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Software Assurance Curriculum Project Volume I: Master of Software Assurance Reference Curriculum

August 2010 Technical Report
Nancy R. Mead, Julia H. Allen, Mark A. Ardis (Stevens Institute of Technology), Thomas B. Hilburn (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Andrew J. Kornecki (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Richard C. Linger (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), James McDonald (Monmouth University)

In this report, the authors present a master of software assurance curriculum that educational institutions can use to create a degree program or track.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


DOI (Digital Object Identifier):


Modern society depends on software systems of ever-increasing scope and complexity in virtually every sphere of human activity, including business, finance, energy, transportation, education, communication, government, and defense. Because the consequences of failure can be severe, dependable functionality and security are essential. As a result, software assurance is emerging as an important discipline for the development, acquisition, and operation of software systems and services that provide requisite levels of dependability and security. 

This report is the first volume in the Software Assurance Curriculum Project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This report presents a body of knowledge from which to create a Master of Software Assurance degree program, as both a stand-alone offering and as a track within existing software engineering and computer science master’s degree programs. The report details the process used to create the curriculum and presents the body of knowledge, curriculum architecture, student prerequisites, and expected student outcomes. It also outlines an implementation plan for faculty and other professionals who are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining graduate software engineering programs that have a focus on software assurance knowledge and practices. The second volume, Undergraduate Course Outlines (CMU/SEI-2010-TR-019), presents seven course outlines that could be used in an undergraduate curriculum specialization for software assurance.