Scientific Computing Designated Emphasis


Students from another degree program who meet certain requirements can have the designated emphasis (DE) of “Scientific Computing” annotated to their degree title. For example, an M.S. or Ph.D. student in physics who meets the requirements would get a certification that reads “M.S. in Physics with an emphasis in Scientific Computing" or “Ph.D. in Physics with an emphasis in Scientific Computing”.

The designated emphasis is open to Ph.D. students, as well as M.S. students in either a Plan I (thesis) or Plan II (exam/project) capstone.


Committee Composition and Departmental Approvals

Upon electing to pursue a designated emphasis in scientific computing, students must choose a DE faculty advisor within the Department of Applied Mathematics. This should be done at least one quarter before the student’s Qualifying Examination (for Ph.D. students) or their planned graduation date (for M.S. students).

A list of eligible DE advisors is maintained online. The student must organize a preliminary meeting with the DE advisor, and agree on a plan for completion of the DE requirements. Once this plan has been designed, the student and the advisor must complete the DE application form available online. The completed application form must then be signed by the student's home department faculty advisor, by the DE advisor, and by the Applied Mathematics graduate director, and then submitted to the Baskin Engineering Graduate Student Affairs Office.

Course Requirements

Students declaring a designated emphasis in Scientific Computing must complete the courses listed below.

All of the following courses:

AM 213ANumerical Linear Algebra


AM 213BNumerical Methods for the Solution of Differential Equations


AM 250An Introduction to High Performance Computing


Plus one of the following approved elective courses:

AM 230Numerical Optimization


AM 260Computational Fluid Dynamics


CSE 201Analysis of Algorithms


CSE 242Machine Learning


Students can add a different elective course to the list by submitting a petition to the Applied Mathematics graduate director.

Writing, Research and/or Teaching Requirements

  • Writing requirements: a substantial and original written body of work related to scientific computing, associated with substantial code development or substantial modification of existing code, or development of significant computational tools for data analysis. The write-up could take the form of a paper (at least submitted), or an M.S., M.A., or Ph.D. thesis chapter, for instance.
  • Oral presentation requirement: a presentation of no less than 30 minutes during which the student must demonstrate mastery of the scientific computing component of the submitted written piece of work. This presentation could be the student’s qualifying exam, or the Ph.D. defense, or a separate presentation. The DE advisor must be invited to attend this presentation.

Applying for Graduation

All candidates for a degree must submit an application for the master's degree or an application for the doctorate in philosophy degree to the appropriate office in their primary department by the date stated in the Academic and Administrative Calendar for the quarter they wish to receive the degree. Students who have completed a designated emphasis should be sure to note the designated emphasis on the degree application. The deadline for degree applications is typically in the second week of the quarter. A student is required to be registered or on filing fee during the quarter in which the degree is conferred.