Queen's School of Computing

Software Design (in Arts & Science) and Software Engineering (in Engineering)

The department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has a software-engineering stream of specialization. On this page we compare Software Design (in the Faculty of Arts & Science) to this Engineering alternative.

The core software-oriented courses in Computer Engineering are similar to or exactly the same as the core software courses in our Software Design program. The most important differences between the programs are as follows.

  • Software Design students can take many Computing courses that are not approved for Computer Engineering students, including CISC-220 (System-Level Programming), CISC-260 (Programming Paradigms), COCA-201 (Computing and the Creative Arts), CISC-226 (Game Design), CISC-282 (Fundamentals of Web and Mobile Applications), CISC-352 (Artificial Intelligence), CISC-465 (Programming Languages), and so on. If you are primarily interested in advanced application software, Software Design would be the better choice.

  • Students in Computer Engineering are required to take several courses in Computer-Engineering subjects, such as Electric Circuits, Electronics, Digital Systems, and Solid-State Devices. The School of Computing offers a single course (CISC-340) in this area (it is an optional course in the Software Design program), but if you are primarily interested in software for embedded systems, Computer Engineering is the better choice.

  • All students admitted to an Engineering program at Queen's do a "common 1st year" of courses in Math, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Engineering Graphics, and a little bit of Computing; if you want to take software-oriented courses, you'll have to wait till your 2nd year. Students in Arts and Science programs such as Software Design can take core Computing courses CISC-121 and CISC-124 in their 1st year.

  • All Engineering programs are accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, which is a standing committee of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. Our Software Design program is accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) as meeting their criteria for both Software Engineering programs and Computer Science programs. These two bodies are currently involved in a legal dispute over which of them has the jurisdiction to accredit programs in "Software Engineering." This is one reason why our program is called "Software Design" rather than the traditional "Software Engineering".

  • Computer Engineering graduates receive the degree of "Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering". Graduates of the Software Design program receive the degree of "Bachelor of Computing (Honours) in Software Design".

  • Tuition fees are higher for Engineering programs than for Arts & Science programs.