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Faculty of Engineering

Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Software Engineering Specific Degree Requirements

Software Engineering
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Over the last few decades there has been a tremendous growth in information technology and its impact on everyday life. Complex software systems have become critical to the operation of many systems in areas such as banking, communications, manufacturing, power generation, and transportation. Progress in computer science and accumulated experience with industrial production of software have led to the emergence of software engineering as a separate discipline. The software engineering discipline has been defined as "the application of systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approaches to the development, operation, and maintenance of software"; that is, the application of engineering to software. The software engineer must apply well-defined techniques, methods, and tools to ensure the correctness, reliability, performance, maintainability, and usability of the software systems being developed.

The technical requirements of these software engineers include a strong foundation in mathematics, natural sciences, and computer science; a broad education in software engineering and design; an understanding of computers and networks; a better appreciation for all aspects of the software engineering life cycle; and the use of methodologies and tools.

The curriculum requirements are not all technical. Industry is also asking for graduates who have facility across several disciplines. Software engineering graduates need to have substantial communications, business, and reasoning skills. Graduates should be able to work in groups; make presentations to technical and non-technical audiences; write coherent well-reasoned reports; and assess the social, technical, legal, and commercial implications of the technology they help to create.

The Honours Software Engineering program leads to a Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) degree. The program is accredited by both the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board and the Computer Science Accreditation Council.

Administrative Structure

Leadership for the Software Engineering program is provided by a Software Engineering Program Director, normally a faculty member chosen from either Computer Science or Electrical and Computer Engineering with a joint or cross appointment. The Program Director is responsible for the academic issues associated with the program's operations, including student liaison and advisement. The Associate Director of Software Engineering assists the Director in managing the program's day-to-day operations and in advising students.

The Software Engineering Program Board oversees the program's operation and evolution. This inter-faculty Board consults with the two home departments and reports to the two Faculty Councils. The Chair of the Board alternates between the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Dean of Mathematics. Ex-officio members of the board include the

  • Dean of Engineering
  • Dean of Mathematics
  • Director of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
  • Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Director (or Associate Director) of Undergraduate Studies (Computer Science)
  • Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Software Engineering Program Director

In addition, the board includes four faculty members, two from Computer Science and two from Electrical and Computer Engineering; and one student from the Software Engineering program. Faculty members are appointed for two-year, renewable terms; the student member typically serves a two-term appointment.

The Software Engineering Curriculum Committee is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of the program curriculum and is chaired by the Software Engineering Program Director. The committee consists of the Director and Associate Director of the Software Engineering Program, six other faculty members (three from Computer Science and three from Electrical and Computer Engineering, including the Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies and the Computer Science Director of Undergraduate Studies) and one student from the Software Engineering Program. The membership may be drawn from outside of the Board and must include a majority of licensed professional engineers. The Software Engineering Curriculum Committee reports to the Software Engineering Program Board and consults with both the Computer Science Undergraduate Academic Plans Committee and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program Committee.


The Software Engineering Program Board, in consultation with the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics and their Admissions Committees, determines the admission requirements for the Software Engineering program.

For details on admission information, see the Admissions section of this Calendar.

Options, Minors, and Joint Honours

Software Engineering students are considered to be both Mathematics and Engineering students, and can thus take advantage of degree enhancements available to students from either Faculty. These enhancements take the form of additional plans such as Options, Minors, and Joint Honours, and include:

The following Joint Honours Mathematics plans are also approved as additional plans for BSE students:

BSE students are not eligible to add Joint Computer Science (Bachelor of Mathematics) or Joint Bachelor of Computer Science plans. BSE students may be eligible to add other Options or Minors in the Mathematics, Engineering or other Faculties, subject to the approval of the Software Engineering Associate Director. Students should be aware that adding plans will constrain their choice of elective courses and may require additional courses. Thus, it is advisable to start planning for additional plans in the first and second years. Students should also consider the benefits of not adding plans, in that they are better able to personalize their curriculum if they have more flexibility in choosing their electives.

