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The Role Of Application Domain Tracks In Software Engineering Programs

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Software Engineering Curriculum Components

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1325.1 - 11.1325.8



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Paper Authors


Donald Bagert Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Bagert is the Director of Software Engineering and a Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. His research interests include software process improvement, software tools for student advising, and software methodologies. Dr. Bagert is a registered Professional Engineer in software engineering in the state of Texas. Contact him at

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

The Role of Application Domain Tracks in Software Engineering Programs Abstract

Although it is generally acknowledged that understanding domain-specific information is essential for the proper development of software in that application area, requiring the inclusion of a particular application domain as part of a software engineering curriculum is a relatively recent occurrence. In particular, ABET software engineering program criteria (in use since 2002) and the joint IEEE-CS/ACM software engineering curriculum model released in 2004 both specify the ability to work in at least application domain as a requirement of graduates of baccalaureate software engineering degree programs. This paper will examine how the ABET- accredited software engineering degree programs have implemented these application domain tracks.

1. Introduction

Every software product is intrinsically tied to a particular application area. Over the years, as both the quantity and processing power of computers increased while their relative cost has decreased, the number of domain areas for which software is developed has continuously grown. The advent of undergraduate software engineering (SE) degree programs in the United States – all but one of them having started since 19995 - has caused the stakeholders in the SE education community to consider how to ensure that graduates are able to apply their knowledge to development of software in a particular domain area. Many such programs have created a “domain track” in one or more application areas and include the completion of such a track as a degree requirement.

This paper will discuss the implementation of such application domain tracks in U.S. software engineering undergraduate degree programs. Section 2 provides some background, while Section 3 describes how some accredited software engineering programs are implementing domain tracks, including the results of a survey of those programs. Finally, Section 4 looks at possible future directions for both the implementation of these domains, and the measuring of their effectiveness.

2. Background

Courses in various application domain areas have been prevalent in computing curricula for several decades in areas such as real-time and information systems. However, traditionally such courses have been recommended as individual electives rather than as a set of courses. However, there are instances of domain-oriented computing curricula, the most frequently- appearing example being management information systems (MIS) programs, which focuses on business applications.

The first software engineering degree programs in the United States were at the Master’s level. Once again, application domain courses were often included as individual electives. The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) graduate curriculum model published in 19892 included

Bagert, D. (2006, June), The Role Of Application Domain Tracks In Software Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1440

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