Master of Science in Software Engineering

Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE): 45.0 quarter credits

About the Program

The MS in Software Engineering program is a multidisciplinary degree sponsored by the College of Engineering and The iSchool, College of Information Science and Technology. The program, drawing on the strengths of existing Drexel programs in computer science, engineering, and information science and technology, provides a curriculum that encompasses behavioral, managerial, and technical aspects of software engineering and attempts to synthesize—rather than differentiate—disciplinary paradigms and themes. The program is appropriate for students interested in a wide range of application domains.

Drexel University’s Master of Science in Software Engineering degree program was created in response to the growing importance of software to the national infrastructure and the rapid rise in demand for professional software engineers. All students in the program take a core curriculum that spans the scope of disciplinary areas relevant to the degree, thereby providing a common foundation for all students in the program. Students also elect an area of concentration, or track — a cohesive, more specialized set of courses that builds on the core to support each student’s particular career interest. Three tracks are available: information science and technology, computer science, and engineering. The average time to complete this master’s degree is three years of part-time study.

Admission Requirements

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements of the University, all applicants to the program must satisfy the following entrance requirements:

  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education with an appropriate undergraduate major. Appropriate undergraduate majors include, but are not limited to, computer science, engineering, information systems, management science, and mathematics. Applicants may also have master’s degrees in similar fields.
  • After consultation with an academic advisor, students found to be deficient in one or more of the areas below will be required to take foundation courses (these will not count toward the degree) to prepare them for admission to the MSSE program. These foundation courses, to be determined by the advisor, will provide students with the requisite knowledge and skill necessary to begin the master’s program. Foundation courses must be taken at Drexel or another approved university.
  • Applicants should possess the following knowledge and/or experience:
    • Advanced capability to program in a block-structured programming language such as Pascal, C, or Ada, or an object-oriented language such as C++ or Smalltalk.
    • A grade of B or better in an undergraduate course in systems analysis and design or software engineering.
    • A grade of B or better in an undergraduate course in data structures and algorithms.
    • A grade of B or better in an undergraduate course in discrete mathematics.
    • Applicants must demonstrate evidence of an understanding of the development of industrial-strength software applications. This requirement may be met by at least two years of experience working directly with software system development, or (with permission of an advisor) by extensive software-intensive coursework. Students may also be required to have or develop proficiency in particular technologies, operating systems, or programming languages.

How to Apply
Additional details on how to apply to the MS in Software Engineering program depends on the chosen track. Visit the University's College of Computing and Informatics Admissions web site to learn more.

Degree Requirements

Degree requirements vary by track. All students take the required six core courses (18.0 quarter credits). 

Core Courses

Core courses cover topics that are essential for the practicing software engineer.

Computer Science Courses
CS 575Software Design3.0
CS 576Dependable Software Systems3.0
Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses
ECEC 500Fundamentals Of Computer Hardware *3.0
ECEC 600Fundamentals of Computer Networks *3.0
Information Science and Technology Courses
INFO 627Requirements Engineering and Management3.0
INFO 638Software Project Management3.0
Total Credits18.0



For students enrolled in the online program, INFO 631 Information Technology Integration may be substituted for ECEC 500, and CS 544 Computer Networks may be substituted for ECEC 600.


Students in each track follow the policies determined by the respective College.

Information Science and Technology Track

This track supports students interested in applying software engineering to information systems problems in commercial organizations and other settings. The principal focus is the process by which user and system requirements are converted into cost-effective, maintainable software systems. This is complemented by a concern for defining, creating, understanding, and evaluating the full range of software life-cycle products. The track places particular emphasis on information systems methodologies such as human-computer interaction, requirements analysis, modeling, and validation, along with the use of off-the-shelf tools and components to assist in software processes.

Students in the information science and technology track take a total of nine track courses: four required track courses, three courses selected from the track distribution courses, and two courses selected from the distribution courses or other approved electives. This track requires a total of 45 credits, 18 of which are from the required core.

Required Courses12.0
Human-Computer Interaction
Evaluation of Information Systems
Software Engineering Process I
Software Engineering Process II
Distribution Courses 9.0
Select three of the following:
Advanced Database Management
Applied Database Technologies
Analysis of Interactive Systems
Design of Interactive Systems
Information Systems Analysis and Design
Information Technology Integration
Information Systems Management
Two Elective Courses 6.0
Select two of the following:
Knowledge Base Systems
XML and Databases
Social and Collaborative Computing
Introduction to System Dynamics
Data Mining
Total Credits27.0

Computer Science Track

Track Coordinator:  Dr. Spiros Mancoridis, 215-895-6824,

The computer science track welcomes students who are interested in a variety of technical topics pertaining to the development of software systems such as databases, networks, operating systems, graphics and animation systems, compilers, expert systems, and systems for scientific computing. Students will use languages and apply techniques to specify, design, implement, test, and maintain software systems.

