image of wilson complex basketball courtbackground image of pine treependant background imageheader image of librarypurple background imageimage of stair wellimage of student union builingimage of gutterImage of ceilingImage of ceiling of the wilson complex buildingimage of wall in Tech buildingimage of swimming poolimage of ceilingimage of window at Studnet union buildingWall imageImage of window at science buildingImage of window at science buildingImage of stairs in science buildingImage of interior of science buildingImage of science buildingImage of science buildingImage of library buildingImage of buildingbackground image of ceiling

Master of Software-Driven Systems Design (MSSD) Degree

Understand complex systems and use computer technology to design and improve them

Program Overview


Computers and the software that enables them are the keys to our present and our future, affecting every aspect of our lives. The ability to create effective software requires technical knowledge of programming, information technology, mathematical techniques, and computing infrastructure. Experts capable of solving the ultra-large scale problems of today must possess a breadth of understanding and experience that comes only from deep knowledge of multiple domains and perspectives. Our Software-Driven Systems Design (MSSD) program helps you understand these complex problems, and learn to design complex systems to solve them.

Become an Expert

The primary goal of this degree program is to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to fully participate in the community of professionals who use computing and software technologies for the betterment of humanity.  When you graduate, you will be prepared to assume leadership and innovator roles in a wide variety of organizations and businesses.  You will be prepared for traditional careers such as analyst, software developer, or manager.  You will also be ready for such newly created positions as user experience designer, coach, or evangelist.

The MSSD focuses:

On systems and systemic problems

  • Our focus is on the systems where computing technology is deployed to enhance and/or solve problems – not on the technology itself

On humans and humanity

  • Software is developed by people on behalf of people. You will learn how to interact with others and engage in ethical behavior that enhances the status and dignity of humanity.

On the use of technology

  • Technical skills, techniques, and tools are essential for success and you will learn and master this technology.

On Teamwork

  • Software is developed by teams. You will learn how to be a team player as well as a team leader along with all the “soft” skills required for effective collaborative work.

On Experience and Tacit Knowledge 

  • You will work on real projects for clients alongside professional developers. You will graduate with both the experience and tacit knowledge usually acquired only after

several years in the workforce.

The Studio Experience

A unique aspect of this program is the focus on experiential learning in the studio. The core learning experience is social:  peers, mentors, and professors work as a team in a studio environment on real projects that matter to real people.

The studio is a lively place with multiple simultaneous activities. You’ll spend several hours a day in the studio working on projects, learning new ideas and skills and enhancing your status as a member of a professional community. Each day begins with a stand-up meeting where everyone shares and coordinates his or her work activities. Each day ends by consolidating progress. Three-week cycles, called iterations, provide the heartbeat rhythm for the studio experience. Each cycle begins with a planning meeting and ends with demonstration of accomplishments and a retrospective for continual improvement. Periodic activities, focused learning sessions, writer’s workshops, reading circles, organized social events, travel to professional conferences and workshops, visits to client sites, and shared meals ensure the studio is more than a simple work space.


When you successfully complete this program, you will have demonstrated mastery in all SSD content areas. You’ll have a portfolio of achievement in studio projects to show prospective employers.  Graduate from this program as an experienced professional, with an established reputation and a network of colleagues and future employers.

Become a member of an elite software developer community and command an appropriately high salary!