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Computational Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (CSME)

7018 Applied Physics and Mathematics Building
Muir College

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

Program Directors

Michael Holst, Professor of Mathematics
Julius Kuti, Professor of Physics


The CSME program at UC San Diego recognizes the nation’s growing and continuing need for broadly trained advanced computational scientists in academia, industry, and government laboratories. Offering study leading to a MS degree in computational science and a PhD in a home department with a specialization in computational science, graduates from the CSME program will be well positioned to compete effectively for the best jobs in these areas. The PhD component provides a new specialization in computational science, available to doctoral candidates in participating academic departments at UC San Diego.

Computational science refers to the use of computer simulation and visualization for basic scientific research, product development, and forecasting. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines mathematics (mathematical modeling, numerical analysis) and computer science (architecture, programming, networks, graphics) with one of the scientific or engineering disciplines.

The CSME program draws upon the expertise of faculty from the Departments of Bioengineering, Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Physics, and Structural Engineering, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as research staff from the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Master’s Degree Program

The MS program in CSME leading to an MS in computational science is designed to be a two-year program centered around lecture and laboratory courses that focus on obtaining mastery of the primary tools used in computational science. The requirements for the MS degree are as follows:

  1. All students are expected to complete their requirements within two years of admission into the program.
  2. The qualifying exams, listed below, must be passed by the end of the second year. The exams consist of the final exam for the particular qualifying course. Satisfying the qualifying exam requirements consists of passing all three qualifying exams.
  3. MS students are encouraged to take courses in other disciplines.
  4. MS students who wish to continue their education and obtain a PhD in CSME must apply for admission to one of the participating departments and be admitted to that department’s PhD program. Participating departments are: chemistry and biochemistry, computer science and engineering, mathematics, mechanical and aerospace engineering, physics, and structural engineering.
  5. Each course, with the exception of the research and seminar courses of item five below, must be taken for a letter grade and completed with a grade of B­– or better. When a letter grade is not possible, with approval from the CSME Executive Committee, the course may be taken for S/U and completed with a satisfactory grade.

Required courses:

  1. (eight units) Two quarter-long courses from the following list A:
    1. MATH 270A-B-C. Numerical Analysis
    2. MATH 271A-B-C. Numerical Optimization
    3. MATH 272A-B-C. Numerical Partial Differential Equations
    4. MATH 274. Numerical Methods and MATH 275. Numerical PDE
  2. (four units) PHYS 244. Parallel Computing
  3. (sixteen units) Four additional quarter-long courses from list A (above) or the following list B: MATH 202A, MATH 210A-B-C, MATH 212A-B, MATH 214, MATH 231A-B-C, MATH 245A-B-C, MATH 261A-B-C, MATH 273A-B-C, MATH 276, MATH 280A-B-C, MATH 281A-B-C, MATH 282A-B, MATH 283, MATH 284, MATH 285, MATH 286, MATH 287A-B-C-D, MATH 289C, MATH 294, or other mathematics courses as approved by the CSME Executive Committee
  4. (eight units) Two quarter-long courses from the following list C:
    1. Biology: BGGN 260
    2. Cognitive science: COGS 225, COGS 283
    3. Chemistry: CHEM 285, CHEM 286
    4. Computer science and engineering: CSE 202, CSE 210, CSE 224, CSE 232, CSE 250A-B-C, CSE 252A-B-C, CSE 253, CSE 254, CSE 255, CSE 258, CSE 276A-B-C-D-E, CSE 280A
    5. Electrical and computer engineering: ECE 225A-B, ECE 227, ECE 228, ECE 251A-B-C, ECE 271A-B-C, ECE 272A-B
    6. Mechanical and aerospace engineering: MAE 209, MAE 210A-B-C, MAE 232A-B-C, MAE 260, MAE 261, MAE 280A-B, MAE 294A-B-C
    7. Physics: PHYS 203A-B, PHYS 216, PHYS 221A, PHYS 225A-B, PHYS 241, PHYS 242, PHYS 243
    8. Structural engineering: SE 233, SE 276A-B-C, SE 279
    9. Other science courses as approved by the CSME Executive Committee
  5. (two units) Two total units among research or seminar courses:
    1. Research courses (independent study): MATH 299, CSE 298, ECE 298, MAE 296, MAE 298, PHYS 297, PHYS 298, COGS 298, or other research and reading courses as approved by the CSME Executive Committee
    2. Seminar courses: MATH 218, MATH 278A-B-C, MATH 288, CSE 259, ECE 294, ECE 295, ECE 296, ECE 297, PHYS 250, PHYS 251, PHYS 252, PHYS 253, PHYS 254, or other seminar courses as approved by the CSME Executive Committee

Qualifying Requirements: MS students must pass the final exams in three qualifying exam courses.

  1. Two courses from list A (above): Math 270A-B-C, 271A-B-C, 272A-B-C, 274, 275
  2. PHYS 244 (Parallel Computing)