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M.S.S.E. FAQ

I just got admitted into the MSSE program and I have been instructed to contact my advisor; with whom should I schedule a meeting?

If you are in the CS Track, your advisor is Yuanfang Cai. You should download the MSSE Plan of Study form (choose the appropriate form for on-campus or online) from the CS website and send it to Dr. Cai and the Graduate Coordinator for approval.

Do I need to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)?

Yes, only if you are an international student.

What is the difference between the MS in Software Engineering (Computer Science Track) and the MS in Computer Science degrees?

The MSSE is an excellent degree to prepare students for jobs in the Information Technology industry as software developers. It is an applied degree with more emphasis on practice than theory. The MSCS is a traditional degree that prepares students for advanced degrees in CS, such as a Ph.D. but is also a good degree for preparing students for jobs in the IT industry. The MSSE has a 9 credit project requirement, while the MSCS does not. The MSCS has a thesis option, however, which the MSSE does not. In the MSSE program, students take courses from 3 colleges (Engineering, Information Systems, and Computer Science). MSCS students take courses from the Computer Science department for the most part.

Do I need to submit a Plan of Study?

YES! All new grad students should submit their plan of study to the Graduate Coordinator by the end of the fall term. Advanced grad students who have already submitted a plan, but have made changes to it, should send an updated plan as well. The Office of Graduate Studies is now monitoring this process, and has put in place a new policy stating that all students who have not submitted their plan by the 4th week of winter term will be ineligible for TA/RAships and Provost’s Fellowships. The departmental deadline is the 7th week of the student’s first term, so if you haven’t submitted your plan already, please get it to the Graduate Coordinator as soon as possible.

What is the Drexel policy on full‐time/part‐time status?

Graduate students are considered to be full time when they register for nine or more credits each quarter for any three quarters in an academic year. All other graduate students are considered part‐time. International students on F‐1 or J‐1 visas should normally be registered full‐time to meet their visa requirements; please contact International Student and Scholars Services for clarification.

Graduate Quarter Registration Enrollment Classifications:

  • Less than half‐time status: 0.0 to 4.49 credits
  • Half‐time status: 4.5 to 5.99 credits
  • Three‐quarter‐time status: 6 to 8.99 credits
  • Full‐time status: 9 or more credits

For purposes of Federal Student Loan Deferment, all graduate students must be classified as enrolled for half‐time status (4.5 to 5.99 credits). If you have questions about how your registration affects your financial aid, please contact the appropriate Financial Aid Office.

What kind of career opportunities are afforded to MSSE graduates?

Graduate of the MSSE usually get jobs as Software Engineers in industries such as Insurance, Defense, Finance, Pharmaceuticals, etc. They are typically responsible for the analysis, design, coding, and testing of software that automates these industries. The average industry salary is $80,500. Software Engineers and related professions have been voted the Best Job by Money Magazine for a number of years.

What are the guidelines for the application to the Software Engineering Bachelor’s/Master’s Dual Degree Program?

University regulations require application after the completion of 90 credits but before the completion of 120 credits. Applicants must have completed the following core Software Engineering courses with a minimum GPA of 3.25:

*SE 101 (Foundations of SE I) *SE 102 (Foundations of SE II) *SE 103 (Foundations of SE III) *SE 210 (Software Specifications and Design I) *SE 211 (Software Specifications and Design II) *SE 310 (Systems Architecture I)

Applicants must have an overall cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.25 or higher. Letters of recommendation from two Software Engineering/Computer Science faculty members are required. Students must submit a plan of study. Consult the Graduate Advisor and course schedules for guidance. Acceptance to the program will be decided by the graduate admissions committee with consultation from the undergraduate curriculum committee, and will be based on a combination of the student’s GPA and letters of recommendation. Acceptance may be denied if the plan of study is not feasible. For more information, contact the Department of Computer Science.

If I take undergraduate courses to improve my background before matriculating into the MSSE, will the grades I obtain in these courses count in the calculation of my MSSE GPA?

Yes. All courses will count towards your GPA regardless of whether they are grad or undergrad. It is university policy: “Grade point average is based on the grade weighted by the credit hours for all courses taken at Drexel University while classified as a graduate student, whether the course is graduate or undergraduate and whether part of a degree program or not.”

