MSc Software Development

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Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional
  • Study mode and duration: MSc conversion degree, 12 months full-time

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, databases, and computer security
  • 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 and development skills as well as software engineering, databases, 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

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, two 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. This will cover the full development lifecycle from user requirements gathering and analysis to evaluation and testing
  • database design and development using Oracle SQL to build and query databases. This will give you the fundamental skills to enter the rapidly expanding area of big data
  • state-of-the-art software engineering methodologies, equipping 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 a real-world topic in the context of an application-based project, with a focus on development and Software Engineering. This can involve analysing, specifying, developing, testing and evaluating a software system/application. We also encourage our students to present or publish their MSc findings at conferences.


This is an individual application-based 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 (i.e. analysing, specifying, developing, testing and evaluating a software system/application). You’ll also have the opportunity to form recommendations and conclusions on the relative merits of the technologies involved and the software development methodologies used.

Some 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, 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 on 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 spacious, 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 library which contains all the materials that you need for your course. Many of the books are also accessible online so they are available to all students at any time.

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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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.

All modules are compulsory.

Object Oriented Programming (20 credits)

This module will introduce you to object-oriented principles and models, and how to develop larger programs with specialised data structures. You will be taught Java, a programming language 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 (20 credits)

This module will introduce you to fundamental programming concepts, high-level languages, and the software development and compilation process. You will learn to program in Python, which is 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 (10 credits)

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

  • understand and explain the algorithms behind a number of different cryptographic and communication solutions
  • understand and explain a range of different security protocols
  • evaluate and existing or proposed system in terms of potential vulnerabilities and recommend the most appropriate security solution to apply
  • summarise the key vulnerabilities, threats and attacks with regards to network security and propose suitable approaches to mitigate these issues

Legal, Ethical & Professional Issues for the Information Society (10 credits)

This module aims to teach you the legal, social, ethical and professional issues relating to the practice of Information Systems Engineering. Upon completion you will:

  • appreciate the characteristics of professionalism as it relates to modern data management
  • recognise and appreciate the professional aspects of other engineering and related classes in their curriculum, and how those aspects influence practice
  • form a sound basis on which they will subsequently be able to practise Information Systems Engineering with a due regard for legal, ethical and social issues

Database Fundamentals (10 credits)

This module will provide you with conceptual and practical understanding of data modelling, database design, and database technology. You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of key database concepts underpinning big data tools and technologies. After completing the module you'll:

  • 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 (20 credits)

This module will introduce you to tools and techniques for developing software for mobile environments. Furthermore, you will become familiar with various evaluation techniques with respect to usability and accessibility. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the special nature of mobile application development
  • understand and develop graphical user interfaces for mobile applications
  • understand networking requirements/challenges for mobile application development, and understand and develop solutions
  • understand the fundamentals of usability for mobile development and run usability testing studies

Database Development (10 credits)

This module builds on a basic understanding of the relational database approach, covering more complex SQL query design and efficient execution, as well as transactional design using database triggers/stored procedures or by embedding SQL code within other programming environments. Upon completion you will:

  • display knowledge of declarative versus procedural approaches to access databases and the relative benefits/costs associated with each
  • display skill to construct complex SQL queries
  • demonstrate the ability to utilise triggers/stored procedures within a commercial database management platform
  • understand how to appropriately embed SQL queries within other programming languages and environments
  • display an appreciation for the importance of database indexing in the context of supporting complex queries on big data
  • display knowledge of transactional processes within database systems and understand their relevance to code design and execution

Software Engineering (20 credits)

This module will provide you with an in-depth understanding of software development lifecycles, and development methods, tools and techniques. There will be a particular focus on in-demand Agile methods. Upon completion you will:

  • understand the key component involved in designing, building and testing a software system
  • have gained 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 which is focused on a significant software development activity. Following the completion of it, you will 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 program utilising multi/cross-platform frameworks
  • developing a program that analyses the concurrency characteristics of multi-threaded software
  • 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 and appreciation of project achievement (strengths, weaknesses, and limitations). You’ll also be assessed on the potential for further development and extension.

Learning & teaching

Modules are delivered by a range of teaching methods:

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

Guest lectures

The Software Engineering module includes several guest lectures (usually fortnightly) from our industry partners, providing a hands-on perspective on various aspects of the software engineering process.


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

The course has focused on both the practical and theoretical aspects of software development. I feel confident both in the development of applications, and management of developing practices as a result of this.
Frances Grant
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Entry requirements

This programme is designed for graduates without a computing science background. If you have a computing science background, we recommend you apply for one of the following Advanced Computer Science pathways as you'll not be made an offer for this programme:

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class (2.2) Honours degree, or international equivalent in any subject.

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-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde.

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

Please note: Previous Maths & English qualifications and your undergraduate degree must meet GTCS minimum entry requirements as well as the pre-Masters course and an interview will be conducted before an offer can be made.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 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

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Fees & funding

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

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

If you are an international student, you may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

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. They design and build the digital technologies that underpin the global economy and every aspect of human activity. This can range from recreation and healthcare to business and the natural environment.

Graduates are in high demand, with the Tech Nation Report 2023 showing that software-related roles are among the top three most popular job titles in the UK tech sector, indicating a strong demand for positions related to managing and developing software and projects.

Job market analysis (Tech Nation Report 2023) shows that Software Developer/Engineer roles continue to be among the most common positions. Furthermore, the presence of specialised roles, such as front-end developers, full-stack developers and quality assurance engineers, indicates a growing demand for professionals with specialised skills. Recent analysis of the skills and talent gaps (Tech Nation Report 2023) shows that the most in-demand programming skills are around mobile applications, with Java still being the most popular programming language used for building software. These are key skills developed as part of this course.

Example roles include:

  • Software Developer (eg Java/Python): As a software developer you'll be playing a key role in the design, development, 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 (eg 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  (eg Javascript/HTML5): Similar to the software developer role, but with a focus for websites and services developed using web-specific languages such as Javascript, HTML5 or equivalent
  • Database Developer (eg 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. These include career support services from induction, throughout your studies and after graduation, to help you achieve your career ambitions.

'It totally changed my life, it's been really awesome'

Kirsty recently graduated from the MSc in Software Development and is now working in software quality assurance. Find out more about Kirsty's career change in the video below:

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There is currently no deadline for submitting applications. However, we encourage you to apply early as we consider applications on a first come, first served basis, and may introduce an application deadline due to high demand.

This programme is designed for graduates without a computing science background. If you have a computing science background, we recommend you apply for one of the following Advanced Computer Science pathways as you'll not be made an offer for this programme:

Start date: Sep 2024

Software Development

Start date: Sep 2024

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 553 6023


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