Graduate Division

Master of Software Engineering

Section 1


Both large companies and small startups in all fields require the expertise of software engineers to help run a successful business or organization.  Everything from developing mobile applications to maintaining a secure cloud infrastructure requires team members to be able to see a project through from planning to implementation to deployment.  As a software engineer, you not only need to be proficient in the technical skills, but also have a demonstrated ability to successfully work in teams.  The Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) program equips current and future industry professionals with both the technical and soft skills to excel in their careers.

The professionally-oriented Master of Software Engineering program prepares students to continue in or enter the workforce and become leaders in the booming field of software engineering. MSWE is designed for a diverse set of students. While many students with backgrounds in computer science will be interested, the program also targets students from other majors such as the sciences, arts, and humanities, as well as local IT professionals whose careers could benefit from formal training in software engineering. In addition to a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, the second main criteria for admission is knowledge of programming in two languages, which may be acquired in a variety of ways, such as in the classroom or through self-learning.

The 15-month, 5-quarter program begins in the fall by exposing students to broad topics in computing through hands-on programming, and then offers specialized software engineering courses covering how existing software is engineered as well as foundational principles of the field. The program guides students through extensive practice in the design, implementation, testing, and maintenance of software, and also prepares them for the non-technical aspects of professional careers. A summer internship and capstone project during the final fall quarter allow students to practice skills learned in the classroom and get a taste of what to expect in the field.  Professional development courses embedded into the program prepare students for interviews and help develop career skills to secure a job after graduation.

Assignments in the program include hands-on group projects to mimic the situations in which students will find themselves in industry, and will allow students to gain firsthand experience with the development of large-scale software systems.  Taught by experts in the field, the courses offered as part of the professionally-oriented MSWE program will cover mature software engineering principles and techniques as practiced in the software industry.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Excellence. You will be part of a world-class group of faculty and students who have an outstanding track record of delivering innovative, relevant education.
  • Placement. We have systems in place to prepare our students for rich, fulfilling careers; while this program is new, alumni from related programs in our department have frequently moved on quickly from early jobs as programmers and software engineers to positions of technical and managerial leadership.
  • Support. You join a team that strongly believes that working together is essential to learning. Whether in the classroom, in your projects, or simply as part of a hallway conversation, we encourage you to speak up, join the discussion and contribute.
  • Connections. Alumni from our department have gone on to work for well-known, innovative corporations, and found successful startups. We stay in touch with them, and can help connect you with them for internships that complement your studies.
  • Diversity. UCI was founded with a focus on diversity of thought, experiences, and ideas. Our department faculty represent a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds and have in-depth collaborations across campus.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Professional Master's Program

Normative Time to Degree

5 quarters

Capstone Type

Capstone Project

Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

All prospective students must complete the Online Application for Graduate Admissions.

Please visit the Applying to UCI and Frequently Asked Questions pages for complete application information and answers to common questions.

Applicants should have the following prerequisites completed before enrolling into the MWSE program:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Knowledge of data structures, such as lists, arrays, trees, and associative arrays
  • Proficiency in two general-purpose programming languages. It does not matter which ones. (Projects in this program involve several programming languages, with Python and Java dominating at the moment)

Financial Support

Do you offer fellowships for students?

Partial Fellowships, of no more than 50% of program fees, are currently available to domestic students only, with demonstrated need.  Fellowship recipients must have a completed FAFSA on file.

Can I apply for the Reader (Grader)/TA/RA positions?

No, students in professional programs are not eligible for TA/RA positions.

Tuition & Fees

Please visit for estimated fees for 2019-2020.

Core Faculty

Crista Lopes
Faculty Director
Professor, Software Engineering

Joshua Garcia
Assistant Professor, Software Engineering

André van der Hoek
Professor, Software Engineering

Jim Jones
Associate Professor, Software Engineering

Sam Malek
Associate Professor, Software Engineering

David Redmiles
Professor, Software Engineering

Academic Data

Data is not yet available, as this is a new program.  The first cohort of MWSE students will matriculate in Fall 2019.

Career Outcomes

Data is not yet available, as this is a new program.  The first cohort of MWSE students will matriculate in Fall 2019.

Students & Alumni

Information is not yet available, as this is a new program. The first cohort of MWSE students will matriculate in Fall 2019.