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Master of Science Software Engineering

WVU's software engineering programs are unique, fully online programs that provide graduate-level software engineering expertise to individuals who are currently working in the software engineering and information technology industry. The programs serve both adult learners from the regional software engineering and information technology industry as well as distant learners taking the course from remote locations. Our typical student is a full-time software engineering professional who wishes to augment his or her work experience with additional academic enrichment.

Statler College offers two programs at WVU—a Master’s of Science in Software Engineering, consisting of five core courses that cover the five pillars of the software engineering life cycle and five to six advanced topic courses depending on the option selected (course work only, problem report or thesis), and a Graduate Certificate in Software Engineering, consisting of the same five core courses as the Master’s of Science in Software Engineering and a certificate paper. Once the Graduate Certificate is completed, the learner may apply to the MSSE.

The courses for both programs will be available using the WVU eCampus website and live sessions with the instructor at least one evening per week via the Internet.

For more program insights from the program coordinator and others in the program:

Check out our blog

one of the best online graduate Software Engineering programs

Our programs have been ranked among the top universities in the nation including best software engineering degree, most affordable online software engineering degree, and best online graduate programs for over five years.

Ranked 28th by in 2022 in
Best Online Master's in Computer Information Technology Programs

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Hear what our students are saying

The MSSE program was a GREAT program in terms of addressing the real-world challenges related to software development. We had a good mix of theory and real-world operational challenges. Further, our faculty and peer students had an amazing mix of experiences which provided a solid foundation for any technology leaders looking to expand their education and knowledge.

Brian Collins

M.S. Software Engineering

Online learning allowed me to learn to discipline myself and that discipline is what allowed me to easily adapt to remote working a year ago. I also learned how to self-organize and create my own schedule to get things done. I think I gained a greater ability to work independently, while still having the ability to get support from faculty and peers.

Danielle Lewis

M.S. Software Engineering

WVU's software engineering program attracts a variety of applicants, from seasoned professionals to those just starting their career in the software industry field. While our program is offered entirely online, the total number of available seats for each entry term is limited to keep class sizes small and enable one-on-one interaction between students and instructors. Admission to the software engineering program is competitive and depends on a variety of factors, including undergraduate academic performance, years of relevant experience, references and a personal statement.

CURRENT ACADEMIC CATALOG: Note - your catalog is based upon your start semester/year.

Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE)

Graduate Certificate in Software

Applications Accepted Anytime

The software engineering program operates on a rolling admissions basis and qualified applicants may be accepted earlier than the six weeks from a completed application packet. There may be several weeks between the time you submit your application and when you receive an admissions decision. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision, whether accepted or rejected; however, the timing can vary depending on when the complete application is received. Applicants are encouraged to apply before the program’s priority/early application deadline in order to receive full consideration.

As long as a completed packet with all required materials has been submitted to Admissions 6 weeks prior to the start of a semester you will be considered for that semester. As long as you receive an acceptance letter from the Admission Office the week of final registration for a semester, you may begin that semester.


Once accepted to the program, obstacles may arise that prevents a student from starting courses in their intended term. For these rare situations, students may choose to defer to a later term. Students who choose to defer may do so for up to two terms from their intended start date. If a student wishes to defer their enrollment more than two terms, the student must contact Dale Dzielski, Program Director, for further assistance.

Acceptance Notification

If application materials are received by the corresponding application deadline, students selected for admission to the software engineering program will be notified of acceptance within five (5) business days of completed application and transcript receipt.

Apply Now


Contact Dale Dzielski, Program Director.


Offered completely online and requiring no supplemental on-campus residency, the software engineering program is accessible and affordable for students from around the world. Tuition and fees for the program are calculated on a per credit basis and are based upon the current WVU Graduate On-Line Tuition and Fees Schedule

Financial Aid

WVU's Financial Aid Office will work with you to access federal student loans to assist with the costs of your master’s degree education. You can contact the WVU Financial Aid Office at 304-293-5242.

Software Engineering Program Policy on WVU Employee University Tuition Waivers

WVU employees are welcome to apply to the software engineering program. WVU Graduate Education and Life allows eligible employees to receive waivers for a maximum of one graduate certificate in addition to one master’s degree and one doctoral degree.

