Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development


Is the graduate certificate a replacement to a bachelor's degree in Computer Science?

No. The Graduate Certificate in Software Design and Development is 18 credits of coursework derived from 35 credits of the core courses in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Software Engineering. It is intended as a way for students who desire to pursue the MS in Computer Science & Software Engineering (MSCSSE) or MS in Cybersecurity Engineering (MSCSE) to solidify critical programming and software design knowledge in order to prepare for continued studies.

What languages does the program use?

The GCSDD curriculum uses C++ to teach object-oriented programming, and programming aspects of operating systems and network communication.

Does the GCSDD start any time during the year?

No, the GCSDD enrolls for fall quarter only. The application deadline is July 1.

I have some software development experience. Do I need to take all the courses to earn the certificate?

Yes. In order to earn the Graduate Certificate in Software Design and Development, you need to complete ALL courses with a 2.7 or higher in each course and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. This is particularly true if you desire to apply to the MSCSSE or MSCSE.

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Can I take the programming prerequisites from the CSS Program at UW Bothell?

Yes. You will need to enroll as a non-matriculated student at UW Bothell. We typically teach evening sections of CSS 142 in Spring quarter and CSS 143 in Summer. Contact the CSS Graduate Advisor for further information. Keep in mind that courses in the CSS Program fill quickly, and non-matriculated students are the last to enroll. You may instead take equivalent courses at area community colleges to full-fill the prerequisites. Please refer to the following equivalency guide for details.

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I took calculus during my bachelors degree studies several years ago. Is it ok to use that course as the prerequisite?

Yes, but you need to be comfortably familiar with the concepts taught in that course. Remember, the grade in your calculus course will be reviewed as part of your application material to the GCSDD.

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I still need to take the second quarter of programming, but I have to take it Summer quarter. Since the GCSDD deadline is July 1st, do I have to wait till next year to apply?

No. If you are only missing one prerequisite and you are enrolled in that prerequisite for summer, please submit all of your application materials by the July 1st deadline. You will need to include a note in your Statement of Programming Knowledge explaining your summer quarter schedule. Applicants enrolled in their final prerequisite in summer have their application put on a hold status by the CSS Program until summer quarter grades are submitted (typically at the end of August). Applicants will receive instructions from the Graduate Advisor on how to submit those final grades. Admission review for applicants on hold status will be made after all final grades have been submitted. This does NOT mean you can turn your application in late. Only applicants who submitted their complete applications by the July 1 deadline will be reviewed.

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Can I use my work experience as equivalent to the two quarters of programming?

For very few, this may be possible. Your work experience will have to show strong programming skills in either Java or C++ and you need to be comfortable with object-orientation, recursion, inheritance, generic programming, constructs (lists, stacks, queues) and algorithms (searching, sorting). For further information please contact

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Can I pick and choose which classes I want to take in the GCSDD?

No. The GCSDD curriculum is designed so that each course in the programming and design sequence are prerequisites for each other. Furthermore, to earn the Graduate Certificate, you must complete the full course load requirement: CSS 501, 502, 503, 506, 507, 508.

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What is the instructor-to-student ratio?

Ratios change on a yearly basis, and are dependent upon the enrollment level of the online and on-campus cohorts. In both cohorts for autumn of 2019, the ratio was approximately 1:40.

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Who teaches the classes?

Faculty in the CSS Division regularly rotate teaching schedules every year. This ensures that students receive a mix of tenure and lecture track faculty instruction. On occasion, the division may also hire part-time faculty who specialize in specific course content.

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I’ve just started a new job, and I’m concerned about the time commitment for classes. Is the GCSDD right for me?

The GCSDD is an innovative and intense series of courses that is intended to teach the basic elements of a bachelors degree in Computer Science & Software Engineering in just one year. Students are expected to learn challenging material at an accelerated rate. Previous GCSDD students have reported spending an average of 18 – 22 study hours outside of class time. Adjusting to working full-time and taking classes is a different process for everyone. For some, it’s similar to taking on another part-time job, for others it is exactly the type of challenge and change of environment they need. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the STEM Graduate Office at

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If I complete the GCSDD, am I guaranteed admission to the MSCSSE/MSCSE degree?

No. The MS has a competitive admission review and each candidate will receive a holistic review of their application materials. Students who successfully complete the GCSDD coursework with a strong academic record have completed the prerequisites for admission to the MS CSSE/MS CSE. For further information please contact the STEM graduate admissions advisor.

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I’d like to study at UW Bothell on an F-1 visa. Can I take the GCSDD?

The Graduate Certificate in Software Design and Development does not meet the minimum enrollment requirements for students studying in the United States on an F1 Visa. There may be some exceptions to this restriction; please contact the Center for International Education at for further information.

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How much is tuition?

Tuition costs are on a per-credit basis and are structured the same way as with our MSCSSE/MSCSE courses. For the latest tuition costs, please visit our tuition page. The cost for the GCSDD program is the same, regardless of online or on-campus cohort.

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How do I access classes once I am enrolled?

To access the courses once you have registered, you will log into Canvas (, the online learning platform used by the GCSDD. Canvas is accessed through your web browser. You don’t need to install any software, but you do need a reliable internet connection and must have a UW student NetID in order to access the system. View more informaiton about logging into Canvas.

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