S.E. Policies & Procedures

Software Engineering Policies & Procedures

Welcome to Software Engineering graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin!  Please use the information on these pages to navigate our policies and procedures.

Software Engineering MS Course Requirements

There are no specific courses required for all students. However, it is recommended that all students have the equivalent experience of our EE360C Algorithms and EE360F Introduction to Software Engineering. Both are undergraduate level courses in our curriculum. If a student does not have substantial courses or work in these areas, then the student should take one or both of these courses. In most cases, these courses can be counted toward your MS degree.

UT ECE (Software Engineering) offers three options for the MS degree: the Thesis Option, the Report Option, and the No-Thesis/No-Report Option. The requirements for formal coursework are shown in the following table:

Individual Instruction Courses

Number of Formal Courses Required

Major Work Support Work Total (hours)
Total Graduate Total
Thesis EE698A and EE698B 4 to 6 1 or more 2 to 4 8 (24)
Report EE398R 5 to 7 1 or more 2 to 4 9 (27)
No-Thesis/No-Report 6 to 8 1 or more 2 to 4 10 (30)
Minimum Required GPA 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0

In all cases, EE397K, Topic-1 Conference Courses cannot be counted as formal coursework.

For the thesis option, you must take EE698A exactly once, in a separate semester before you take EE698B. You must take EE698B in the semester you file to receive your MS degree, even if it means repeating the course. EE698A/B do not count as formal course work. At least 24 semester hours of formal course work are required.

For the report option, you must take EE 398R in the semester you file to receive your MS degree, even if it means repeating the course. EE398R does not count as formal course work. At least 27 hours of formal course work are required.

For the no-thesis/no-report option, at least 30 hours of formal course work are required.

Additional requirements and restrictions:

  • No more than 6 semester hours of upper-division undergraduate coursework can be included in the program of work.
  • No course of less than a grade of C and no more than one course with a grade of C or C+ can be included in the program of work.

Software Engineering PhD Course Requirements

  • At least 30 hours of “regular classroom instruction,” all classes at the graduate level
  • No individual instruction classes count towards the 30 hours of “regular classroom instruction”
  • At least 12 hours of the 30 should be taken in residence at UT-Austin
  • 6 hours should be “outside the principle area of study” (no requirement for inside or outside of department; student’s qualifying committee will examine appropriateness of courses indicated as “supporting work”)
  • GPA in each category (“major” and “supporting”) should be at least 3.5.

Note: These are MINIMUM requirements, and a PhD qualifying exam committee can elect to require more if they believe it is appropriate for a given student.

Degree Plan for Advising for the MS Degree

Approved Major Work Courses: A combination of graduate courses and upper-division undergraduate courses taken at UT can be considered major work for the MS degree.

These courses include:

  • EE380L: 5-Engineering Programming Languages
  • EE380L: 10-Data Mining
  • EE380L: 11-Mining the Web
  • EE382C: All topics
  • EE382N: 4-Advanced Embedded Microcontroller Systems
  • EE382N: 5-Communication Networks: Technology, Architecture, and Protocols
  • EE382N: 11-Distributed Systems
  • EE382N: 12-Discrete Event Systems
  • EE382N: 16-Distributed Information System Security
  • EE382N: 18-Distributed Systems II
  • EE382V: (new courses, if they involve software engineering)
  • EE360C: Algorithms*
  • EE360F: Introduction to Software Engineering*
  • EE360P: Concurrent and Distributed Systems*
  • EE379K: Software Testing*

*These courses are undergraduate courses. No more than 2 such courses can be listed as part of a student’s program of work.

Other courses may be considered major work on an individual basis; it is recommended that students seek the advice of the Track Advisor (or the research supervisor) in creating a cohesive and acceptable program of work.

Approved Supporting Work Courses: All courses in the ECE department that are not considered major work can be considered supporting work. In addition, courses taken in the Computer Science department can count as supporting work as long as the course can be used for a degree by students in Computer Science. Other courses may also be approved for supporting work; seek the Track Advisors approval before taking the course to guarantee acceptance.

MS Options: While three options are available to students in the MS program, students intending to continue for the PhD are strongly encouraged to pursue the thesis option under the guidance of a research supervisor intended to support the PhD degree.

Degree Plan for Advising for the PhD Degree

Major and Supporting Work: Courses that qualify as major and supporting work for the PhD degree are determined by the PhD qualifying exam committee. Students are encouraged to seek the advice of their research supervisor to ensure that they are crafting a solid program of work.

Progress through the Program: Students who are past Step 1 of the PhD Qualifying Exam will submit formal Yearly Review forms that will include courses completed and planned for completion. The entire SE area faculty will review these and proactively suggest modifications to the students’ program of work.

SE PhD Yearly Review Form (due April 1)

All PhD students in Software Engineering must fill out the SE PhD Yearly Review Form and turn it in to their advisor by April 1.