MSc Software Development

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: MSc conversion degree, 12 months full-time
  • Places: capped at 60

Study with us

  • provides a pathway into one of the most in-demand professional job sectors for graduates without a computing science background
  • focus on programming skills for software engineering, mobile and web applications, and computer security
  • initial partial accreditation by the British Computer Society
  • specifically designed for graduates without a computing science background

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Why this course?

The MSc in Software Development course is specifically designed for graduates without a computing science background.

A skills shortage, particularly around web and mobile applications means graduates are in high demand. This course will provide you with a pathway into one of the world's most in-demand and fastest-growing professional job sectors.

The course has a particular focus on programming skills for in-demand mobile and web applications as well as software engineering and computer security.

You'll gain transferable skills to prepare you for a professional career in software development in the IT sector, as well as many other sectors including:

  • education
  • engineering
  • health
  • finance
  • government
  • manufacturing
  • retail
  • transport

Find out what our students think of the course


We've got students who originally came from psychology, people have come from creative writing coming in and deciding they want to do software. 

Alistair, student

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

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What you’ll study

The course will equip you with skills in the most widely used programming and database languages. It provides important overarching software engineering skills. You'll study:

  • programming in Python and Java, three of the most popular programming languages; for example, Spotify, Twitter and Open Office are built using these languages
  • mobile app development providing you with the skills to create mobile applications
  • database design and development using Oracle SQL to build and query databases; this will provide you with fundamental skills to enter the rapidly expanding area of Big Data
  • state-of-the-art software engineering methodologies, providing you with professional software development skills, including widely used rapid development Agile methods
  • cybersecurity tools and technologies including hands-on experience of security exploits that occur in practice

You'll also develop other valuable transferable skills including effective presentation skills, team working and report writing, all of which will further enhance your skills as a future industry leader.

Major project

You'll have the exciting opportunity to work on an industry-focused software application-based project. This can involve analysing, specifying, building and evaluating a prototype application or demonstrator. Many of our students undertake their project with industry partners working on real-world topics. We also encourage our students to present or publish their MSc findings at conferences.


This is an individual research project on an approved topic. It allows you to pursue an area of specific interest, providing scope for original thought, research and presentation. The project will be software application based (ie analysing, specifying, building and evaluating a prototype application or demonstrator, and forming recommendations and conclusions on the relative merits of the technologies involved and the software development methodologies used).

Many of our students undertake dissertations in conjunction with industry.

Why choose us?

As a student within the Department of Computer & Information Sciences, you'll have opportunities to develop your profile as a computing professional and to network with a range of employers including JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Logica.

Opportunities include:

  • members of our Industrial Advisory Board are important contributors to our curriculum development and contribute via guest lectures
  • depending on your specific interests, visits to Strathclyde's City Observatory or the Fab Lab will illustrate practical applications of computing
  • employers and students interact at our IT Careers Fair arranged during the academic year
  • our MSc dissertation projects are industry-focused and often industry-sponsored, with real-world topics; students are also encouraged to present or publish MSc findings at conferences
  • our award-winning Careers Service will support your career planning through development sessions in topics such as interview skills, CV development and presentation skills


The Department of Computer & Information Sciences is based on levels 11 to 14 of the Livingstone Tower. We have a large quiet study zone and a large social zone for working on group activities.

There are three large computer laboratories within the Department, each containing state-of-the-art equipment with over 175 dual boot Windows and Linux machines available. Each lab machine is equipped with up-to-date software.

All departmental machines are linked by a high-speed local area network and operate under a single network file system so you can access your files from any of our machines. High-speed wireless access is also available throughout the department.

The University has a large library which contains all the materials that you need for your course. Many of the books are also available online meaning they are available to all students at all times.

Student Nadia smiling at the camera
I appreciate all the staff at Strathclyde, they are all friendly and supportive. There's always someone to talk to and help. People in Glasgow are friendly. In day to day life, most of the time I have a perfect experience with them.
Nadia Mirshafiee
Software Development student
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Course content

Diploma and MSc students follow the same instructional taught course for the first two semesters.

If you meet the standard required to proceed to MSc, you’ll undertake an individual supervised project in the following three months.

Object Oriented Programming

This class will introduce you to object oriented principles and models, and how to develop larger programs with specialised data structures. Java will be taught, again programming languages in high market demand. Upon completion you will understand and be able to:

  • use objects in common object-oriented languages
  • develop programs using class based object-oriented programming
  • develop programs using template based object-oriented programming
Introduction to Programming Principles

This class will introduce you to fundamental programming concepts, high-level languages, and the software development and compilation process. You will learn to program in Python, a high level general purpose programming language in high market demand. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the main control and flow structures of an imperative programming language
  • understand the data elements and data structures of an imperative programming language
  • understand the main code structure constructs of an imperative programming language
Computer Security Fundamentals

This class will introduce you to the nature of security in the contexts of computers, information and networks, and provide you with in-depth understanding of the associated computer security architectures and technologies. Upon completion you will:

  • be familiar with the main concepts in computer, data and network security
  • understand the nature, variety and sources of security risks and vulnerabilities
  • gain experience of the tools and techniques used in security exploits
  • understand the legal issues associated with computer misuse and data protection
Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues for the Information Society

This class aims to ensure that you're aware of the legal, social, ethical and professional issues commensurate with the practice of Information Systems Engineering.

