Carnegie Mellon University

MS in Software Engineering requirements

The Professional MS in Software Engineering (SE) is available to qualified students who have earned an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. The MS degree program is a course-based, full-time program in which students complete three or four full-time (36 units) semesters (including summer if summer is a student’s final semester). Students who are interested and qualified may take an accelerated course load and complete the degree in two semesters and should consult with their advisor. Summer semester courses may be limited so that students are available to pursue competitive internships in the Silicon Valley area or elsewhere.

Effective Fall 2018, all incoming MS ECE students, including MS in SE students, are required to take the 1-unit Introduction to Graduate Studies (18-989) course in addition to the specified units already required to complete the degree.

In this program, we are committed to offering students first-hand experience in software engineering by balancing theory and practice, engaging them in active learning, and encouraging collaboration on projects drawn from real-world contexts. Because of these values, we have implemented multiple MS programs, beginning Fall 2020, that give students the ability to choose which avenue will best fit their future career or educational goals.

MS programs (effective Fall 2020)

MS program Spring 2020 and prior

*All students who matriculated into the MS SE program up to and including Spring 2020, please see the program requirements here.

Transfer credit from previous universities or colleges

For transfer of credit, please refer to the Silicon Valley handbook. 

Quality Point Average (QPA) requirement

In order to graduate, each student must have a Quality Point Average (QPA) of at least 3.0 in the courses being used towards the required 97 units. Coursework or graduate project units with a grade lower than C will not be considered toward graduate degree requirements; however, they will be calculated into the student’s cumulative QPA. Please refer to the Silicon Valley Handbook for grades and other information.


Courses should be taken at the Silicon Valley campus, either from faculty located at the campus or via courses broadcast from the Pittsburgh campus to Silicon Valley.

Course restrictions

Students are responsible for checking the syllabi for their classes to ensure that they meet these requirements. Of the required units, you may not count:

  • Courses numbered as xx-299
  • Any units of physical education, ROTC, seminar/practicum/independent study courses, or courses taken as pass/fail or audit
    • Known courses include but are not limited to: 49-790, 49-791, 49-792, 49-793
  • Courses where more than 50% of the course grade is based on a group project
  • Courses where more than 20% of the course grade is based on attendance
  • Mini-courses worth 12 units
    • Known courses may include but are not limited to: 49-750, 49-751, 49-761, 49-762, 49-763, 49-764, 49-765, 49-766, 49-767, 49-770, 49-771, 49-772, 49-773, 49-774, 49-780, 49-781, 49-782, 49-788

Applying to the PhD program

Students in the Professional MS program

Students in the Professional MS program may apply to the PhD program. These students must be enrolled for two academic semesters in the Professional MS program before they can matriculate into the PhD program. Students must apply by the dates listed on the admissions deadlines page.