Why This Matters

  • DEMAND FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS IS EXPECTED TO RISE BY 22%

    More than 316,000 software developers are needed over the next decade to develop innovative software for a wide range of needs, from consumer electronics to health care policy enrollments.

  • COMPUTER AND IT ARE EXPECTED TO ADD 531,200 JOBS BY 2029

    The demand for new approaches to computing technology, increased information security, and organizational systems to collect and store big data will create an estimated job growth of 11% in the fields of computer and information technology.

  • SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS EARN ABOUT $107,510 PER YEAR

    With an average hourly wage of $51.69, the typical salary for software developers is more than two and a half times that of the average U.S. worker.

Our Research

This list covers graduate programs in software engineering that teach advanced principles of software engineering. Degrees offered include Master of Software Engineering, Master of Science in Software Development, and Master of Science in Systems Engineering. Programs on this list offer a combination of on-campus, online, and hybrid learning formats.

Accreditation is given to software engineering programs that uphold a high academic standard. The schools on our list receive either national or regional accreditation based on the quality of their curricula. The leading national accreditor for master’s programs in software engineering is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Programs on our list are also accredited by organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 60 hours to write this article
  • 201 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 232 education programs we compared

The Top 48 Master’s in Software Engineering Degree Programs

Best Master's in Software Engineering Degree Programs
01
Intelligent Pick
St. Cloud State University
01
Most Affordable
Kennesaw State University
01
Best Liberal Arts School
Regis University
01
Best Corporate Program
Stevens Institute of Technology
01
Best Research-Oriented Program
North Dakota State University
01
Best M.S. Program
East Carolina University
01
Best in the Northeast
Drexel University
01
Best Specialization Options
University of Houston-Clear Lake
01
Best Private Research School
Carnegie Mellon University
01
Best in the Southeast
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
01
Best Internships
University of Southern California
01
Best Non-Thesis Option
Nova Southeastern University
01
Best for International Students
Southern Methodist University
01
Most Grants Received
DePaul University
01
Best Electives
Boston University
01
Best in the Midwest
University of Michigan-Dearborn
01
Best Public Research School
University of Maryland Global Campus
01
Best in the South
University of West Florida
01
Best On-Campus Program
Arizona State University
01
Best Private Institution
Lewis University
01
Most Flexible Admissions
Colorado Technical University
01
Most Prominent Alumni
Auburn University
01
Best Certificate Programs
Harvard University
01
Best Technology
Florida Institute of Technology
01
Best STEM-Designated Program
Pace University
01
Best Telecommunications Program
Illinois Institute of Technology
01
Best Mentoring Opportunities
Villanova University
01
Best Cohort Program
Pennsylvania State University
01
Best Catholic Institution
Santa Clara University
01
Best Two-Year Program
Northeastern University
01
Best Master-to-Ph.D. Program
University of Delaware
01
Best Alumni Network
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
01
Best Professional Development
University of California, Irvine
01
Best in the Northwest
Washington State University
01
Best for Veterans
Bellevue University
01
Best Student Services
Fairfax University of America
01
Best Faculty
The University of Texas at Austin
01
Best Systems Engineering Program
University of Arizona
01
Best Part-Time Program
Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals
01
Best Urban Experience
Columbia University
01
Most Campus Locations
Strayer University

What You Should Know About This Degree

When choosing to study for a master’s degree in software engineering, you should also consider the master of computer science degree. Computer science programs focus on the relationship between data and computers and demonstrate how to write software and develop websites and applications. Software engineering programs share a similar curriculum but with a focus on programming languages and electrical engineering. Computer science incorporates specialized fields such as artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning and relies heavily on math and logic. Software engineering programs specialize in software testing, design, and development.

Certifications in software engineering can help give graduates a competitive advantage and may also increase their earning potential. Most certifications in the field of information technology require students to pass an exam to demonstrate their knowledge of each specialization. Certifications to consider include Microsoft Technology Associate Developer, Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer, and Citrix-Certified Associate-Virtualization.

The job outlook for software engineers is very positive, with a growth rate that is significantly higher than the national average. This demand is partly due to the need for new software that can keep up with mobile technology advancements.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching master’s programs in software engineering:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree in software engineering must hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as software engineering or computer science. Many programs will require a minimum GPA, and some may require professional work experience.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Master’s programs in software engineering require 18 to 24 months to complete. Many programs are designed for students who are also working full-time. The schools on our list require between 30 and 54 credits to graduate.

Research application requirements and deadlines for the programs to which you are applying. Visit the school’s website to find detailed application and admissions information.

Consider how you will fund the cost of your master’s degree. You could be eligible for scholarships and grants to reduce tuition fees. Some employers might also partially or fully cover the cost of your graduate education.