Should I Get a Masters in Software Engineering or Computer Science?

Irene Olsen

When it comes to pursuing a higher education degree in the field of technology, two popular choices are Masters in Software Engineering and Computer Science. Both of these programs have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will compare and explore these two options to help you make an informed decision.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is a field that focuses on the development of software systems. This includes designing, coding, testing, and maintaining software systems.

Software engineers use various tools and techniques to develop high-quality software that meets the needs of its users. Software engineering also involves project management skills, as engineers must work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is a broader field that encompasses software engineering. It covers a wide range of topics such as algorithms, data structures, programming languages, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.

Computer scientists use their knowledge to solve complex problems related to computing.

Curriculum Comparison

One of the biggest differences between Masters in Software Engineering and Computer Science is their curriculum. A typical Masters in Software Engineering program may include courses focused on software design patterns, database management systems, software testing techniques, project management methodologies like Agile or Scrum etc.

A typical Master’s in Computer Science program may cover topics such as databases, networking concepts like routing protocols or switching technologies etc., operating systems like Unix or Windows Server etc., artificial intelligence/ machine learning concepts etc.

Both programs require students to have strong programming skills but while software engineering has more focus on practical application of programming skills with real-world problems; computer science has more emphasis on theoretical concepts that underlie computation.

In summary:

  • Software Engineering: Focuses on the development of high-quality software systems and project management skills
  • Computer Science: Encompasses a broad range of topics such as algorithms, data structures, computer architecture, and more.

Job Prospects

Both Masters in Software Engineering and Computer Science provide great job prospects. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for software developers is projected to be 21% from 2019 to 2029.

This is much faster than the average for all other occupations. Additionally, computer science graduates can expect to earn high salaries with a median annual wage of $122,840 (as per BLS data).

However, it’s important to keep in mind that job prospects also depend on other factors such as your experience level, industry demand for specific skills etc.

Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between Masters in Software Engineering and Computer Science ultimately depends on your goals and interests. If you’re interested in developing software systems and have strong project management skills, then a Masters in Software Engineering might be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in pursuing a broader range of topics related to computing such as artificial intelligence or machine learning, then a Masters in Computer Science might be more suitable.

In either case, it’s important to research various programs available before making a decision.


Both Masters in Software Engineering and Computer Science offer great opportunities for students who want to pursue a career in technology. While their curriculum may differ slightly from each other; both programs provide excellent job prospects with high salaries.

It’s important to consider your interests and goals before making a decision about which program is right for you. With this article we hope we have provided enough information to help you make an informed decision.