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MSc in Management of Software Projects

Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2016. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time (including gaining the postgraduate diploma by 31 December 2014). If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification, please contact the Qualifications and Ceremonies Centre on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email .

The need for software development projects to be successful is increasingly important as software systems become more complex and organisations become ever more dependent on their software systems. As product life cycles get shorter and as technology enables more ways of producing goods and services, it is becoming harder to meet a client's requirements and deliver a new software system within the constraints of time, cost and quality.

This MSc course is designed for professionals in the field of computing who wish to develop their vocational interest in project management. Although it is designed to be a more specialist degree than the MSc in Computing for Commerce and Industry, it includes diploma modules which will help you to develop the skills and breadth of knowledge for careers in a project-based organisation.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

The modules in the postgraduate computing programme are for professional computer specialists, engineers, technical managers and scientists who need to update their skills and knowledge in specific areas, and gain recognised qualifications to develop their careers. The compulsory project management module is accredited by the Association for Project Management (APM), and accredited by the Information Systems Examination Board (ISEB) as providing equivalent training and written examination to that required for the ISEB Certificate in IS Project Management at higher level.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Software Projects (E19)

And 60 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research course enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You'll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description.

60 Oct

Educational aims

The Management of Software Projects MSc is aimed at software developers, engineers, technical managers and other professionals in IT-related jobs who want to take on more responsibility within the teams that they work.

The programme aims to develop:

  • knowledge of the techniques used in the project management discipline
  • a broad and critical understanding of the processes for developing high quality software systems
  • the principles, concepts and techniques associated with software development
  • an ability to analyse and evaluate problems and draw on the theoretical and technical knowledge to develop and implement plans for their resolution
  • an awareness of current research in the management of software projects, the analytical skills and research techniques for their critical and independent evaluation and their application to new problems.

A range of optional modules allows you to further your knowledge in closely related and more specialised areas, such as object-oriented software development, systems engineering and managing human resources.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of the processes within the discipline of project management that:

  • define, plan and monitor the work and resources required to achieve an agreed outcome
  • control project change
  • ensure fit for purpose project outputs
  • engage and motivate the stakeholders of the project
  • the software development lifecycle
  • the implications and consequences of having multiple software systems in places of work
  • a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems in their field of study or area of professional practice
  • a comprehensive understanding of research methods and techniques appropriate to defining, planning and carrying out a research project within your chosen specialist area within the management of software projects.

Specialist knowledge can be obtained from a range of options in computing, technology and business, to give you a broader perspective on software projects. Each option addresses the principles underpinning the particular topic area, relates them to practical applications and allows you the facility for applying the principles in the workplace.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • use and apply knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and theories of managing projects to your chosen problem domain, addressing familiar and unfamiliar situations with respect to software systems and their development
  • critically evaluate proposed software projects using a number of proven methods
  • critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular software development method, software product or technology within a computing system application
  • integrate knowledge and skills from various sources into a coherent whole, making the appropriate abstractions
  • synthesise arguments from underlying premises to produce overarching conclusions
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making informed judgements in the absence of complete data
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems. Critically evaluate and reflect upon your own work.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • bring order, structure and discipline to a unique and non-repeatable undertaking, reducing the risk of project failure
  • create and lead a crossfunctional, multidisciplinary team focused on a an agreed goal that involves the development of software
  • demonstrate knowledge of the legal and ethical issues associated with implementation of computing in the workplace
  • analyse and report upon proposed change to an existing information system within an organisation
  • identify new developments in software development techniques or process and assess applicability to a particular workplace scenario or area of academic or professional interest
  • prepare cases advocating the appropriate use of software development techniques, methods or processes.

Key skills

On completion of this degree you will be able to:

  • communicate clearly your knowledge, ideas and conclusions about software development techniques and processes using appropriate media, for specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • advance your own knowledge and understanding through independent learning
  • apply your problem-solving skills independently to professional or equivalent level tasks/projects/functions
  • work with others to refine ideas leading to an improved understanding of key concepts within the context of software development and its management.

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