Harvard To Offer Master's Degree in Computational Science and Engineering

Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will launch a new master's degree program in Computational Science and Engineering this fall, with enrollment beginning in September 2013.

According to Professor Efthimios Kaxiras, director of the Institute for Applied Computational Science, the program will introduce students to an area of study that has expanded tremendously in recent years.

“It provides a means for students to get exposed to a whole new way of doing science,” Kaxiras said. “The old way is theory and experiment, but this whole new way based on computation has developed into its own field.”

Though Kaxiras noted that a few other schools offer computational science programs, he emphasized that Harvard's strengths across different disciplines, from natural sciences to social sciences, would enable it to create a stronger program.

“We envision this to be broader than whatever exists in the world now.” Kaxiras said.

Rosalind Reid, executive director of the IACS, noted computational science's high level of relevance to a variety of jobs.

“There are real jobs out there and real needs for computational science and engineering,” Reid said.

Reid also noted the program's emphasis on real-world applications. The program was developed both by Harvard faculty members and by members of industry who use computational science. The two groups collaborated to compile a list of eight goals that each student should be able to meet by the end of the program.

“These were shaped through conversation with people in industry and national labs and with faculty members,” Reid said. “They're very practical.”

In addition, the program will feature a lecture series by prominent individuals who have used computational science.

“The purpose is to show the students that this type of approach in CSE can yield wonderful things,” Kaxiras said.

—Staff writer Petey E. Menz can be reached at