Software Engineering

Composite Major

Department Chair: Susan Pfeifer,, (701) 845-7719
Faculty Contact: Susan Pfeifer,, (701) 845-7719
Department Office: 138 McFarland Hall, (701) 845-7550
Schedule a Visit:, (701) 845-7101 or (800) 532-8641, ext. 7101


Software Engineering (SE) is all around us. The IT industry is a diverse field impacting virtually every business—from the service industry and technology companies to manufacturing specialists and health care professionals within large companies and small businesses. VCSU’s Software Engineering, the first major of its kind in the North Dakota University System, prepares students with problem solving skills required to create software solutions to meet the needs of employers. The CSSE Department has joined in Academic Alliances with technology companies such as SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle, using these technologies to complete hands-on projects. Students often work in teams to encourage the learning of group dynamics and soft-skills. Nontraditional IT majors may be interested in Software Engineering because of the inclusion of humanistic issues such as project management, requirements gathering, and human computer interaction. Students with an SE degree can become software engineers, software developers, software architects, IT project managers, business analysts, systems analysts, software developers, cyber security managers and more.

Visit our page at or watch the video at You don’t have to be a genius, you just have to be determined. You could be the next Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) or Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter). Let your dream become a reality at Valley City State University!

Practical Experience

Students are encouraged to work for internship credits while completing their degree in Software Engineering. Companies such as Doosan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Bobcat, Eide Bailly, Thomson Reuters, Cavendish, John Deere, Microsoft, Appareo Systems, NBC Universal, and Best Buy have welcomed VCSU students in their internship programs. VCSU students develop excellent technology and soft skills and many are hired into full-time positions with these companies after graduation. In addition to internships, cooperative research projects with faculty give students first-hand experience with advanced research techniques. The undergraduate research ranges from Virtual Reality to the Internet of Things.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in activities such as company tours, workshops, fairs, and technology conferences.

"I am grateful for the education I received from VCSU and the encouragement I got from faculty, staff, and peers at VCSU. I feel prepared to continue my work in technology at Target, setting my sights on future leadership roles."  ~ Tarah Cleveland '16, Menahga, MN; Software Engineer


General Education Requirements

English Composition
Select one of the following:6
College Composition I
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition III: Persuasive Writing
Speech Communication
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Calculus I
Elementary Statistics
Lab Science
Select two of the following:8
Concepts of Biology
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Zoology
Introductory Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Introduction to Earth Science
The Earth Through Time
Concepts of Physics
Introductory Astronomy
College Physics I
College Physics II
University Physics I
University Physics II
Cognition and Brain Science
Technology, Engineering, and Design
Select one of the following:2
Concepts of Fitness and Wellness
Introduction to Stress Management
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Programming in Java 1
Introduction to Structured Programming I
Discovering Computing
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Film
World Literature I
World Literature II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Civilization, Thought, and Literary Heritage
Ethics and Philosophy of Science
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
2nd Year Spanish I
2nd Year Spanish II
Introduction to Theatre Arts
Acting One
Art and Music
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Fine Arts and Aesthetics
Music Appreciation
Music Fundamentals
World Music
History of Rock and Roll
Social Science
Select two of the following:6
Understanding Media and Social Change
Human Communication
Principles of Microeconomics 1
Principles of Macroeconomics
Human Geography
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Environmental History
Native American Studies
American National Government
State and Local Government
Introduction to Psychology 1
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Anthropology
Additional Humanities or Social Science
Select one additional course from Humanities or Social Science or select from the following:2
Drawing I
Ceramics I
Survey of Geography
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Concert Choir
Athletic Band
Concert Band
Planetarium Science
Theatre Practicum
Total Credits39

Major Requirement

Required Courses
CIS 147Principles of Information Security3
COMM 360Group Dynamics3
CSCI 160Introduction to Structured Programming I3
CSCI 161Introduction to Structured Programming II3
MATH 208Discrete Mathematics3
MATH 321Applied Probability and Statistics3
SE 110Discovering Computing3
SE 201Introduction to Software Engineering3
SE 211Software Construction3
SE 212Software Engineering Approach to Human Computer Interaction3
SE 242Data Structures3
SE 311Software Design and Architecture3
SE 321Software Quality Assurance and Testing3
SE 380Systems Analysis and Design3
SE 381Project Management3
SE 385Database Theory/Design3
SE 370Computer Organization & Systems3
SE 379Social Implications of Computers3
SE 480Capstone3
Directed Electives
Select one of the following options:12
Option 1: Enterprise Systems Specialty
Enterprise Systems
Enterprise Systems II
Integration of Business Processes in SAP ERP
Option 2: Science Specialty
12 credits of major only science courses and approval from advisor. Possible options include:
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Zoology
University Physics I
University Physics II
Independent Study
Undergraduate Research
Option 3: Internships
12 credits of internship may be chosen.
Additional specialties may be chosen with advisor approval. Please consult with your advisor.
Total Credits69

Total General Education 39 Hrs
Total Major Requirement 69 Hrs
Total Credits Needed to Graduate 120 Hrs

For degree and graduation requirements, visit degree requirements and graduation requirements.


Plan of Study

First Year
Additional Humanities and Social Science (Gen Ed)2CSCI 1603
ENGL 110 (Gen Ed)3ENGL 125 (Gen Ed)3
Lab Science (Gen Ed)4HPER 100 (Gen Ed)2
MATH 104 (Gen Ed)3Lab Science (Gen Ed)4
SE 110 (Gen Ed)3Speech Communication (Gen Ed)3
UNIV 1501 
 16 15
Second Year
CSCI 1273CIS 1473
CSCI 1613Directed Elective3
Literacies (Gen Ed)3PSYC 111 (Gen Ed)3
MATH 2083SE 2113
SE 2013SE 2123
 15 15
Third Year
Directed Elective3Art and Music (Gen Ed)3
Directed Elective3ECON 201 (Gen Ed)3
SE 2423Elective3
SE 3113SE 3213
SE 3853SE 3793
 15 15
Fourth Year
Directed Elective3Directed Elective3
Elective3Directed Elective3
MATH 3213Elective3
SE 3703SE 3813
SE 3803SE 4803
 15 15
Total Credits 121

Please note:  This plan is intended for general information only.  Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor each semester before registration.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Able to effectively understand requirements, design solutions, and develop software (follow software engineering principles) to successfully implement software for various domains.

  2. Be creative and think outside of the box while designing solutions for unique problems.

  3. Communicate effectively with stakeholders during all phases of a project.

  4. Able to manage small, simple projects and work in high performing teams to complete projects successfully.