Annals of Software Engineering

, Volume 6, Issue 1–4, pp 19–37 | Cite as

Software engineering programmes are not computer science programmes

  • David Lorge Parnas


Programmes in “Software Engineering” have become a source of contention in many universities. Some Computer Science departments, many of which have used that phrase to describe individual courses for decades, claim software engineering as part of their discipline. However, Engineering faculties claim “Software Engineering” as a new speciality in the family of engineering disciplines. This paper discusses the differences between traditional computer science programmes and most engineering programmes and argues that we need programmes that follow the traditional engineering approach to professional education and educate engineers whose speciality within engineering is software construction. One such programme is described.


Operating System Computer Science Software Engineering Software Engineer Professional Education 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lorge Parnas
    • 1
  1. 1.NSERC/Bell Industrial Research Chair in Software Engineering, Department of Computing and Software, Faculty of EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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