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Software Development - Professional

Skilled software developers are needed to support Northern Ireland's burgeoning software industry. This intensive one year Masters conversion course is aimed at highly motivated graduates with a good honours degree in any discipline other than computing. While the course has a particular focus on the employment needs of the local economy, the skills and abilities developed are easily transferred to a more global stage. You will develop the skills needed to apply best practices in software engineering across a variety of organisations.

There is a strong demand in the local economy and beyond for graduates with software development skills. Coupled with the skills and knowledge of their primary degree, graduates from this course will be well placed to find employment in private industry, public sector organisations and in research. They will have the necessary skills to work in roles such as software developers, software testers and/or academic or commercial researchers, as well as have the capacity to diversify into other roles such as independent consultancy.

Accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a chartered IT professional.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

1) A second class honours degree or better from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or

2) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification; and

3) the content of the qualification presented (as described in (i) may have a maximum of 50% computing content.

You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent)

The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment does not accept students with Essential Skills in Application of Number as the only mathematics qualification. Please contact the Admissions Office directly if you have a query concerning this matter. Thank you.

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5678
E: 

In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

The entry requirements facilitate accreditation of prior learning.



Part-time mode over a period of three calendar (full academic) years.

Full-time, one year (12 month) programme, delivered across three semesters.

Careers or further progression

Career options

There is a strong demand in the local Northern Ireland economy and beyond for graduates with software development skills. Coupled with the skills and knowledge of their primary degree, graduates from this course will be well placed to find employment in private industry, public sector organisations and in research. They will have the necessary skills to initially work in roles such as software developers, software testers and/or academic or commercial researchers but will also have the capacity to diversify into other roles such as independent consultants.

Further enquiries

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5678

Dr Nazmul Siddique
T: +44 (0)28 7167 5340

Subjects taught

Year one

Computer Hardware
This module introduces students to the basic hardware components from which a computer system is constructed and the organisation of these components. The architecture is discussed and key concepts considered in the context of the programmable machine. Students will also gain an understanding of how computers communicate in the context both of local and wide area networks.

Professional Software Development I
The module introduces software development concepts and practices in a scaffolding manner enabling students to progressively develop their knowledge. This will be reinforced by interwoven practical lab sessions and tutorial workshops which will focus on and enhance all the necessary practical skills: problem solving, software design, programming skills and software testing to the high level of competence required by industry. The module is also intended to equip students with the knowledge, skills and habits that enable them to function as autonomous, accountable IT professionals.

Web Based Application Development
This module will expose students to the world of web based applications. It is concerned with the study and application of tools and techniques that enable the building and deployment of web based enterprise systems. The module first gives students an understanding of the role and function of the core technologies involved and then addresses the design practices, principles and patterns required for developing optimised enterprise web applications. Consequently, it provides students with a grounding in an important and still expanding application area that utilises the internet as the underlying communication platform.

Software Architecture and Design
This module seeks to develop and extend the student's knowledge of, and practical skills in, software design and development. The students are introduced to implementing, testing and documenting software for real-world applications. They also have opportunities to experience effective project organisation skills.

Operating Systems
This module gives students a detailed introduction to the functions of modern operating systems. Particular emphasis is placed on the practical implementation of theoretical concepts and on the key area of Command-Line interaction, Shell Scripting, and an overview of system management. Students will have the opportunity to develop and consolidate their understanding of computer hardware as well as their software development skills, and will gain experience of using a modern Unix-like operating system.

Professional Software Development 2
This module uses interlinked lectures and lab sessions to introduce selection and repetition mechanisms with Java. This enables the introduction of arrays as an extended intermediate storage structure and also files as a permanent storage mechanism. The module extends their object-oriented techniques and the Java constructs into the hierarchy of super and sub classes and the area of inheritance. The module extends the area of interface applications within Android introducing more pre-defined GUI components and mechanisms available to them. The students will be provided with an opportunity to display strong personal management and team skills.

Database Systems
This module recognises the need for flexible and efficient storage of information in computer applications. The underlying principles of database organisation are presented, and practical implementation in a modern DBMS environment provides a basis for the construction of larger-scale e-business solutions.

Mobile Devices and Applications
This module introduces students to the new and challenging demands of Software Engineering for mobile and wireless environments, and helps prepare students to gain employment within a computing industry where knowledge and skills in mobile software development is essential. Students will gain detailed knowledge of the underlying wireless infrastructure and protocols, the challenges of software development for the mobile and wireless infrastructure, and the relationships these have with the app creation process and developing software solutions targeted at mobile platforms.

The project allows the student to demonstrate their ability in undertaking an independent project, developing theoretical perspectives, addressing research questions and analysing and implementing real world solutions. The student will be expected to utilise appropriate methodologies and demonstrate the skills gained earlier in the course when implementing the project. This will typically involve a systems analysis of the needs for a realistic application or actual organisation and identification and application of tools/techniques required to deliver a well formed solution. In summary the masters project represents a piece of work performed by the student under suitable staff supervision, which draws both from the practical and creative nature of a problem solving project and the traditional, scholarly exposition of an area of study. The content of the work should have a degree of originality and contain a critical appraisal of the subject area.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 11 March 2020
Register at:

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