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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 15, 2024
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Computational Modeling & Simulation, MS


Course Requirements

All students enrolled in the program will be required to satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Two courses (3 credits each) in Numerical Methods
  2. Two courses (3 credits each) in Scientific Computing/Programming
  3. Two courses (3 credits each) from a participating department outside Computer Science, Math, and Statistics, in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or the Swanson School of Engineering
  4. 12 credits in a concentration area in a participating department in the School of Arts and Sciences or in the Swanson School of Engineering
  5. Enrollment in the Computational Modeling and Simulation Seminar series for all fall and spring semesters in residence

A minimum of 24 credits from categories I-IV are required, there can be overlap in courses satisfying requirement IV and those satisfying I, II, and III.

Preliminary Exam

A student will satisfy the preliminary exam requirements by passing (grade B or higher) the six courses in areas I-III described above. In the case that a student received one grade below B in one of the three main areas, he/she can counter that with a grade of B or above in an additional approved course in that area. If a student receives two grades below B, he/she will no longer be able to continue in the he program. Students who do not meet these requirements but who have an overall grade average of B or better, have the option of doing a literature-based Master’s thesis.

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam will be taken by the end of the student’s seventh semester at Pitt, and will focus on the progress that the student has made to date on his/her research. The comprehensive exam will consist of a written report prepared by the student on his/her research, followed by an oral examination. The exam will be administered by a committee of four faculty members, at least two of whom (including the student’s advisor) will be from the Department of the student’s concentration, and at least one of whom will be from an outside department. If a student does not pass the comprehensive exam, he/she will have the option of continuing in the program for another semester and submitting a Master’s thesis based on independent research. The student’s committee will decide on whether the thesis warrants awarding the MS degree.


Every graduate student has to write a thesis or dissertation before being awarded a MS or PhD degree. Browse our publications section for recently posted theses, dissertations, and presentations. All theses and dissertations are submitted online. Visit the EDT Web site for more information on the process.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 24 credits of graduate level courses from categories I - IV will be required. It is anticipated that students entering the program will be able to complete the six core courses in categories I - III in their first year and the concentration requirements in the second year.

Computational Modeling and Simulation Seminar Series: All students enrolled in the program are expected to attend the Computational Modeling and Simulation seminar program each semester they are enrolled. Students will receive one credit for each term they are enrolled in the Seminar Series. Seminars will be held typically twice per month, during the academic year. Each enrolled student will be required to give a seminar in this series, at least six months before the PhD defense.

University Credit Requirement: All students in the program must satisfy the university’s requirement of a minimum of 30 credits for an MS. At least 24 of these credits will be satisfied by the core program, including the concentration area, described above, and at least 4 credits will be satisfied by enrollment and participation in the Computational Modeling and Simulation seminar program. The remaining credits will be met by directed study (i.e., research).

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