Database Fundamentals

This will provide you with conceptual and practical understanding of data modelling, database design, and database technology, providing you with in-depth understanding of key database concepts underpinning big data tools and technologies. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the process of designing a database from an informal business specification
  • be able to formulate database queries using SQL
  • understand the facilities and services that should be provided by a fully featured database management system
  • understand commonly occurring data models
  • have experience of using a relational database management system in a client-server environment
Mobile Application Development

This class will provide you with a good understanding of the issues in developing for mobile environments, approaches to handling these issues, and the skills in developing for a widespread mobile platform. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the networking requirements and challenges for mobile application development, and be able to develop solutions.
  • be able to develop graphical user interfaces for mobile applications.
  • understand the fundamentals of usability for mobile development and be able to design and run usability tests.
Database Development

This class will provide you with practical experience of SQL query design, and conceptual and practical understanding of database indexing and transactional design, and practical skills in developing database applications at the core of Big Data systems. Upon completion you will:

  • be able to design complex database queries including the use of triggers
  • understand and be able to apply the methodologies for embedding SQL queries in programming languages
  • understand and apply common approaches to database query optimisation using indexes
  • understand database transaction structure in terms of concepts and practical application in SQL
Software Engineering

This will provide you with in-depth understanding of software development lifecycles, and development methods, tools and techniques, with particular attention to in-demand Agile methods. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the key component involved in designing, building and testing a software system
  • gain experience of the software development processes typically used within industry
  • be familiar with the management tools and technologies used to support the development and management of software systems
  • understand how to work as part of a team to design, build, test and deploy a software system

You'll undertake an application-based project in the Summer term focussed on a significant software development activity and produce a project report with your findings. Recent projects have included:

  • developing a tool to support independent/self-directed learning within a discipline
  • developing a mobile application to provide location-based information
  • developing a program that mimics a low-voltage electrical grid simulation
  • building a careers search engine
  • developing a timetabling tool for a university department to allocate tutors to lab slots.

Your performance on the project is evaluated on the basis of thoroughness and devotion to work, initiative, organisation, planning and progress, appreciation of project achievement (strengths, weaknesses, and limitations), and potential for further development and extension.

Learning & teaching

Classes are delivered by a range of teaching methods:

  • 10% lectures
  • 20% computer laboratories
  • 70% self-study


The form of assessment varies from class to class. For programming classes assessment is by coursework (lab work, homework, class tests) and other classes are around 50/50 coursework/exam. 

Aerial view of students sitting around coffee tables

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class Honours degree or international equivalent.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with no component below 5.5). 

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.0. Please see ELTD for full details.

As a university, we now accept many more English language tests in addition to IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Software Development graduates are highly employable and can look forward to well-paid professional careers designing and building the digital technologies that underpin the global economy and every aspect of human activity from recreation through healthcare to business and the natural environment.

Graduates are in high demand now and into the foreseeable future with skill shortages widely reported in the media and professional press (egUSAToday, 2017; Forbes, 2017), and with an average growth rate of 17% predicted for software developers 2014-2024, one of the highest average growth rates of all jobs (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Job market analysis shows that the most in-demand programming skills are around mobile and web applications – key skills developed as part of this degree.

Example roles include:

  • Software Developer (Java/Javascript/Python): As a software developer you'll be playing a key role in the design, installation, testing and maintenance of software systems. Your programs will be the key driver for the success of a business and will enhance research
  • Software Engineer (Agile/Scrum): As a software engineer you'll apply engineering principles to the creation of software. You will oversee the design process and connect the client’s needs with applicable technology solutions
  • Web Developer  (Javascript/HTML5): Similar to the software developer role, but with a focus for web sites and services developed using web-specific languages such as Javascript, HTML5 or PHP
  • Database Developer (SQL/Oracle): You will develop databases that satisfy the information needs of your organisation. This will support decision-making within a business and knowledge-discovery in research
  • Business Analyst: as a business analyst you will identify improvements that can be made to organisational systems, write specifications for their modification and enhancement, and be involved in the design of new IT solutions to improve business efficiency

The University provides a range of professional development services, including career support services from induction, throughout your studies and after graduation, to help you achieve your career ambitions.

Alan Ross MSc Software Development student
While the course prepared me with a pretty good grounding of software development, the main and most important thing the course prepared me for was working with others on a software project as that is one of the main focuses during the programming classes.
Alan Ross

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Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

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We're no longer accepting applications from students on this course. We have currently allocated all available places and are operating a waiting list. If you'd like to be added to this waiting list please contact

Start date: Sep 2022

Software Development

Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5147