Master of Science in Software Engineering

A master’s in software engineering for tomorrow’s innovators

As the world increases its reliance on technology for both simple and complex tasks, skilled software engineers are in higher demand than ever before. A master’s in software engineering will provide you with the education and skills to stand out and push the boundaries of engineering and science further every day.

Earning a graduate software engineering degree from East Carolina University will introduce you to a broad range of topics, including object-oriented design, software systems architecture, software testing, cloud computing, and software project management. Our software engineering degree program combines computer science with software engineering to equip graduates with the skills to compete in the rapidly evolving world of technology and computing solutions.

An in-person and online software engineering degree designed for you

Whether you’re new to software engineering or a working professional looking for promotion with more responsibility, our hybrid on-campus and online software engineering degree program is the most accessible path to earning a degree that will set you apart from the crowd.

Each of our courses fosters collaboration between students earning their software engineering degree online and those studying on campus. This means that no matter which option you choose, you’ll receive the same world-class educational experience while making lasting personal and professional connections with your peers.

Why earn a master’s in software engineering at ECU?

Earning your graduate software engineering degree online or on campus at ECU helps you master the latest breakthroughs in computer and software engineering and hone your leadership skills—all while benefitting from the support of a highly engaged community of likeminded engineers. Here are just some of the reasons our software engineering program looms large among competitors:

State-of-the-art tools and resources

On-campus students in the graduate software engineering program have exclusive access to high-performance computers and computer software for hands-on learning experiences with the same technology that professionals in the field use every day. Students earning their software engineering degree online can benefit from the latest technical knowledge of their on-campus peers.

Distinguished faculty mentors

Thanks to our focus on collaborative research, you will get many chances to work closely with experienced faculty who perform research in diverse specialties such as bioinformatics, data science, programming languages, software engineering, intelligent systems, and cryptography.

Customized degree path

As a student in the software engineering program at ECU, you’ll complete three required courses covering the foundations of software engineering, testing, and project management. You’ll then be able to tailor your course of study using electives from both the software engineering program and the computer science department, in addition to choosing between a final individual project and a faculty-led thesis.

Courses you will take in the software engineering program

Our on-campus and online software engineering degree program will prepare you to design, develop, test, and maintain high-quality, reliable software systems. You’ll become an equally skilled leader and team member through collaborative projects with faculty and peers, solving some of the most important issues in software engineering today.

Whether you’re new to software engineering and computing or have a bachelor’s degree in the field, there’s a pathway for you. We offer a traditional and nontraditional path to make our master’s in software engineering accessible to everyone.

Electives in our software engineering program cover topics like machine learning, network security, and database management. Design the degree that aligns with your professional goals.

View ECU’s master’s in software engineering curriculum in the course catalog.

Hear from our software engineering program students

“The software engineering program at ECU has been very beneficial to me as an IT professional. I currently work full-time as a software tester, but I was interested in continuing my education with a concentration in project management. I was worried that I would not find a program that would fit my needs as a distance education student. Once I began taking courses, I immediately knew the software engineering program was the right fit for me. The professors strive to provide quality education to distance education students, along with face-to-face students.”

—Mary Frances Moore

What can you do with your graduate software engineering degree?

When you graduate with your master’s in software engineering from ECU, you’ll be well-prepared to lead technology teams within any organization to create, improve, and maintain sophisticated software systems. Help your organization run as smoothly as possible while remaining safe and secure.

Open more doors with a master’s in software engineering

Whether you earn your graduate software engineering degree online or on campus, you’ll master both hard and soft skills that will make you a more impressive job applicant and inspiring leader. In addition to gaining skills in advanced software engineering, you’ll also learn how to:

  • Use creativity and imagination to solve problems
  • Communicate effectively
  • Research and develop new software
  • Embrace challenge as opportunity

These skills are sought after in every industry and field across the world: from government agencies and nonprofits to private corporations and startups.

Where are software engineering degree graduates working?

As one of the top-ranked in-person and online software engineering degree programs in the country, our graduates are in high demand throughout North Carolina and the world beyond, thanks in large part to their expertise and experience.

Some positions that our master’s in software engineering graduates have found after graduation include:

  • Software developer
  • Software quality assurance analyst and tester
  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Architectural and engineering manager
  • Computer programmer
  • Web developer
  • Digital interface designer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for computer and information technology professionals is expected to grow by 13% through 2030, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Now is the best time to begin your journey in our software engineering program.

Get started on your master’s in software engineering degree

Take the next step toward earning a graduate software engineering degree. Want to learn how easy it is to earn your software engineering degree online or on campus? We have the resources to answer all your questions and help you get started.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Master of Science in Software Engineering/MSSE program must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School. Acceptance to the program is based on satisfactory undergraduate grades, scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and letters of reference. Completion of an undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, information systems, or a related discipline is recommended for admission. Students from other disciplines or applicants with limited technical expertise are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the program admissions committee. Additional information regarding admission to the MSSE degree program can be found here.

Degree Requirements

Degree information and course requirements for the Master of Science in Software Engineering degree can be found in the current graduate catalog.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to those who qualify. The student financial aid department provides education, guidance, and support to individuals and families in the financial aid process by administering Federal, State, and Institutional aid programs to students at East Carolina University. Please contact the department directly for information.

Important Note to Residents Outside North Carolina

Admission of applicants outside the State of North Carolina to an online degree, certificate or individual online course offered by East Carolina University, is dependent on ECU’s ability to secure authorization from the applicant’s state of residence, if such authorization is required.

East Carolina University delivers online education programs and courses throughout the United States and internationally. All programs have been approved by the University of North Carolina General Administration. Many states have prescribed an authorization process for out-of-state institutions delivering online programs to its state residents to ensure quality post-secondary education, to preserve the integrity of an academic degree, and to instill greater consumer protection for its student citizens.

East Carolina University has taken steps to protect its students and operations through nationwide compliance: by participation in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA); obtaining authorization, approval, exemptions and waivers; or confirming that East Carolina University can operate without such authorization because the state’s laws do not pertain to a public institution, to an accredited institution, or to the ECU’s activities in that state.

As of November 14, 2016, East Carolina University is approved by to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Institutions that are members of SARA are authorized to provide online education to students from all SARA member states. States and institutions that choose to become members of SARA operate under a set of policies and standards overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and administered by four regional higher education compacts. For more information about the SARA initiative and the progress of state and institutional membership.

Because authorization is an evolving area, please check this site again for the latest statement from ECU. For questions or concerns specific to the state authorization process, contact us at

For additional information please contact: CS Graduate Programs at