Program | Software Engineering or Computer Science? | Co-op |
Software Engineering Portal | Graduate Studies


The Software Engineering program will allow you to apply both computer science and engineering philosophy, principles, and practices to the design and development of software systems.

It provides a disciplined approach to software development that includes negotiating and documenting the software's requirements, following fundamental design principles, analysing design alternatives, and evaluating whether the final product meets its requirements - checking that a product functions correctly, but also determines that it is safe, reliable, maintainable, and economical to produce and to operate.

Differences between Computer Science
and Software Engineering

If you are considering enrolling in Software Engineering, Computer Science, or both, chances are you've stopped to wonder about what makes these programs different or the same. To determine which program is right for you, you need to consider your fit.

  Software Engineering Computer Science
Similarities Graduates will have similar career outcomes as they will have many of the same core competencies from their program.
  • Focuses on software
    and hardware
  • Offers a structured program with few choices of electives
  • Co-op only -
    graduate in five years
  • Assignments will be completed in teams
  • The same group of students will progress through the program as a cohort
  • Students will graduate with their engineering ring - they can pursue their Professional Engineering Designation
  • Focuses on software (Computer Science)
  • Offers a flexible program with many choices in electives
  • Co-op or regular - graduate in four or five years
  • Assignments can be completed individually
  • No two students will have the same course schedule - opportunity to network with others
  • Lots of choice for students to add options and minors (See our Software Engineering option)


You will be required to satisfy five to six work terms over the course of your studies. The co-op sequence below outlines when you will be studying and working.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
1A 1B * 2A * 2B * 3A * 3B * 4A * 4B

Software Engineering Portal

Visit our Software Engineering Portal for more information on the Software Engineering program.

Graduate studies

Following your undergraduate degree, you can continue your studies in  graduate school or pursue your professional designation.

At Waterloo, you can pursue a Master of Mathematics (MMath) with a specialization in Computer Science with the option to fast track your studies in fourth year with our accelerated master's program.

You can also work towards your Professional Engineering designation (PEng). You can use 12 months of your co-op experience to count towards your hours.