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GSwE2009 Guidelines

The Master's of Software Engineering 2009 (GSwE2009):  Model Curriculum and Guidelines for Development is a set of recommendations for a master's level graduate program in software engineering together with implementation guidance for a university to satisfy those recommendations. Earlier versions of this work used the name "Graduate Software Engineering Reference Curriculum (GSwERC)".

The program described by GSwE2009 is for a terminal professional master's degree, analogous in many ways to a master's of business administration. GSwE2009 is envisioned as a living document that will be revisited regularly and updated when necessary to ensure relevance to the rapidly evolving software engineering discipline. This document includes the curriculum recommendations themselves plus materials describing their creation, implementation, and evolution.

GSwE2009 includes the following:

  • A set of outcomes to be fulfilled by a student who successfully completes a graduate program based on the curriculum
  • A set of student skills, knowledge and experience assumed by the curriculum, not intended as entrance requirements for a specific program, but the starting point for the curriculum's outcomes
  • An architectural framework to support implementation of the curriculum
  • A description of the fundamental or core skills, knowledge and experience to be taught in the curriculum to achieve the outcomes. This is termed a core body of knowledge (CBOK) and includes topic areas and the depth of understanding a student should achieve.

Summary of Outcomes

When students graduate, they will satisfy the following outcomes

  • Mastered the CBOK.
  • Mastered at least one application domain, such as finance, medical, transportation, or telecommunications, and one application type, such as real-time, embedded, safety-critical, or highly distributed systems. That mastery includes understanding how differences in domain and type manifest themselves in both the software itself and in their engineering, and includes understanding how to learn a new application domain or type.
  • Mastered at least one knowledge area or sub-area from the CBOK to at least the Bloom Synthesis level.
  • Demonstrated how to make ethical professional decisions and practice ethical professional behavior.
  • Understand the relationship between software engineering and systems engineering and be able to apply systems engineering principles and practices in the engineering of software.
  • Can work effectively as part of a team, including teams that may be international and geographically distributed, to effectively communicate both orally and in writing, and to lead in one area of project development, such as project management, requirements analysis, architecture, construction, or quality assurance.
  • Can reconcile conflicting project objectives, finding acceptable compromises within limitations of cost, time, knowledge, existing systems, and organizations.
  • Understand and appreciate the importance of feasibility analysis, negotiation, effective work habits, leadership, and good communication with stakeholders in a typical software development environment.
  • Understand how to learn new models, techniques, and technologies as they emerge, and appreciate the necessity of such continuing professional development.
  • Ability to analyze a current significant software technology, articulate its strengths and weaknesses, and specify and promote improvements or extensions to that technology.

Summary of Expected Background

GSwE2009 presumes that an entering student has:

  • The equivalent of an undergraduate degree in computing or an undergraduate degree in an engineering or scientific field and a minor in computing;
  • The equivalent of an introductory course in software engineering; and
  • At least two years of practical experience in some aspect of software engineering or software development.

These presumptions about entering students are designed to achieve the ten outcomes described above. Yet, it is recognized that individual schools may start with a student population that has characteristics that are different than GSwE2009 presumes here.  Such schools will likely have to lengthen their master's programs in order for their students to achieve all ten outcomes or, the schools will deliberately choose not to adopt some outcomes. In fact, schools may even add other outcomes to favor their particular markets and institutional emphases.  GSwE2009 is not intended to be used to certify either programs or individuals. It is a set of recommendations that must be tailored by each adopting university.


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Architectural Framework

Primary components of the GSwE2009 architecture include:

  • A defined Core Body of Knowledge (CBOK) - fundamental skills and knowledge that all graduates of a master's program in software engineering must possess-which comprises 50% of a curriculum
  • University-specific materials which an institution might include in order to tailor its program to meet its specific objectives
  • Elective materials which accommodate different interests of individual students, but may still reflect a program focus

Core Body of Knowledge (CBOK) Knowledge Areas (KAs)

A. Ethics and Professional Conduct

  1. Social, legal, and historical issues
  2. Codes of ethics and professional conduct
  3. The nature and role of software engineering standards

 B. System Engineering

  1. Systems Engineering Concepts
  2. System Engineering Lifecycle Management
  3. Requirements
  4. System Design
  5. Integration and Verification
  6. Transition and Validation
  7. Operation, Maintenance and Support

 C. Requirements Engineering

  1. Fundamentals of Requirements Engineering
  2. Requirements Engineering Process
  3. Initiation and Scope Definition
  4. Requirements Elicitation
  5. Requirements Analysis
  6. Requirements Specification
  7. Requirements Validation
  8. Practical Considerations

 D. Software Design

  1. Software Design Fundamentals
  2. Key Issues in Software Design
  3. Software Structure and Architecture
  4. Software Design Quality Analysis and Evaluation
  5. Software Design Notations
  6. Software Design Strategies and Methods

 E. Software Construction

  1. Software Construction Fundamentals
  2. Managing Construction
  3. Practical Considerations

 F. Testing

  1. Testing Fundamentals
  2. Test Levels
  3. Testing Techniques
  4. Test-Related Measures
  5. Test process

 G. Software Maintenance

  1. Software Maintenance Fundamentals
  2. Key Issues in Software Maintenance
  3. Maintenance Process
  4. Techniques for Maintenance

 H. Configuration Management (CM)

  1. Management of the CM Process
  2. Configuration Identification
  3. Configuration Control
  4. Configuration Status Accounting
  5. Software Release Management and Delivery

 I. Software Engineering Management

  1. Software Project Planning
  2. Risk Management
  3. Software Project Organization and Enactment
  4. Review and Evaluation
  5. Closure
  6. Software Engineering Measurement
  7. Engineering Economics

 J. Software Engineering Process

  1. Process Implementation and Change
  2. Process Definition
  3. Process Assessment
  4. Product and Process Measurement

 K. Software Quality

  1. Software Quality Fundamentals
  2. Software Quality Management Processes
  3. Verification and Validation (V&V)

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