Online Master’s in Software Engineering Degree Program

Master of Science in Software Engineering

Offered By: College of Science, Engineering, & Technology


Job growth for software developers1


Median annual wage for software developers2

Pursue Your MS in Software Engineering From GCU

Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Software Engineering program designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed in the ever-evolving field of software engineering. This program is designed for you if you have a passion for technology, want to learn more about software engineering and are looking to position yourself for possible career advancement. 

The MS in Software Engineering program aims to provide a comprehensive curriculum that covers topics such as software architecture, design methodologies, software testing and project management. With a focus on practical applications and hands-on experiences, you will have the opportunity to work on projects that are relevant to the industry, which can prepare you for a career in software engineering. 

If you are seeking to be involved in all stages of the software development cycle, apply advanced knowledge and skills, and leverage new technologies to enhance the quality of life by solving problems, the MS in Software Engineering degree could be the right fit for you. You will be taught how to develop the next generation of software products and services used by consumers, industries and government.

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GCU’s online software engineering program was built to meet the needs of working professionals. This flexible online master’s in software engineering program can allow you to pursue your education while maintaining your personal and professional commitments through conveniently scheduled coursework. 

Master’s in Software Engineering Coursework and Topics

The master’s in software engineering online courses at GCU are academically rigorous, project-focused and offer opportunities to develop hands-on skills. You can gain a deep understanding of software engineering principles and practices, as well as the ability to apply them to practical software development projects. Some of the topics you will learn in this MS in Software Engineering including:

  • Software design and architecture
  • Software development methodologies
  • Software testing and quality assurance
  • Project management embedded systems and IoT development

Additionally, you may have the opportunity to specialize in specific areas of software engineering such as data analytics, mobile application development or artificial intelligence. 

Skills Acquired in a MS in Software Engineering Program

Learners exit the master’s in software engineering program having had the opportunity to gain both advanced technical engineering skills and effective management skills. Course curriculum includes comprehensive, intensive coverage of the following:

  • Modern software concepts and techniques
  • Emphasizing a holistic approach encompassing financial and legal issues
  • Technical concepts
  • Security
  • Software design
  • Project management

These master’s in software engineering skills can help you position yourself for possible career-advancement. Software engineers have the power to produce innovative solutions that can have an immense impact on the world. Using technology, software engineers can meet specific needs, considering public health, safety and welfare while utilizing cutting edge techniques, skills and tools.

Career Pathways for Master’s in Software Engineering Degree Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for computer and information systems managers is on track to grow by an estimated 16% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 The MS in Software Engineering degree at GCU can help to prepare you for a variety of fields, which may include:

  • Architecture and engineering manager
  • Database architect
  • Software developer
  • Software quality assurance analyst and tester
  • Engineering teacher (postsecondary)

A master's degree in software engineering can provide you with the leadership skills necessary to effectively lead teams and manage employees. These leadership skills, coupled with advanced knowledge of software engineering principles and practices, can prepare you for a variety of industries that rely on software development and technology solutions. As a graduate of the master’s in software engineering degree program, you may work in a variety of settings including:

  • Mobile application development
  • Gaming
  • Social media
  • Healthcare
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance
  • Education institutions
  • Technology supply
  • Research 

Master of Science (MS) in Software Engineering FAQs

If you are considering an MS in Software Engineering degree that provides advanced skills in software design and development, including maintenance and project management skills, you may have a number of questions about the program and what it entails. We’ve gathered a list of frequently asked questions about the master’s in software engineering online program.

An MS in software engineering degree is meant to be challenging and to push you to develop advanced skills. The difficulty of an online master’s in software engineering degree can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the need to be self-disciplined, highly motivated, able to manage time effectively and stay on top of coursework without face-to-face reminders. However, online programs may offer more flexibility and convenience, allowing you to balance your studies with other commitments such as work and family. While an MS in software engineering degree can be challenging, an online program can offer opportunities and benefits if you are prepared to work hard and stay committed to your studies.

The average salary for master’s in software engineering online degree graduates can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the location and size of the employer, the specific job role and your level of experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers have a median annual wage of $120,730, as of May 2021.

Preparing for a Master of Science in Software Engineering requires a combination of technical skills and academic readiness. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for a MS in software engineering:

  • Build a strong foundation in programming.
  • Learn about software development methodologies.
  • Stay current with the latest technologies.
  • Maintain strong math and algorithmic skills.
  • Improve communication and teamwork skills.

An online master’s in software engineering degree requires a total of 38 credits for completion. Most of the classes are 8 weeks in length. However, most online degrees are flexible and can be completed at your own pace. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor to better understand how long it takes to earn your master’s in software engineering online.

Learn more about the field of technology by earning a Master of Science in Software Engineering from GCU. For more information about our online master’s in software engineering degree, contact a university counselor or apply today.

1 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 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Systems Manager, retrieved on May 23, 2023. 

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers as of May 2021, retrieved on March 28, 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.


Total Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

Course List

38 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
38 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course reviews probability, distributions, statistical methods, and data analysis, in the context of computational science. Students use statistical computing software to analyze, visualize, and communicate results.

Course Description

The course covers the theoretical fundamentals of computing, and analysis of the inherent capabilities and limitations of computation. Topics include advanced techniques in formal algorithm analysis, classical and modern algorithms, P and NP, polynomial-time reduction, NP-completeness and NP-hardness. Prerequisite: DSC-510.

Course Description

This course covers leading the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) processes: planning considerations for product definition, development, test, implementation, and maintenance. The course also covers software requirements elicitation and architecture synthesis.

Course Description

This course involves the study of concepts, principles, and scope of software system architecture, including architectural styles, languages, leadership in driving architectures, connectors, middleware, dynamism, analysis, testing and domain-specific approaches. Prerequisite: SWE-520.

Course Description

This course covers theories of management, methodologies, and their application to software projects. It also covers leadership in driving successful teams in SDLC projects, economic analysis of software products and processes, software cost and schedule estimation, planning and control. Prerequisite: SWE-530.

Course Description

This course explores the implementation of security best practices from a software engineering perspective. The course also comprehensively explores current initiatives in the industry, such as defensive programming and proper security planning, and focuses on security throughout the entire SDLC process. Prerequisite: SWE-540.

Course Description

This course covers the manner and methods software engineers use to research an review current and emerging technologies. Topics explain how the various technologies and implementations could be used. Prerequisite: SWE-550.

Course Description

This course covers embedded systems and IOT device development. Students will complete activities in which embedded system development is used. Prerequisite: SWE-560.

Course Description

Students conceptualize, design, and present an innovative idea, process, or a product in the field of software engineering. Projects synthesize and apply knowledge from previous courses and include a scientific report anchored in current theory and research. Prerequisite: SWE-570.


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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