Software Systems Engineering MSc

London, Bloomsbury

Deepen your expertise in software engineering by studying in one of the world-leading research groups in the field. This MSc is ideal for a software engineering career in large IT companies and start-ups, or in preparation for a PhD. The programme provides opportunity to conduct a substantial research or engineering project, many of which are in collaboration with our leading industry partners.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024

Applications closed

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree (or international qualification of an equivalent standard in computer science, computing, or software engineering. Relevant work experience may also be considered.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Large scale software systems provide the backbone of many industries and sectors. This is an advanced software engineering programme that enables you to learn from world renowned lecturers in this field, who are also esteemed leaders in research and industry practice.

In this programme, you will learn about identifying software requirements, understanding and designing software architecture, software development including a range of tools and practices used today, software testing, and professional practice such as project management and ethics. Elective modules enable you to gain specialist skills in subjects ranging from security and networks to data engineering and finance. You will also undertake a substantial project, which could be a group industry project or an individual research project. 

Most of our group projects are with industry clients, where you will apply your knowledge to real world problems. Research projects will give you exposure to the most recent advances in software engineering research and are a brilliant option if you are considering a PhD in the future.

This programme will give you all the skills you need to work on large scale software systems in industry or in a research capacity. At the same time, you will benefit from studying in the heart of London amid one of the largest IT sectors in the world.

Who this course is for

The programme is designed for students with a background in software engineering, either through a previous degree in computer science or professional experience. Applicants without a background in computer science are encouraged to apply to our MSc Computer Science.

What this course will give you

UCL is ranked 9th globally in the latest QS World University Rankings (2024), giving you an exciting opportunity to study at one of the world’s best universities.

UCL Computer Science is recognised as a world leader in teaching and research. The department was ranked first in England and second in the UK for research power in Computer Science and Informatics in the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021). You will learn from leading experts at the forefront of computer science innovation.

Graduates of our programme are highly valued as a result of the department's strong international reputation, strong links with industry, and ideal location close to the City of London.

The programme team takes an experimental approach to their subject, enjoy the challenge and opportunity of entrepreneurial partnerships, and place a high value on the department’s extensive range of industrial collaborations. Students from recent cohorts have worked on real-world projects in collaboration with leading companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and the NHS through the Department’s Industry Exchange Network (IXN).

The foundation of your career

Graduates from this programme go on to a range of career destinations. Some work for large companies such as Amazon, Google, or Meta, and others work in the finance sector or start-up world. One graduate gained employment with Zühlke and soon became a main contributor to NHS Track and Trace, the Covid-19 app. 

The fast pace of development and innovation in the software world means there are ample opportunities in research and academia too, with some students going on to do PhDs at UCL and other renowned universities across the world.


Many sectors rely on large software systems, and you will gain exposure to some of these throughout the programme due to the strong industry ties UCL has. You will acquire a strong skillset in the many aspects of software systems engineering during this programme, enabling you to pursue a career as a software engineer, software developer or software architect when you graduate.

The research-based curriculum promotes strong research skills, which you will develop through your final research project/ dissertation; you will be well equipped to undertake doctoral research in software systems engineering.


Networking is a crucial part of the programme that can greatly enhance your career prospects and professional development. During the programme, you have ample opportunity for networking with peers and members of academia and industry, particularly through collaborative project work and research seminars.

UCL also has a large number of clubs and societies which can be an effective way to connect with peers who share similar interests and career goals. London’s Tech Scene is vibrant and has regular networking events.

Teaching and learning

The programme’s core curriculum is typically delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and lab classes, as well as directed and self-directed learning supported by teaching materials and resources, published through each module’s online virtual learning environment. Each module employs a teaching strategy that aligns with and supports its intended learning outcomes.

You will be assessed through a range of methods across the programme, which will vary depending on any optional or elective module choices. The programme’s core curriculum is typically assessed by methods including coursework, lab work, individual and group projects, class tests, written examinations, oral assessments, and, in all cases, culminating in a final research project/ dissertation.

Contact time takes a variety of forms, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, project supervisions, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, visits, placements, office hours (where staff are available for consultation), email, videoconference, or other media, and situations where feedback on assessed work is given (one-to-one or in a group).

Each module has a credit value that indicates the total notional learning hours a learner will spend on average to achieve its learning outcomes. One credit is typically described as being equal to 10 hours of notional learning, which includes all contact time, self-directed study, and assessment.

The contact time for each of your 15 credit taught modules will typically include 22-30 hours of teaching activity over the term of its delivery, with the balance then comprised of self-directed learning and working on your assessments. You will have ongoing contact with teaching staff via each module’s online discussion forum, which is typically used for discussing and clarifying concepts or assessment matters and will have the opportunity to access additional support via regular office hours with module leaders and programme directors.

Your research project/ dissertation module is 60 credits and will include regular contact with your project supervisor(s), who will guide and support you throughout your project. You will dedicate most of your time on this module to carrying out research in connection with your project and writing up your final report.


The Software Systems Engineering MSc is a one-year programme.

In term 1, you will study requirements engineering and software architecture, which will introduce you to fundamental concepts and the latest techniques to develop your modelling skills and your ability to communicate requirements and architectures with clarity and precision to business stakeholders and software developers. You will improve your knowledge and understanding of the nature and variety of current software development practice. You will be introduced to cutting-edge research methods in software engineering emphasising the close reading of research papers; the critical, yet balanced, evaluation of research ideas; and writing a research project proposal. You will choose from a range of specialist optional topics, which may include computer security, malware, complex networks and web, networked systems, and distributed systems and security.

In term 2, you will further develop your skills and knowledge to design, implement, and integrate large-scale software systems from heterogeneous components and services. You will study validation and verification, which will cover not only the state-of-the practice in validation and verification, but also the most significant trends, problems and results in validation and verification research. You will also study professional practice, which will provide a viewpoint on the commercial realities of work and practical skills in project management through a series of seminars given by those with practical experience of real problems at technical, managerial, financial, and ethical levels. You will choose from a range of optional topics, which may include machine learning, further computer security, information retrieval and data mining, practical program analysis, and automated software engineering. You will also begin preparation for your final research project/ dissertation.

In term 3, you will primarily focus on your final research project/ dissertation (either group or individual), and any examinations that take place in the main examination period.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Software Systems Engineering.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Department of Computer Science

Join us for a live online information session to hear from Computer Science staff. We will cover areas such as the general admission process, careers support, and industry links/placements. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask staff and current students any questions you may have. Two sessions will run for this event. These sessions are the same and are repeated to cater to people in different time zones.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students will require a modern computer (PC or Mac) with minimum specifications 8GB RAM and 500GB SSD storage. A computer with the stated specifications is estimated to cost £500 or greater.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For more information about funding opportunities for UCL Computer Science taught postgraduate programmes, please see the department's scholarships webpage.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL East London Scholarship

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Friends & Alumni Association scholarship for Machine Learning

Deadline: 3 June 2024
Value: $20,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we wish to learn:

  • why you want to study Software Systems Engineering at graduate level
  • why you want to study Software Systems Engineering at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • what programming experience you have
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree.

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Your application will be judged entirely on the evidence you provide.

Due to competition for places on this programme, no late applications will be considered. Students with visa requirements or applying for scholarships are advised to apply early.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Got questions? Get in touch

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