Software Development Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor of Science in Software Development

Offered By: College of Engineering and Technology

Pursue Your Bachelor’s in Software Development Degree From GCU 

As computers only continue to become more necessary in our society, those equipped with skills to spur this growth onward may be prepared to pursue a variety of high-tech careers. As a student in the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Software Development degree program from Grand Canyon University, you will be taught to work with a variety of programming languages, mobile and web technologies, web application frameworks and cloud platforms. With project-driven courses and knowledgeable faculty who work in the industry, you have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to make an impact on the software development field.

The software development program at GCU offered practice and training for the field, rather than learning chemistry and physics concepts I would never use.

Hermes Minimi Bachelor of Science in Software Development, Class of 2021

Sculpting the Digital World: Explore a BS in Software Development

To prepare you to pursue high-tech positions, courses in the on-campus and online software development degree program are designed to provide you with experiences in both the theoretical and applied aspects of software development. Each course is taught by knowledgeable industry professionals who have real job experience with the concepts you are studying. Classes in our software development degree programs incorporate hands-on projects and assignments at every level.

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GCU strives to make higher education accessible for all, which is why we’re pleased to offer a number of online degree programs, including this online software development degree. With our interactive e-learning platform, you can access your course materials from virtually anywhere and enjoy a convenient and flexible learning modality while engaging in meaningful online discussions with your peers and instructors. With no need to commute to our campus, you may find that it’s easier to make your studies fit into your existing schedule while still receiving the same quality of instruction and curriculum that our on-campus students receive. 

If you prefer face-to-face instruction over online learning, you may wish to join our evening program modality. Our software development degree program offers evening classes, catering to the scheduling demands of individuals juggling full-time work or other responsibilities during the day. As an evening student, you’ll meet at our campus in Phoenix for classes on one evening each week, during which you can enjoy in-person academic discussions and hands-on learning activities. 

Guiding Code with Values: A Christian Worldview in Software Development

GCU’s Bachelor of Science in Software Development degree program integrates a Christian worldview into your study of the technology industry. Explore the field and skills of software development ethically and morally from a biblical perspective. Classes offer the opportunity to explore technology and software development through a Christian lens, which is intended to lead to the development of a well-rounded skillset.

Software Development Topics to Expect

In our BS in Software Development program, you will have the opportunity to gain practical experience in real environments and platforms, potentially aligning with your future career. This can prepare you for the common challenges you might face in the workforce, transforming your tech passion into a fulfilling software development career.

Software developers create the technologies we interact with regularly. As a developer, you could have a hand in shaping how our society will use these technologies in the future. Some of the content areas covered in this software development degree program include:

  • Current trends in software design and software development in the overarching field of technology
  • How to use programming languages
  • Building software that meets the needs of your clients and your users
  • The software development lifecycle, from conceptualization to delivery and integration
  • Security principles for application developers
  • Classical algorithms and data structures, including their implementation and application

Skills Taught in This Software Development Degree 

This software development bachelor’s degree was developed to provide you with a thorough understanding and practical skill set needed for a career in the field. The skills you’ll be taught while pursuing a BS in Software Development at GCU include:

  • Fundamental and advanced syntax of web development languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and more
  • Development using a variety of different programming languages, web frameworks and cloud computing platforms
  • Skills in web application security and vulnerability defense to protect important information and maintain information security 
  • Database design and development
  • Technological literacy skills which are necessary to design components of information systems solutions 
  • Teamwork, organizational communication and project management which may help you position yourself to pursue leadership positions

Career Paths for Graduates With a Software Development Bachelor’s Degree

Software development degree programs are intended to prepare graduates for roles in a variety of fields and industries. Jobs in software development can potentially offer you the opportunity to transform your ideas into real technological advancements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers have a median annual wage of $124,200 as of May 2022.1 Additionally, the BLS estimates job growth for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers to be 25% from 2022 through 2032, much faster than average. This indicates that employers expect to hire about 451,200 of these professionals during this time period.2 

$124,200

Estimated median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers in May 20221

25%

Estimated job growth for software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers from 2022 to 20322

After completing the on-campus or online software development degree, you may have the opportunity to pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Software developer
  • Computer programmer
  • Web developer
  • Software quality assurance analyst or tester
  • Computer network support specialist
  • Web and digital interface designer
  • Postsecondary computer science teacher

GCU Offers Institutionally Accredited Software Development Degree Programs 

With a longstanding tradition of striving for academic excellence and quality instruction, GCU is pleased to be an institutionally accredited university. Furthermore, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has continually accredited GCU since 1968. The College of Science, Engineering, and Technology aligns with the university's dedication to maintaining the principles and standards set forth by our accrediting organizations.