Software Engineering Awards

Term Dean's Honours List

In recognition of outstanding academic achievement in an academic term, the designation "Dean's Honours List" is awarded to any BSE student who satisfies either of the following criteria:

1.1. The student is unconditionally promoted at the end of that term, and their term average minus their percentile rank from the top for that academic term is at least 80%.
1.2. The student completes the academic term with a term average of at least 87% based upon a course load which includes a minimum of 2.5 units with numeric or letter grades and which does not include any failing grades or any INC, IP, or UR grades (see Grading System for description).

This designation will be reflected on the official university transcript.

Graduation "With Distinction - Dean's Honours List"

In recognition of outstanding academic achievement throughout undergraduate studies, the designation Graduation "With Distinction - Dean's Honours List" is awarded to any BSE graduate who satisfies either of the following criteria:

1.1. The student has satisfied criterion "1" of the term Dean's Honours List for at least two of the six academic terms preceding graduation, and has a cumulative average over these last six academic terms of at least 80.
1.2. The student has a cumulative average (as specified in Mathematics Faculty Policy #1) of at least 87% with no record of INC, IP, or UR grades (see Grading System for description). Any student who satisfies this criterion will have their name displayed in gold on the walls of the Math & Computer (MC) corridor (1108).

This designation will appear on the student's official University transcript and diploma.

Some of the upper-year awards offered by the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics are open to Software Engineering students. If such an Engineering or Mathematics award specifies that the recipient achieve term “Dean's Honours List” or “Graduating ‘With Distinction - Dean's Honours List’,” then a Software Engineering student must satisfy the appropriate Faculty's Dean's Honours List criteria in order to be eligible for the award.

Honours Software Engineering (Co-operative 8-stream only)

The Software Engineering program is offered jointly by the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Its curriculum prepares graduates for entry into the software engineering profession. It covers the scientific and mathematical foundations of the discipline, engineering science and engineering design appropriate to the discipline, and exposes students to the ethical and societal issues associated with the discipline. Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge to produce software solutions to specific problems.

Students will be considered members of both the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Mathematics, although for administrative purposes they will be registered officially in a separate unit. Students will be promoted based on the Examination and Promotion rules used in the Faculty of Engineering (see Examinations and Promotions). A non-voting representative from the Faculty of Mathematics will sit on the Engineering Examinations and Promotion Committee, to provide insight into the policies, philosophies, culture, and requirements that pertain to Math students. The Software Engineering program is also considered an Honours Mathematics plan for purposes of student access to math courses. The Software Engineering Advisor will advise students on how to achieve their academic goals. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE).

Academic Curriculum

Key for next table:

Alternate weeks 
**  One hour seminar per week 
***  Laboratory is not scheduled and students are expected to find time in open hours to complete their work  
Number of contact hours for the tutorial or laboratory are unknown; there may be more components than the class (LEC) section
Cls  Class
Tut   Tutorial 
Lab  Laboratory
0 - 9  Number of hours for Class, Tutorial, Laboratory 

The term by term academic component of the program is as follows:

Term Course and Title Cls Tut Lab

1A Fall

CS 137 Programming Principles 3 1 2
ECE 105 Classical Mechanics
3 1 1.5
MATH 115 Linear Algebra for Engineering 3 2 0
MATH 117 Calculus 1 for Engineering 3 2 0
MATH 135 Algebra for Honours Mathematics 3
1 0
SE 101 Introduction to Methods of Software Engineering** 1 0 2

1B Winter

SE 102 Seminar 1 0 0
CS 138 Introduction to Data Abstraction and Implementation 3 1 2
ECE 106 Electricity and Magnetism
3 1 1.5
ECE 124 Digital Circuits and Systems 3 1 1.5
ECE 140 Linear Circuits 3
2 1
MATH 119 Calculus 2 for Engineering 3 2 0

