Q: How many credits are required for the Master of Software Engineering program?
A: The program curriculum consists of 36 credits. However, you may need to take additional preparatory classes depending on your background. Schedule a meeting with a program representative for more information.
Q: Is the program STEM designated?
A: This is a technically focused, analytical degree designed specifically to address the challenges found at the intersection of management and engineering. This program is STEM designated, allowing 36 months total of Optional Practical Training (OPT) compared to 12 months for non-STEM degrees.
Q: Does it matter if I don’t have an engineering or technology undergraduate degree?
A: Our program prepares computer professionals to develop software products and services for industry and government through software analysis, design, and architecture; system verification; data storage and retrieval; and managing globally distributed development. An ideal candidate for the program is one with an engineering or technology degree, or relevant work experience. You may be able to take some remedial classes before being admitted to the program if you don’t have the desired background.
Q: Can I choose a specific concentration?
A: While we do not offer concentrations, there is a concurrent degree option where students can earn a second master’s while using courses to satisfy both programs’ requirements. Additionally, elective offerings allow you to customize your experience in the program.
Q: Does the program offer any experiential learning opportunities?
A: Our courses employ experiential learning techniques to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Q: Do you allow students to transfer credits into the program?
A: A maximum of 10 graduate credits earned at another accredited institution may be applied. Courses must have been completed, with a grade of B or better, within five years prior to the date of enrollment. Up to 15 credits from Penn State nondegree and graduate certificate courses can be applied to a degree program—more information can be found here. Transfer credit approval is granted by the student's academic adviser and division head after an admission offer has been accepted.
Q: I am worried about flexibility. How are classes delivered?
A: Flexible, seven-week courses let you balance your busy schedule while still reaping the benefits of once-per-week face-to-face classes, like networking, developing interpersonal skills, and coordinating and developing on-site projects.
Q: I’ve been out of school for 15 years. Will I feel out of place taking classes after all that time?
A: The average age of our students is 32. You will find most of our students share the same concern and worry how they will be able to juggle graduate school with an already busy life.
We encourage those who are not sure about committing to a master’s degree to consider beginning with a graduate certificate—which, in most cases, allows for credits earned to transfer to the degree program upon admission. Each semester, prospective students can take advantage of our “test drive” program, which offers the opportunity to sit in on a class. To arrange a test drive, email [email protected] and a program representative will reach out to discuss options with you.
Q: How long will it take me to graduate?
A: You can expect to complete your degree in two to three years if going part-time or one and a half years if going full-time at the Malvern campus.
Q: Are career services provided?
A: Yes. We have a Career Management Services office that provides one-on-one career advancement support, internship guidance, access to career fairs and other career events with local and national companies, as well as an array of other services. An additional perk of being part of the Penn State family is free career services for life!
Q: Is there an application fee? What are the application deadlines?
A: Yes, there is a $65 application fee. Schedule a meeting with a program representative to discuss eligibility for an application fee waiver. We recommend applying no later than July 15 for a fall (end of August) program start, or December 6 for a spring (January) start. See the admission requirements page for more information. International application deadlines may differ; for more information visit the international applicant page.
Q: Is the GMAT or GRE ever waived?
A: The GMAT/GRE is not required for admission, but scores will be considered if submitted.
Q: Where can I find information on scholarships and funding options?
A: There are a variety of scholarships available to half-time and full-time students who meet certain criteria. More information can be found here.
Q: Are there program metrics?
A: The Graduate School provides metrics on admission data, GMAT/GRE scores, enrollment, student demographics, time to degree, and degree conferral; more information can be found here.