The Master of Software Engineering (MSE) degree program covers the application of engineering principles to the building of computer software. The field covers the theories, tools, and methods for systematic representation, design, verification, development, production, validation, and maintenance of software products including programs, prototypes, documentation, user interfaces, training, and evaluation.
All courses needed for the degree are available online to students residing both in and out of the United States. International students interested in this program must contact the Department of Computing and Information Sciences for admission before taking classes. Students never need to come to campus for any coursework.
Careers in Software Engineering
The techniques of software engineering are not only applicable to computer systems software but also benefit software developed for all disciplines. Career opportunities include positions in:
- infrastructure systems
- manufacturing systems
- space exploration
- homeland security
- food supply systems
K-State compiles post-graduation employment information. That information and other career assistance information can be found on the K-State Career Center website.
Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Master of Software Engineering degree is offered through the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering. The department's undergraduate programs are accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Board (CSAB). CSAB is the lead society within the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for accreditation of programs in computer science, information systems, and software engineering, and is a cooperating society for accreditation of computer engineering. The same engineering faculty is fully engaged in the high-quality graduate programs.
The Master of Software Engineering program of study consists of 33 credit hours that must include the following:
1. Core sequence: CIS 740, CIS 744, CIS 748, CIS 771 and CIS 841 (15 credits)
2. Specialty sequence: One of the following specialty sequences (6 credits):
- Bioinformatics (CIS 734 and CIS 834)
- Data Mining and Information Retrieval (CIS 732 and CIS 833)
- Distributed Systems (CIS 725 and CIS 844)
- Intelligent Systems (CIS 730 and either CIS 732 or CIS 830 or CIS 844)
- Security (CIS 751 and CIS 755)
- Web-based Systems (CIS 726 and either CIS 732 or CIS 833)
3. Technical electives: Two additional computer science courses (6 credits; 700 level or above). Other technical courses may be substituted upon approval. Suggested alternatives other than those listed above include:
- CIS 721 - Real-Time Systems
- CIS 736 - Computer Graphics
- CIS 753 - Applied Cryptography
4. CIS 895 MSE Project (6 credits)
All coursework is offered at a distance via K-State Online, the course management system at Kansas State University.
Classes are made up of lectures, readings, videos, discussion boards or other online learning activities. Classes vary in format. There may be quizzes, tests or papers, and students may be required to have a proctor. Students work independently, yet share comments and questions via K-State Online.
Classes are delivered within a semester time frame. Fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks. Summer classes are eight to twelve weeks.
Students must receive a grade of B or better for each course used to satisfy the core and specialty requirements above. In addition, the student must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all graduate courses. As part of the CIS 895, MSE Project course, each student will produce and present a "software portfolio" that contains a collection of documents related to the software development activity. During this portfolio experience, students will complete a significant project that encompasses the majority of the software lifecycle from analysis and design through implementation. The portfolio focuses equally on the process of software development as well as the actual creation of the software.
How to Apply
1. Review Admission Requirements
To qualify for admission into the software engineering master’s degree, students must meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or a related engineering or science area. Applicants with degrees in other areas must have mathematical maturity characteristic of students who have taken courses in symbolic logic (K-State CIS 301) or discrete mathematics (K-State MATH 510).
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the final two years or approximately the last 60 credit hours
- Undergraduate courses in programming, data structures and algorithms (K-State CIS 200, 300, 501), and software engineering (K-State CIS 641 or 642 or equivalent practical software engineering experience)
If the prerequisite courses mentioned above have not been taken, several additional courses may be required to improve the student's preparation for graduate study.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required.
2. Review Application Requirements
- Applications are accepted year-round. Applicants should plan to apply no later than two to three months before the start of the semester. The fall semester begins in late August, the spring semester begins in late January and the summer semester begins in late May.
- Fall semester (begins in late August): January 8
- Spring semester (begins in late January): August 1
- Summer semester (begins in late May): December 1
Students who would like to get started right away but have missed the deadline may take classes as a nondegree-seeking student. Contact us for assistance.
U.S. Applicants: $65
International Applicants: $75
3. Prepare to Apply
Please be prepared to upload the following information when completing the online application.
1) Personal Statement: Statements should briefly describe the applicant’s interest in the program, previous experience, research interests and long-term career goals. In addition, the statement also can mention one or more K-State faculty with whom the applicant has an interest in working.
2) Names and emails of three professional and/or academic references who will provide letters of recommendation. References will be contacted automatically using the email addresses provided by the applicant, but it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure letters are submitted before the program's application deadline.
3) Unofficial transcripts from each institution attended
- Failure to list any colleges or universities from which the applicant received a degree or enrolled in graduate coursework may result in dismissal from the university.
- If transcripts are not in English, the applicant must furnish a translation by an appropriate authority.
- Applicants will be asked for official transcripts after notification of admission.
Tuition and Fees
Online and Off-Campus Courses
Students taking online or off-campus courses through Kansas State University Global Campus will pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live.
Some graduate programs have different tuition and fee structures than what is outlined in the tuition and fee schedule below. A list of these programs can be found on the chart.
Program taught in: