The MSc in Software Engineering offers in-depth knowledge on advanced topics in Software Engineering and Computing Science to existing graduates in Computing or a closely-related discipline. This course has been designed to equip students with the necessary skills to find employment as a software developer or system architect in the IT/Computing industry.
Computing Science at Stirling has strong links with industry. Students can get a first hand industrial experience through placements and internships with local enterprises and organisations. More specifically, we offer company-based MSc projects to our students where our students can work with an employer to gain valuable commercial experience. We usually place more than 50% of our students with a company for the MSc project duration. We also regularly invite industry experts to share their expertise with students through seminars and talks.
The course is designed to complement and extend a student’s previous education and experience. As such the course offers a high degree of flexibility.
You will also get prepared for finding and securing a great job after completing this course through an integrated structured personal and professional development programme. This course covers crucial topics such as self-image, body language, interview techniques, assessment centre strategies, conflict resolution as well as CV preparation and job targeting techniques.
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 will equip you with the necessary knowledge and expertise to embark on a successful career in the IT and software development industry. Our company sponsored MSc projects will provide an ideal pathway into the industry.
A minimum of a second class honours degree or equivalent in Computing Science/Information Technology. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Science, Computing and Engineering and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto year one of this Master's degree.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
Modes of study
MSc: one year;
Diploma: nine months
This course may be taken on a part-time basis over a period of up to 27 months following a programme of study agreed with the Course Director.
Course start date
Structure and content
This course comprises two 15-week semesters of taught modules, a winter programming assignment over three weeks in December/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. We usually place more than 50% of our students with a company for the MSc project duration.
Autumn semester 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.
Spring semester 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.
Delivery and assessment
Students will learn about advanced topics in software engineering through lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Lectures involve the whole class, while tutorials and practicals are for small groups. Practical work is a key component in our degrees, and provides the opportunity for hands-on experience. It builds from self contained tasks in the first semester, over a larger programming assignment in the winter break to a group project in Semester 2. Finally, the dissertation project is your largest single piece of work leading to your MSc dissertation.
After two semesters of classes you will embark on a three-month project working on your dissertation topic. At the end of the project you will write up your findings as your MSc dissertation. For the MSc projects, we will make a number of industrial placements (usually unpaid) available through the Making the Most of Masters scheme (www.mastersprojects.ac.uk). These will be offered to the best students in the class. Other project suggestions both from external bodies and from within the University are also offered. Furthermore, students' own ideas for projects are encouraged and welcomed.
Why study Software Engineering at Stirling?
Dr Mario Kolberg
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 90 percent of research in Computing Science and Mathematics at Stirling was graded as ‘Internationally Excellent’, with the top five percent of that judged to be ‘World-leading’.
According to the Guardian Newspaper's University Guide 2013, Stirling scores 100% student satisfaction with the course and 95% satisfaction with teaching in Computing Science and IT. For more information, please see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2012/may/22/university-guide-computer-sciences-it
In the National Student Survey (Dec 2012) Stirling was ranked 1st for ‘A Good Place To Be’ and also 1st for its Graduate School.
Hands on experience & industrial placements
Practical work is a key component in our degrees, and provides the opportunity for hands-on experience. It builds from self-contained tasks in Semester 1, over a larger programming assignment in the winter break to a group project in Semester 2. Finally, the dissertation project is your largest single piece of work leading to your MSc dissertation.
After two semesters of classes you will embark on a three month project working on your dissertation topic. At the end of the project you will write up your findings as your MSc dissertation. For the MSc projects, we will make a number of industrial placements available. We usually place more than 50% of our students with a company for the MSc project duration. Stirling is also partner in the Making the Most of Masters initiative, which organises company lead MSc projects. Other project suggestions both from external bodies and from within the university are also offered. Furthermore, students' own ideas for projects are encouraged and welcomed.
Computing Science at the University of Stirling supports the Scottish e-Placement project which provides short and long term (1-year) placements with Scottish high-tech companies. These placements typically are paid and thus a good way of gaining commercial experience and helping with your living expenses.
At Stirling, computing students are prepared for the employer based MSc projects and the workplace more generally through an integrated structured personal and professional development programme called ‘Lift-Off’. This programme covers crucial topics such as self-image, body language, interview techniques, assessment centre strategies, conflict resolution as well as CV preparation and job targeting techniques.
Our graduates have found well paid jobs both in the UK and abroad. Here is some feedback what previous students thought about our MSc programmes. We hope that you too, will soon be a Stirling Computing Alumni!
I had previous work experience as a Technology Analyst. I was looking to do a Masters degree which would give me additional practical and theoretical training in an academic setup to further my knowledge on Software Engineering. The MSc in Advanced Computing at University of Stirling gave me the perfect platform to get some good practical coding experience and also it gave me lots of confidence as a Software Engineer. All the subjects are rightly structured with major impetus on practicals, almost all the subjects have practical sessions and programming assignments.