Students in the computer science track take nine courses in addition to the six core courses listed above (for a total of 15 courses). Of the nine additional courses, four courses must be from one of the five concentration areas, plus five electives must be graduate level CS courses and two may be fulfilled by any graduate level CS or INFO courses, except for INFO 605 and INFO 530.

Students in their final 3 quarters of study who have a 3.5 GPA or better may take a 9-credit project instead of 3 elective courses. To register for a project, the student must select a project advisor (a member of the CS faculty who is willing to supervise). The project is a large-scale software development effort in which students specify, design, implement, and test a significant software system.

Concentration Courses12.0
Select four of the following:
Computing Systems Concentration
Database Theory
High Performance Computing
Operating Systems
Computer Networks
Advanced Operating Systems
Network Security
Distributed Systems Software
Reverse Software Engineering
Parallel Programming
Computer Networks II
Special Topics in Computer Science (Computer Systems)
Programming Languages Concentration
Theory of Computation
Programming Languages
Compiler Construction I
Compiler Construction II
Program Generation and Optimization
Reverse Software Engineering
Parallel Programming
Special Topics in Computer Science (Programming Languages)
User Interface Software Concentration
Developing User Interfaces
Computer Graphics
Cognitive Systems
Advanced Computer Graphics
Special Topics in Computer Science (User Interface Software)
Artificial Intelligence Concentration
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Robot Laboratory
Advanced Artificial Intelligence
Knowledge-based Agents
Machine Learning
Special Topics in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence)
Theory and Scientific Computation Concentration
Computer Science Foundations
Data Structures and Algorithms I
Data Structures and Algorithms II
High Performance Computing
Applied Symbolic Computation
Computer Algebra I
Computer Algebra II
Parallel Programming
Special Topics in Computer Science (Theory & Scientific Computation)
Total Credits12.0


For additional information on the Computer Science Track, as well as an FAQ, visit the Department of Computer Science's Master of Science in Software Engineering web page.

Engineering Track

Track Coordinator:  Dr. Kapil Dandekar, 215-571-3579,

Students in this track pursue techniques to model engineering problems and offer software solutions. The courses in this track emphasize problems facing engineering industries including electrical, mechanical, environmental, chemical, and others. Systems modeling and simulation techniques will be used to solve these problems.

Students in this track take 27 or more credits of track courses in addition to the 18 credits of required core courses. Three computer engineering courses are required; the other courses are from one of five concentrations. A total of 45 approved graduate credits are required for the MSSE, including the 18 credits of core courses. Students opting for the Graduate Co-op Program (GCP) option are required to complete 51 approved credits, including 6 GCP credits.

For more information on curriculum requirements, visit the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Graduate Student Guide.

Sample Track Courses27.0
Select nine of the following:
Chemical Engineering Concentration
Process Systems Engineering
Advanced Process Design
Civil and Architectural Engineering Concentration
Model Analysis of Structures
Advanced Mechanics Of Material
Structural Analysis I
Structural Analysis II
Structural Analysis III
Behavior and Stability of Structural Members I
Electrical and Computer Engineering Concentration *
Combinational Circuit Design
Sequential Circuit Design
Design for Testability
High Performance Computer Architecture
Parallel Computer Architecture
Advanced Topics in Computer Architecture
Total Credits27.0



Any other ECE 500-level or above course may be eligible for credit for the Electrical and Computer Engineering concentration.

Dual MS Degree Opportunities

Dual Degree Option
MS in Software Engineering (Computer Science Track) Dual Master's Degrees

Graduate students already enrolled in a master's degree program at Drexel have the opportunity, through the dual master's program, to work simultaneously on two master's degrees and to receive both upon graduation. To be eligible, graduate students must be currently working on their first degree when requesting admission to the second. They must obtain approval from the graduate advisors of both programs and work out a plan of study encompassing coursework and/or research (thesis) credits for both degrees.

To satisfy dual degree requirements for MSSE-CS the plan of study must include the following: the core and 4 concentration courses for a total of 30.0 credits. To obtain a dual degree you must have a minimum of 60 credits, thesis (MSSE-CS has a 9-credit project in place of thesis) and research credits will be in excess of the 30.0 credits required by MSSE-CS. Dual degree for MSSE-CS is only available to on-campus students.

