Q: How many credits are required for the Master of Software Engineering?
A: The program consists of 36 credits (18 core credits, 12 elective credits, 6 capstone 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: Does it matter if I don’t have an engineering or technology undergraduate degree?
A: Our program prepares computer professionals to develop and manage software products and services for industry and government through analysis, architecture, design, testing and project management. Proficiency in programming, data structures, algorithm analysis, and operating systems is expected.
An ideal candidate for the program is one with an engineering or technology degree, or relevant work experience. A preparatory class is available and may be required after acceptance.
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: 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. The 12 elective credits can also be chosen to focus on areas such as big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
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: This is not a cohort program, meaning students have the flexibility to take courses at their own pace, whenever it is most convenient for them. Courses are offered either in an in-person/online hybrid format or fully online.
You have up to eight years to complete a degree, and up to three years to complete a graduate certificate. Our students find this mix of in-person and online courses offer the opportunity to better collaborate, network with peers, and take advantage of our campus resources.
Q: I've been out of school 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. Our program is designed to meet the needs of working adults.
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: The choice is yours! We provide flexibility for students, many of whom may be using tuition benefits from their employer or financing their studies on their own. Students can take up to eight years to complete a degree program, and up to three years to complete a graduate certificate. Students who pursue the Master of Software Engineering program can complete the program in as little as two to three years. If attending full-time, the program can be completed within 12-18 months.
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: GMAT or GRE results are not required for admission.
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.