers online education programs that have been approved by the University of North Carolina System. This ensures that students enjoy quality postsecondary education, academic integrity, and strong consumer protection.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

East Carolina University offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering degree program that requires students to complete 30 credits. Students can complete a thesis or capstone project, depending on their preferences. This degree is offered both on-campus and online, with online students enjoying the same benefits and services as those attending classes in person.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $289.11/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 18 quarters at 1-2 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: Online, in person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 65%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Master of Science in Software Engineering

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Complete a self-managed application prior to consideration for admission
  3. Upload all required documents
  4. Pay the application fee
3

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a for-profit Christian university based in Phoenix. In 2018, it had 20,000 on-campus students and 70,000 online. Founded in 1949, this school severed ties with the Southern Baptist Convention in 1999. Due to financial issues and other difficulties, the school's trustees approved its sale in January 2004 to a California-based corporation.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

GCU’s curriculum was designed to meet the demands of working professionals. It emphasizes a holistic approach, covering financial and legal challenges, technical principles, security, software design, and project management. Its broad curriculum prepares students for management and other senior positions. Graduates work in industries such as mobile app development, gaming, web development, healthcare, insurance, education, and research and development.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $557/credit
  • Required Credits: 38 credits
  • Program Length: 18 quarters at 2-3 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 47%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.8
  • Standardized Tests: GMAT and GRE (if you don't meet other requirements)
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Grand Canyon University

  1. Fill out the application form
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Submit additional documents
4

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University is a public land-grant research institution in Manhattan, Kansas. It was Kansas' first public land-grant college, founded in 1863. The institution has nine colleges and offers a wide variety of programs, including 65 master's programs and 45 doctoral programs.

Master of Software Engineering

This program is ideal for those looking to become experts in computer graphics, design techniques, data mining, distributed systems, bioinformatics, and related topics. The school offers several financial aid options to students who want to complete a degree in software engineering. Scholarships, government grants, student loans, and GI Bill benefits are just some of the financing choices available.

Master of Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $863.90/credit
  • Required Credits: 33 credits
  • Program Length: Maximum of 6 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 68%

Master of Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: Personal statement

Applying to Kansas State University

  1. Review the application requirements
  2. Fill out the application
  3. Send your transcripts
  4. Write and submit a personal statement
  5. Pay the application fee
5

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a public research university with campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta. It was founded in 1963 by the Georgia Board of Regents with a federal space-grant and local bonds. KSU offers numerous academic degrees in sports management and business. Kennesaw State's sporting teams compete in NCAA Division One (D-I).

Master of Science in Software Engineering

Kennesaw State University’s Master of Science in Software Engineering program requires the completion of 30 credit hours. Students have access to various forms of financial aid. If you already have a computer science master’s degree, you may only need one or two more courses to earn this degree.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $383/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 12-24 months
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 47%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.75
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $60
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Kennesaw State University

  1. Submit resume
  2. Submit a statement of purpose
  3. Send proof of your undergraduate degree
  4. Submit transcripts
  5. Submit two letters of recommendation (recommended)
6

Regis University

Denver, CO

Regis University is a Jesuit private university located in Denver, Colorado. It was founded in 1877 and is a member of the Jesuit Colleges and Universities Association. In addition to Regis College, the university has five other colleges. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

In this graduate program, you’ll learn HTML , Java, and CSS, as well as software testing and quality assurance. This master's degree program at Regis University can be completed in as little as 12 to 24 months, depending on the student's schedule preference. Experience in software engineering will make you a stronger candidate for admission.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $845/credit hour
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 67%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0 (or 3 years of relevant work experience)
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: Admission essay

Applying to Regis University

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Submit your official transcript
  3. Show proof of relevant work experience or a bachelor's degree
  4. Attach your resume
  5. Submit an admissions essay
7

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech Institution is a public university located in Lubbock, Texas. It was founded in 1923 and was known as Texas Technological College until 1969. Around 25 percent of its undergraduate student body is Hispanic.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

This asynchronous program allows students to choose between the thesis and non-thesis options. The curriculum includes software verification and validation and software project management. The program aims to teach students about complex software systems, object oriented design, artificial intelligence, and engineering principles. Students also work on real-world projects.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $471/credit
  • Required Credits: 33 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 11 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 63%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Texas State University

  1. Review application requirements
  2. Provide your unofficial transcripts
  3. Fill out the application
  4. Submit all required documents
  5. Pay the application
8

