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Software Engineering (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Conversion course

This is a conversion course. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.


Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

On this one-year programme based at the National Software Academy in Newport, students will undertake practical development using current leading edge commercial tools and techniques and be exposed to direct industrial involvement in a dynamic commercial-like environment.

The MSc Software Engineering is designed for graduates from diverse backgrounds who have some prior experience of programming to gain the skills, knowledge and hands-on experience to be effective as a commercial software engineer.

On this one-year programme based at the National Software Academy in Newport, students will undertake practical development using current leading edge commercial tools and techniques and be exposed to direct industrial involvement in a dynamic commercial-like environment.

The course covers a wide range of topics that are sought after by employers including programming for web applications using languages such as Python, HTML and Javascript, Databases, DevOps and emerging technologies.  Throughout the degree there is a focus on team working and the techniques of Agile project management.  The programme concludes by working with a real client from industry on an exciting, team-based project that brings together all your knowledge and skills acquired during the degree.

This one year programme welcomes students with a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects as well as other disciplines and students are expected to have some basic prior programming knowledge.

After graduating from this programme you will be ideally placed for employment in a career within software engineering or the wider technology industry.

Distinctive features

  • Directly engage with industry through case studies, team projects, networking events and guest presentations.

  • Gain hands-on development experience using current leading-edge commercial tools and techniques.

  • Develop professional skills that are highly valued by employers when recruiting graduate software engineers, such as team working and project management, through real-world projects.

  • Learn in a vibrant start-up atmosphere at our premises in Newport which are purpose-built to support our collaborative style of teaching.

  • You will be provided with a laptop during induction week that will remain with you throughout the duration of the course.

Where you'll study

School of Computer Science and Informatics

Our degree programmes are shaped by multidisciplinary research, making them relevant to today's employers and well placed to take advantage of tomorrow's developments.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4812
  • MarkerSenghennydd Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4AG

Admissions criteria

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

Academic requirements: 

Typically, you will need to have either: 

  • a 2:2 honours degree in a STEM subject with evidence of programming in degree transcript
  • a 2:2 honours degree in a non-STEM subject with evidence of suitable professional programming experience
  • or an equivalent international degree.

You may be invited for interview if you have gained a 2:2 degree in a non-STEM subject and have evidence of suitable non-professional programming experience.

English Language requirements: 

IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.

Application deadline:  

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.

Selection process:

We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a full-time degree, taught over one year.  The course is delivered exclusively from the National Software Academy premises in Newport, with full facilities and student support provided.  Students are typically provided with a travel bursary to cover the costs of travelling to Newport and the Academy building is located very close to the railway station. 

You will study core taught modules to a total of 120 credits.  Students will also undertake a team project and dissertation (worth 60 credits) if they successfully complete the taught stage.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Formal teaching and group sessions will typically take place over two days per week in Newport with three days per week left for group project work, self-directed learning and accessing other University resources, support services, clubs, societies etc.

Students at the National Software Academy work on the development of software projects, including that for a real client drawn from the private, public and third sectors.  Much of the teaching, learning and assessment is based in the context of these projects.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Agile Software DevelopmentCMT65120 credits
Web ApplicationsCMT65220 credits
Programming Principles and PracticeCMT65320 credits
DevOpsCMT65420 credits
Manipulating and Exploiting DataCMT65520 credits
Delivering User ExperienceCMT65620 credits
Dissertation (Team Project)CMT69060 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

The National Software Academy, a part of the School of Computer Science & Informatics, has a strong and active industrial focus, which informs and directs all of our teaching.

Key skills are taught through lecturer-led sessions that typically involve a high proportion of hands-on, practical learning, using current commercial tools and techniques.  You will be given a set of concepts and examples, and are then challenged with one or more problems to which you can apply your new skills. 

You will often work in teams to apply your knowledge to achieve solutions to real-world problems in a project-based learning approach.  Ample time for mentoring is provided in the timetable, which complements the expected self-study that is required.

Further learning and support is provided through Learning Central (Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment) and students are also encouraged to engage with the local tech community through meetups and other networking events.

How will I be assessed?

The taught modules within the programme are assessed through a range of methods, which typically consist of examinations and coursework, such as written reports, portfolios, timed assessments, extended essays, practical assignments and oral presentations.

The team project and dissertation will enable you to demonstrate their ability to build upon and exploit knowledge and skills gained to exhibit critical and original thinking based on a period of independent and group study and learning.

How will I be supported?

We pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure a positive student experience. You will be assigned a member of staff to act as your personal tutor, who will serve as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner.

The style of course delivery and the focus on projects means that you will receive regular support both from academic staff and also from industry professionals.

Although all teaching will take place in Newport, you will be encouraged to base yourself in Cardiff in order to take advantage of everything that Cardiff has to offer, both in terms of the University (Libraries, Halls of Residence, Student Union etc.) and the wider city.

You will also have full access to the 24-hour computing facilities in the School of Computer Science & Informatics.

You will also have access to the full range of services provided by the University’s Student Support Service.


Students have many opportunities for feedback during the contact sessions. You will be involved in giving feedback in activities such as code reviews, retrospectives and self-assessment. Additionally, you will receive feedback from teaching staff, industry professionals and project stakeholders; providing you with experience of the real-life feedback that you may encounter when you find employment.

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of general software engineering concepts, both theoretical and practical.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the methods, techniques, and tools available to specify, design, implement and manage software systems.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse and evaluate current issues in Software Engineering (e.g.  legal, ethical professional, social)
  • Critically evaluate the available options to select the most suitable methodology, tools and techniques for use in each stage of software development.
  • Analyse complex problems effectively, identify edge cases, inconsistencies, potential pitfalls, and other issues.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate software design and programming skills.
  • Design, implement, test, debug, and deploy, using appropriate tools a simple, secure, information based application.  
  • Creatively apply software engineering knowledge and techniques to the solution of real world, client problems.
  • Work with a variety of platforms using a range of languages, technologies, and tools.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Work effectively in a team to manage client facing projects using current commercial tools and techniques to understand, specify, plan, schedule and manage a commercial software development project and track the project during its lifecycle.
  • Clearly communicate ideas, principles and theories by oral, written, diagrammatic and practical means.
  • Demonstrate self-direction, initiative, professionalism, critical judgement and planning skills in tackling and solving Software Engineering problems using appropriate technologies.
  • Use research methods to further enhance learning, applying this acquired knowledge to given problems.

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,700 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £21,950 £1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

The course is delivered exclusively from the National Software Academy premises in Newport, with full facilities and student support provided.  Students are typically provided with a travel bursary to cover the costs of travelling to Newport.  The premises in Newport are located in very close proximity to Newport railway station.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Students will be provided with the necessary specific equipment to study on this programme.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

As a student at the National Software Academy you will get many opportunities to meet and work with companies and build your industrial contacts. Skilled software engineers are in extremely high demand. This means the employment prospects for graduates in the computing and ICT industry are excellent. On successful completion of the course, you will be equipped with transferable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.

Recent statistics show that the vast majority of our graduates are following their chosen career paths in roles such as Software Engineer, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Associate Software Developer, Business Analyst and Systems Development Officer. They go on to work for a companies including Airbus Group, Amazon, BBC, BT, Capgemini,, GCHQ, IBM, Lloyds Banking Group, MoD, Morgan Stanley, Sky, South Wales Police and Thomson Reuters. Others have chosen further study or research at Cardiff or other top universities.

In addition to the University’s Careers and Employability Service for students, the School has a Careers Officer and a dedicated Placement Officer.


Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to students with a home fee status intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2021 dates.

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Contact us for more information about this course.


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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.