Welcome to the First Class of Professional Master of Software Engineering Students

First incoming class of professional Master of Software Engineering students with, in front row, Jaclyn Kung, Career Development Manager; David Lennox, Career Counselor; Connie Cheng, Program Director; and Prof. Cristina Lopes, Faculty Director.

UCI welcomed the inaugural class of the professional Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) students in September. The thirty-seven students are drawn from six countries, and from a broad array of backgrounds.

The Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) is an advanced 15-month professional degree program designed to prepare students for software engineering careers. The program accepts applicants with any undergraduate major, as long as they already have experience with programming. MSWE takes in programmers, and trains them to become software engineers capable of understanding what it takes to design, build, test, and maintain software systems in the context of development teams.

The incoming cohort of students spent the Fall quarter sharpening their programming skills by taking a host of programming-intensive courses, including Data Structures and Algorithms, Network Programming, Databases, Concurrency, GUI Programming in Java, Mobile Programming, Information Retrieval, and Neural Networks. The rest of the program focuses on Software Engineering. Winter quarter courses include: Software Testing and Debugging; Distributed Software Architecture; and Reverse Engineering and Modeling. A highlight of the MSWE program is the requirement for students to do an internship at a company in the summer before they graduate. This provides valuable industry experience for the students. It’s also an opportunity for companies to hire these extremely motivated students.

“I am delighted with our first cohort!” says Prof. Crista Lopes, Director of the MSWE program. “Being the first time we offered these courses, they may have been a little too intensive. But the students worked really hard, and, by and large, they were able to finish all the coursework. Many of them did that, while at the same time juggling technical interviews for summer internships. I have seldom seen such a level of energy, dedication, and talent-in-the-making. Whoever ends up hiring these young professionals will be very well served!” MSWE is currently accepting applications for the Fall of 2020. Domestic applicants have until March 15 to apply. Besides the full-time option, the program offers a flexible part-time option for working professionals living in Southern California. The part-time option takes one more year to complete than the full-time enrollment. “This option targets people who have IT-related full-time jobs, and want to switch roles within their companies to take on more challenging, and better-paid, software engineering tasks” says Prof. Lopes. The current cohort has one part-time student whose enrollment in the program is being sponsored by his employer. “We hope to attract more of these students, as this is a really good, and cost-effective, program for retraining and advancing existing staff.”

If you are interested in hiring our MSWE students as summer interns, contact:

Connie Cheng, MSWE Program Director,, (949) 824-8956

To learn more about the MSWE degree program, visit:

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: