MSc in Software Development


Program Description


This MSc provides a year of intensive education in software engineering and is specifically designed for graduates of non-computing disciplines.

Course Content

You will learn how to design and create web applications, mobile apps, and large data-driven computer systems. You need no computing background at all to do this course, but when you leave, you will be equipped with the technical, analytical and professional skills required to take on a range of roles in the IT industry.

The curriculum was designed in collaboration with significant industrial partners who helped ensure the most relevant module content. This has helped ensure that graduates are highly trained and much sought after by employers.

Who Will Be Teaching You

The lecturing team has particular research specialisms in developing novel and effective methods for teaching computer science. They have extensive publications in this area and have been awarded several student-nominated teaching awards for their work.

What You'll Get Up To

You’ll learn how to analyze problems and design robust and elegant software systems to solve the problems. This includes gaining skills in programming, web development, database design, and software testing.

You will also learn how to work well as part of a development team using modern development techniques and tools.

Please Note

Applications for this course, received after 30th June may not be accepted. A deposit will be required to secure a place.

Aptitude tests will be held on multiple dates from January 2019 to May 2019. The specific dates of the tests to be confirmed. Please check this website for updates.

Software Development Highlights

This course is also available for part-time study. Search our course listings for more information.

Industry Links

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.

Career Development

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.

World-Class Facilities

Our Computer Science Building opened in 2016 after a £14 million redevelopment. 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 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.

Mr Aidan McGowan - Course Director

Course Details

The programme has two key parts:

  • A set of taught modules which build from foundational to advanced topics of software engineering and programming.
  • A substantial individual project.

Most foundational modules are studied in the first semester and cover introductory programming using the Java programming language alongside the foundations of software engineering and databases.

Coverage of more advanced algorithmic and object-oriented programming continues into the second semester.

Project Element: Three-month projects are taken individually with supervision from a member of the School's teaching staff. Where possible, the project will be set and co-supervised by an industrial partner and may involve an on-site placement.

Each module generally involves 3 hours of lectures per week along with up to 2 hours per week for tutorials and lab practicals. Alongside these timetabled activities, students are expected to work on group and individual assignments and projects.


  • Programming
  • Databases
  • Software Engineering
  • Web Development
  • Computing Fundamentals

Teaching Times

Teaching takes place in the morning and afternoon; there are between 13 and 15 hours of contact teaching hours per week.

Career Prospects


Employment opportunities in software engineering are excellent, as evidenced through 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.

You could also be teaching computing.

Learning and Teaching

Each module generally involves 3 hours of lectures per week along with up to 2 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 group 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 which cover the full range learning outcomes for the module. This can include:

  • Computer-based tests
  • Individual or group projects
  • Practical programming tests

Entrance requirements


  • Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above, or an 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.

International Students

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.
Last updated Jul 2019

About the School

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences spans disciplines that impact lives today and will shape our future. Our international mix of staff and students make up a vibrant community that is ho ... Read More

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences spans disciplines that impact lives today and will shape our future. Our international mix of staff and students make up a vibrant community that is home to some of the most innovative and globally significant research and teaching. It works where industry and research meet, providing the platform to spin out research into commercial opportunities and engage with industry on cutting-edge research with real-world projects such as the work with Wrightbus to produce the cleanest hybrid bus technology that powers the London Routemaster, or the pioneering work in The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, securing our digital future through their Centre for Secure Information Technologies. Read less