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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Information Technology

Managing facultyInformation Technology
Abbreviated titleBSE
CRICOS code026690K
Total credit points required192
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Contact details

Contact details are available at:

Course coordinator

Dr Sita Ramakrishnan


The course aims to prepare students for careers in software engineering, software project management, and software development and integration.

Software engineering comprises the core principles consistent in software construction and maintenance: fundamental software processes and life-cycles, mathematical foundations of software engineering, requirements analysis, software engineering methodologies and standard notations, principles of software architecture and re-use, software quality frameworks and validation, software development, and maintenance environments and tools.

Current industry-strength programming languages, technologies and systems feature highly in the practical components, electives and projects of the course, but they are also taught with a view to understanding and applying principles underlying their more ephemeral character.

High achieving local students will be given the option of participating in the Industry-based learning (IBL) placement program focusing on the applications of software engineering in industry, and providing students with an understanding of software engineering roles in business.


On completion of a Bachelor of Software Engineering, graduates will have acquired a basic knowledge and understanding of:

  • analysis, synthesis and design of complex systems
  • ethical standards and legal responsibilities
  • principles of management of physical, human and financial resources
  • mathematical foundations and applying mathematics to software problems
  • and team management skills in large scale teams.

Graduates will also have acquired discipline-specific knowledge and understanding of:

  • software engineering process and life-cycle
  • software systems interfaces and design
  • software architecture and reuse
  • software development methodologies and notations
  • programming languages and operating systems
  • quality frameworks, validation and reliability
  • software engineering standards
  • development, maintenance and measurements for large scale software systems.

Students will develop professional general skills which enable them to:

  • write and speak competently
  • listen critically to the needs of clients
  • critically evaluate assumptions and arguments
  • think creatively and solve problems efficiently
  • perform independent research and analysis
  • use time and resources effectively
  • and continue to learn effectively throughout their careers.

Students will develop professional discipline skills which enable them to:

  • translate user requirements into a system specification
  • use existing techniques effectively and be able to develop new techniques
  • design and maintain software systems
  • formulate models of information systems
  • and evaluate the usability and performance of systems.

Award with honours

Students may be admitted to the degree with honours. The honours program does not require an additional year of study, and admission is based on academic merit.

Industry Based Learning (IBL) placement program

Applicants who qualify for the industry-based learning placement program are awarded a scholarship (currently valued at $15,000) and will undertake a 22-week industry placement with a participating company as directed by the University. The student's work during the placement will be structured and assessed as part of the degree.

The IBL program is available to Australian citizens and Australian permanent resident visa holders who commenced their studies after 2006. There are a limited number of places available. Selection takes place after the completion of first year and is based on academic performance and an interview conducted by industry partners of the program. IBL students are required to be available during the normal vacation period in summer and winter for special units and industry-based learning placements. For further information on IBL including application deadlines, how to apply and selection criteria, please visit

Professional recognition

The Bachelor of Software Engineering program is accredited for the purpose of admission to membership of Engineers Australia as part of the Monash Bachelor of Engineering courses accredited by Engineers Australia (IE Aust). For eligibility to graduate in the BSE as per the Engineers Australia accreditation requirements, it is mandatory for students to undertake a 12-week paid vacation employment.

This course is also accredited by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) as meeting the standard of knowledge for professional-level membership.


The course commences with the establishment of a sound foundation in introductory information technology and mathematics. All information technology units have approximately one-third laboratory-based programs.

In the later years, the introduction of major software engineering projects builds the students' self-reliance and planning capabilities in both individual and team-based environments. Project management units strengthen the formal basis of management skills. Elective units are provided to allow specialisation in some aspect of the field of study, with approved electives to permit broadening of intellectual and personal horizons.

The course structure balances four major strands:

(1) Synthesis: software systems construction and design, including methodologies and notations

(2) Analysis: software artifact analysis including mathematical foundations, evaluation and measurement

(3) Processes: software and team management including software lifecycle and software projects

(4) Systems: understanding, abstracting, re-using and maintaining systems and components, including exposure to the architecture and principles of large systems such as operating systems and distributed systems.

This four-year course is based upon the four-year engineering degree structure, from which it is derived. In particular, the honours program is integral with the four years of study, rather than a separate degree, and is undertaken in the fourth year, with enrolment in the honours research program predicated upon students reaching a credit level of performance in the first three year levels.*

* This standard of performance is determined from a weighted average of results over the first three levels, with first level having a weight of one, second level a weight of two, and third level a weight of three. An honours grade is calculated with a scaled weighted average of results from all units undertaken in the degree.