2A Fall

SE 201 Seminar 1 0 0
CHE 102 Chemistry for Engineers 3 2 0
CS 241 Foundations of Sequential Programs 3 1 2
ECE 222 Digital Computers 3 1 3*
SE 212 Logic and Computation 3 1 0
STAT 206 Statistics for Software Engineering (see note 5) 3 1 0
Communication Elective (see note 6) 3 + +

2B Spring

SE 202 Seminar 1 0 0
CS 240 Data Structures and Data Management 3 0 3
CS 247 Software Engineering Principles *** 3 1 3
MSCI 261 Engineering Economics:  Financial Management for Engineers 3 1 0
MATH 213 Advanced Mathematics for Software Engineers 3 1 0
MATH 239 Introduction to Combinatorics 3 1 0
Elective (see note 1) 3 + +
WKRPT 200 Work-term Report

3A Winter

SE 301 Seminar 1 0 0
CS 341 Algorithms 3 0 3
CS 349 User Interfaces *** 3 0 1
SE 350 Operating Systems 3 1 1.5
SE 465 Software Testing and Quality Assurance *** 3 1 3
Elective (see note 1) 3 + +

3B Fall

SE 302 Seminar 1 0 0
CS 343 Concurrent and Parallel Programming 3 0 3
CS 348 Introduction to Database Management 3 0 0
SE 380 Introduction to Feedback Control 3 1 1.5
SE 390 Design Project Planning *** 2 0 2
SE 464 Software Design and Architectures *** 3 1 3
Elective (see note 1) 3 + +
WKRPT 300 Work-term Report

4A Spring

SE 401 Seminar 1 0 0
ECE 358 Computer Networks  3 1 1.5
SE 463 Software Requirements Specification and Analysis *** 3 1 3
SE 490 Design Project 1 *** 2 0 9
Two Electives (see notes 1 and 2) 3 + +
WKRPT 400 Work-term Report 

4B Winter

SE 402 Seminar 1 0 0
SE 491 Design Project 2 *** 2 0 2
Five Electives (see notes 1 and 2) 3 + +

Three Advanced Technical Electives (ATE):

The advanced technical electives comprise fourth-year course offerings in CS or ECE. Students are advised to plan ahead when selecting ATEs. Most ATEs are not offered every term, and some ATEs have other ATEs as prerequisites. Other courses may be approved by the Program Director.

One of the following CS courses (CS List):

CS 442 Principles of Programming Languages
CS 444 Compiler Construction
CS 448 Database Systems Implementation
CS 449 Human-Computer Interaction 
CS 450 Computer Architecture
CS 452 Real-time Programming
CS 454 Distributed Systems
CS 457 System Performance Evaluation
CS 458 Computer Security and Privacy
CS 462 Formal Languages and Parsing
CS 466 Algorithm Design and Analysis  
CS 484 Computational Vision
CS 485 Machine Learning: Statistical and Computational Foundations
CS 486 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CS 487 Introduction to Symbolic Computation 
CS 488 Introduction to Computer Graphics

One of the following ECE courses (ECE list):

ECE 409 Cryptography and System Security
ECE 416 Higher Level Network Protocols
ECE 418 Communications Networks
ECE 423 Embedded Computer Systems 
ECE 429 Computer Architecture
ECE 454 Distributed Computing
ECE 455 Embedded Software 
ECE 457A  Cooperative and Adaptive Algorithms
ECE 457B Fundamentals of Computational Intelligence
ECE 458 Computer Security
ECE 459 Programming for Performance
ECE 481 Digital Control Systems 
ECE 486 Robot Dynamics and Control
ECE 488 Multivariable Control Systems

One additional course from the CS and ECE lists above

Two Science Electives (SCE)

Normally these courses are in the natural sciences, chosen from the list below. Alternate courses may be chosen in consultation with the SE Program Advisors.

