Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need a bachelor's degree in computer science to apply?

Not necessarily. The program prefers a B.A. or B.S. degree in computer science or a related field, such as electrical engineering or mathematics. Nevertheless, students with degrees in fields not closely related to computer science may qualify with significant relevant work experience in a software development field. See our Entrance Requirements page.

If I enter the program, am I considered a University student?

Yes, and that means you can access most University facilities, including the libraries, bookstores, and cultural centers, and receive a University email account. All student discounts for books, computational resources, and software are available to MSSE students. There is an additional fee for use of the recreational centers. 

Is lecture the norm?

Quite the contrary. The classroom environment is highly interactive. Faculty frequently use case studies and students share relevant on-the-job experiences. In addition, students work together in teams and gain hands-on experience in labs and with simulations.

How closely do faculty work with students?

Faculty in the MSSE program are very accessible and engaged in students' success. The small class size makes it easy for students to communicate with faculty during and after class. Students can access faculty from their off-site locations through phone conversations and email. Faculty can also help refer students to other University faculty who have expertise in a special area. Teaching assistants can provide additional help.

Will industry professionals participate in the program?

Industry professionals participate as instructors, project advisers, and guest lecturers. You'll find that your classmates, current industry professionals, are also an invaluable resource for learning.

As a student in the program, how much time do I need to commit?

It varies, but students typically spend 15 to 20 hours studying outside of class. Some of that time will overlap with on-the-job work requirements.

Is financial aid available?

For financial aid, visit the Financial Aid Resources site or contact Jim Parker at 612-626-0750. If you are a staff member at the U of MN and would like to take advantage of the Regents Scholarship, visit the Regents Scholarship Information site.

How do I find more about the program?

To talk to someone about whether this program is right for you or your employees, call us at (612) 625-0331 or send email to or