University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Introduction to Software Engineering

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Computer Information Systems

DESCRIPTION Impart knowledge regarding algorithmic thought leading to structured software solution development, various techniques in solution modelling as well as their respective scope(s), and solution specification and representation. The study-unit will also offer clear insight into software development life-cycles, their technical basis, and fundamental management approaches toward them. Quality categorisation and management will also be discussed, as well as solution longevity through fundamental concepts of correct testing and maintenance. It is envisaged that the study-unit will instill a sense of appreciation that modern software solution development can only attain the expected quality through correct measurement.

Study-unit Aims:

The main aim of this study-unit is to acquaint students with the main concepts underpinning modern software product development.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Given the right professional environment and conditions, set up appropriate software development structures and define effective life-cycles, and populate these life-cycles with appropriate models to describe system behaviour through its software from functional, data, and dynamic aspects;
- Rationalise about software solution structure and complexity, as well as be able to measure and manage its construction, and verify its correctness through formal specification, starting with basic notions of sets, using propositional statements, introduction of predicates, and culminating in Algebraic Specifications based on set and sequence theory;
- Set up quality frameworks based on applicable quality criteria linked to software products. Students will also be expected to appreciate the pivotal need of software maintenance in terms of solution longevity.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Create software solutions of demonstrable quality and relevance;
- Reason about software solutions in a structured way through the appropriate use of abstraction;
- Direct software development on a personal and small-scale level;
- Plan and assess software solution development processes;
- Take part in requirements specification activity;
- Apply various modelling techniques effectively to describe various aspects of system behaviour;
- Have basic skills to interact efficiently and professionally with software solution development stakeholders.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

1) Pressman, R., Software Engineering - A Practical Approach, McGraw Hill, (latest European edition);
2) Pfleeger, S. L., & Atlee, J. M., Software Engineering - Theory and Practice, Pearson Education, (latest edition).

Supplementary Reading:
1) Lejk, M. & Deeks, D., Systems Analysis Techniques, Addison Wesley, (latest edition);
2) Stevens, P. & Pooley, R., Using UML - Software Engineering with Objects and Components, Addison Wesley, (latest edition).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment No 20%
Examination (3 Hours) Yes 80%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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