In order to apply as a University tuition-waived student, applicants are required to identify themselves as qualified to receive an employee University tuition waiver on the graduate application by indicating that they currently work for WVU. In addition, applicants who qualify for the employee University tuition waiver must complete all components of the application and admission requirements before they can be reviewed or considered for admission to the software engineering program.

Admission to the program is competitive. The software engineer program reserves the right to deny admission to any employee applicants who do not meet the qualifications required by the program.

University tuition waivers for WVU employees cover the cost for University Tuition only; employees are responsible for fees and College tuition.

Employees at other institutions of higher learning in West Virginia are not eligible to receive a University tuition waiver to attend the software engineering program. A limited number a waivers exist and are distributed based a formula until all have been released.

Software Engineering Program Policy on Graduate Assistant Tuition Waivers

Students in the software engineering program who secure a graduate assistant position in any academic or non-academic unit on campus will be eligible to receive a waiver of University tuition for software engineering courses, as well as any stipend/compensation offered by the unit hosting the position. Payment of College tuition and University fees are the student’s responsibility.

For more information on graduate assistant options available at WVU, please visit the Graduate Education Assistantships website.

Regardless of the admission entrance requirements you fulfill, you must apply to WVU as a graduate student, following the procedures given here. NOTE: There is no hard deadline for admission. However, you are strongly encouraged to submit your application at least six weeks before you plan to start classes. If you apply later, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to begin the program at the expected time!

Regular Graduate Students

To apply to the MSSE program as a regular graduate student, complete a WVU graduate application, indicating that you are applying for the MSSE degree (code 3081). Take the general GREs and have the results sent to WVU. When you submit your application online, you will be assigned a WVU ID immediately. Remember this ID. It will be needed to check your application status online. It will also be used to register online for your first term after your acceptance has been processed. No other code is needed for your first term registration. When you have submitted your application, please send a brief email message to Dale Dzielski, Program Director. This will let us know that your application is on its way.

Applying the Graduate Certificate to the MSSE Program

To apply for the MSSE program after having earned the graduate certificate, you must go through the application process again. Only 6 of the 15 credit hours will transfer. Please see the catalog you were accepted under for details.

Program Options

Most students in the MSSE program pursue the coursework-only option, which requires completion of 33 hours of coursework. However, some students may elect to follow a traditional research program, using either the problem report option or the thesis option.

The problem report option requires completion of a project, worth 3 hours of research, plus 30 hours of coursework. The thesis option entails 6 hours of research and 24 hours of coursework.

The thesis option requires development of a publishable research result.

Both options have some differences from the usual MSSE procedures, including:

  1. Students must identify a research advisor to supervise their work, who must be a regular faculty member in LCSEE.
  2. Students must form an individual graduate committee headed by their research advisor.
  3. Completion of the research must be done under the close supervision of the research advisor. This may require time spent on the Morgantown campus but usually can be facilitated online.
  4. Defense of the project or thesis must take place in the presence of your entire committee, normally in Morgantown. The final results of both the problem report and thesis are published in the WVU Library according to the ETD Requirements.

Further information may be found in the current Graduate Catalog. Students interested in pursuing the research option should contact Dale Dzielski to discuss their plans.

SENG 695: Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning is a 3 credit independent study that may be taken in place of one regular course in the MSSE program. You may register for Experiential Learning under the following conditions:

  1. You are in the MSSE major with a regular graduate status
  2. You have completed your core courses and at least some of your advanced courses
  3. You have been employed in the software development field during all or most of your program

The sole requirement for Experiential Learning is to prepare a term paper detailing the ways in which your coursework has influenced and changed the ways in which you do your work. More detailed information is given in the Experiential Learning Syllabus.

SENG 695 Independent Study: Experiential Learning is offered every term. There are no formal meetings and there is only one section, which is always designated as online (web-based). Please contact the instructor for approval to register for this course.

The master of science in software engineering degree requires completion of a total of 33 graduate credit hours (except for the thesis option, which requires 30 hours.) The coursework is comprised of five required courses that form the core of the program, plus additional electives as described below.

