Program Overview and Curriculum

Master of Science Program in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE SM)

The CSE SM program is designed with a common core that serves all engineering disciplines, and an elective component that focuses on particular applications. Students must complete coursework distributed as described below (F = course offered in Fall semester; S = course offered in Spring semester).


  • CSE SM Thesis Proposal Form1
  • Petition Form: Request for Modification of SM Subject Requirements2
  • SM Subject Audit Form1
    1 CSE SM Thesis Proposal and Subject Audit Forms are due no later than the final pre-registration deadline of the last semester prior to graduation (e.g., the final January pre-registration deadline for May/June graduation; May for September graduation; August for February graduation).

    2 Petition forms and supporting documents should be submitted as soon as possible; students are strongly advised to submit the form for approval *prior* to enrolling in the petitioned subject.


Core Subjects (3 course / 36 units)*

Students are required to take three of four core subjects designed to provide foundation materials needed for the study of more advanced elective topics. The core subjects are chosen from the following:

Restricted Electives (2 courses / 24 units)*

Students choose two graduate-level electives from a list of over 50 specialized subjects that have computational themes and related components, and that are aligned with the program’s educational mission. The current list of approved restricted elective (RE) subjects can be found here.

Unrestricted Elective (1 course / 12 units)*

Students may choose any graduate-level 12-unit subject from the MIT Subject Listing and Schedule.

Thesis (36 units)

Students write a master’s thesis under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

*Courses that can be repeated for credit cannot be used to satisfy multiple CSE SM requirements.
Subjects taken with the graduate P/D/F grading option, or subjects specifically designated as P/D/F in the MIT Bulletin, cannot be used to satisfy CSE SM curricular requirements.

English Language Proficiency

All CSE SM students are required to take the Graduate Writing Exam run by the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.  Students who do not receive a passing score are required to take 21W.794 Graduate Technical Writing Workshop.  Students may choose to take the workshop with P/D/F grading (rather than an A – F letter grade), however they must receive a P grade.


The CSE SM program is designed so that students who are either self-supported or on fellowship can complete the program in 12-18 months. Students supported by research assistant or teaching assistant funds should allow two years to complete the program.

Academic Performance

CSE SM students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 4.5 (out of 5) during the course of their studies. If a student’s term GPA is at or below 4.0 for two sequential terms, if a student receives an Unsatisfactory (“U”) grade in CSE.THG, or if a grade of C or lower is given in any subject, a warning from the CCSE directors will be issued to the student, and the MIT Graduate Academic Performance Group will be alerted.

Please see the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education’s Academic Performance page for more information.