The MSc in Software Development is designed in collaboration with industry to provide a year of intensive education in software development and is specifically designed for graduates of non-computing disciplines. It has an extremely high graduate employability rate and is the highest-rated MSc computing course for student satisfaction in the UK.
You will learn the foundations of computing and acquire industry-relevant skills. These core skills include programming, databases, web development, software engineering and problem-solving. You need no computing background at all to do this course, but on successful completion, you will be equipped with the technical, analytical and professional skills required to take on a range of roles in the computing industry.
The curriculum was designed and is continually reviewed in collaboration with significant industrial partners, who helped ensure the most relevant module content. This helps ensure that our graduates are highly trained and much sought after by employers.
Who Will Be Teaching You
Many of the course teaching team have worked in the computing industry and have particular research specialisms in developing novel and effective methods for teaching computing. Several of the team have been awarded student-nominated teaching awards for their work.
What You'll Get Up To
You’ll learn how to analyse problems and design robust and elegant software systems to solve the problems. This includes gaining skills in programming, web development, database design, software testing and software engineering.
You will also have the opportunity to learn how to work as part of a development team using modern development techniques and tools.
Please note: Applications for this course received after 30th July 2021 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.
Software Development Highlights
This course is also available for part-time study. Search our course listings for more information.
Alongside the core course curriculum, students are also encouraged to take part in a series of Employment and Professional Skills Workshops, which run at regular intervals during the year. The workshops cover CV writing, Technical Interview Technique, Assessment Centres, etc. and later involve events to allow students to network with representatives from some of the largest employers in the Software Development sector in Belfast. Students get the opportunity to mix with a diverse industrial group, ranging from testers and developers up to senior managerial level staff. Students also have the opportunity to get involved in other industrially sponsored events such as hackathons etc.
The School has a team of staff specifically dedicated to the development of student employability skills alongside technical capabilities. They provide a range of services to help students gain employment during the course, eg one-on-one CV advice and mock job interviews etc.
Most of the lectures and lab-based activities are in our Computer Science Building opened in 2016 after a £14 million re-development. The four-storey, 3,000m2, state-of-the-art facility has large well-equipped computing labs and formal and informal student spaces which support a high level of group and project work.
The course is the highest-rated for the overall student experience Computing Master course in the UK (2019). This includes excellence in student experiences in the quality of teaching and learning, student engagement, quality of assessment and feedback, organisation and management, learning resources and careers and employability.
The course encourages a hands-on approached to learning, with an emphasis on learning by doing. We provide videos of lecture content and continually offer you opportunities to gauge your progress in each module through self-assessments and practical activities and challenges.
The curriculum of the MSc Software Development was designed through collaboration with significant industrial partners who helped select the most relevant module content to prepare the students for a range of software development roles. This has helped ensure that the graduates are highly trained and much sought after by employers. Aidan McGowan – Director of Post Graduate Courses (EEECS)
The programme has two key parts:
A set of taught modules that build from foundational to advanced topics of software engineering and programming.
A substantial project-based element or three Specialised Distance Learning based modules.
The foundational modules are studied in the first semester and cover introductory programming using the Java programming language alongside computing foundations, including software engineering, software testing and databases.
Each module generally involves 3-4 hours of lectures per week along with up to 2-3 hours per week for tutorials and lab practicals. Alongside these timetabled activities, students are expected to work on group and individual assignments and projects.
Project: Three-month projects are taken individually or Distance Learning modules: constantly updated these modules give you a chance to study some specialisms in computing such as Machine Learning, Software Design patterns etc.
Teaching takes place in the morning and afternoon (3 days a week); there are between 15 and 18 hours of contact teaching hours per week.
Employment opportunities in software engineering are excellent, as evidenced by the consistent and continued growth of the software sector. A career within the profession is not only well remunerated but also rewarding, with software professionals able to select between a range of career progression paths. Given the diversity of careers, the variety of skills gained from a non-IT primary degree are strongly valued by IT employers and will help augment the employment opportunities of graduates from this programme.
Where Could You Be in 5 Years?
You could be working for the largest companies on the planet (IBM, Citi, Allstate, Liberty to name a few). You could be doing cutting edge computer science research in topics such as Cybersecurity or Video Analytics, or creating a software start-up or the next killer app.
Learning and Teaching
Each module generally involves 3 hours of lectures per week along with up to 2/4 hours per week for tutorials and computer lab practicals. Alongside these timetabled activities, students are expected to:
Work through blended-learning resources and activities on the Canvas Virtual Learning environment which includes watching videos, reading online materials and taking online quizzes and practical assignments.
Work on groups and individual assignments and projects.
Modern software development is typically carried out within a team environment and employers are very keen for students to have gained significant experience working within teams. Therefore, many of the project and assessment activities on the course have been designed to give students exposure to the variety of team-based roles and responsibilities they will encounter in the software industry.
Each module has its own blend of assessments that cover the full range of learning outcomes for the module. This can include:
Individual or group projects;
Practical programming tests.
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline excluding Computer Science or another similar Computing degree.
In addition to the above qualification requirements, all applicants will be required to pass an online aptitude test. If you are successful in the first stage of the application process, we will be in touch to organise this.
This is a very popular course and applicants are advised to apply as early as possible, since it may be necessary to implement an application cut-off date. In such circumstances, applications will be considered in date order, with priority given to those submitted earliest and prior to the cut-off date.
Please note: a non-refundable deposit (which will be deducted from tuition fees) of £400 is required.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for the English language for visa purposes.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level.
Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
Northern Ireland (NI) 1: £7,250
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2: £7,250
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1: £7,250
EU Other 3: £22,000
Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications
Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications.
You will be required to pay a deposit of £400 pounds to secure your place on the course.
This condition of the offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however, this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however, this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22 and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.