Students may elect the coursework-only option, the problem report option or the thesis option. Selection of the coursework-only option requires the student to complete 11, 3-hour courses. In the problem report option, the student carries out a 3-hour software engineering project related to their work (or an independent effort) in lieu of one formal 3-hour elective course. The thesis option requires completion of 6 hours of research credit culminating in the publication of a thesis under the direction of a research advisor, and 24 hours of formal coursework. Students electing the problem report or thesis option must begin by forming an individual graduate committee headed by a Lane Department faculty member who will serve as their research adviser.

Additional program details are listed in the Catalog.

Program Preparatory Courses

The current Catalog policy for this program states, “Students who do not hold a baccalaureate degree in software engineering, computer science or computer engineering may be required to take a set of undergraduate courses above and beyond the minimum coursework requirements.” We have developed the following course that may be a provision when limited to no or little programming experience or education. No credit may be earned for this course toward the 33 required MSSE credit hours. Check with your advisor regarding your preparatory requirements prior to your first semester.

  • SENG 505 Programming Applications with JAVA
    • Preparatory Program Course - three hours earned will not apply to the required 33 hours for the MSSE but does count toward your overall GPA score to graduate.

      This course serves as an introduction to developing application software. It covers solving problems using the Java programming language. Topics include problem solving, fundamentals of programming, basic algorithms and data structures, data organization, defensive programming, relational databases and creating database applications.

Program Core (Certificate) Courses

The first 15 credit hours of the master's in software engineering is a five-course core that is common with (and comprises most of the requirements for) the software engineering certificate program:

Program Advanced Elective Courses

Completion of the master of science in software engineering will require a selection of up to six additional courses chosen by the student to meet individual educational objectives. While the set of applicable existing and new courses will continue to evolve, the following have been recently offered:


Electives may be freely chosen from SENG courses or any other course that may be offered from time to time directly through the software engineering program. STAT courses are all online and can be found at or schedule of courses the semester they are offered which may vary.


Traditional, on-campus courses taught in Morgantown may also be used to satisfy the requirements; however, use of such courses in general will need prior approval from the software engineering curriculum committee.

A maximum of 12 semester credit hours for courses taken elsewhere may be transferred into the program, and a maximum of 9 semester credit hours for 400-level (senior undergraduate) courses may be included in your program if they were not counted for another degree. All of these options require approval by the software engineering curriculum committee.

Example Two Year Schedule:

  • Year 1
    • Fall: SENG 520, SENG 550
    • Spring: SENG 510, SENG 530
    • Summer: SENG 540, CPE 553
  • Year 2
    • Fall: SENG 560, SENG 670
    • Spring: SENG 581, CS 533
    • Summer: SENG 695

Student Requirement

By the completion of your first semester you should complete a Preliminary Plan of Study and turn it into the Program Director by e-mailing

Plan of Study Form
Note: You will check Preliminary, usually Course Work Only, and enter your name, date, LCSEE, and sign.
Your AEC (Committee) will be Dale G. Dzielski, Y.V. Reddy, and Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova. The Committee Chairperson is Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova. The Program Coordinator is Dale G. Dzielski. The Department Chairperson is Dr. Anurag Srivastava. The Department for all of these is LCSEE. The Dean is Dr. David A. Wyrick and department is Statler.

Video discussion on completing the Plan of Study Form.

Course Schedule

The course schedule information for current and upcoming terms found on the registrar's office website. The course syllabus for each course can be found at the MSSE requirements link on the software engineering program home page.

WVU Schedule of Courses

  • Select the Term (e.g. fall 20xx)
  • Select the Subject (e.g. software engineering)

Note: We also have occasional courses in computer science (CS 533) and computer engineering (CpE 538); you will need to include these or do a separate search when they are offered. Check the MSSE requirements page for when these are offered.

Certificate in Software Engineering

The certificate in software engineering is available to students in all backgrounds who complete the five core courses of the MSSE program and write a certificate paper. You may enroll in the certificate program as a non-degree graduate student to complete the certificate.

The only added requirement is the paper, which is not otherwise required by the MSSE program. Guidelines for the certificate paper can be found below.

