Master of Science degree
Master of Engineering (two-year) degree
Our faculty: The CSE Program Committee
Industry involvement in the program
Graduate study at SEAS
Courses of instruction
Applications for the first Master of Science (SM) in Computational Science and Engineering class closed in December 2013.
Applications for Fall 2014 will be taken during Fall 2013. Check the GSAS admissions website for details.
The one-year SM program, developed by IACS, will provide rigorous training in the mathematical and computing foundations of CSE. Complementing the foundational coursework will be independent research projects and elective courses focusing on the application of computation to one or more domains.
CSE is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that exploits the power of computation as an approach to major challenges on the frontiers of natural and social science and all engineering fields.
“...Many of the defining questions of this era in science and technology will be centered on ‘big data’ and machine learning. This master’s program will prepare students to answer those questions by integrating and applying computation and engineering with other disciplines, including both physical and social sciences.”
Students who complete the program will acquire mastery of approaches including mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation of complex systems; parallel programming and collaborative software development; and efficient methods for organizing, exploring, visualizing, processing and analyzing very large data sets.
The new program is the culmination of discussions involving leaders from industry and the National Laboratories and faculty from across Harvard. These leaders were convened in 2010 by Efthimios Kaxiras, Director of IACS, and Dean Cherry A. Murray of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for discussions intended to inform Harvard's response to the need for graduate education in computational science.
As a result of these discussions, SEAS has created:
a core of four courses in Applied Math and Computer Science
an evolving menu of elective courses, offered by SEAS and other Harvard departments, that apply computation to various fields
community activities and short courses that support continuous exchange of ideas and mastery of computational tools and techniques essential to each student's plan of study
Students will be admitted to the new program through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. GSAS requires online submission of applications for graduate study. In general, applicants must hold the BA or equivalent degree. GSAS considers students for admission to the fall term only. Additional rules and requirements, including SEAS program requirements and application deadline for graduate admission (generally December 15 each year, but December 13 in 2013), are outlined at the GSAS website.
Answers to questions frequently asked by both external applicants and Harvard students interested in the master's program can be found in the FAQ.
SEAS is also launching a two-year Master of Engineering program in CSE. That degree program is expected to be opened to applications in Fall 2013.
IACS welcomes inquiries from all qualified prospective students interested in exploring the emerging field of computational science. For detailed information about studying CSE at Harvard, please contact Daniel Weinstock, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in CSE.
The design of the program is based on eight learning outcomes, developed through discussions with the IACS Advisory Board. Each student's plan of study should address these outcomes.
The outcomes answer the question: "What should a graduate of our CSE program be able to do?"
- Produce a computational solution to a problem that is reproducible and can be comprehended by others in the same field.
- Communicate across disciplines and collaborate in a team.
- Model complex systems appropriately with consideration of efficiency, cost and data availability.
- Use computation for advanced data analysis.
- Create or enable a breakthrough in a domain in science.
- Take advantage of parallel and distributed computing and other emerging modes of computation, both in algorithms and in code implementation.
- Evaluate and compare multiple computational approaches to a scientific challenge and choose the most appropriate and efficient one.
- Apply techniques and tools from software engineering to build robust, reliable, and maintainable software.
Requirements for the SM degree address these learning outcomes. They build on the requirements already established for the Graduate Secondary Field in CSE. A total of eight courses are required.
Each student's plan of study for the SM degree will include:
- at least three of the four core courses, including 1-2 from the Applied Mathematics core course and 1-2 from the Computer Science core
- between two and six CSE electives chosen from the suggested electives list, including at least one in AM and one in CS
- up to two “domain electives”—approved computation-intensive courses within a domain
- up to two semester-length independent research projects
- as a final requirement, an oral examination by a faculty committee
SM course requirements at a glance:
|2.||Applied Math electives||1||3|
|3.||Computer Science electives||1||3|
|5.||299r research course||0||2|
|6.||AC 298r seminar||0||1|