Credits and costs
Penn State’s Online Software Engineering Degree
Professionals choose our renowned Master of Software Engineering program to learn to develop software products and services through software analysis, design and architecture, system verification, and data storage and retrieval. As a graduate, you can apply your software development skills to implement new technologies in one of the fastest growing professions throughout industry and government.
If you have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or information sciences, you can enter this program to stay competitive and drive innovation and changes in the global environment.
Why Software Engineering through Penn State Online?
Curriculum: The Penn State World Campus online Master of Software Engineering degree offers you a curriculum rich with new information that’s applicable in the real world.
Cohort: From start to finish, you’ll progress through the program with others in your cohort. You’ll gain valuable experience interfacing, collaborating, and networking with peers and faculty while you complete projects remotely, just as teams do in the broader global marketplace.
100% Online: All software engineering master’s degree classes are conducted online by the same faculty who teach face-to-face classes on Penn State’s 24 traditional campuses. You’ll earn a diploma identical to the one earned by resident students.
Your Online Software Engineering Courses
The 36-credit Master of Software Engineering program consists of 12 courses that you will complete in continuous seven-week terms over two years. The courses address the need for software engineers to have a body of knowledge covering a wide array of software engineering topics. They’re designed for a comprehensive coverage of modern software concepts and techniques.
For the final course, you will undertake a software project where you will apply the knowledge obtained in the previous courses to demonstrate the principle activities of software engineering.
The online Master of Software Engineering degree is a 36-credit program that includes a capstone course. The curriculum material addresses industry needs by teaching fundamental and theoretical concepts and includes intensive, comprehensive coverage of modern software concepts and techniques. The material emphasizes a holistic approach, encompassing financial, legal, and presales issues; technical concepts; software design techniques; methods; and project management.
The Master of Software Engineering (MSE) program is designed to help students with a technical background become leaders in the industry, while providing the convenience and flexibility of earning your degree online.
Build Your Professional Network
Penn State's online Master of Software Engineering is an ideal graduate degree program for students with undergraduate degrees in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or information sciences. The online courses are highly interactive and collaborative, allowing you to build strong ties with others and gain perspectives from other disciplines and industries.
Complete Your Engineering Degree in Two Years
The degree consists of 11 courses, which you will complete in continuous seven-week terms over two years. Your course work is designed so that you can continue to work full-time while earning your master's degree.
Maximum flexibility is maintained by the program in an effort to meet both the professional needs of individual students and academic quality standards.
Required Courses (36 credits)
The online software engineering degree program spans six continuous semesters with each semester containing two seven-week terms. The program is completed in two years by taking courses fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Year 1, Semester 1
Year 1, Semester 2
Year 1, Semester 3
Year 2, Semester 4
Year 2, Semester 5 (select 6 credits)
Year 2, Semester 6
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
To be considered for admission, you must submit your completed application portfolio by the deadlines below. Space is limited and you are encouraged to apply early. Applications will be reviewed until all seats are filled.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 15 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 15 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by April 15, 2024, to start May 7, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
The program requires an undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science, or information science. Students from other undergraduate majors with extensive work experience in the software engineering field may be considered. The admissions committee will consider the academic background, as evidenced by the transcript, as part of the overall application.
All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
Official GRE test scores will be considered if submitted, but are not required. GRE scores can be submitted using Penn State's code — 2660.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
References (2) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering the names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of the two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to the recommender requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform the recommender they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
Program Specific Materials
Résumé — Upload a one- to two-page résumé highlighting your full-time employment and/or military experience to the online application.
Statement of Intent (one page) — should outline personal career goals and reasons for wanting to enroll in the program. This statement should be specific and include information about short- and long-term goals and how enrolling in the program may help achieve them. The statement of intent also offers applicants the opportunity to demonstrate writing and communication skills, specify examples of leadership, and provide pertinent information that will assist the committee in selecting candidates who can benefit from and contribute to the software engineering program.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Note about additional hardware: it is a requirement for this online program that students have ready access to a document scanner that allows for the creation of PDF files, which will enable students to submit handwritten homework and exams in several of the mathematics-based courses.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?
Advance Your Career
Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Master of Software Engineering, offered in partnership with the Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, please contact:
For general questions about the program, contact:
Dr. Amanda Neill
Email: [email protected]
For general questions about Penn State World Campus, please contact
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
Adrian S. Barb
DegreePh.D., Computer Science, University of Missouri
DegreeMBA, Finance and Management Information Systems, University of Missouri
DegreeB.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Bucharest
Dr. Adrian S. Barb, associate professor of information science, teaches databases, data mining, and big data courses. He has worked as a database programmer analyst as well as a web developer at University of Missouri. His research interests include data mining, knowledge discovery in databases, knowledge representation and exchange in content-based retrieval systems, semantic modeling and retrieval, conceptual change, ontology integration, and expert-in-the-loop knowledge generation and exchange.