Software Development Bachelor’s Degree Program FAQs

You may find that pursuing a degree in software development to be an exciting and challenging journey, but it can also raise many questions along the way. We’ve provided you with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the BS in Software Development from GCU.

Aspiring software developers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in software development, computer science or a related discipline to show potential employers that they have acquired the skills and knowledge needed for the position. In addition to an undergraduate degree, software developers may choose to position themselves to potentially take their careers to the next level by completing a graduate degree, such as a master's in software development program.3

The complexity and wide variety of programming languages can make it a challenge. If you are fascinated with computers, technology and various programming platforms, a degree in software development may be a great choice for you. While the curriculum is designed to challenge you, applying yourself in your coursework and in your projects may help you while completing your degree and working toward becoming a software developer.

Our software development degree requires 120 credits for completion. Most of the software development courses on campus are 15 weeks in length. If you are participating in the online program, the courses are generally seven weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to better understand how long it may take to earn your degree in software development.

During this time, you will complete core coursework, explore theoretical and applied aspects of software design and development and perform hands-on projects and lessons designed to equip you with the skills needed to help you pursue your career path. 

You typically need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify for positions as a software developer or similar jobs. Some employers may prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree, particularly for mid-level or senior positions.3 In addition, the following skills and qualities are helpful for aspiring software developers:3

  • Apply analytical skills when evaluating whether user needs matches functionality
  • Utilize strong communication skills to explain technical issues to nontechnical users
  • Demonstrate creativity when designing and identifying problems
  • Display great attention to detail when seeking potential sources of user mistakes or missteps
  • Present strong problem-solving ability throughout the entire design process

GCU’s software development degree is designed to offer opportunities for students to work on developing these essential skills and qualities.

Software development does not always require advanced math skills and the level of math proficiency needed can vary depending on the specific role and the nature of the software being developed. Many software developers use math as a tool to solve problems and build software, which having a foundational understanding of basic algebra, absolute values, averaging, Boolean Algebra and mathematical logic is valuable for problem-solving, but complex math is not consistently required.4 Computer science degrees often provide essential coding skills and support various aspects of software engineering.

Securing voluntary software development certifications or certificates can help bolster your existing skills and knowledge, potentially making you a stronger candidate in the job market. There is a wide range of relevant certification options for software developers offered by both professional organizations and technology companies.

For example, you might consider pursuing a certificate of completion at GCU, such as our Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Foundations. This certificate may benefit software developers to create more secure and reliable software and contribute to a safer digital environment. Additionally, some software developers may decide to pursue an Undergraduate Certificate of Completion in Java Programming to help validate their skills and provide opportunities for continuous learning and networking in the Java development community. 

The distinction between a software developer and a software engineer lies in their scope and focus within the tech industry. Software engineers oversee the design and development of comprehensive computer systems and large-scale applications, while software developers concentrate on crafting specific, smaller-scale computer systems and applications. This nuanced difference ensures each role plays a critical part in the technology sector's success.6 

Are you ready to pursue your passion for technology by earning a software development degree online or on campus at GCU? Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to learn more about GCU’s software development degree programs.

 

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers as of May 2022, retrieved on Nov. 3, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates. 

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Software Developers, Quality Analysts and Testers retrieved on Nov. 3, 2023.

3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a software developer, quality assurance analyst, or tester. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2023. 

4 Eland, M. (n.d.). Do I need to be good at math to be a software developer? Tech Elevator. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2023. 

5 Stanford, J. (2022, Nov. 7). 14 best software development certifications for 2023. Springboard. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2023.

6 Coursera (2023, June 15). Software developer vs. software engineer: what are the differences in these roles. Coursera. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2023.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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Online: 7 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
60 credits
Open Elective Credits:
20-26 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course introduces the fundamental concepts and syntax of the web development languages including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The course focuses on foundation required to build complex dynamic web applications.