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Houston, TX

University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) is a public university with campuses in Pasadena and Houston, Texas. It's part of the University of Houston System and it was founded in 1971.  The institution has four colleges offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

University of Houston-Clear Lake's online Master of Science in Software Engineering is an affordable degree program for people who already know a lot about computer science. There are 30 credit hours in the program, which are usually completed over about 15 months.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $557/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 6-9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 52%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $45
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: 1 year of industry experience

Applying to University of Houston-Clear Lake

  1. Review application requirements
  2. Provide transcript
  3. Fill out the application
  4. Submit all required documents
  5. Pay the application fee
9

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is a public university in Adelphi, Maryland. It's the largest campus in the University of Maryland system. UMGC was founded in 1947 and offers classes at its satellite campuses and academic center in Largo, Maryland.

Master of Science in Information Technology with a Software Engineering Specialization

This online software engineering program consists of 36 credit hours. You'll gain practical experience in topics such as software testing, communication networks, information systems design, and computer systems architecture. You’ll learn about complex software systems while working on practical assignments. Federal grants, scholarships, GI Bill benefits, and monthly payments are all available funding options.

Master of Science in Information Technology with a Software Engineering Specialization Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $504/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 6 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 18%

Master of Science in Information Technology with a Software Engineering Specialization Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to University of Maryland Global Campus

  1. Review the requirements
  2. Fill out the application
  3. Wait for an admission decision
10

Washington State University

Pullman, WA

Washington State University 's (WSU) Pullman campus is built on a hill with open areas. The university is located in the Palouse region of eastern Washington. Formed in 1989, WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Spokane, and WSU Vancouver are also campuses of the institution. WSU established its online presence in 2012.

Master of Science in Software Engineering

This program can be done part-time or full-time. It's geared toward preparing students for a future in software engineering and related professions. There are three core classes, namely Software Design and Architecture, Advanced Algorithms, and Software Specifications. Some of the services available to students at this university are tutoring and career counseling.

Master of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: $541.50/credit (in state); $622.45 /credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 6-12 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 59%

Master of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Other Requirements: Recommendation Letter

Applying to Washington State University

  1. Fill out the application
  2. Submit all required documents
  3. Provide proof of your undergraduate degree
  4. Pay the application fee

What Is an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

An online software engineering master’s degree is a graduate-level credential awarded to graduates of online software engineering master’s degree programs. To receive this degree, students in software engineering master’s degree programs must complete a minimum of 30 credits in theoretical and hands-on work, including a thesis or capstone project.

The degree program covers topics in software engineering, network architecture, and information technology. Earning your master’s degree qualifies you for a wide variety of high-level, related positions. Additionally, you can use your Master’s Degree in Software Engineering to teach related courses at a community college.

Online vs In-Person Software Engineering Master’s Degrees

Online and in-person software engineering master’s degrees share the same curriculum but differ in the benefits they offer. One of the best benefits of pursuing an online software engineering master’s degree is that it allows you to work toward getting promoted in your related career while maintaining employment. Alternatively, pursuing an in-person program may require you to temporarily resign so that you can be available to attend classes.

On the other hand, in-person programs offer better networking opportunities than online programs, as face-to-face interaction often yields more benefits than online connections. Below, we’ll look at the top five benefits of online vs in-person software engineering master’s degree programs.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering

  • Flexibility. You can complete your degree at your own pace from anywhere in the world. Most online programs are asynchronous, which allows students to complete their work on their own schedules, as long as it’s submitted before a certain date.
  • Career Advancement. An online master’s degree can help you shift careers or advance within your current job with ease. As an in-person program requires you to be in classes at specific times, the likelihood of maintaining and advancing within your current career is much lower.
  • Transferable Skillset. Learning online provides students with a unique opportunity to develop computer skills that are highly relevant and transferable to the software engineering field. As software engineering is primarily a digital profession, enrolling in an online program gives you a head start in developing relevant digital skills.
  • More Affordable. Depending on the school, online programs can be more affordable than in-person programs. Aside from that, online programs eliminate the cost of related expenses, such as on-campus housing and other campus-related fees.
  • Networking Opportunities. Although online and in-person programs provide opportunities for networking, online programs give you access to a bigger network.

Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Software Engineering

  • Enhanced Employment Opportunities. Although most employers don’t care or won’t even know that a candidate’s master’s degree was completed online, some do. Despite overwhelming evidence that supports the equal quality of online programs, some employers will enquire and prefer candidates who have studied in person.
  • Diverse Experience. Enrolling in an in-person program exposes you to the diverse experiences that college offers. These same experiences can’t be replicated online.
  • Better Access to Instructors. While you can still reach your instructors in an online setting, it isn’t as easy or convenient as being able to walk into your professor’s office and receive the help you need.
  • Access to Printed Material. School libraries are usually home to a plethora of books and other documents to support your learning. As an online student, you won’t be able to access all of these materials.
  • Networking. While online programs offer unique networking opportunities, they’re rarely as genuine and beneficial as networking in person. Face-to-face interaction increases your chances of reaping the benefits of networking to the full extent.

What Types of Online Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Software Engineering?

A Master of Science (MS) in Software Engineering and a Master of Engineering (ME) in Software Engineering are two options for aspiring software engineers who want to expand their knowledge of the field. Programming and computer science topics are covered in both degree programs.

In a Master of Science in Software Engineering program, students learn about software theory and research. Students typically finish this degree within two years. In a Master of Engineering in Software Engineering program, students are more focused on the practical applications of software engineering.

Is It Better to Get a Master of Science in Software Engineering or a Master of Engineering in Software Engineering?

A  Master of Science in Software Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Software Engineering are both good options. Both are going to help you advance as a software engineer or help you pursue affiliated career paths such as systems architecture, software architecture, and machine learning. Admission requirements are usually similar for both types of degrees, as well.

How Much Does a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering is $19,314 per year. Factors such as the school reputation, learning format, and public or private status, in addition to the student’s residency, affect tuition rates.

In addition to tuition, students need to factor in the cost of campus accommodation, healthcare, and parking, among other considerations. Fortunately, students can avoid many of these costs by enrolling in online programs. Most schools also offer financial aid, scholarships, loans, grants, and fellowships.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Online?

It usually takes about two years to get a software engineering master’s degree online. To earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering online, students typically need to complete at least 30 hours of coursework and a project or thesis. The time it takes to complete your degree depends on the number of credits you take per term.

Are Online Software Engineering Degrees Respected?

Yes, online software engineering degrees are respected. These schools are accredited by official bodies and the classes are taught by qualified instructors who also the in-person versions. The assignments and assessment processes are identical, in most cases.

Is Software Engineering Hard to Learn Online?

Yes, software engineering is hard to learn online, but not because of the learning format. Software engineering is a challenging field to study and learning it online vs in person doesn’t change that. In-person programs have a slight advantage in that students struggling with certain topics can seek immediate help from professors, whereas online programs require students to send an email and wait for an answer.

Software Engineering Bootcamp vs Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?

Online software engineering master’s degrees are better because they qualify you for more positions and high pay. Software engineering bootcamps are a good option for people looking to improve their skills quickly. Below, we’ll discuss some of the top five benefits of online master’s degrees and bootcamps.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Online Master’s Degree

  • Career Goals. Senior roles typically require advanced degrees. This means that attaining your graduate degree can open the doors to high-level career opportunities.
  • Specialization. At the master’s degree level, you can decide to focus on a specific aspect of software engineering you find interesting. You can explore this aspect at length during your thesis or capstone project.
  • Respected Qualification . Having a master’s degree on your resume is an attractive asset to employers. Not only are master’s degrees a higher level of education than bootcamps, but they’re also much more broadly recognized and accepted.
  • PhD Potential. You can pursue a PhD, which is the highest level of education, after completing your master’s degree. Obtaining your PhD in software engineering qualifies you for nearly any position within the field.
  • Breadth of the curriculum. In the span of two to three years, the curriculum of a software engineering graduate program tackles numerous disciplines. You may also be able to take classes in communications, finance, or other subjects that complement your major.

Top 5 Benefits of a Software Engineering Bootcamp

  • Top-notch Instruction. Full-time and part-time bootcamps are delivered by expert instructors who are active experts in the field.
  • Career Services. Bootcamps usually have a career advisor to help students find jobs. The career services team also helps with resumes, interviews, and portfolios. Through these services, many bootcamp students land jobs immediately after graduating.
  • Short Duration. Bootcamps are usually shorter than degree programs. Most bootcamps last three to 12 months, allowing students to enter the field quickly.
  • Structured Curriculum. A bootcamp curriculum is divided into several stages, starting with basic coding skills before progressing to more advanced topics. Unlike a master’s degree program that requires students to study a broader range of topics, bootcamps are career-focused.
  • Peer Collaboration. Bootcamp students work together to create amazing websites and ingenious apps. As a bootcamp student, you’ll enjoy plenty of networking opportunities with your peers, some of whom may already be established software engineers.