DegreePh.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Oklahoma
DegreeM.S., Industrial Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University
DegreeB.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Tabriz
Dr. Mohamad Darayi, assistant professor of systems engineering, focuses his principal research and key publications on infrastructure network resilience and simulation modeling applications in health care, manufacturing, and supply chain management. He teaches courses in system simulation, risk analysis, network modeling, and data analytics.
Joanna F. DeFranco
DegreePh.D., Computer and Information Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology
DegreeM.S., Computer Engineering, Villanova University
DegreeB.S., Electrical Engineering and Math, Penn State
Dr. Joanna F. DeFranco is an assistant professor of software engineering. She has worked as an electronics engineer for the Navy and as a software engineer at Motorola. Her research interests include software engineering teams, effective teamwork, Internet of Things, and software-intensive critical systems.
Phillip A. Laplante
DegreePh.D., Computer Science, Stevens Institute of Technology
DegreeM.B.A., University of Colorado
DegreeM.Eng., Electrical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology
DegreeB.S., Systems Planning and Management, Stevens Institute of Technology
Dr. Phillip A. Laplante is a professor of software and systems engineering. He has an extensive list of publications and deep practical experience in requirements engineering, development, testing, and project management for a variety of complex systems, including safety critical and embedded ones. He is widely recognized for work in real-time systems, real-time imaging, and applications in the Internet of Things. He is also a pioneer in licensing of software engineers, having led the development and acceptance of the first licensure exam for software engineers in the United States.
DegreePh.D., Software and Systems Engineering, University of Wales Swansea
DegreeM.Sc., Communications Systems, University of Wales Swansea
DegreeB.Eng., Electrical Engineering, University of Wales Swansea
Dr. Colin Neill is a professor of software engineering and systems engineering. He teaches many courses in software and systems engineering and project management. He is the author of more than 80 articles on the development and evolution of complex software and systems and their management and governance. Dr. Neill is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of INCOSE, and he serves as associate editor-in-chief of Innovations in Systems and Software Engineering.
Robin G. Qiu
DegreePh.D., Industrial Engineering, Penn State
DegreePh.D., (Minor), Computer Science, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Numerical Control, Beijing Institute of Technology, China
DegreeB.S., Mechanical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, China
Dr. Robin G. Qiu is a professor of information science at Penn State. He teaches courses on data analytics, information science, software engineering, and cyber security. Dr. Qiu's research includes smart service systems, IoT, big data, data/business analytics, information systems and integration, supply chain and industrial systems, and analytics. He served as the editor-in-chief of INFORMS Service Science. He is an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics and IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, and has more than 160 publications.
DegreePh.D., Computer and Information Sciences, CST, Temple University
DegreeM.Sc. and B.Sc., Electrical Engineering - Systems Control, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Dr. Dusan Ramljak, assistant teaching professor of information science, teaches courses on information science, data science, storage systems, and emerging technologies. He has been applying data science on storage systems in NSF IUCRC projects with HPE, Dell, Huawei, and other companies and has more than 20 years of system administration experience facilitating business and research in the U.S., Portugal, and Serbia. His research interests include solving challenging storage systems, provenance, and caching problems, and developing and integrating distributed and parallel data mining and statistical learning technology for an efficient knowledge discovery at large sequence and temporal databases.
Sally Sue Richmond
DegreeM.S., Information Science, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Art, Penn State
Sally Sue Richmond is an instructor in information science. She worked as an IT professional for more than 20 years prior to teaching. Her research interests include human-computer interaction, engineering education, and teams.
Raghvinder S. Sangwan
DegreePh.D., Computer and Information Sciences, Temple University
DegreeM.S., Computer Science, West Chester University
DegreeB.S., Genetics and Plant Breeding, Haryana Agricultural University
Dr. Raghvinder S. Sangwan is a professor of software engineering. His teaching and research involve analysis, design, and development of software-intensive systems and their architecture, and automatic/semi-automatic approaches to assessment of their design and code complexity. He actively consults for Siemens Corporate Technology in Princeton, New Jersey, and holds a visiting scientist appointment at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a senior member of the IEEE and ACM.
DegreePh.D., Information Technology, University of Nebraska at Omaha
DegreeM.S., Industrial Engineering and Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
DegreeB.S., Information Technology, Bharathidasan University
Dr. Satish Srinivasan is an associate professor of information science in the engineering division at Penn State Great Valley. He teaches courses related to database design, data mining, data collection and cleaning, design and implementation of predictive analytics system, network and web securities, and business process management. His research interests include social network analysis, data mining, machine learning, big data and predictive analytics, and bioinformatics.