Software Engineering

Study software engineering and graduate with a university degree

This course achieved 80% student satisfaction in the most recent National Student Survey

Fascinated by technology and software, and keen to work with colleagues in the creative process? Well, teamwork is the secret of the Software Engineering industry because the complex systems which Software Engineers design and build are often too large for a single person to develop alone.

On this course you will study practice and techniques for real-world software design and associated programming technologies – proving the theory with practical experience in software development and teamwork.

You will learn how to reason logically, analyse problems and resolve them by building effective computer systems – the course’s large practical element, ensuring you are well prepared for an IT career. Our graduates are high sought-after in the industry.

We help our students to build a strong link with industry through three-month summer placements and one-year placements. Both of these are offered to Year 3 students. Placement opportunities exists with local SME as well as large corporates. 

We are a small, friendly team with an ‘open-door’ policy for students. Our computing labs are fitted with state-of-the art PCs.


BCS Educational Affiliate The BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT is the foremost professional and learned Society in the field of computers and information systems in the UK.

The BSc (Hons) course in Software Engineering gives full accreditation for the educational requirements of Chartered Information Technology Practitioner (CITP) registration, which is the professional member level of the BCS, and partial accreditation for Chartered Engineer status. Further training and experience is required for full registration.

Entrance requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
BBBB - one sitting
ABBB - two sittings

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv Higher:
ABB - one sitting

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points<

Essential subjects:
To include Computing and relevant experience of Java or other programming languages.

Other qualifications

Year one minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Advanced entry may be possible with an HNC/D in Computing but is dependent upon course content.
Please consult our Advanced Entry pages for more information.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.
Mathematics Standard Grade (3), Intermediate 2, GCSE (C) or equivalent required.

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those students who do not meet the required criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Science, Computing and Engineering to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Course contact

Dr Bruce Graham University of Stirling

Alternative routes

Year 1

For entry to Year 1, Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Year 2

A Scottish HND in related subjects with BB in graded units in Year 2 can give direct entry to Year 2 of our degree courses.

Year 3

We have an Articulation Agreement with Forth Valley College in Computing Science (Software Development) with As in graded units to allow students direct entry to the Honours course in Year 3.

Find out more

Degree course

There are three closely related computing degrees on offer at Stirling: BSc (Hons) Computing Science, BSc (Hons) Software Engineering and BSc (Hons) Business Computing. During the first three semesters students on all related courses are required to take the same core modules in Computing Science. Students take Computing Science plus two other subjects in Year 1.

The BSc (Hons) Applied Computing degree follows a different syllabus for semester 1-4.

Semesters 1 - 3

You will take core modules encompassing study in the following areas:

  • Computational Thinking
  • Programming Using Java
  • Social and Professional Issues
  • Usability and Accessibility of Interfaces
  • Data Structures, Objects and Algorithms

In Semester 1, we understand that students have a variety of backgrounds and we can adapt the course to suit previous experience and qualifications. Students studying the Single Honours Software Engineering degree are required to take a Mathematics module in Semester 1.

Semesters 4 - 8

The course in Semesters 4 – 8 comprises both core compulsory modules and optional advanced modules, giving you a chance to explore your particular interests.

After Semester 6 we offer optional industrial placements. The three-month summer placements take place June-August. The more substantial one-year placement starts in September and runs to the end of August the following year effectively extending the length of the course to five years. Both types of placements appear on the academic transcript, with the one-year placement leading to a degree title of BSc (Hons) Software Engineering with Industrial Placement.

Core modules include:

  • Software Engineering (involving group work)
  • Computer Systems
  • Managing Information
  • Databases: Principles and Applications
  • Multimedia and Human Computer Interaction
  • Communications and Networks
  • Concurrent and Distributed Systems

Optional modules include:

  • Computer Game Technologies
  • Computer Security and Forensics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Technologies for E-commerce
  • Telecommunications Systems and Services
  • Web Services
  • Information Systems
  • Computing and the Brain
  • Modelling for Complex Systems
  • Computing Science Industrial Summer Placement
  • Computing Science Industrial one-year Placement

Honours students undertake an independent project in their final year. Typically, this involves developing a major piece of software from initial requirements to final delivery.

Module titles

Year 1

  • Introduction to Computing Science
  • Programming and User Interface Design
  • Discrete Structures

Year 2

  • Data Structures, Objects, Algorithms
  • Systems I
  • Programming Language Paradigms
  • Managing Information

Year 3

  • Software Engineering I
  • Database Principles and Applications
  • Multimedia and Human Computer Interaction
  • Software Engineering II
  • Computer Game Technologies
  • Communications and Networking
  • Information Systems
  • Computing Science Industrial Summer Placement
  • Computing Science Industrial one-year Placement

Year 4

  • Concurrent and Distributed Systems
  • Language Implementation
  • Computer Security and Forensics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Technologies for E-commerce
  • Telecommunications Systems and Services
  • Web Services
  • Computing and the Brain
  • Modelling for Complex Systems
  • Computing Science Project
  • Enterprise Portals

Teaching and assessment

You will learn about Software Engineering through lectures, small tutorial groups and most of all through laboratory work. Software Engineering is taught as a very practical subject, and almost all modules include practical assignments. Typically, these count for 50 percent of the assessment grade, with the remainder given to the examination.

For the Honours degree, the grades for all advanced modules taken in Semesters 5 – 8 are combined to give the final classification.

Study abroad

You have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connections with several international universities.


In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 90 percent of the research in Computing Science and Mathematics was graded as ‘Internationally Excellent’, with the top five percent judged to be ‘World-leading’.


Computing Science and Mathematics has strong links with Scottish industry through its Industrial Advisory Board (IBM) – with members from both Scottish and international industries such as IBM, HSBC and Adobe. Through the IAB we:

  • maintain links with potential employers, giving students an insight into the types of job they may find and giving employers a chance to find the right employees now and influence what is taught in the future
  • transfer knowledge and technology from the university to a wide user base
  • make our research relevant to the user base
  • collaborate with the user base on joint research and development projects

We offer three-month Industrial Summer placements and one-year Industrial Placements. Our placements allow students to practise their analytical and problem solving skills as well as their software design and implementation skills in an industrial setting. Besides differentiating themselves from their peers, students gain substantial experience in a commercial environment before they graduate making them highly employable.

Academic strengths

We are very active in research. We have funded research from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), from the European Community and from other sources.

We provide a stimulating and lively environment for all students. Final-year Honours projects can be associated with active research projects. Research areas of particular interest are Applied Formal Methods, Medical Informatics, Computational Intelligence, and Communications and Services.

94% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education, 2012/13).

Career opportunities

Graduates will have a knowledge of Software Engineering as a coherent discipline, together with a wide range of IT skills. Our industrial placments will ease your transition into the job market.

Students will be particularly well equipped to enter either the software industry itself or one of the many fields in which computer systems are extensively used and developed. Typical career paths include: software engineering, analyst programming and IT consultancy. Recent destinations for our graduates include KANA, Logica, Microsoft, Agilent, DERA, Marconi Systems, Adobe Systems Inc., and Xerox.

Fees 2016/7

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,760.00
Scottish and EU students TBC
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2015/6

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 13,425.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Software Engineering
  • Degree award BSc (Hons)
  • UCAS Code G600
  • Type Campus based, Full-time
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