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Master of Science in Software Engineering


General Information

Each student in the Software Engineering program is required to complete a thesis project as part of the requirements of the degree. While working on the two-semester project, the student registers for SE 598 in the Fall semester and for SE 599 in the Spring semester. This is normally done in the academic year in which the student plans to graduate. If students decide to have a team project, it is necessary to clearly and explicitly specify the responsibility of each team member as early as possible. Thus, if a member is behind schedule for some reason, the other member(s) will not be affected for graduation.

Students are responsible for choosing topics for their thesis projects and for writing proposals. There are three ways to find a project. First, go to the library and search for potential project topics from relevant journals and conference proceedings. Second, talk to faculty about their interests and find a faculty member who has the closest interests to yours and negotiate a project. Third, find a project that might be related to your work. This applies mostly to part-time students who work for a company with a software need. A student choosing this option must negotiate with the company to assure that the project meets company security concerns and still provides sufficient information for a published thesis. Students are not limited to the above mentioned three ways for finding a project.

Each project must consist of sufficient work and difficulty to warrant 6 credits. In a typical project, the student develops a new system and the documents for the software development cycle. Each project must have a faculty member as the project advisor. The project advisor will recommend a grade for the student in each semester to the Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Computing Sciences.

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Thesis Requirements

There are eight (8) written reports and two (2) oral presentations of 60 minutes each that are required for the M.S.S.E. thesis project.

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Written Reports

The eight (8) written reports and their due dates are listed here with the requirements listed below. Dates marked with an asterisk are of the academic year prior to the year in which the student registers for SE 598 and SE 599.

1: Draft ProposalLast Monday of April*
2: Advisor-Approved ProposalSecond Monday of May*
3: Requirements SpecFirst Monday of October
4: Design DescriptionFirst Monday of December
5: Testing DesignLast Monday of February
6: User's ManualLast Monday of March
7: Source CodeLast Friday of March
8: Thesis - Draft to AdvisorFirst Monday of April
9: Thesis - Final Copy to CGCE and LibraryLast Friday of April*
* The deadline for theses varies from year to year and it is normally around last Friday of April. You must adhere to the Graduate School deadline in order to graduate in time.

One copy of report 1 should be submitted to the project advisor and three copies of report 2 to the Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Computing Sciences. A copy of reports 3 through 7 should be submitted to the project advisor by the specified dates. Since those reports may be subjected to revisions as the project progresses, a copy of the final version of these reports must be submitted to the Department of Computing Sciences for documentation by the first Monday of April. Two copies of report 8 should be submitted to the project advisor, and one of them is forwarded to the second reader (who should be another faculty member) by the first Monday of April. After a satisfactory revision is made based on the feedback from the project advisor and the second reader, three copies of the thesis should be submitted to the Graduate School by the date specified by the Graduate School (around mid-April).

The above eight reports are recommended for typical M.S.S.E. thesis projects. Depending on the nature of each individual project, the name and contents of the reports may vary. The student(s) should consult with the project advisor for report formats appropriate for the project.

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Oral Reports

The first oral report should be scheduled during the last week or final exam week of the Fall semester and the second oral report should be scheduled during the first two full weeks of April.

1: First ReportLast Two Weeks of Fall Semester
2: Second ReportFirst Two Full Weeks of April

The presentation should be scheduled by the student in consultation with the project advisor at least one week in advance. The department secretary is to be informed of the time so room and equipment can be arranged and an announcement made. It is necessary to avoid any conflict with major university or department activities.

Each presentation should be about 50-60 minutes including at least 10 minutes for questions. The presentation should provide a conclusion to and analysis of the semester work. Visual aids are encouraged, and it may be necessary to make special arrangements to demonstrate the project. If the presentation requires any special equipment or arrangement, the student(s) must inform the faculty advisor of this at least a week before the presentation. It is the student’s responsibility to check the equipment properly before the presentation.

