Software Development (Part Time) (MSc) | Courses | Queen's University Belfast
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Software Development (Part Time) (MSc)

MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Software Development (Part Time)

Entry year
Entry requirements
3 years (Part Time)
Places available
TBC (Part Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    The MSc in Software Development is designed in collaboration with industry to provide an intensive education experience in software development and is specifically designed for graduates of non-computing disciplines. It has an extremely high graduate employability rate and is consistently one of the highest rated MSc computing courses for student satisfaction in the UK.

    This part-time option is taught in the evenings (one to two evenings a week per semester) and spread over 3 years to allow you to study while in full-time employment. The course can be completed entirely online, with our innovative live online lectures and interactive lab sessions. All learning materials are hosted on our virtual learning environment, in addition to pre-recorded bite-sized lecture content videos (available before each lecture), feedback quizzes to check your progress, as well as individual support from our lecturers and tutors. You can also optionally attend our on-campus labs on the teaching nights for additional tutor support or if you need a quiet environment to work in.

    You also have the option of completing in 2 years. A dissertation project or specialised Distance Learning modules can be commenced in the third semester of the second year of the course, once all the taught modules are successfully completed. The project or Distance Learning modules must be undertaken full time to enable successful completion in that semester.


    You will learn the foundations of computing and acquire industry relevant skills. These core skills include programming, databases, web development, software engineering and problem solving. You need no computing background at all to do this course, but on successful completion, you will be equipped with the technical, analytical and professional skills required to take on a range of roles in the computing industry.

    The curriculum was designed and is continually reviewed in collaboration with significant industrial partners, who helped ensure the most relevant module content. This helps ensure that our graduates are highly trained and much sought after by employers.


    Many of the course teaching team have worked in the computing industry and have particular research specialisms in developing novel and effective methods for teaching computing. Several of the team have been awarded student-nominated teaching awards for their work.


    You’ll learn how to analyse problems and design robust and elegant software systems to solve the problems. This includes gaining skills in programming, web development, database design, software testing and software engineering.

    You will also have the opportunity to learn how to work as part of a development team using modern development techniques and tools.


    Applications for this course received after 12th August 2022 may not be accepted. In addition, a deposit will be required to secure a place.

    Software Development (Part Time) highlights

    This course is also available for full-time study. Search our course listings for more information.

    Industry Links

    • Alongside the core course curriculum, students are also encouraged to take part in a series of Employment and Professional Skills Workshops, which run at regular intervals during the year. The workshops cover CV writing, Technical Interview Technique, Assessment Centres, etc. and later involve events to allow students to network with representatives from some of the largest employers in the Software Development sector in Belfast. Students get the opportunity to mix with a diverse industrial group, ranging from testers and developers up to senior managerial level staff. Students also have the opportunity to get involved in other industrially sponsored events such as hackathons etc.

    Career Development

    • The School has a team of staff specifically dedicated for the development of student employability skills alongside technical capabilities. They provide a range of services to help students gain employment during the course, eg one-on-one CV advice and mock job interviews etc.

    World Class Facilities

    • Most of the lectures and lab based activities are in our Computer Science Building opened in 2016 after a £14 million re-development. The four-storey, 3,000m2, state-of-the-art facility has large well-equipped computing labs and formal and informal student spaces which support a high level of group and project work.

    Student Experience

    • The course is the highest rated for overall student experience Computing Master course in the UK (2019). This includes excellence in student experiences in the quality of teaching and learning, student engagement, quality of assessment and feedback, organisation and management, learning resources and careers and employability.
    • The course encourages a hands-on approached to learning, with an emphasis on learning by doing. We provide videos of lecture content and continually offer you with opportunities to gauge your progress in each module through self-assessments and practical activities and challenges.
    The structure of the part time version of the MSc in Software Development was designed to be flexible to enable students to continue with current employment. The curriculum of the MSc Software Development was designed through collaboration with significant industrial partners who helped select the most relevant module content to prepare the students for a range of software development roles. This has helped ensure that the graduates are highly trained and much sought after by employers.

    Aidan McGowan – Director of Post Graduate Courses (EEECS)
  • Course content

    Course Structure


    Course StructureThe programme has two key parts:

    A set of taught modules which build from foundational to advanced topics of software engineering and programming.

    A substantial individual project.
    ModulesYear 1:
    Computing Fundamentals

    Year 2:
    Software Engineering
    Web Development

    Year 3: (or completed fulltime in fast track in Full Time mode Semester 3 of year 2)
    A substantial project based element

    The foundational modules are studied in the first year and cover introductory programming using the Java programming language and progressing to advanced algorithmic and object-oriented programming. This runs alongside the computing foundations module which includes foundation knowledge of computing including an introduction to software engineering and software testing.
    The second year concentrates coverage on Web programming (php and javascript) and Software Engineering (with a team based project) and Databases.

    Alongside these structured activities, students are expected to work on group and individual assignments and projects.

    Project: Three-month projects are taken individually (in part time mode) or if you choose to go full time at the end of semester two, year 2 then you have the option to study Distance Learning modules, which are constantly updated giving you a opportunity to study some specialisms in computing such as Machine Learning, Software Design patterns etc. The DL modules on offer are updated each year to reflect industry trends.
    Project ElementThe MSc project will take place during the third year of study.

    People teaching you

    Course Director

    School of EEECS

    Teaching Times

    Teaching takes place on two evenings per week with approximately 6 hours of timetabled activity each week.

    Career Prospects

    Employment opportunities in software engineering are excellent, as evidenced through the consistent and continued growth of the software sector. A career within the profession is not only well remunerated but also rewarding, with software professionals able to select between a range of career progression paths. Given the diversity of careers, the variety of skills gained from a non-IT primary degree are strongly valued by IT employers and will help augment the employment opportunities of graduates from this programme.

    Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

    Learning and Teaching

    The course will be delivered in a distance based blended format. This involves students working through guided online course materials in their own time, with teaching contact on two evenings each week to participate in active learning sessions with their lecturers. If students require assistance while they are working through materials at home then they will be able to contact their lecturers using a number of methods.

    Each taught module generally involves approximately 3 hours of contact time in interactive tutorials/computer lab sessions per week along with approximately 2 hours per week of guided online study. Alongside these structured activities, students are expected to work on group and individual assignments and projects.




    Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    Individual and group-based projects


    Practical examinations

    Computer-based examinations

    The MSc project taken in the third year of study is assessed through a written dissertation alongside the presentation and demonstration of the created software artefact.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline excluding Computer Science or other similar Computing degree.

    Applicants who do not meet the above entry requirements may be considered for admission under Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL). Please visit for the University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and information on application procedures.

    In addition to the above qualification/RPEL requirements, all applicants will be required to pass an on-line aptitude test. If you are successful in the first stage of the application process, we will be in touch to organise this.

    Please note: a non-refundable deposit (which will be deducted from tuition fees) of £400 is required.

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,470
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,470
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £23,100
    International £23,100

    Software Development: The tuition fees quoted are for 2022-23 and apply to completing the programme full-time in one year. The fee will be apportioned accordingly for studying part-time over a 3 year period based on the modules taken. All fees will be subject to an inflationary uplift for 2023-24 and subsequent academic years.


    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Software Development (Part Time) costs

    There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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