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Software Engineering

MSc or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2020



Course length

Full time: MSc - 12 months; MSc with placement 24 months; PG Dip - 6 months; PG Cert - 3 months

Part time: MSc - 24 months; MSc with placement 36 months; PG Dip - 18 months (12 months study time); PG Cert - 6 months


Accredited by the British Computer Society (CITPFL, partial CEng)

  • The British Computer Society


Our BCS accredited MSc in Software Engineering will equip you to begin a career, or undertake further study in this important and exciting area.

The most complex engineering artefacts are now software systems. It is important that software should be of high quality; built on schedule, without error and safe. You will combine scientific and engineering principles with sound practice. And ensure the production of high-quality, reliable software that performs as it is designed to.

The course will provide you with:

  • an understanding of software engineering principles (and their application)
  • design skills
  • knowledge of good management practice
  • computing science
  • mathematical formalism.

Our teaching is informed by state-of-the-art research being undertaken in the department. You'll have the opportunity to work with internationally renowned academics. As well as alongside members of our Dependable Systems Research Centre.

Female and male student working together on a computer

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

You should normally hold a first degree equivalent to at least a British lower second-class bachelor’s degree in a computing-related subject. If your first degree is not in computing but you have worked in the computing industry you can also be considered.

For entry to the Postgraduate Certificate Research Project you should provide evidence of experience in research and study methods at an appropriate level.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If the first language is not English, evidence is required of either -

  • a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with an IELTS score of 6.0 or greater in the reading and writing component

  • OR

  • an equivalent English language qualifications acceptable to the University.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£8,000 (Masters); £7,000 (Diploma); £4,000 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

Home/EU sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Home/EU full time
£8,200 (Masters); £7,200 (Diploma); £4,100 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£8,000 (Masters); £7,000 (Diploma); £4,000 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

Home/EU sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

2021 / 22
Home/EU full time
£8,200 (Masters); £7,200 (Diploma); £4,100 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

The full-time fees quoted are for the taught Year 1. Fees will be charged for the placement year in Year 2 and are available on request from in May 2020. For approximate fee levels of the placement year see the placement fee above.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Students on placement are responsible for living costs associated with their placement.

Learning and assessment

A modular course unit design gives you flexibility and choice. To qualify you need to achieve credits depending on the level of award you are studying.

MSc in Software Engineering

You need 180 credits including:

  • six taught modules (20 credits each)
  • dissertation (60 credits).

MSc in Software Engineering with placement

Gain valuable workplace experience with a one year, industry work placement. Placements are not guaranteed but our dedicated placement team help you to find and apply for them.

You need 180 credits including:

Postgraduate Diploma in Software Engineering

You need 120 credits (six taught modules, 20 credits each).

In some cases, it may be possible for you to do three 20 credit taught modules plus your dissertation (60 credits).

Postgraduate Certificate in Software Engineering

You must achieve 60 credits (three taught modules, 20 credits each).

We also offer a Research Project.

  • six taught modules (20 credits each)
  • dissertation (60 credits)
  • zero-credit placement module.
Female student studying in a computer room

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Advanced Software Development

This module studies the current practices, skills and techniques applied to managing software development related projects, individually and in project teams. The module combines theory with pragmatic and professional insights and considers requirements engineering, project management, risk, quality assurance, usability and HCI issues.

Research, Scholarship and Professional Skills

This module is designed to equip students with the tools necessary for the scholarship and research skills needed for the computing field as well as equipping them with the professional skills and outlook needed for a lifelong career in the computer industry.

Advanced Software Engineering

This module explores the techniques used to keep programs error-free at every stage of the software lifecycle. In particular, it focuses on the process of reasoning about the properties of programs and on machine-assisted refinement from specification to implementation. It also introduces various mathematical concepts of software engineering.

Secure Programming

It is increasingly important that software must not only be functional and reliable but also secure. This module looks at the key concepts and principles used in constructing secure software and in auditing and making secure, existing software.

Secure Systems Architecture

This module studies computer and network security and the ways that computer systems can be secured. This module will look at both the technological and human issues involved in securing and assessing the security level of a modern networked computer system. It also introduces basic concepts of operating systems and architecture.

Optional modules

Compiler Construction

This module studies the principles, methods and techniques of compiler construction for imperative programming languages and the role of language tools in the broad context of software development. Students will work in small groups to create a compiler for a Java-like, high-level programming language.

Paradigms of Programming

This module enables students to broaden their existing understanding of programming by learning and practising multiple programming styles and programming technologies; by studying the underlying disciplines of programming language design, compiler/interpreter construction, formal properties of programming languages and low-level development.


Optional modules


The MSc in Software Engineering with placement enables you to work in industry for a year in the middle of your course to give valuable workplace experience. Placements are not guaranteed, but the Department's dedicated placement team will help with the process of finding and applying for placements.

Final project

Compulsory modules


This is an individual research and development project that allows you to study a topic of your choice in depth, guided by your supervisor. The work may be undertaken in close co-operation with a research, industrial or commercial organisation. You undertake your dissertation over the summer period.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include:

  • lectures, which provide a theoretical basis
  • practicals, which are used to strengthen your understanding by active involvement.
  • On some occasions, lectures are held in the computer labs so that you can apply the knowledge learned immediately.

On some occasions, lectures are held in the computer labs so that you can apply the knowledge learned immediately.

Many of the modules are enriched by the teaching staff's research expertise. Visiting lecturers are also invited from research organisations and industry.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is based on a combination of examination, coursework and dissertation. Our assessment methods used have been developed across all computing MSc courses at Oxford Brookes to provide varied support. And to include opportunities for you to discuss your work directly with the lecturers.

Assessments include:

  • coursework exercises
  • presentations
  • lab work
  • reports
  • examinations.


The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics is home to world-leading and award-winning research. Our focus is on user-inspired original research with real-world applications.

Staff are engaged in world-leading research in our Applied Formal Methods Research Group and Applied Software Engineering Research Group which feeds directly into teaching. Particular areas of interest are:

  • Design Patterns for Cyber security
  • Automated Testing
  • The Algebra of Multirelations
  • Cloud Computing and Service-Oriented Computing
  • Agent-Oriented Programming
  • Functional Programming
  • Risk Driven Requirements Engineering and Analysis
  • People focussed Mobile Application Design
  • Machine Learning for Software Engineering Decision Making
  • Cognitive Robotics

Other research groups within the school include:

After you graduate

Career prospects

Our MSc students come from all over the world and graduate to follow careers in technical, business-related and creative roles, for example as:

  • software developers
  • engineers
  • managers
  • consultants.

Whatever their interest, our graduates tell us that the relevance of our courses, and the skills they've learnt, enable them to achieve their goals and build their careers.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.