Master of Software Development

The Master of Software Development (MSwDev) is a one-year 180-point Master’s degree designed for students from a range of technical and non-technical backgrounds to help them explore career pathways in the thriving ICT industry.

Our experienced lecturers will teach students core programming skills and concepts, which students can then apply in internships (commonly paid) where they will work on real-world projects with local businesses.

Students will understand the fundamentals of programming so that they are able to pick up new techniques, languages, libraries and approaches required in the industry. Topics students will learn about include Java, data structures, version control, networking, databases, security, web systems, agile, development methodologies, design patterns, and AI.

Programme structure

MSwDev is an intensive full-time programme made up of four courses, which are a combination of practical taught courses and a research and development project.


  • SWEN 501—Professional Programming Skills: Focussed on  teaching you core programming skills as well as complex programming concepts and techniques, this course will cover a range of topics including programming commands, data structures, object orientation, fundamental algorithms and data structures, among others. We focus on the core principles while teaching Java, thereby enabling you to pick up other languages on your own.
  • SWEN 502—Software Development Studio I: Building on the skills students learn in SWEN501, this course introduces methods for development in teams, including professional practice and communication skills in the context of software development. Advanced topics, such as networking, cybersecurity, and human-computer interaction (HCI) will be introduced.
  • SWEN 504—Software Development Studio II: This course teaches students a range of advanced technical techniques, professional practices, and project planning, and covers topics like web development, testing, mobile apps and AI. The main focus of the course is on agile development methods where students learn from working on real-life industrial problems.
  • SWEN 589—Industry Research and Development Project: This course involves a substantial software research and development project, undertaken as a paid internship where the student is placed in a local ICT business. Alternatively, in certain cases, this could be an industry-sourced (or industry-related) project done within the school. The project involves supervision by an academic as well as the industry employer, and will involve formal and informal reporting and presentations.

You will be assessed based on your performance in the above courses. Entry into the research and development component requires a B- average or approval by the Head of School.

Programme Director

Dr Karsten Lundqvist has over 14 years of computer science research and teaching experience. He’s passionate about exploring new technology (like artificial intelligence) to improve teaching and learning. Karsten is an avid gamer and uses game development in his research. One of his inspirations has been Lego (originating from his country of Denmark) which from an early age showed him the power of playful learning.

Programme Director (Taught Post Graduate)
School of Engineering and Computer Science

Who can apply

This conversion programme has been designed for people who don’t have much (if any) prior software development knowledge. You could have studied something completely different or may want to change careers. We will teach you what you need to know.

It is, however, preferred that you have an aptitude for or basic level of experience with programming (e.g., learned some in high school or while at university, followed an online course, or done some hobby coding), so that you know you want to work in software development .

If you have a Bachelor’s degree with a B average in a stream other than computer science, and a desire to have software development skills, then this is the path to your new career. Recent graduates as well as experienced candidates who want to broaden their career opportunities, upskill or reskill, are welcome.

Your application will be assessed and approved by the Head of the School.

How to apply as a domestic student

Before you enrol at Victoria University of Wellington you must meet University Entrance requirements. Check that you’re eligible to apply by meeting one of the admission types then follow the steps to apply before applying online.

How to apply as an international student

Simply download and complete the International Application Form. You will need to apply in writing and courier your application to Wellington University International—the University’s international office. You cannot apply by email or fax.

Courier your completed application to:

Wellington University International, Victoria University of Wellington, Level 2, Easterfield Building, Kelburn Campus, Kelburn Parade, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND.

Find out more about how to apply or contact Wellington University International for more information about fees, entry requirements and applying for a student visa.

Find out more

Check out the Wellington ICT Graduate School website or contact Lauren Locke on or +64 22 563 8595 for more information about the Master of Software Development.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 04 04 04 or email

If you are a returning or transferring student, contact the faculty student and academic services office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.