Science Elective Courses:
BIOL 110, (BIOL 130 and BIOL 130L), BIOL 165BIOL 239, BIOL 240, BIOL 273, CHE 161, (CHEM 262 and CHEM 262L), EARTH 121, EARTH 122PHYS 234, PHYS 263PHYS 275, PHYS 334, PHYS 375, SCI 238SCI 250 

Three Linkage Electives (LE)

At least one from each of the areas of Societal Issues, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Communications, as specified below. Students should be aware that these courses may have enrolment limits, or may not fit their schedules.

One course on Societal Issues:
CS 492Complementary Studies Elective List A

One course on Communication:
ENGL 109ENGL 129R/EMLS 129R, EMLS 101R, EMLS 102R, SPCOM 100, SPCOM 223

One additional course on Humanities and Social Sciences:
Complementary Studies Elective List C


  1. There are eleven electives. As detailed above, these electives must include three advanced technical electives, two science electives, and three linkage electives. For their remaining three electives, students may choose to take additional courses from the elective lists above or any other 0.5 credit course(s) for which they meet the requisites. Advanced Technical Electives may not be taken before the 3A term.
  2. Students may choose to take three electives in 4A and four electives in 4B, instead of two in 4A and five in 4B. 
  3. Students enrolled in Software Engineering will only be permitted to use the WD and WF (see Grading System for descriptions) provisions used in the Faculty of Mathematics to withdraw from extra courses taken above and beyond the degree requirements.
  4. With the permission of the Program Advisor, ECE 358 may be taken in 3A or 3B and replaced with a technical elective in 4A if required as a prerequisite for an ATE.
  5. Students may replace STAT 206 and one of their unrestricted electives with the combination of STAT 230 and STAT 231.
  6. The Linkage elective on Communication is normally taken in the 2A term. It must be completed with a grade of at least 60% prior to enrolling in the 3A term.

Communication Skills Requirement

Strong communication skills are essential to academic, professional, and personal success. As such, Software Engineering students must take a course from the Linkage Elective Communication List in the 2A term. This elective list parallels the Math Communication Skills Requirements List 1. In addition to the communication elective, Software Engineering students must satisfy the Technical Presentation Milestone (described below) in the 2B term. Communication skills are further developed and evaluated in three work-term reports (described below) and in SE 101, SE 390, SE 490, and SE 491.

Three Work-term Reports (WKRPT)

Work-term reports are listed as part of the Software Engineering curriculum; they are treated as courses that a BSE student must successfully complete to satisfy the program requirements. They appear on all grade reports and transcripts, but they are not used in calculating term averages.

Each work-term report requirement is satisfied by earning a grade of satisfactory or better on a work-term report related to the previous term's co-op employment. Each work-term report must be submitted at the beginning of the academic term in which it is listed as a course; it is due seven days after the first official day of lectures. Reports submitted after the due date will receive a failing grade and will be evaluated the following academic term.

Failed work-term reports contribute to a student's accumulated failed-course count. They also appear on a student's transcripts. Once a failure has cleared, the original grade will still be listed on transcripts but will be annotated with a credit (CR) in the "sup" field.

Technical Presentation Milestone (TPM)

Each student registered in Software Engineering is required to satisfy the Technical Presentation Milestone (TPM) during their 2B term. If admitted to the Software Engineering program after 2B, then the student must satisfy this requirement before the end of the student's first academic term in the program. The details of the TPM requirement are provided during the student's 2A term, so that the student can plan appropriately for the presentation during the work term preceding 2B. A student who is interested in formal instruction on how to develop and deliver an oral presentation should consider taking SPCOM 223.

Five Professional Development (PD) Courses

Five professional development courses are required as described in the BASc and BSE Specific Degree Requirements section on Work Terms. Two core PD courses are specified for all engineering students: PD 20 and PD 21. Due to the importance of understanding the legal and ethical ramifications of software development, Software Engineering students are also required to take PD 10. This course replaces one of the PD electives, such that Software Engineering students have three core PD courses (PD 20, PD 21, and PD 10) and two PD elective courses. Software Engineering students are automatically enrolled in PD 20, PD 21, and PD 10 but must enrol in the elective PD courses using the normal Quest enrolment process.


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