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This graduate certificate program provides knowledge, tools, and techniques to those who are working in or planning to work in software engineering but do not want to complete requirements for a master's degree in the field. The certificate may be pursued concurrently with any of the graduate degree programs in the Volgenau School.

The graduate certificate may be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis.


Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have earned a GPA of 3.00 or higher in the last 60 credits. In addition, applicants must complete a self-assessment form, which can be obtained from the Computer Science Department. This form provides summary information concerning background and preparation for the program.

Applicants must possess knowledge equivalent to the following undergraduate courses: structured programming in a modern programming language, data structures, discrete mathematics, and machine organization. The level of knowledge may also be achieved by taking the following foundation courses at Mason:

INFS 501Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems3
SWE 510Object-Oriented Programming in Java3
INFS 515Computer Organization Course and Operating Systems3
INFS 519Program Design and Data Structures3

In addition, it is desirable, but not necessary, for applicants to have at least one year of appropriate work experience in building or modifying software systems.

Applicants must submit a one- to two-page statement of educational and work experience in the computing field that includes a statement of career goals in software engineering. Students not enrolled in a graduate degree program at Mason should apply for the certificate program through the Office of Graduate Admission. Students already enrolled in a Mason graduate degree program should apply to the department for admission into the certificate program.  Admission into the certificate program does not guarantee acceptance into any MS program.


Students must complete four courses with an average grade of B or better for a total of 12 credits of graduate study.

Banner Code: VS-CERG-SWE

Certificate Requirements

Total credits: 12

Three Courses

Select three courses from the following:9
Object-Oriented Software Specification and Construction
Software Modeling and Architectural Design
Distributed Software Engineering
Software Testing
Total Credits9

Additional Course

Select one course from the following: 13
Distributed Systems
Concurrent Software Systems
Software Requirements Analysis and Specification
Distributed Software Engineering
Software Project Management
Software Project Laboratory
Software Design Patterns
User Interface Design and Development
Software Testing
Systems Architecture Design
Software Engineering for the World Wide Web
Component-Based Software Development
Secure Software Design and Programming
Special Topics in Software Engineering
Reusable Software Architectures
Quality of Service for Software Architectures
Software Analysis and Design of Real-Time Systems
Software Engineering Experimentation
Advanced Topics in Software Engineering
Research Project
Total Credits3

subject to satisfying the prerequisites


Students enrolled in the MS in Information Systems Program must substitute SWE 620 Software Requirements Analysis and Specification for INFS 622 Information Systems Analysis and Design to obtain this certificate. Credit is not given for taking both INFS 622 Information Systems Analysis and Design and SWE 620 Software Requirements Analysis and Specification; only 3 credits will be awarded.

Students enrolled in the MS in Computer Science Program may obtain a certificate in software engineering by taking any four SWE courses. If CS 706 Concurrent Software Systems is included, it is possible to complete the MS in Computer Science and the certificate in software engineering in 30 hours.