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The "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" distance learning Master's degree (held in English)

Sought-after experts in many areas

Today, traditionally hardware-dominated product domains are increasingly turning into software-dominated ones. Many of the companies and organizations in these transitional domains still employ mostly traditional engineers without solid education and training in software engineering. Representatives in the industry have expressed great demand for a part-time training program to re-train the existing professional engineering work force in software engineering. With this in mind, the DISC has developed this high-quality part-time distance program. The program, offered by the DISC since 2008, imparts theoretical scientific background knowledge as well as practical methods, techniques, and tools that equip the engineer to deal with software development for embedded systems issues.

Target group

The distance education program is designed for professionals working in the field of software development who need to acquire advanced knowledge about emerging technologies and who wish to broaden their software engineering skills by pursuing graduate-level education in software engineering. The program targets graduates of engineering disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering, graduates of IT disciplines such as computer science and business informatics, and graduates of non-engineering disciplines, such as mathematics and physics - all with at least two years of professional experience in the field of software development after the first degree.

Applicants may also be accepted who have relevant work experience but have not graduated for a university. They must hold a diploma qualifying for university admission, be able to prove several years of relevant work experience and pass an aptitude test. More information concerning the application can be found here.

The course is held entirely in English.

For the enrolment to the English-language Master distance education program "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems"  a sufficient proof of English proficiency is necessary. This can be evidenced by:

  • an English-language first degree
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages): B2
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE): Grade B or C
  • IELTS: 5.5-6.5
  • TOEFL computer: 200-240
  • TOEFL Paper: 543
  • TOEFL Internet: 72-94


The overall goal of this distance education program is to provide professionals with a sound theoretical software engineering background as well as with practical methods, techniques, and tools that take software development issues into account. The program prepares the students for a career as professional software engineers in the industry. The course concludes with the academic degree "Master of Engineering" (M.Eng.).

Schedule and organization

The standard course duration for part-time, vocational study including examination time is four terms. It is also possible to take a break during the course and then return to complete it. The lectures and exercises for the distance learning program "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" are provided in the form of written study material, developed specifically for distance learning. A weekly commitment of around 14 hours is required to study the material. In addition to this, online tutorials are also offered via a learning platform. 


On campus events

In each of the first three terms, compulsory on campus phases are held for all participants in the "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" distance learning program at Fraunhofer IESE. The goal is to reinforce the course contents within the scope of group work and workshops and discuss questions regarding the study material. Written examinations are also a part of these on campus events. 

All on campus phases are scheduled in compact format: two days in the first semester, usually Friday and Saturday, and two on campus phases of one week´s length each in the second and third semester, usually Sunday to Friday. The students will join a team of about five students and develop software by applying the methods, techniques, and tools they have learned. 


Program content

The distance education master program "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" encompasses six modules. The fields of study include principles of software engineering for embedded systems, requirements engineering, testing and inspections, software product lines, component-based development, security, real-time systems, as well as software quality assurance. Further information such as the course plan and the examination rules can be found in the Download section, which can always be accessed via the link in the download box at the top right of the navigation bar.


Authors & modules

The course includes the following modules:





     1.  Semester


Software Engineering Basics

Software Engineering Introduction

Prof. Dr. D. Rombach

Prof. Dr. N. Wehn


Software Development for Embedded Systems

Prof. Dr. J. Poore

Dr. S. Prowell


Project Management

Project Management

Dr. G. Pews

F. Möhrle


On campus weekend

Classroom Session 1

     2.  Semester


Software Quality Engineering

Software Quality Assurance

Prof. Dr. P. Liggesmeyer


Software Product Line Engineering


Dr. M. Becker

Software Concept Engineering

Requirements Engineering


Dr. Chr. Webel, I. Paech

Software Architectures for Embedded Software Systems


Dr. T. Kuhn

Prof. Dr. N. Wehn

et. al.

Software Development Studio, part 1


Quality and Concept Engineering

    3.  Semester


Software Component Engineering

Component-based Software Development


Prof. Dr. A. Poetzsch-Heffter

Prof. Dr. Ing. J. Brandt

Model-based Component Engineering


Dr. M. Trapp

Embedded Software Engineering

Real Time Systems

Prof. Dr. H. Hansson et. al.


Dependability Engineering

Dr. Ing. R. Adler


Software Development Studio, part 2


Component and Embedded Software Engineering

    4.  Semester


Master thesis





The Master's degree is offered in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE).



Records of achievement are required during the course. These take the form of examinations and submission of a master's thesis. Once all assignments and examinations have been successfully completed, the academic degree of "Master of Engineering" (M.Eng.) is awarded. Successful participants will then receive the following documents:

  • Transcript of record
  • Certificate on being awarded the academic degree Master of Engineering
  • Diploma supplement (DS)



The study fees for the distance learning program "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" are 1,990 Euro per term. Added to this is a social contribution of 102 Euro per term. The one-off fee for the master's thesis is 500 Euro. Starting from the third semester over the regular study time of four semesters, a reduced fee of 30 % of the semester fee is levied. The fee for the master’s thesis is not affected. These study fees cover all costs for teaching material, participation in the on campus events, term exams, and all administrative expenses. However, they do not include any travel, accommodation, or meal expenses for the on campus events. The study fees are not subject to German VAT and are tax-deductible.


Financial Aid

The government can support you in financing your studies with individual tax incentives. Based on your personal rate of taxation and your professional situation, you can, for example, offset the costs as professional or special expenses. Please get in touch with your local revenue office or tax advisor for more information. In certain circumstances, the German government can also support you in your professional training with so-called training and qualification cheques (Bildungs- und Qualifizierungschecks). You can find information on this on the internet, for example at www.bildungspraemie.info.

Employers are often also willing to contribute to the costs of training for their workforce. And low-interest bank loans geared specifically to funding training courses and offered by the government and by banks, such as the KfW Development Bank, represent another good option. However, financial support as per the rules of Germany's Social Security Code (SBG III) or Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (BAföG) is not possible, unfortunately.



The distance learning program has been accredited for awarding the academic degree Master of Engineering. Responsible agency for the accreditation process: ASIIN (www.asiin.de)



You can apply for the "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems" distance learning degree from mid-May to mid-July of every year. Courses start at the beginning of October. The documentation is also available for download and submission as a written application. You can also access the online application area via the link on the right. 

Here you find the most relevant information about the application procedure.