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EPFL Software Engineering

This course teaches the basics of software engineering, enabling students to go from writing code to developing software.

This repository contains all course material. To get a copy of this repository on your computer, please see the cloning instructions.

This course was originally taught by Prof. George Candea and Solal Pirelli at EPFL. Solal Pirelli wrote the lecture notes. Alexandre Piveteau and Karim Sabaa wrote the exercises in their current form. Many thanks to all of the past staff who contributed to previous editions as well. For EPFL-specific details please see the course web page.


After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize common needs and issues in software development
  • Explain why specific techniques help and why simpler techniques are inadequate
  • Implement correct, efficient, and reliable software at the level of functions, modules, and programs
  • Organize the development of software during its entire lifecycle, from team formation to long-term support
  • Critique software developed by others in a constructive and evidence-based manner
  • Produce software that enables users to reliably and efficiently perform the tasks they require


This course assumes familiarity with the basics of programming, and specifically the Java programming language to practice the theoretical concepts taught in class.


This course introduces key software engineering topics in one lecture each. Each lecture is designed to take 120 minutes and includes exercises to be done during the lecture and longer exercises to be done after the lecture.

The first three lectures should be done in order, as they are prerequisites for the rest:

  1. Introduction and Requirements
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Testing

The remaining lectures can be done in any order, here is a suggested one:

Slides can be found in a separate repo to avoid the need to download large files when cloning this repo.


For example purposes, we provide past exams.

Lecturers should read the exams documentation.


We additionally provide the basics for a project-based course for students to apply what they have learned in this course, by building an Android app in teams using a Scrum-like method.

We also provide a lecture on mobile platforms to introduce the concepts seen in the project.


This course uses modern evidence-based teaching methods: interactivity during lectures, clear structuring including well-defined objectives and assessment criteria, and spaced repetition including per-lecture quizzes and frequent exams. There is a large body of research on teaching and learning, and this course uses evidence-based techniques to improve learning compared to the traditional "sit in a lecture hall and listen for a couple hours" format.



Want to help?

You can:

  • Propose improvements to the existing lectures, such as correcting typos and ambiguities, finding interesting examples, or proposing different explanations
  • Propose improvements to the existing exercises, such as correcting typos and ambiguities, or proposing alternative solutions
  • Translate some exercises to a different programming language, especially if that language exhibits interesting differences compared to the existing languages for the exercises
  • Propose an entirely new lecture, see the lectures documentation