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Applications are invited from anyone with sufficient experience or proven ability in the fields of Software Engineering or Software and Systems Security. Although these are postgraduate-level awards, admission is not restricted to graduates in this, or any other, discipline: the programme may admit any applicant who is likely to succeed in, and benefit from, their proposed course of study, provided that the admissions criteria are satisfied. Places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, in the order of submission of completed applications.

Applications process

Applications can be prepared on line, using the web pages provided for this purpose. Applicants are asked to complete the University's application form and provide:

  • personal information and contact details
  • a current CV (two or three pages will suffice)
  • a brief statement of their reasons for applying
  • details of previous higher (university-level) education
  • information regarding nationality and citizenship
  • language information and language test results (if applicable)
  • the names and addresses of two referees
While the application is still in preparation, applicants can ask for advice as to whether—on the basis of the information already supplied—they would be likely to meet the admissions criteria. This advice is supplied without prejudice—it will have no effect upon the final assessment of the application—but may be helpful to the applicant in deciding whether to proceed, and what additional information they might wish to provide.

Completed applications may be submitted on-line, as soon as the above information has been provided, together with any supporting evidence: transcripts for any previous university-level education mentioned; test certificates for any language tests referred to. A non-refundable application fee (currently £60) is payable at the time of submission. Applications may also be submitted on paper, using the standard, generic form available at the University's website.

Any applicant who appears to meet the admission criteria will be offered an interview, either in person or (in the case of overseas applicants only) via telephone or videoconference. Applicants can request an early interview as soon as they have provided contact information and a CV. If they choose not to, then an interview will be arranged as soon as possible after the completed application has been submitted.


References will be considered from anyone in a position to comment on the applicant's readiness for postgraduate study. Ideally, one of these should be able to comment upon the applicant's academic ability or previous education, and the other should be able to comment on their professional experience. A reference from their current employer or line manager is welcome.

The references can be supplied directly: by post, or by email. Alternatively, they may be supplied via the applicant, provided that they are presented in a sealed envelope, with the referee's signature across the seal, and a piece of clear tape over the signature and the seal.

Admissions criteria

Successful applicants for awards in software engineering or software and systems security will normally have:

  • at least two years' close engagement with software or security issues in a professional environment;
  • a university-level qualification in a related subject;
  • a good command of both written and spoken English;
  • an appreciation of the challenges and practices in software engineering or in software and systems security;
  • an appropriate level of logical, mathematical, or analytical skills;
  • a good understanding of the nature of the programme, and the level of commitment required;
  • the support of their employer, if necessary, in embarking on this course of study.
More extensive experience may compensate for the lack of a related qualification, and a strong, immediately-relevant qualification, in engineering or computing, may compensate for a lack of experience.

Decision process

The formal admissions process begins with the submission of a completed application form. If, in the opinion of the Programme's Director of Graduate Studies, the applicant appears to meet the admission criteria, then an interview will be arranged (unless an early interview has already taken place). The Director of Graduate Studies will then make an admissions decision, based upon: the information provided; the report of any interview; the supporting evidence supplied, including references.

The outcome of the decision will be either an offer of a place as a student on the Programme, or a letter briefly explaining the reasons for rejection.

The offer of a place will be for study beginning with the next University term for which places are available. Provided that the applicant has applied, attended an interview, and accepted an offer in a timely fashion, this will normally be the next term on the University calendar. The availability of places will be advertised on the Programme website, and the start date for on-line applications will be set accordingly: applications will not be accepted for a particular term unless places are available.

A successful applicant may ask to defer the start of their formal period of study for up to three terms. Appropriate grounds for deferral include: pressures of work; changes in personal circumstances; the choice of a programme of study that includes no modules in the next term. Deferrals will not normally be allowed on purely financial grounds; applicants who are not ready to pay the award fees are asked instead to make a fresh application when they are in a position to do so.

The requirement to attend an interview may be waived for graduates of the Programme who are applying for re-admission to study for a fresh award. Such a waiver will be at the discretion of the Programme Director.


Unsuccessful applicants, or successful applicants whose request for a deferral has been declined, may appeal against the Director of Graduate Studies' decision by applying in writing to the Programme Manager; their application will then be reviewed by the Programme Director, and—at the request of the applicant—considered at the next meeting of the Programme's Supervisory Committee.