Taught course

Software Engineering

University of Stirling · Faculty of Natural Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants normally require a first or second class Honours degree in computing, or a closely related subject, from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from an institution recognised by the University.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Software Engineering offers in-depth knowledge on advanced topics in Computing Science to existing graduates in Computing or a closely-related discipline. This course has been designed to extend undergraduate computing skills with up-to-date and in-depth expertise in specialist areas of Computing including internet telephony systems, mobile phone applications, web services, computer games technologies, and computer security and forensics approaches.

Computing Science and Mathematics has strong links with industry and is host to world-class research in the areas of Computational Heuristics, Operational Research, Decision-Support, Cognitive Computation, and the Modelling and Analysis of Complex Systems. Students can get a first hand industrial experience through placements with local enterprises and organisations. We regularly invite industry experts to share their expertise through seminars and talks.

Course Objectives

This course has been designed to provide up-to-date and in-depth expertise in specialist areas of computing, such as:

  • Telecommunication Systems
  • Mobile Phone Applications
  • Computer Games Technologies
  • Enterprise Database Systems
  • Computer Security and Forensics Approaches

This course comprises two 15-week semesters of taught modules, a winter programming assignment over three weeks in January, and the MSc dissertation project over three months at the end.

Practical work is a key component in this course. It builds from self contained tasks in the first semester, over the larger Winter programming assignment, to a group project in Semester 2. Finally, the dissertation project (possibly with a company) is the largest piece of work leading to your MSc dissertation.

The Autumn semester comprises four core modules:

  • Database Principles and Applications: Provides a critical understanding of the role of database management systems and the ability to design and implement practical databases.
  • Concurrent and Distributed Systems: Discusses how concurrent and distributed systems may be constructed and parallelism in applications is handled.
  • Computer Forensics and Security: Covers the principles of computer security and their application to forensic analysis, in particular confidentiality, integrity, and availability
  • Technologies for Ecommerce: Provides an in-depth understanding of the how to use Java servlets and JSP to implement an ecommerce website server

During the winter break there is an extended Distributed Systems assignment using Java.

The Spring semester comprises two core modules:

  • Object-oriented Software Design: Focuses on how to analyse and model requirements and develop object-oriented software, through the use of UML and CASE tools
  • Project Management: The evaluation, selection and management of projects through case studies

Plus two electives from:

  • Networking: Investigates computer networks, their layered architecture, services and protocols
  • Decision Support Systems: Covers modelling, simulation and intelligent support systems in organisations
  • Advanced Computer Games Technology: Technologies for game programming, including graphics, animation and sound components for 2D and 3D games
  • Communication Systems and Services: Covers the underlying concepts of Voice over IP communications architectures, web service provision and its role in commercial applications, as well as the principles of applications for mobile phones

You may graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma after two semesters, or you may continue with a three-month project and dissertation to qualify for the award of the MSc degree. It is also possible to study Sofware Engineering part-time.

The MSc Software Engineering will greatly enhance the employment prospects of students. As a graduate of Software Engineering, you will be in demand in a range of sectors including health, IT software organisations, service enterprises, engineering and construction firms as well as in the retail sector.

Stirling computing graduates have a good track record in finding well-paid jobs. Previous students have been very successful in obtaining suitable employment in a considerable diversity of posts – with small companies, with major international organisations including Accenture, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Reuters and major financial institutions such as HBOS, as well as with Local Authority and Government bodies. A number of graduates have continued their studies towards a PhD.

Job profiles include Software Architect, Software Developer, IT Consultant, Application Developer, Systems Analyst, and Web Developer. Some graduates have continued their studies towards a PhD.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21.

Fees and funding

For further information on possible sources of funding, visit: http://www.stir.ac.uk/postgraduate/financial-information/sources-of-funding/

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
27 months


full time
9 months
part time
21 months


part time
9 months
full time
3 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations40
Written coursework / continuous assessment30
Dissertation30 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Dr Mario Kolberg
+ 44 (0) 1786 467436