Master's in Computational Science and Engineering

Master’s in CSE Program Overview

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is an interdisciplinary subject that uses mathematical concepts to solve complex science and engineering problems. Our CSE master’s program is led by faculty from Computer Science, Applied Math, and the Engineering Sciences. It provides students with rigorous training in the mathematical and computational foundations of Computational Science and Engineering. 

Why pursue a master’s degree in Computational Science and Engineering?

CSE is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that exploits the power of computation as an approach to major challenges at the frontiers of natural and social science and all engineering fields. Sitting at the intersection of Computer Science and Applied Math, the master’s program offers students experience with mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation of complex systems; parallel programming and collaborative software development; and methods for organizing, exploring, visualizing, processing and analyzing very large data sets.

Computational Science and Engineering Degree Options

Students interested in the CSE program can choose to apply to either the Master of Science (SM) or Master of Engineering (ME) degree. Students take 8 courses to complete the SM degree. The degree can be completed in 2 semesters (one academic year), although many students choose to extend to a third semester to take additional courses and to allow themselves time to pursue a summer internship in industry. To earn the ME degree, students will spend four semesters (two academic years) on campus, spending a year on a master’s thesis research project after completing the same set of 8 courses required for the SM.

Computational Science and Engineering Degree Career Paths

Computational Science and Engineering is a field that uses computers and mathematics to model, simulate and visualize complex systems, in nature and society, and make sense of large data sets. The methods can be applied to everything from scientific research, manufacturing, risk analysis, health care, aerospace, bioengineering, energy, understanding ecological systems, computer game development, or cinematic special effects development. 

Learn more about the career paths our graduates have chosen.

Learn more about our alumni.

How to Apply

Learn more about how to apply to the CSE degree program or apply now.


There are no formal prerequisites for applicants to this master’s program. However, successful applicants do need to have sufficient background knowledge of calculus, linear algebra and differential equations; familiarity with probability and statistical inference; fluency in at least one programming language such as python or R, and an understanding of basic computer science concepts. As CSE is an interdisciplinary field, SEAS welcomes applicants with undergraduate training in a wide range of academic disciplines. 

What should a graduate of the Computational Science & Engineering program be able to do?

The design of the program is based on ten learning outcomes, developed by program faculty through discussion with partners from industry and the national labs. Each student's plan of study should address these outcomes.

  • Frame a real-world problem such that it can be addressed computationally

  • Evaluate multiple computational approaches to a problem and choose the most appropriate one

  • Produce a computational solution to a problem that can be comprehended and used by others

  • Communicate across disciplines 

  • Collaborate within teams 

  • Model systems appropriately with consideration of efficiency, cost, and the available data

  • Use computation for reproducible data analysis

  • Leverage parallel and distributed computing

  • Build software and computational artifacts that are robust, reliable, and maintainable

  • Enable a breakthrough in a domain of inquiry

Financing Your Degree

Students typically finance their master’s degree program with a combination of loans, savings, family support, grants (from governments, foundations and companies), fellowships and scholarships. We recommend you visit the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS) Funding and Financial Aid website prior to your application to learn more about your options.

Teaching Fellowships

Approximately 15% of our students are paid Teaching Fellows, usually in the second year. TFing in the first semester is highly unusual. Teaching compensation is paid out at Harvard graduate student rates.

Faculty Director, Master's in Computational Science and Engineering Program
Scientific Program Director and Lecturer
Director of Master's Education