Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), University of Southampton

Electronics and Computer Science (ECS)

MSc Software Engineering

Explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to software development to give a strong foundation to advance your ideas.


This programme covers formal methods as well as object-oriented programming. You will enhance your skills in software modelling, design, development, and testing, with opportunities to study specialist subjects such as:

  • computer vision
  • critical systems
  • cryptography
  • distributed computing systems
  • e-business
  • intelligent agents
  • model checking
  • multimedia

You will undertake both a major project and a dissertation, which will give you the opportunity to integrate the material covered in the taught modules.

To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, see How to Apply

Programme Structure

Twelve months, full-time.

The programme has been designed to maximise student choice by allowing you to tailor the structure to suit your own interests. You can choose areas that reflect your personal interests and work on an individual project. You will however, also take a number of compulsory modules to ensure you are exposed to key topics in all areas.

Key Facts

  • We are in the top 10% in the UK for the volume and quality of our Computer Science research (REF 2014)
  • 100% of our Computer Science research impact is world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014)
  • We are ranked in the UK top ten for Computer Sciences by the 2016 Guardian and Times / Sunday Times Good University Guides
  • Southampton is ranked in the top 51-100 universities for Computer Science in the 2015 QS World Rankings
  • Southampton University has pioneered many of the most important advances in computer science and web technology of the past 10 years

Entry requirements

Honours Degree:

Our normal entry requirement is an upper second-class honours degree or higher (or equivalent) in computer science, software engineering, or a closely related subject. You should also have programming experience and be familiar with modern software development techniques.

English Language Requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each competency. For information on other accepted English language tests, please visit www.southampton.ac.uk/admissions_language.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applications from international students. For information on applying, visit the International Office website.

Selection Process:

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (eg hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.



To Apply

You can apply for the programme through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, see How to Apply

Related programmes

Career opportunities

Ali Gondal
MSc Software Engineering

Graduates with this qualification typically go on to work in software engineering research or advanced software development projects.

After my MSc in software engineering I went on to study the topic at PhD level because of the interest I developed while studying in ECS. This was helped by the guidance and support available from the faculty members and factors including programme’s ranking among the top in the UK.

Pre-course reading lists

It is expected that you have taken a first degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a closely related subject. In particular you should check that you have covered the core subjects listed in the ACM/IEEE Computer Science Curriculum

This course assumes you have programming experience, and are familiar with the Java programming language. You can learn about this language, for example, by following Sun's Java Tutorial, which is available on-line and also in book form.

It is also assumed that you are already familiar with modern software development techniques, and in particular the UML notation. This is covered by many good textbooks, for example UML Distilled, by Martin Fowler, from Addison Wesley.

Finally, you should familiarise yourself with a formal method such as B or Z. Two books covering these are The B Method, by Steve Schneider, from Palgrave Macmillan, and Formal Specification Using Z, by David Lightfoot, from Palgrave Macmillan.