M.Sc. Computing (Software Engineering)

The University of Northampton

Tuition fee:
  • £ 6,200 / Year (EEA)
  • £ 11,700 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: October  2015, January  2016
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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This postgraduate qualification allows you to study the design of software systems in greater depth, as well as developing your research and analytical skills - whilst undertaking your own individual thesis project investigating an area of particular interest. You will be able to utilise our state of the art facilities ensuring you are exposed to cutting edge technology and are able to pursue your specialist interests.


Assessment is by coursework, oral presentations, group work, practical reports, critical reviews and all students undertake a substantial independent research dissertation.

Facilities available

You will have access to approximately 150 PC and Linux workstation computers housed in six bespoke computer laboratories, all with digital projection facilities, and maintained by two technicians. These facilities were brand new, state of the art hardware and furniture for the start of the calendar year 2010 in the newly refurbished Newton building. Having NVision as part of this course also enables access to cutting edge immersive technologies providing rare opportunities for you to work with multi-million pound immersive technologies in a meaningful and practical way.

Methods of Study

Theoretical lectures and seminars are reinforced by practical examples and case studies and using state of the art computer simulation tools and laboratory facilities.

Career opportunities

Recent studies show a continuing demand for well-trained computing personnel. Successful graduates will have a whole range of possible employment paths in front of them within the broad IT/computing domain.


The current need for software that communicates effectively with a number of devices has driven the requirement for qualified and skilled professionals who are able to design, develop and analyse software and strive to improve current provisions. The MSc in Software Engineering is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills whilst providing the opportunity to become specialised in a field that is highly sought after.

While primarily having a technological focus, this pathway also provides an awareness of the business context, encourages development of interpersonal skills which can make a vital contribution to problem solving in business.

All modules are 20 credit modules except for the dissertation which is a 60 credit module. An MSc is awarded on successful completion of 180 credits (six, 20 credit modules and one 60 credit dissertation module).

Special course features

This specialist postgraduate course allows you to pursue an area of particular interest utilising our recently upgraded facilities. At the University of Northampton we enrol small cohorts of students to ensure that you receive personalised care that will enable you to develop your skills and enhance your knowledge. We have developed this course to be studied around other commitments and you may only need to attend the university for two days per week.

Typical modules

Not all the designated modules may run or be offered in Stage two due to staff availability or low numbers of students choosing a module.

Compulsory Modules

* Databases

Evaluates the design and use of a range of databases but concentrates on the most common, the relational database. This module emphasises the importance of effective design using appropriate data modelling techniques as well as evaluating appropriate employment of databases.

* Dissertation

Provides you with the opportunity to learn appropriate research techniques in order to carry out independent, relevant and in depth research in a topic of specific interest.

* Formal Methods for Software Construction

Equips you with the basic techniques used in the formal specification of simple and moderately complex computer systems. Formal specification has a wide range of applications including aviation, power generation and distribution as well as medical applications and thus the ability to manipulate these systems is a sought after, and highly transferable, skill.

* Modern Computer Architecture

Focuses on the structure and behaviour of the various functional modules of computers, how they interact to provide the processing needs of the user as well as how to optimise systems.

* Software Engineering

Extends and consolidates your skills, understanding and knowledge of the design, development, evaluation and improvement of software engineering to ensure the production of robust, re-usable and long lasting systems.

* Visual Object Software

Develops your ability to create object based solutions to software problems within a contemporary integrated development environment.

Optional Modules

* Computer Networks

Develops practical networking skills alongside a deeper understanding of network principles and protocols. The module primarily focuses on problem solving using current and emergent network hardware along with the development of applications to exploit these technologies.

* Distributed Systems

Extends your previous knowledge and understanding of software, programming, design, specification, implementation and applications of distributed computer systems.

* Immersive Technologies

Provides a comprehensive understanding of the principles of Virtual Environments Technology. You will design virtual environment solutions through the integration of standard components.

* Intelligent Systems

Develops your understanding of search methods and agents. Theoretical and practical examples are used to demonstrate how intelligent systems are used in applications on the internet.

* Internet Programming

Focuses on creating client and server software as well as web applications. You will learn how different technologies can be used to allow such software to be designed, implemented and deployed.

* Internet Security

Provides you with the necessary theoretical and practical understanding of the technology available to manage and implement secure computer applications in an internet environment.

* Java Programming

Improves your awareness of programming, particularly focussing on client side java applets. You will use your programming skills to produce complex 2D and 3D graphics applications for a range of different situations.

* Media Techniques

Equips you with the techniques necessary to manipulate media stored in computer systems using standard programming languages.

* Mobile Device Software Development

Concentrates on the development of technologies and software used to allow mobile computing devices to communicate more effectively now as well as evaluating emergent technologies for the future.

* Modelling for Enterprise

Uses cutting edge modelling technologies in collaboration with industrial partners to promote awareness of common modelling software and practices as well as developing a wider understanding of industry applications and standards behind modelling for enterprise.

* Specification Analysis and Design

Focuses on the range of techniques and tools essential for any substantial software development life-cycle including engineering, systems specification, analysis and systems design.


Applicants will normally hold a recognised first or second class honours degree from a UK university or international equivalent in a relevant subject. It is assumed that students will have a working knowledge of computers and networks and it is essential that they have practical hands-on experience of at least one programming language. Those who do not have English as their first language will need to demonstrate that they meet the minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent).

If you do not meet our standard entry requirements, it is possible to undertake a single module and, upon successful completion of this module, progress to the full MSc qualification, contact us at science.admin@northampton.ac.uk to discuss this option.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


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