Purpose of the Program

The purpose of this program is to meet the needs of students who want to learn the basic concepts and skills of computational science and engineering while pursuing a PhD in a discipline outside applied mathematics. A student who completes this program successfully will obtain a master’s degree in applied mathematics, in the Computational Science and Engineering Track. The program is designed to provide interested students with a foundation in computational mathematics and, at the same time, to allow sufficient latitude for the student to become proficient in an outside discipline. Approximately half of the credits for the master’s degree will be taken from a department other than applied mathematics.

Admission to the CSE Program

A student in the Computational Science and Engineering Track will be enrolled simultaneously in two graduate programs, one in applied mathematics and one in the department from which the student wishes to receive a PhD. An interested student may apply for admission to this track either when applying for graduate study at CU, or at any time in the student’s first two years of graduate study. First-year and second-year graduate students in any of these participating departments may apply for admission to this program:

Aerospace Engineering
Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Mechanical Engineering
Computer Science

To initiate an application to the program, contact the APPM Graduate Coordinator at amgradco@colorado.edu. The requirements are:

  1. Scheduling a meeting with the graduate chair within the first 6 weeks of the semester you would like to apply to the program
  2. Admission to a CSE-participating department on the CU Boulder campus.*
  3. Your written permission to access your the application to the participating department.
  4. A statement of purpose specific to the CSE program.
  5. A letter of support: If you are currently enrolled in a CSE-participating program, obtain a letter from your advisor. If you do not yet have an academic advisor, obtain a letter from your graduate committee chair. If you are applying for simultaneous admission to both programs, Applied Math will request written support from your primary department's graduate committee to admit you to the CSE program.
  6. A current CV is strongly recommended.
  7. A proposed academic plan to complete the MS requirements.


The proposed curriculum is flexible in that a student may choose from a set of courses most useful to the discipline in which the Ph.D. is sought.  Each participating department will have a specific set of appropriate courses that will be specified in a Memorandum of Understanding between that department and the Department of Applied Mathematics.

For detailed descriptions, see the APPM catalogue supplement, pages 17-20.

Master’s Requirements

In accordance with the rules of the Graduate School, credits from a given graduate course can be applied toward only one master’s degree. Specifically, if graduate credits from a participating department are used to obtain a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics in the Computational Science and Engineering track, those same credits cannot also be used to obtain a master’s degree from the other department.  The credits may be applied toward a Ph.D. from either department.

The program is self-contained.  If desired, a student can leave the program with a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and embark on a career at the master’s level.

*Please note that the participating department will always be considered your primary department. CSE students are not financially supported by Applied Mathematics. If you are interested in admission to APPM as your primary department, you must complete a standard online application to our MS or PhD program.