The certificate will be provided to you by the Statler College at the end of the semester you complete the program.

Certificate in Software Engineering Paper Guidelines


The purpose of a paper to satisfy certification requirements is to identify the impact of the Software Engineering program on the software engineering practices of its graduates. In this paper, the practitioner will identify the changes in his/her practice methods as a result of the software engineering program.


Past methodologies

This section should contain a detailed description of the methods (or lack thereof) employed before participation in the program. The software processes employed during development prior to the program should be identified. An example situation should be cited and the methods used in its solution should be explored and explained. This discussion should include an in-depth explanation of the product and should include any supporting documentation or diagrams that were produced during the development of the project. The advantages and drawbacks of these methods should also be examined.

Methods incorporated

This section should describe the specific methods that the practitioner has acquired which directly relate to his/her work. Clearly, for each practitioner, there are topics included in the program that are not directly related to his/her work experience. This section should include only those that have been directly incorporated into the practitioner's software processes.


The document must be a highly professional and exceptional effort that reflects an appreciation of the issues involved. It must be well organized and presented, with excellent development of ideas and description of the technical issues, reflecting the qualities of a good software engineer. The text and graphics must be clear and concise, demonstrating that the author is a thoroughly professional technical writer and software engineer.

It is suggested that each of the two sections have no fewer that 5 pages of single spaced text with graphics as appropriate.

The graduate certificate program is open to all qualified students across the global classroom. The graduate certificate consists of completing five approved courses and a certificate term paper. The program is offered fully online with no time-zone restrictions across two, 16-week semesters and one, 12-week summer semester. This allows for completion within one year with a cost just above $10,000 (US), including all fees and books. The software engineer may begin the program during any semester after admission.

U.S. National Recognized Program

The software engineering program has been ranked two years in a row as one of the top 39 online Computer Information Technology Programs by US News and World Report. You can find the current details from the US News and World Report website.

WVU is a member of the Quality Matters, an international organization that is recognized as a leader in quality assurance for online education. All five of our certificate courses are certified using QM Standards.

What Our Students Think About the Program

Fairmont native Amanda Santiago, employed with Northrop Grumman Corporation, said, “As a full-time professional I was looking for a program that would be more flexible with my schedule. The online classes that are offered … allow me to manage my time more easily … [which] helped [me] keep the balance between my professional life and school work.”

Oracle Corporation employee and Huntington, WV native Jonathan Miller said, “The program fit the subject areas of what I wanted to study and the online classes fit my schedule since I work full time and have a child. The education I received is excellent and there are numerous WVU graduates in high-level and thought-provoking positions in my industry.”

95 percent of our students in a 2016 survey selected “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” to “I am satisfied with this program."

Graduate Certificate Admissions Requirements

Students should apply for admission as non-degree students to complete the certificate.

Applicants for the certificate in software engineering must meet the following:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or closely related field from an accredited University.
  • The undergraduate GPA must be 3.0/4.0 or above. If grades were on a different scale, GPA will be calculated by representatives from the WVU Admissions Office.
  • Three professional/academic letters of recommendation are required.
  • No GRE exam or work experience is required.

Application for admissions is made through the WVU online graduate website.

English Proficiency Requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit adequate TOEFL or IELTS results before an application can be considered for admission to WVU: Score requirements may be found at the International Graduate Students website. Contact the academic department for further information. In some cases, it may be possible to consider applicants who lack adequate TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Program Five Required Courses

SENG 510: Software Project Management (every SPRING)

Topics include: project management process, measures and metrics, project planning and estimation, risk analysis, scheduling, tracking and control.

SENG 520: Software Analysis and Design (every FALL)

Defining the software requirements of a large and complex software product and the principles and concepts of designing the software that will implement the product are discussed.

SENG 530: Validation and Verification (every SPRING)

Processes and methods for evaluating the correctness and quality of the software product throughout the software life cycle are discussed.

SENG 540: Software Evolution (every SUMMER)

Topics include: software process and CMM, software maintenance and evolution, program understanding, re-engineering software, configuration management and software tools related to these issues.