Where should I take undergraduate courses to improve my background before matriculating into the MSSE?

Applicants who need to take undergraduate courses should either do so as Drexel University Goodwin College students, then reapply to the MSSE program, or take the courses at another institution and reapply to the MSSE program. Why can’t I register for any of the INFO courses online?

Just send e‐mail to the Graduate Coordinator for assistance with registering for INFO courses. Note that some INFO courses require a pre-requisite waiver that must be granted from the iSchool.

Where can I find descriptions of the courses needed to fulfill the program requirements?

Course descriptions can be found in the Drexel Course Catalog.

Is there an online resource at Drexel University to help me plan my courses and complete plan of study?

The term master schedule can help you see which courses are being offered in future terms, or you can refer to the CS Course Offerings page.

As an international student, can I work off‐campus with an F‐1 visa?

Yes, via the OPT (Optional Practical Training) program.

Can I transfer credits from another University or Department at Drexel to count toward fulfilling my MSSE degree requirements?

It is a university‐wide rule that you can transfer up to 15 quarter credits worth of graduate courses to Drexel’s program, at a conversion rate of 4.5 quarter credits = 3 semester credits. This means that you can transfer three 3 semester credit courses for 13.5 quarter credits (roughly 4 Drexel courses), or four 3 semester credit courses for 15 quarter credits (it would be more except for the 15 quarter credit ceiling). Here are some qualifications to this:

a) The courses you want to transfer need to be approved by Dr. Cai as satisfying some portion of the MSSE degree requirements. She should explain to you the specific degree requirements being satisfied by the courses being transferred. For example, there might not be any way to make a graduate French literature course taken at Villanova satisfy any portion of the MSSE degree requirements, which all have to do with courses relevant to that software engineering. Thus you would not be able to transfer those course credits into that program. Another example would be if you got graduate credits for introductory C++ programming somewhere. We would not allow transfer of those credits into the MS CS because intro programming is not a graduate level topic here in computer science. Dr. Cai would be making the call about whether such a course could be counted for the MSSE.

b) Course credits may not be used for a Drexel graduate program if they have already been used to satisfy the requirements of another degree. For example, if you took graduate courses at Villanova but you used those credits towards satisfying the requirements for your bachelor’s degree, then you cannot count them again for a Drexel MSSE.

Can I take ANY INFO or CS course to count as an MSSE elective?

No, INFO 530 and INFO 605 do not count toward your MSSE degree. Remember that three of the five elective courses for the degree must be CS courses.

Can I pursue a dual Master’s degree involving the MSSE?

Yes, you can transfer 15 credits from the other degree to the MSSE. You will then have to take the 6 core MSSE courses and 4 more courses from one of the MSSE areas of concentration. The 5 elective MSSE requirements will be waived because you will have completed your courses from the other degree. Please review your plan for the dual degree with the Graduate Program Coordinator to ensure that you are taking the correct courses to fulfill the degree requirements.

Do I need to satisfy the pre‐requisites to take an INFO course?

MSSE‐CS students can take (INFO 627) Requirements of Engineering and Management and (INFO 638) Software Project Management without taking the pre‐requisites. They can also take any IST course except INFO 605 and INFO 530. For ALL INFO courses (except INFO 627 and INFO 638) students must have the prerequisites UNLESS the pre‐requisites are INFO605 and INFO530. If an INFO course has a pre‐requisite of INFO605 or INFO 530 they should be waived for MSSE‐CS students. If not, you must get permission from an iSchool advisor or fill out the prerequisite waiver form from the iSchool website.

Can you help me apply for graduation? What do I need to do?

Instructions to apply for graduation through the Drexel One portal can be found on the Student Resource Center site. Once you have applied, your name will appear on a list received by the department, and we will clear you for graduation.

How do I transfer from one MSSE major to another?

Fill out the Change of Curriculum/Status form from the Grad Studies website. The Graduate Advisor of your current major will then sign off as the releasing advisor and you will need to take this form to your new advisor and fill out the rest. Then, send the form to the Graduate Coordinator.

After taking more than a year off from taking classes I am ready to start taking classes again. What should I do?

If you go more than four consecutive terms without taking a class then you are dropped from the program and must reapply. This is very easily fixed; you’ll just need to fill out an Application for Readmission from the Grad Studies website and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator.