US Flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Seal. Software and Supply Chain Assurance. Community Resources and Information Clearinghouse (CRIC).

Software Assurance Curriculum Project

Members of the Workforce Education and Training Working Group are supporting promotion of graduate-level software assurance degree programs and tracks, and undergraduate courses in software assurance. Learn more about this project.


Software Assurance (SwA) Competency Model Published

The Software Assurance (SwA) Competency Model was developed to create a foundation for assessing and advancing the capability of software assurance professionals. To help organizations and individuals determine SwA competency across a range of knowledge areas and units, this model provides a span of competency levels 1 through 5, as well as a decomposition into individual competencies based on knowledge and skills. This model also provides a framework for an organization to adapt the model’s features to the organization’s particular domain, culture, or structure. Download the report from the CERT website.

Share Your Software Assurance Education Materials

The Software Assurance (SwA) Education Project team is looking for materials to share with educators interested in adopting elements of the software assurance curricula. The team has developed the Master of Software Assurance (MSwA) Reference Curriculum that can be used to establish a graduate program or track, syllabi to support the development of courses to be used in an MSwA curriculum, undergraduate SwA course outlines, and SwA community college courses. While these materials can help educators get started in SwA education, more resources are needed to support wider adoption of undergraduate and graduate SwA courses, programs, and tracks. The team is seeking materials related to software assurance, including the following:

  • case studies
  • homework assignments
  • examples
  • lecture slides
  • notes

Authors will retain their own copyright. Materials submitted will be subject to peer review for relevance to the SwA course topics. If selected, materials will either be posted as submitted on the Software Assurance Education website, or a link to the author’s site will be posted. If you are interested in submitting materials to help support the SwA education community, please send them, along with an indication of the appropriate course and topic, to swa-education [@]

Integrating the MSwA Reference Curriculum into the MSIS Model Curriculum: Technical Note Published

The technical note Integrating the Master of Software Assurance Reference Curriculum into the Model Curriculum and Guidelines for Graduate Degree Programs in Information Systems provides the SwA specialization for the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS). It addresses the secure software domain by providing a point of reference and guidance for software assurance education and training to better address secure development, sustainment, and acquisition of software code. The report examines how the recommendations of the MSwA Reference Curriculum might be integrated into the model curriculum recommendations for an MSIS. Download the report at the CERT website.

Curriculum Now Recognized by the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery

The IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) have recognized the Master of Software Assurance (MSwA) Reference Curriculum as appropriate for a master’s program in software assurance. This formal recognition signifies to the educational community that the MSwA Reference Curriculum is suitable for creating graduate programs or tracks in software assurance. The IEEE-CS and ACM have developed several computing curricula and are community leaders in curricula development. This MSwA curriculum includes focused curriculum recommendations for software assurance—the first curriculum developed for this specific field.

Download an information sheet (pdf) about the MSwA curriculum project.

Download the MSwA curriculum at the CERT website.

Software Assurance Education Project Background

Members of the Workforce Education and Training Working Group are supporting promotion of graduate-level software assurance degree programs and tracks, and undergraduate courses in software assurance.

Three reports are now available for download at the CERT website.

  • The Master of Software Assurance Reference Curriculum can be used by educational institutions to create a Master of Software Assurance (MSwA) degree program or a track within existing engineering and computer science degree programs.
  • Undergraduate Course Outlines provide students with fundamental skills for entering the software assurance field directly or continuing with graduate-level education.
  • Master of Software Assurance Course Syllabi supports the development of a set of courses to be used in a master of software assurance curriculum.
  • Community College Education focuses on community college courses for software assurance. The courses are intended to provide students with fundamental skills for continuing with graduate-level education or to provide supplementary education for students with prior undergraduate technical degrees who wish to become more specialized in software assurance.

These materials are part of the Software Assurance Curriculum Project sponsored by DHS and led by Nancy Mead at CERT. This project recognizes that 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.

Implement an MSwA Program or Track

Interested in starting an MSwA degree program or track at your educational institution? The MSwA materials can be customized to fit the needs of individual educational institutions. Stevens Institute of Technology now offers a master’s degree concentration in software assurance. They added this concentration to their existing software engineering master’s degree program.

Mentoring is available for universities interested in starting either a stand-alone MSwA degree program or a track in an existing software engineering and computer science program. Learn more at the CERT website.

Software Assurance Education Resources

A master bibliography, MSwA course outlines, and presentation materials that give an overview of the project are available on the CERT website.

Back to Top