Why You Should Get a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Online

You should get a software engineering master’s degree because it will likely increase your earning potential. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology professionals make $88,240 a year on average. This is much higher than the average salary for all occupations, which is $39,810.

Applications are growing in popularity every year, which means demand for software engineering will continue to soar. The BLS foresees that jobs in computer and information technology will grow by 13 percent, which is faster than the average for all jobs.

Further, professionals with a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering can work in fast-paced fields like data analytics, software project management, software systems, mobile applications development, quality assurance, and systems development. Master’s degree holders are also given preference for promotions and managerial roles over those with just a bachelor’s degree.

What Courses Do You Take in an Online Master’s Degree Program in Software Engineering?

Some of the courses you take in an online master’s degree program in software engineering are software construction, systems architecture, mobile app development, software risk management, and web engineering. Keep in mind that every online software engineering master’s degree program emphasizes different topics. Below are some of the courses you can expect to take, regardless of the school you attend.

Software Construction

This software engineering course teaches students how to construct large-scale applications using existing tools in the industry. They learn to develop robust, virus-resistant systems that others can understand. The course usually contains problem sets and a major project in software development.

Systems Architecture

Software classes, functions, and subroutines are all covered in detail in this course. Students  examine how different layouts and frameworks in software produce varied results. They investigate the factors that go into building a solid architecture while putting their knowledge to the test with case studies.

Mobile App Development

This Java-based course teaches students how to build, maintain, and modify mobile apps. Students make their own apps with one of the most popular programming languages and learn how to use tools for testing and protecting as they advance in the class. You don’t need previous knowledge of Java to take this course.

Software Risk Management

Unstable software, insecure data, cost overruns, poor time management, and a number of other inefficiencies are all risks in software engineering. This course requires distance learners to work in groups to understand how to design applications while detecting, minimizing, and reducing these risks.

Web Engineering

This advanced elective introduces students to the principles of developing web-based software. Modeling, performance, architecture, user interfaces, testing, maintenance, and security issues are covered in this course. In addition, learners construct web-based applications as part of their final assignment.

Continuing Education Paths for Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Graduates

Graduates of software engineering master’s programs can further their education by pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Software Engineering, Computer Security, Forensic Computing, Data Science, or a similar field. Alternatively, they can opt for professional qualifications like CompTIA.

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What to Look For in the Best Software Engineering Master’s Degree Programs

There are many software engineering graduate programs available. However, not all of them are worth your time and effort. To get the most benefit out of your program, make sure it has the characteristics below.

Accreditation

Regional and national accreditation ensures that a school’s postsecondary education meets a set of quality standards. Attending an accredited Master’s Degree in Software Engineering program is critical. The accreditation status of a program can affect credit transferability. This, in turn, can potentially affect your eligibility for future PhD programs. The accreditation status of your school can also determine whether a company acknowledges your degree.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

When choosing a school for your master’s degree program, make sure it has financial aid and scholarship options. These forms of funding don’t need to be repaid and can potentially cover the cost of your entire graduate program.  If you work for a company that funds employee professional development, you may be eligible for employer funding.

Cost

Cost is a major factor when it comes to deciding which Master’s Degree in Software Engineering program is right for you. Students should ensure that they’re aware of the exact cost of any potential program they are interested in. Comparing the cost of online programs to their on-campus counterparts can give you a clear understanding of the program’s actual cost.

Program Format

Schools offer different program formats, including part-time, full-time, accelerated, and self-paced programs. For those who are eager to quickly join the workforce, a school with an accelerated program is ideal. In addition, prospective students should think about whether a synchronous or an asynchronous program is best for them.

Career Services

Many schools have a career services department where students and alumni can receive various forms of help with employment. Some resources provided are company partnerships that students have exclusive access to, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, and resume and interview preparation. To ensure you find employment soon after graduating, you should make sure the school you choose offers career services.

What Is the Most Affordable Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

The most affordable online software engineering master’s degree is East Carolina University’s Master of Science in Software Engineering. Tuition for this program is just $5,619 per year, which amounts to just over $11,000 for the whole program.

Can I Get a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Online for Free?

No, you can’t get a software engineering master’s degree online for free. However, there are many forms of financial assistance that can significantly or fully cover your master’s degree program. Financial aid, scholarships, and grants are some of the best funding options to pursue. Students interested in learning about the funding options they qualify for can fill out a FAFSA form.