Making the Most of Masters is a great scheme which University of Stirling is part of, giving opportunities to students to take part in industry sponsored projects. Through this, I was able to do my project dissertation with a major world-wide operating Financial Services Company on Real Time Fraud Detection in Financial Markets, which introduced me to new technologies. It also increased my domain knowledge as well since I was working previously in the Financial Services Industry.
It certainly improved my job prospects as I was asked to apply for a position within the company on completion of my dissertation, but I already had an offer with Barclays Bank in London. I believe the one year I spent at the University of Stirling was the best in my life, it taught me many things personally and professionally. The effort put in by me for the coursework was always matched by my professors, providing me with good opportunities at various times during the course, be it part-time jobs or the MSc project dissertation or help with preparing for job interviews or even personal counselling! A great place for anyone willing to work hard and want to succeed in life.
Kaarthik Elangovan, class 2012/2013
I really enjoyed studying at Stirling University. From the first day, I was attracted by the beautiful scenery of the campus. All the computing science lecturers are very friendly and patient to help with study and settling in the new environment when I arrived. The computer laboratories and facilities provided excellent support to make sure that as a computer science student, I had sufficient time and flexibility to work on the assignments and projects. It was such a memorable experience.
Haipeng Wang, class 2011/2012
My time at Stirling University was fantastic for more than a handful of reasons. The practical classes and tutorials, but especially the group projects are geared towards creating a social atmosphere which was very much appreciated.
The staff are extremely approachable and do not shun you away as a simple student: this means that your ideas and opinions are taken on-board and this really helps you to establish yourself professionally. What's more is that a number of MSc projects are carried out in collaboration with external bodies (my Masters dissertation was conducted with the local government). Lastly, the courses are not only interesting, they have greatly helped me in my career - I currently hold a permanent position with Accenture, one of the most competitive IT consultancy companies worldwide whilst also participating in interviews with Nintendo, Yahoo & Google.
The very friendly atmosphere, professional staff and excellent course content made my time in Stirling very enjoyable. My studies in Stirling gave me the edge over others in getting a good job. I’m very proud and happy that I had a chance to study on this course. I am now a Java and SAS consultant.
Zhenis Yergaliyev, http://www.facebook.com/ezhenis
My studies at Stirling kick started my career! The programme is well structured and each module provides in-depth information on specialists topics. For me, it was a fantastic year and I would give a wholehearted recommendation for this course!
The MSc in 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, Yammer, Google, Microsoft, Reuters and major financial institutions such as HBOS, as well as with Local Authority and Government bodies. A number of graduates of the MSc Software Engineering have continued their studies towards a PhD.
Common job profiles of our graduates are:
- As a Systems Analyst, you will work on solving computer problems. This might involve adapting existing systems or using new technologies designing a new software solution In doing so, you will design software, write code, and test and fix software applications. You might also be involved in providing documentation for users. Typically you would work as part of a larger team.
- IT Consultants closely work with clients (often at the clients premises) and advise them on how to use computer technology and applications to best meet their business needs. You will work with clients to improve their efficiency of using computer systems. This may involve the adaptation/customisation of software applications, or the development of custom applications for the specific needs of the customer. As well as technical duties, you may be involved in project management.
- Applications Developers translate software requirements into programming code, and will usually specialise in a specific area, such as computer games or web technology. Often developers work as part of a larger team. You may be in charge of developing a certain component or part of a larger application.
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS. More information
Computing Science and the School of Natural Sciences at Stirling University are delighted to partner with GREAT Britain Scholarships India to offer three students the opportunity to be awarded the GREAT Britain India Scholarships when studying the MSc Software Engineering. GREAT Britain Scholarships India is a joint programme part funded through GREAT funds and part funded by Stirling's School of Natural Sciences. Three GREAT Britain India scholarships will be awarded to students joining the MSc Software Engineering programme in September 2015.
For more information on this opportunity, please see http://www.stir.ac.uk/scholarships/natural-sciences/great-britain-scholarships---india-2015---msc-software-engineering.html
Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships (SSS) is a substantial programme of scholarships, offered on a matched funding basis between the Government and Scottish Higher Education Institutions. The scheme offers up to 200 awards, each worth £2000. These are towards the tuition fees, for any one year of study, on an Undergraduate, Masters or PhD course at any of Scotland’s higher education institutions.
For more information on this opportunity, please see http://www.stir.ac.uk/scholarships/general/scotlands-saltire-scholarships-.html
For further information on possible sources of funding, visit: http://www.stir.ac.uk/scholarships/