The dual master's student must complete the Graduate Dual Degree Form and obtain approvals from both graduate advisors. Final approval is granted by the Office of Graduate Studies. The student is then registered in both majors simultaneously. Upon graduation, the student must file two Application for Degree forms.

Interdepartmental Faculty

Michael E. Atwood, PhD (University of Colorado) Associate Dean for Research and for Undergraduate Education. Professor. Human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, organizational memory.
Glenn Booker, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Software engineering, systems analysis and design, networking, statistics and measurement, process improvement, object-oriented analysis and design, bioinformatics, and modeling of biological systems.
David E. Breen, PhD (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Associate Professor. Geometric modeling; computer graphics; scientific visualization; medical imaging; simulation.
Yuanfang Cai, PhD (University of Virginia). Assistant Professor. Formal software design modeling and analysis, software economics, software evolution and modularity.
Bruce W. Char, PhD (University of California-Berkeley). Professor. Symbolic mathematical computation; algorithms and systems for computer algebra; problem-solving environments; parallel and distributed computation.
Chaomei Chen, PhD (University of Liverpool). Professor. Information visualization, visual analytics, knowledge domain visualization, network analysis and modeling, scientific discovery, science mapping, scientometrics, citation analysis, human-computer interaction.
Susan Gasson, PhD (University of Warwick). Associate Professor. The co-design of business and IT-systems, distributed cognition & knowledge management in boundary-spanning groups, human-centered design, social informatics, online learning communities, grounded theory.
Rachel Greenstadt, PhD (Harvard University). Assistant Professor. Artificial intelligence, privacy, security, multi-agent systems, economics of electronic privacy and information security.
Thomas T. Hewett, PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Professor Emeritus. Human computer interaction and cognitive engineering; development of computing environments to support knowledge, workers, and high performance experts.
Gregory W. Hislop, PhD (Drexel University). Professor. Information technology for teaching and learning, online education, structure and organization of the information disciplines, computing education research, software evaluation and characterization.
Pawel Hitczenko, PhD (Warsaw University). Professor. Probability theory and its applications to analysis, combinatorics, wavelets, and the analysis of algorithms.
Xiaohua Tony Hu, PhD (University of Regina, Canada). Professor. Data mining, text mining, Web searching and mining, information retrieval, bioinformatics and healthcare informatics.
Jeremy R. Johnson, PhD (Ohio State University). Professor. Computer algebra; parallel computations; algebraic algorithms; scientific computing.
Frank J. Lee, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University). Associate Professor. Human-computer interaction; cognitive engineering and science; intelligent software agents for games and education.
Spiros Mancoridis, PhD (University of Toronto) Interim Department Head, Computer Science. Professor. Software engineering; software security; code analysis; evolutionary computation.
Adelaida Alban Medlock, MS (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Introductory programming; computer science education.
Ko Nishino, PhD (University of Tokyo). Associate Professor. Computer vision, computer graphics, analysis and synthesis of visual appearance.
Krzysztof Nowak, PhD (Washington University). Associate Teaching Professor. Fourier analysis, partial differential equations, image processing, wavelets, asymptotic distribution of eigenvalues, numerical methods and algorithms, computer science education.
Jeffrey L. Popyack, PhD (University of Virginia). Associate Professor. Operations research; stochastic optimization; computational methods of Markov decision processes; artificial intelligence; computer science education.
Karkal S. Prahbu, PhD (Harvard University). Auxiliary Professor. Computer and software engineering; advanced microprocessors and distributed operating systems.
William C. Regli, PhD (University of Maryland-College Park). Professor. Artificial intelligence; computer graphics; engineering design and Internet computing.
Dario Salvucci, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University) Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs. Professor. Human computer interaction; cognitive science; machine learning; applications for driving.
Harish Sethu, PhD (Lehigh University). Associate Professor. Protocols, architectures and algorithms in computer networks; computer security; mobile ad hoc networks; large-scale complex adaptive networks and systems.
Ali Shokoufandeh, PhD (Rutgers University) Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs and Research. Professor. Theory of algorithms; graph theory; combinational optimization; computer vision.
Gerry Stahl, PhD (University of Colorado, Northwestern University). Associate Professor. Human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, computer-supported collaborative learning, theory of collaboration.
Lazar Trachtenberg, DSc (Israel Institute of Technology). Professor. Fault tolerance; multi-level logic synthesis; signal processing; suboptimal filtering.
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