Salary and Job Outlook for Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Graduates

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Two smiling women working in an office with other employees behind them

Software engineers work for both large companies and small start-ups. Some even work as consultants or freelancers. Some graduates go into software engineering or app designing, while others enter web design or video game development. There are plenty of opportunities to make use of your software engineering master’s degree.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

Computer and information technology, which includes software engineering, is one of the most rapidly growing fields in the tech industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this industry will grow by 13 percent from 2020 to 2030. In fact, the US BLS has predicted that in the next 10 years, there will be 284,100 open positions in the US.

What’s the Average Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Salary?

According to PayScale, a professional with a Master of Science in Software Engineering earns $111,000 , on average, per year. It also notes that the average salary for an experienced software engineer is $117,000. However, these amounts vary depending on your location, company, specific position, and level of experience.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

With an online software engineering master’s degree, you can work in many different industries, including finance, insurance, software development, wealth management, manufacturing, education, and even state and federal government agencies. Some of the roles you’ll qualify for include computer and information systems manager, software architect, senior software engineer, senior Java developer, and software developer.

Software Engineering Degree Jobs

  • Computer and Information Systems Manager
  • Software Architect
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Senior Java Developer
  • Software Developer

Potential Careers With an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree?

You can make up to $371,000 per year as a software engineer, according to Glassdoor. To gain access to this kind of salary, you most likely need a master’s degree and many years of experience. Below, we’ll explore the highest-paying jobs you can get in software engineering after completing your online master’s degree.

Highest-Paying Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Software Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Computer and Information Systems Manager $159,010
Software Architect $128,151
Senior Software Developer $121,138
Senior Software Engineer $121,045
Senior Java Developer $107,721

Best Jobs for Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Grads

There are numerous career options available to those who have earned a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering. Candidates with a master’s degree have a clear advantage in the job market. Below are some of the best jobs for graduates with software engineering master’s degrees.

1

Computer and Information Systems Manager I Average Salary: $159,010

A company's computer and information systems manager is in charge of everything computer-related. It's their responsibility to ensure that the development and technical teams are meeting their goals and following quality standards.

2

Software Architect I Average Salary: $128,151

A software architect decides the procedures and technology the development team should employ. They create high-performing software systems, debug code, and collaborate with other professionals to create innovative products. As a software architect, your job is to identify software solutions that meet your company's technological needs and goals.

3

Senior Software Developer I Average Salary:$121,138

As a software developer, you'll be working with other software engineers to build apps and software programs. Your responsibilities will likely include writing code, testing for bugs, and maintaining the applications you helped build.

4

Senior Software Engineer I Average Salary: $121,045

As a senior software engineer, you'll be responsible for supervising software engineering teams, reporting on their progress to key stakeholders, and staying up-to-date on the latest software engineering technologies and trends.

5

Senior Java Developer I Average Salary: $107,721

Senior Java Developers have a thorough understanding of Java and its various subsystems. Debugging and maintaining Java-powered applications is part of your job description. In addition, you'll have to keep up with the latest programming trends and produce reports for your company's investors.

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Is an Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree Worth It?

Yes, an online software engineering master’s degree is definitely worth it. It gives you a chance to learn about a wide array of advanced software engineering concepts, including engineering management and the design of complex applications. It also makes you a more attractive job candidate and opens the door to leadership positions in the software industry.

Additional Reading About Software Engineering

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Online Software Engineering Master’s Degree FAQ

Do I need a computer science bachelor’s degree to get a master’s degree in software engineering?

No, you don’t need a computer science bachelor’s degree to get a software engineering master’s. Other types of degrees, such as information technology and electrical engineering, are also commonly accepted. If you have no relevant background, some schools offer courses to help you prepare for your program.

What can I do with a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering?

With a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering, you can pursue a range of technical careers, including software development, computer systems analysis, computer and information systems management, and information systems administration.

How long does it take to get a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering?

It takes about two years to get a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering. Most software engineering master’s degree programs require the completion of 30 to 36 credits. Students can often choose to complete their programs full time, part time, at an accelerated pace, or at their own pace.

What do I need to earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering?

To earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering, you typically need a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering or a closely related field. You also might need to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, and GRE or GMAT scores.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Hezekiah Oluwole

About the author: Hezekiah is a content writer and prospective software engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Obafemi Awolowo University. He also has education in project management, digital marketing, SEO writing, and software engineering with a specialty in backend development.

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