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Examination of Software Architecture: Principles and Practices

To ensure continued excellence in software architecture practices, the SEI objectively validates a student's understanding of software architecture before students are eligible to receive professional certificates in software architecture or become certified to lead SEI Authorized ATAM evaluations. This includes understanding of enterprise, system, and software architectures; the architecture business cycle; quality attribute requirements; architectural patterns and tactics; designing and documenting software architectures; architecture evaluation; the impact of COTS on software architecture; and software product line architectures.

Learners can begin the online exam at any time. Learners will have 8 total hours to complete the examination.


This validation exam is required for software architecture professionals who wish to pursue the following SEI credentials:

  • Software Architecture Professional certificate
  • ATAM Evaluator Professional certificate
  • ATAM Leader certification


Participants must achieve a minimum passing score of 75% for an SEI Professional Certificate.


The exam consists of 96 multiple choice questions. Each question has either four or five possible answers, only one of which is correct. The exam covers the following topic areas:

  • Enterprise and System Architecture
  • Software Architecture
  • Architectural Patterns
  • Reference Models
  • Reference Architectures
  • The Importance of Software Architecture
  • Architectural Structures
  • The Architectural Business Cycle
  • Understanding Quality Attributes
  • Quality Attribute Scenarios
  • Quality Attribute Workshop
  • Architectural Tactics
  • Architectural Views
  • Architecture Design
  • Attribute Driven Design
  • Architecture Evaluation
  • Architecture Trade-off Analysis Method
  • Architecture Mismatch
  • Software Product Lines
  • Architecture-related Case Studies


The exam is based on information found in the SEI Software Architecture: Principles and Practices course materials and in the course textbook, Software Architecture in Practice, 3rd Edition, by Len Bass, Paul Clements, and Rick Kazman. You may reference your textbook as needed. Please keep in mind that the test will conclude after 8 total hours regardless of the number of questions answered.


Before registering for this exam, participants must complete the Software Architecture: Principles and Practices course, which is available as instructor-led classroom training and as eLearning.

To access the SEI Learning Portal, your computer must have the following:

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  • Configure your browser to allow pop-ups from this site
    • Explorer: Tools/Internet Options/Privacy
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This is an eLearning course.

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Course Fees [USD]

  • eLearning: $150.00


Once registered, learners can begin the examination of Software Architecture: Principles and Practices at any time. Learners can proceed through the exam at their convenience over 8 total hours. Once answers are submitted, the exam will provide your score immediately and allow one opportunity to review and change responses to rescore, if necessary.

Course Questions?

Phone: 412-268-7388
FAX: 412-268-7401

Training courses provided by the SEI are not academic courses for academic credit toward a degree. Any certificates provided are evidence of the completion of the courses and are not official academic credentials. For more information about SEI training courses, see Registration Terms and Conditions and Confidentiality of Course Records.