Software Architecture and Design - SE464


Software Architecture and Design (SE464) "Introduces students to the design, implementation, and evolution phases of software development. Software design processes, methods, and notation. Implementation of designs. Evolution of designs and implementations. Management of design activities." Course catalog.


Lectures are held Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 to 11:20 in STC 0040. Tutorials are held Friday from 10:30 to 11:20 in MC 4059. Lab is not scheduled and students are expected to find time in open hours to complete their work.

My office hours are by appointment and will be held in my office, EIT 4007. I will also be available immediately after lectures. See contact details.

Course material, announcements, and submissions will be handled through Learn.

Begin all email subjects with [SE464].

Do not to leave your questions until the last minute.

Teaching assistants

The course is assisted by:

  • Homa Aghilinasab haghilinasab@

  • Weitian Xing w23xing@

Meetings by appointment.

Course expectations

It is expected that students attend all lectures and complete the required assignments. Lectures and tutorials will often include hands-on activities; participation in these exercises is essential to succeed in the class. Slides will be provided via Learn. Any material discussed in class (lectures & tutorials) or in the required readings will be testable unless otherwise noted.

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • propose and analyze software architectures.

  • explain the strengths and weaknesses of various architectural styles and design patterns / techniques.

  • communicate and rationalize architectural and design decisions.

  • ideate, justify, and implement software designs.

  • evaluate, compare, and contrast different architectures and designs.

Overview of topics

  • Software architecture, architectural styles, and architectural representations

  • Software design, design patterns, design representations

  • Software architecture and design conception, analysis, and communication

  • Architecture and design recovery / reverse engineering

  • Architecture and design visualization / understanding

  • Cloud / grid computing architectures

Course material

While the course does not have a required textbook, much of the materials will be sourced from the following texts; additional books are supplementary.

  • Robert C. Martin. Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design. Available for purchase online.

  • Richard N. Taylor, Nenad Medvidovic, and Eric Dashofy. Software Architecture. Foundations, Theory, and Practice. Available in the library or for purchase (e.g., through Slides for this book are available online.

  • Ian Gorton. Essential Software Architecture. Available online or for purchase (e.g., through Slides for this book are available online.

  • Fred P. Brooks Jr. The Mythical Man Month. Available in the library or for purchase (e.g., through

  • Fred P. Brooks Jr. The Design of Design. Unfortunately not in the library but still available e.g. through

  • The Architecture of Open Source Applications. Available online.

  • Kai Qian, Xiang Fu, Lixin Tao, Chong-wei Xu. Software Architecture and Design Illuminated. Available for purchase online.

Course schedule

Lecture material is available through Learn.

This is a tentative schedule that will get adapted during the term.

Week   Class
1 Introduction, organization, and overview
2 Decomposition, Non-functional properties, Architecture
3 Design Pattern Self-Study
4 Architectural Styles
5 Modeling, Notations
6 Frameworks
7 Programming Languages
8 Type Systems
9 Architecture of Open-Source Applications
10 Architecture of Open-Source Applications
11 Dependency Injection, Cloud/REST Architectures
12 Service-oriented-Architectures, Microservices
13 Outlook and summary


Deliverable Date Format Value
Design background Sept 6 Learn
Design Patterns Sept 27 Learn 5%
Design Assignment Oct 12 PEAR 10%
Midterm Oct 23 In Class 15%
Architecture Assign. Nov 16 PEAR 10%
Reading/Participation Several Learn 10%
Final Exam TBD Written 50%

This is a tentative schedule that will get adapted during the term.

Details for the assignments and reading/participation components will be provided separately.

You must pass the final exam and all assignments to pass the course.

No late submissions will be accepted.

Grades may be curved or adjusted at instructor’s discretion.


Academic Integrity
  • In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [See the academic integrity site for more information.]

  • Text matching software (Turnitin®) will be used to screen assignments in this course. Turnitin® is used to verify that all materials and sources in assignments are documented. Students’ submissions are stored on a U.S. server, therefore students must be given an alternative (e.g., scaffolded assignment or annotated bibliography), if they are concerned about their privacy and/or security. Students will be given due notice, in the first week of the term and/or at the time assignment details are provided, about arrangements and alternatives for the use of Turnitin® in this course. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor if they, in the first week of term or at the time assignment details are provided, wish to submit the alternate assignment.

  • A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4.

  • When in doubt please be certain to contact the department’s administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.

  • A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions.

  • A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about "rules" for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate Associate Dean.

  • For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline.

  • For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.

  • A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) (other than a petition) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline) may be appealed if there is a ground.

  • A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals.

Note for Students with Disabilities
  • AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.

Writing and Communication Centre (WCC)

The Writing and Communication Centre works with students in all faculties to help you consider your audience, clarify your ideas, develop your voice, and write in the style appropriate to your discipline. WCC staff offer one-on-one support for writing papers, delivering presentations, citing research, and revising for clarity and coherence. Group appointments for team-based projects, presentations, and papers are also available.

You can pre-book appointments with WCC staff, or visit us at one of our drop-in locations for quick questions and feedback from WCC peer tutors. To book an appointment and to see drop-in appointment hours, visit

Please note that communication specialists guide you to see your work as readers would. They can teach you revising skills and strategies, but will not change or correct your work for you. Please bring hard copies of your assignment instructions and any notes or drafts to your appointment.


Thanks to Derek Rayside, Reid Holmes, and Krzysztof Czarnecki for sharing their experience and materials from previous iterations of this and a similar course, CS 446, Winter 2014.

PDF version for easier printing (if you absolutely have to) or if you prefer looking at PDFs.