Course Description

This course introduces the fundamental concepts and syntax of the Java programming language. The course focuses on object-oriented techniques in Java with an emphasis on problem solving and fundamental algorithms.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of C# programming language. The course covers program design and development, debugging techniques, structured and object-oriented programming and basic GUI elements.

Course Description

This course focuses on software development using the Java programming language. The course focuses on advanced object-oriented techniques in Java along with advanced topics including file I/O, generics, collections, multi-threading, networking, and unit testing. Prerequisite: CST-105.

Course Description

This course combines coverage of advanced features of the C# programming language with building complex desktop applications. Students acquire advanced techniques in managing program flow, the application lifecycle, security, and data access. Prerequisite: CST-150 or CST-117.

Course Description

This course provides students with the technical skills required to design and implement a database solution using both relational and non-relational databases. Students use data definition language (DDL) to create and delete database objects, and data manipulation language (DML) to access and manipulate those objects. Students gain hands-on experience with database design, data normalization, SQL sub-queries, creating and using views, understanding and working with data dictionaries, and loading and unloading databases. The laboratory reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture. Hands-on activities focus on writing code that implements concepts discussed in the lecture course, specifically creating databases and SQL queries. Prerequisite: CST-105 or CST-150.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to UNIX-derived open-source operating systems. Students explore the history and development trends in open-source OS. The course covers the file system, user commands and utilities, graphical user interfaces, editors, manual pages, and shells. Prerequisite: CST-239 or CST-135 or CST-250 or CST-227.

Course Description

This course covers classical algorithms and data structures, with an emphasis on implementation and application in solving real-world computational problems. The course focuses on algorithms for sorting, searching, string processing, and graphs. Students learn basic strategies to evaluate divide-and-conquer, recursive backtracking, and algorithm efficiency. Hands-on activities focus on writing code that implements concepts and algorithm implementation techniques. Prerequisite: CST-210 or CST-239 or CST-135 or CST-250 or CST-227.

Course Description

This course focuses on the development of dynamic web applications using the Spring framework and the Java programming language. Students employ design and programming methodologies to develop secure, high-performance, database driven applications. Prerequisite: CST-239 or CST-135.

Course Description

This course focuses on the development of dynamic web applications using the ASP.NET framework and the C# programming language. Students employ design and programming methodologies to develop secure, high-performance, database driven applications. Prerequisite: CST-250 or CST-227.

Course Description

Using current development trends, students examine several front-end and back-end frameworks used to build web applications. Students learn how to program these modern frameworks, as well as how to integrate them using traditional enterprise technologies. Prerequisites: CST-120 and (CST-239 or CST-135) and (CST-345 or CST-236).

Course Description

This course examines cloud computing and its transformative impact on the IT industry. Students develop applications using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. The course examines the most important APIs used in leading industry cloud service providers. Students will learn how to use the cloud as the infrastructure for existing and new services. Prerequisite: CST-339.

Course Description

This course focuses on gathering User Stories and decomposing them into a requirements document, design specifications, and technically managing activities associated with software development. Topics cover the managerial aspect of the software development life cycle, delivery, and integration. Hands-on activities focus on communication using professional Agile-based project management software to implement a system for planning, tracking, and auditing the use of resources within the context of a software project. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: CST-239 or CST-135 or CST-250 or CST-227.

Course Description

The first capstone course provides students the opportunity to work in teams to tackle real world applied research and design projects in their chosen area of interest. Students develop a project proposal, conduct a feasibility study, learn to protect intellectual property, develop teamwork skills, budgets, and a schedule for completing the project. Students conduct extensive research, integrate information from multiple sources, and work with a mentor through multiple cycles of feedback and revisions. Students use this course to further develop technical writing and business presentation skills. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: CST-339 or CST-341 or CST-235 or CST-350 or CST-247 or CST-391.

Course Description

This course examines security principles for application developers. The course also examines common security vulnerabilities found in modern dynamic web applications, secure programming practices, and how to avoid and illuminate the common security vulnerabilities. Prerequisite: CST-350 or CST-247 or CST-339 or CST-341 or CST-235 or CST-391.

Course Description

The second capstone course provides students the opportunity to implement and present the applied research project designed, planned, and started in the first capstone course. The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student in the Computer Science program. Students conduct extensive research, integrate information from multiple sources, and work with a mentor through multiple cycles of feedback and revision. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of CST-451 with a grade of C or better.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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