Areas of Study


The requirements for this degree changed in 2006; students who commenced the BSE prior to 2006 should refer to the handbook entry for the year in which they commenced their studies.

To fulfil the degree regulations, students are required to complete the following core units, together with electives, to a total value of 192 points. All units are six points, unless otherwise specified.

Engineers Australia requirements

In order to fulfil the requirements of Engineers Australia, all Bachelor of Software Engineering students must complete 12 weeks of approved software engineering work experience and submit a report on that work. Such work is normally undertaken in the break between third and fourth years. Students who have completed all academic requirements for their degrees are not eligible to graduate until this work experience has been completed and a satisfactory report submitted. This requirement is waived for students in the IBL program.

First year (48 points)

(a) Two core units from the Faculty of Information Technology:

(b) one unit from the Faculty of Engineering:

(c) three BSE core units:

  • FIT1008 Computer science
  • FIT1010 Introduction to software engineering
  • FIT1029 Algorithmic problem solving

(d) two mathematics units:

  • MAT1830 Mathematics for computer science 2
  • MAT1841 Mathematics for computer science 1

Approved course variations of the BSE level 1 course structure

(1) Students intending to complete a minor or major sequence in mathematics within the Faculty of Science should substitute another mathematics unit for MAT1841, with approval.

(2) Students requiring other mathematics for an engineering sequence may replace MAT1830/MAT1841 with approval.

(3) Students who completed Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Specialist Mathematics in Year 12 may take a more advanced mathematics unit sequence, with approval.

Second year (48 points)

  • FIT2001 Systems analysis and design
  • FIT2004 Algorithms and data structures
  • FIT2008 Networks and data communications
  • FIT2010 Database
  • FIT2014 Theory of computation
  • FIT2022 Computer systems 2
  • FIT2024 Software engineering practice
  • FIT2043 Technical documentation for software engineers

Third year (48 points)

  • FIT3013 Formal specification for software engineering
  • FIT3042 System tools and programming languages
  • FIT3077 Software engineering: architecture and design
  • FIT3084 Multimedia programming and the world wide web
  • FIT3086 Project management
  • FIT4001 Parallel and distributed systems
  • two approved electives chosen from a schedule published by the Faculty of Information Technology at

Approved course variations of the BSE level 3 course structure

(1) Students selected to participate in the IBL placement program will complete FIT3086 Project management over summer semester and replace three approved electives with FIT3127 Industry-based learning (18 points) in second semester of third year. FIT4001 should be moved to second semester of fourth year.

Fourth year (48 points)

The Bachelor of Software Engineering is graded - pass, H3, H2B, H2A, H1. A candidate is awarded a degree with honours for meritorious performance. No additional time is required. The grade is determined by a weighted average of all units undertaken in the degree.

Option 1 is available to students who will not be undertaking the honours/research version of the degree. Options 2 and 3 provide two research variations. Option 4 will be offered to students selected to the IBL placement program.

Option 1

  • FIT4002 Software engineering studio project (12 points) (full-year project)
  • FIT4004 System validation and verification, quality and standard
  • five approved electives

Option 2

Students who perform well in level 3 are invited to take the research project FIT4003, replacing the year 4 free electives.

  • FIT4002 Software engineering studio project (12 points) (full-year project)
  • FIT4003 Software engineering research project (12 points) (full-year project)
  • FIT4004 System validation and verification, quality and standard
  • three approved electives

Option 3

Students who perform well in level 3 are invited to take the research project FIT4013, instead of FIT4002 and FIT4003.

  • FIT4002 Software engineering studio project (12 points) (full-year project)
  • FIT4004 System validation and verification, quality and standard
  • FIT4013 Software engineering research project (24 points) (full-year project)
  • one approved elective

Option 4

Students who perform well in level 2 may be selected to participate in the Industry-based learning (IBL) placement program and will be required to replace three approved electives with FIT3127 Industry-based learning (18 points) in second semester of third year. FIT4001 should be moved to second semester of fourth year.

Alternative exit(s)

Students wishing to exit the Bachelor of Software Engineering early may apply after successful completion of 144 points of study to graduate with the Bachelor of Computer Science, providing they have met the requirements of that degree.


Bachelor of Software Engineering

Bachelor of Software Engineering (with Honours)

Where more than one award is listed the actual award conferred may depend on units/majors/streams/specialisations studied, the level of academic merit achieved, or other factors relevant to the individual student's program of study.