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A&S-Computational Modeling and Simulation Program (Joint Program)

(Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Swanson School of Engineering)

The computational Modeling and Simulation Program at the University of Pittsburgh provides its graduate students with an integrated program of creative, independent research, course work, and teaching.

Contact Information



Dr. Kenneth D. Jordan

Distinguished Professor of Computational Chemistry

Director, Center for Simulation & Modeling
Director of Graduate Studies, Computational Modeling and Simulation Program

Dr. Peyman Givi

James T. MacLeod Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Material Science

Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

Program Coordinator:

Wendy Janocha

326 Eberly Hall





The program is unique from programs that focus on a single discipline.  Our students pursue research in diverse areas including:

Biological Sciences
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Computer Science
Industrial Engineering
Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Physics and Astronomy

The Center for Simulation and Modeling  and the accessibility of its outstanding faculty will offer you unparalleled opportunities for individualized training and interaction. An extensive seminar series exposes students and faculty alike to the world's leading scientists and their latest research. Pitt's outstanding research and placement resources, coupled with the University's commitment to being one of the finest and most productive universities in the world, uniquely positions our program to help you meet your objectives.


Applicants will all be considered for a competitive three-term fellowship in computational modeling and simulation and full tuition remission.  Assistance is also provided for health insurance. 


In addition to a formal application made through the appropriate school, The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or the Swanson School of Engineering (online application) applicants will also need to provide the following:

  • A statement of purpose that addresses your specific interests and/or expertise in the field you wish to study, and describes as specifically as possible the area of research you wish to pursue.
  • Transcripts for all college-level institutions attended.
  • Three letters of reference.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores including the any subject examinations.
  • International students will also need to provide TOEFL scores.


Most students entering the program will choose an advisor (with the faculty member's consent) at the time they are accepted. In the case that a student does not choose an advisor when admitted, the student will be assigned a temporary advisor in the department of the concentration. In such cases, the student will choose a permanent advisor by the end of the first term in the program. The choice of permanent advisor is made with the consent of the faculty member, who then agrees to support the student after the first year in the program. (See list of faculty.)

The plan of study will be designed in consultation with the advisor, with approval of the Director of the program. Because the students entering the program will have very diverse backgrounds, particular care will be exercised to make sure that they have the prerequisites to be successful in the core courses that they choose to take. By the end of the first year, each participating student will choose a four-person Comprehensive Committee with two faculty from the concentration department and two from other participating departments.


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

I. Two courses (3 credits each) in Numerical Methods

II. Two courses (3 credits each) in Scientific Computing/Programming

III. 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

IV. 12 credits in a concentration area in a participating department in the School of Arts and Sciences or in the Swanson School of Engineering

V. 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.


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.


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 M.S. 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.


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 72 credits for a PhD. At least 24 of these credits will be satisfied by the core program, including the concentration area, described above, and at least 8 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).  (See list of Ph.D. Course Requirements).


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