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Written Report Format

Reports must follow a consistent style, be electronically processed, be printed 1.5 or double spaced, and be laser printed. Each will have a cover page with the format:


Author's Name

Modification Date

Submitted in partial fullfillment
of the requirements of the
Master of Science in Software Engineering

For all reports after the first two, the following format is recommended:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • The main body of the report will have a chapter division with each chapter divided into sections and sub-sections
  • Index

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Report #1 & 2: Draft and Final Proposal

The draft proposal is used as a basis for the discussion with the project advisor. It should clearly state the goals and objectives of the project and hardware and software required for the project. A feasibility study will check the goals and objectives.

The final proposal must be approved by the project advisor and three copies shall be submitted to the Graduate Program Committee by the second Monday of May for departmental approval.

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Report #3: Requirements Specification

This report should clearly specify the functional and non-functional requirements of the system.

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Report #4: System Design Description

This report should clearly describe the architectural and detailed design of the system. A requirements traceability matrix should be provided to prove that the requirements specified in the Requirements Specification report are all satisfied.

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Report #5: Testing Design

In this report, the student should describe the test plan for the system that verifies the requirements specified in the Requirements Specification. The designed input and expected output should be specified.

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Report #6: User Manual

This report will be used for the end users of the system.

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Report #7: Source Code

Each project is required to have a complete copy of the source code of the system. It shall be commented professionally. Students are encouraged to follow a guideline for commenting the source code.

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Report #8: Thesis

This is the thesis to be submitted to the Library and the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE). The thesis should be prepared in two steps. First, the student submits a draft to the project advisor and a copy should be given to a second reader who is another faculty member in the department. In some unusual cases, the student may be asked to submit a copy for a third reader. Then, the student revises the draft based on the feedback from the project advisor and the second (and third) reader(s).

The thesis must be submitted to the Library by the deadline specified by the CGCE. The submission instructions can be found at Thesis Submission at Library's website.

This report should be derived from all the other reports and summarize the whole project. It should not be a collection of the other reports. Instead, it should emphasize the merit and significance of the project.

The thesis must conform to Graduate School Standards and should include the following:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (single page)
  • Table of Contents
  • Multi-section Organization with a Consistent Format
  • Reference Section
  • Index

Use a proportional font (Times Roman or equivalent, 12 point), except for a fixed font (Courier 10, or equivalent) for code.

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  1. [ANSI IEEE 1999] IEEE, IEEE Standards Software Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., 1999.

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MS of Software Engineering

The University of Scranton's Master of Science degree in Software Engineering (MSSE) is designed to prepare professionals in the field of software development. The program provides instructions and hands-on experience in planning and analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance of computer software and documentation. You will gain experience with computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools, object-oriented analysis and design, formal methods and models, software reuse techniques, and the role that elegant software engineering plays in the construction of integrated software solutions. Some of your work may be done in cooperation with local firms. The result is a comprehensive, practical foundation that prepares you for a successful career in the growing field of software development.

The University of Scranton is an active place when classes are in session. The department is located on the first floor of the Loyola Science Center (LSC). The departmental labs are also located in this area. When you visit, stop by the department office (LSC190). The secretary will find a faculty member to give you a tour of our facilities and answer your questions about the program. Appointments may be made by calling the department at (570) 941-7774. We can also be reached by fax at (570) 941-4250, or e-mail at or

The Master of Science in Software Engineering (MS SE) program requires 36 graduate credits, divided as follows:

Fundamentals - Four courses, 12 credits

Advanced courses - Six courses, 18 credits

Thesis project - Two courses, 6 credits

Each student is required to complete a thesis project which is normally done during his/her last year in the program. A faculty member works with the student as the project advisor and at least one other faculty member must read and approve the student's thesis report. A thesis project normally involves the development of a software system and it requires the use of tools, techniques, and theory learned from previous courses. The student is required to defend his/her thesis publicly. Six credits are awarded for the thesis project via the two-semester course sequence SE 598 and SE 599.

An undergraduate student of the University may be admitted to the combined program of their undergraduate degree and the Master of Science in Software Engineering (MS SE) graduate degree. Students majoring in Computer Science and Applied Computing in the combined may be able to complete their undergraduate degree and the master's degree in a total of five years.

Interested students should contact the director of the Master of Science in Software Engineering graduate program and the department of their undergraduate major to determine what Software Engineering graduate courses may be used to satisfy their undergraduate degree requirements and the length of their studies in the program.