MS Computer Science & Information Systems

computer software code

Advanced Study: Software Development

As part of the degree requirements, students complete a research project or theses in an area of interest to them. This enhances their expertise in an area. 

Software development is the development and engineering of software through processes and methods that are systematic and predictable rather than being ad hoc and arbitrary. Through systematic approaches, software developers and engineers solve everyday problems by defining, designing, documenting, developing, operating, and maintaining new and current software products and systems. Often, the research, design, and development of software systems occurs in conjunction with hardware product development. This conjunction allows teams of software developers and engineers to encompass techniques, tools, and methods as they construct large software systems [1][2][3].

As the need for software developers and engineers continue to increase dramatically, employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of application developers is projected to grow 31 percent, and employment of systems developers is projected to grow 11 percent [4]. Computer World's hiring survey recognizes programming and application development as the top IT skill for 2013, with 60 percent of companies planning to hire development employees over the next year [5].

The MS CSIS at UNCW provides opportunity for advanced study in software development and engineering through:

  • Coursework
  • Study with Expert Faculty
  • Projects with Industry Professionals


To earn the MS CSIS degree, candidates must successfully complete core courses directly related to software development and engineering:

Job titles related to this field include:

  • Software Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Applications Developer
  • Systems Software Developer
  • Software Designer

Expert Faculty

Students who want to specialize in software development and engineering can study independently with faculty who actively research and publish in the field, and who also have significant hands-on knowledge of software development. Several research topics in this area include software architecture and design, software reengineering, reverse engineering, component-based software design, and aspect-oriented software development.

  • Dr. Devon M. Simmonds, Associate Professor of Computer Science
    • Selin Benli, Anthony Habash, Andy Herrmann, Tyler Loftis, Devon Simmonds. A Comparative Evaluation of Unit Testing Techniques on a Mobile Platform. In Proceedings of Information Technology: New Generations 2012, Las Vegas, NV, April 16-18, 2012.
    • Devon Simmonds, Mark Lanter, Lyle Scott III, Ashley Young, Selin Benli, Andy Herrmann. Exploring Model-Based Design. In Proceedings of Information Technology: New Generations 2012, Las Vegas, NV, April 16-18, 2012.
    • Devon M. Simmonds. Principles of Programming Paradigm Evolution. IEEE Computer, v. 45, n. 6, pp. 93 – 95, June 2012.
  • Dr. Gene Tagliarini, Professor of Computer Science
    • Royce Nobles, Devon Simmonds, and Gene A. Tagliarini, “Parametric Software Cost Estimation for the Solitary Programmer”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering Theory and Practice (SETP-08), Orlando, FL, 7-10 July 2008.
    • S. Narayan, G. A. Tagliarini and E. W. Page, "Enhancing MLP Networks Using a Distributed Data Representation," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, v. 26, n. 1, pp. 143-149, February 1996.

Student Capstone Projects Related to Software Development

Students get the opportunity to pursue individual projects in the form of a Capstone. The Capstone is completed with the guidance, expertise, and support of faculty, usually over the course of a year. In many cases, industry professionals participate on the committee, or the Capstone project solves a real-world problem.


  1. Wikipedia, Software Developer. (visited June 25, 2013).
  2. Wikipedia, Software Development Process. (visited June 25, 2013).
  3. Simmonds, Devon M. UNC Wilmington People Website. (visited May 13, 2013)
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2017 Edition, Software Developers: Job Outlook. (visited May 21, 2018).
  5. 10 Hot IT Skills for 2013, (2012) ComputerWorld (visited May 13, 2013).