The most complex engineering artefacts in existence are now software systems, and the effects of such systems are felt by almost everyone. It is vitally important that software should be of high quality; it should be built on schedule and without error and it should be safe. Software Engineering combines scientific and engineering principles with sound practice.
The MSc in Software Engineering addresses all this with a range of specialist modules while also allowing choice. The course aims to equip you to begin a career, or to undertake further study, in this important and exciting area.
The course is taught by renowned academics as well as professional experts who influence its composition and choice of subjects.
It is based at Oxford Brookes University’s Wheatley Campus, and offers excellent facilities, including Linux and Windows workstations for advanced software engineering work.
Software Engineering has a modular course design. To qualify for a master’s degree you must pass the compulsory modules, two optional modules and the Dissertation together with the Research and Study Methods module. These span both semesters and the summer.
* Software Systems Development is designed to meet the increasing need to develop robust, reliable, reusable, efficient, portable and extendable software. Object orientation is both a design and a programming paradigm arising out of tried and tested software engineering practices. This module gives you the opportunity to learn the principles of object orientation and apply them to software development using an appropriate object oriented programming language.
* Software Production aims to combine textbook learning with professional insights. It provides knowledge and skills pertaining to professional techniques and management approaches for project teams developing software-based systems for clients. It takes a sound theoretical approach but sets this in the context of real-life projects and the issues that arise.
* Software Technologies addresses the important technologies for software development, much of which now relies on distributed computing and the internet. Furthermore, it is increasingly the case that software is developed from software components. The theory of such a development approach and its practice using current technologies are covered here.
* Language Specification and Compiler Construction provides a study of the principles, methods and techniques of compiler construction for imperative programming languages and the role of language tools in the broad context of software development.
* Computer-Assisted Software Development looks at the use of a formal notation and an associated software tool in the specification and development of software that is proven correct with respect to its specification.
* Database Technology involves the analysis, design, implementation and operation of database application systems. Database system software, query processing, data structures and file organisation.
* Advances in User Interface Design involves a study of the principles and methods that support the development of a range of cutting-edge user interfaces.
Research and Study Methods underpins work carried out for the dissertations. The module, delivered in a seminar style, will provide you with research skills, planning techniques, progress management and review, and the ability to use ICT support materials. You will be given guidance on the analysis and technical presentation of research material.
The Dissertation is an individual research and development project of 10,000 to 15,000 words on a topic closely related to your programme of study. The work may be undertaken in close co-operation with a research, industrial or commercial organisation.
Teaching, learning and assessment
Teaching methods include lectures, which provide a theoretical basis, and practicals, which are used to strengthen your understanding by active involvement. Assessed coursework and projects form the basis for continuous assessment. These methods have been developed across all computing MSc programmes at Oxford Brookes to provide varied support, and to include opportunities for you to discuss your work directly with the lecturers.
Assessment is based on a combination of examination, coursework and dissertation.
Teaching staff are drawn from the School of Technology and many of the modules are enriched by their research expertise. Visiting lecturers are also invited from research organisations and industry. The programme benefits from the rigorous validation and review processes at the University, and the external examiners are very positive about the course.