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How Does Software Engineering Fit Into A College Of Engineering?

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Curriculum Issues in Software Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.698.1 - 10.698.7



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Paper Authors

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Massood Towhidnejad

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Thomas Hilburn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

How does Software Engineering fit into a College of Engineering?

Thomas B. Hilburn, Massood Towhidnejad

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,


Software Engineering (SE) is a new degree in most academic environments. Currently, there are less than 25 undergraduate SE degrees offered by US universities, and only six have been accredited by ABET. There are a number of challenges for faculty and departments who are offering these SE degrees. Some of these challenges include a) finding qualified faculty, b) designing an appropriate curriculum that serves the stakeholders needs, c) satisfying accreditation criteria, which are still evolving d) determining the difference between software engineering and computer science, e) and getting SE accepted as a “real” engineering discipline by more traditional engineering colleagues. It is clear that SE has a long way to go, to reach the state of stability and recognition that most traditional engineering degrees now enjoy. In this paper, we attempt to address the challenge of acceptance of software engineers as a “real engineers”. We will also share with you some of our own experiences, when we were asked to move to the college of engineering and the problems we experienced and how we overcame them.


It has been almost forty years since the first organized, formal discussion of software engineering (SE) as a discipline took place at the 1968 NATO Conference on Software Engineering [4]. Since that time there have been numerous studies and analysis of software development as an engineering profession [1, 5, 7, 9, 11]. Even though software engineering has made great progress and the term “software engineering” is now widely used in industry, it is still not yet well-defined and its professional content, practices, and certification criteria are not universally agreed upon. There is confusion and controversy over the relationship between computer science and SE, and some would even dispute that SE is engineering. A more generous attitude might be that the discipline is still new relative to more traditional engineering fields; and, thus, software engineering is simply not yet mature.

In spite of this immaturity (or maybe because of it), there is a large demand by software organizations for professionally trained software engineers. This is because of the ubiquitous nature of software – every part of human endeavor (business, education, entertainment, law, medicine, transportation, etc.) seems to be dependent on the effective and efficient development Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Towhidnejad, M., & Hilburn, T. (2005, June), How Does Software Engineering Fit Into A College Of Engineering? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15487

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