SENG 550: Object-Oriented Design (every FALL)

Developing a software system from an object oriented perspective with C++.

Program Paper Requirement

The purpose of the paper to satisfy certification requirements is to identify the impact of the software engineering program on the software engineering practices of its graduates. In this paper, the practitioner will identify the changes in his/her practice methods as a result of the software engineering program. The paper will present the prior practices of the software engineering before taking this program and identify the improvements in work practices due to incorporating the course work methodologies, techniques and practices. If the practitioner had no prior work experience, a paid or unpaid internship or independent project can apply. The paper must be a highly professional and exceptional effort that reflects an appreciation of the issues involved. It must demonstrate that the author is a thoroughly professional technical writer and software engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I register and pay online for classes?

Answer: Yes, all administration activities such as these are done through a WVU online system using a browser to access. You will receive more information from Admissions about access to this when admitted.

Question: Can I enter the program at any time?

Answer: You may enter the semester that begins after you have received your acceptance letter.

Question: Can my letters of recommendation be from anyone or just my supervisors and how do I send them?

Answer: They do need to be work experience or academic related such as a professor. They must be included in the original online admission application at the time you apply.

Question: Do I need to come to class at a set time and day each week?

Answer: No, the certificate program has been arranged to be offered asynchronously; however, you will have deadlines when certain assignments and exams are due for completion.

This orientation has been created to provide you with answers to many of the questions you may have or will likely have throughout the course of this program. Please note that we are currently in the process of updating our orientation so some policies and leadership names may have changed since the recording of these videos. Please reference the catalog for the latest in policies and Statler Faculty listings for the latest in leadership and faculty.

Part 1: Leadership & Policies

Part 2: Program Details & Requirements

Part 3: Technology Overview

STUDENT REQUIREMENT: By the completion of your first semester you should complete a Preliminary Plan of Study and turn it into the Program Director,

Plan of Study Form.

Video discussion on completing the Plan of Study Form

Note: You will check Preliminary, usually Course Work Only, and enter your name, date, LCSEE, and sign.

  • Your AEC will be Dale G. Dzielski, Y.V. Reddy, and Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova.
  • The Chairperson is Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova.
  • The Program Coordinator is Dale G. Dzielski.
  • The Chairman is Dr. Matthew Valenti.
  • The Department for all of these is LCSEE.
  • The Dean is Dr. David A.Wyrick and department is Statler.

Please be sure to fill these in to the form before sending to the Program Director,

Application for Graduation

An application for graduation must be completed online by the specified deadline during the semester you are planning to graduate. No fee is required. Deadlines are typically set for early October and early March, to allow time for diplomas to be prepared. You can also graduate in summer, but no formal ceremony will be held.

The application for graduation must be submitted online. No paper applications will be accepted. To apply, login to STAR, select the student services tab, and click apply to graduate.

Plan of study must be completed and typed.

You must use the plan of study form available on this website. This should be signed by you and sent to the program director, Dale Dzielski. We will take care of getting the other required signatures. Special procedures apply if you are pursuing the problem report or thesis option.

You will receive an e-mail from the program director requesting the following be completed:

Download the Graduate Checklist from the Statler College. These items will need to be completed and sent back to the program director if they haven’t already been done.

  1. Successfully complete 33 hours with C or above and overall 3.0 GPA (coursework-only option).
  2. Alumni Data Sheet – should come from Student Services
  3. Final plan of study – (don’t use the preparatory section), signed, scanned and e-mailed to Dale Dzielski, Program Director, for further signatures (NOTE: do not use the form on the Statler Student Services site; it does not have your faculty AEC listed)
  4. Final approval form (coursework-only option) – Add your name and WVUID and send to Dale Dzielski for completion and signatures
  5. Plagiarism quiz if never completed before
  6. Exit interview – form will be attached to e-mail; complete and send back to Dale Dzielski, Program Director
  7. Graduate Student Survey – completed and returned to Student Services

Alumni Data Form

After the above has been completed you must fill out and sign the alumni data form.


If you are planning to come to Morgantown to finish your paperwork, please contact Dale Dzielski, Program Director, for an appointment.