UMass Boston

Computational Sciences PhD

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Computational Sciences PhD

Reach the highest level of academic achievement in mathematical modeling, machine learning, and theoretical computer science.

Computational Science is concerned with the construction of mathematical models to solve problems in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is accomplished through the design and implementation of numerical, probabilistic and statistical models, machine learning and theoretical computer science. The methods and applications are necessarily cross disciplinary.

A typical example is the use of topological data analysis—which has roots in algebraic topology in pure mathematics—to analyze protein data or large data clouds. Other examples include environmental modeling via image processing, risk management and forecasting in finance via stochastic simulations, which in turn can be used in computational biology to understand the roles of non-coding RNA in cancer.

The Computational Sciences PhD Program at UMass Boston coordinates and promotes multidisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers and graduate students. The program involves faculty and graduate students in various departments at the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Departments currently participating in the program include: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Physics and Mathematics. The program is built on the existing strong scientific collaborations among faculty and industry partners.  Graduates from the program are expected to be competitive for securing positions in academia or at companies seeking expertise in data analytics and high-end implementation of computational modeling.

You can select from the following tracks:

  • Data Analytics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computational Physics

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must also meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Applicants will be required to determine the track they are interested in pursuing (Data Analytics, Bioinformatics, or Computational Physics) and demonstrate adequate preparation at the undergraduate level in the form of relevant coursework and research experience.
  • Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the Computational Science program, we expect that our applicants will be undergraduates with bachelor of science degrees in computer science, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, or graduates with master’s degrees in these areas.
  • Applicants are required to take the general GRE test.
  • The program requires three letters of recommendation submitted with the application.

Transfer Requirements

Students who transfer to the Computational Science program will receive transfer credit or advanced standing for their previous work, if they can demonstrate course equivalency. Credits for previous work will be given at the discretion of the Program Committee. Transfer students will still be required to pass written and oral qualifying exams and fulfill all other candidacy requirements.

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: February 15 for fall; October 15 for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Course Requirements

Core Courses (16 Credits)

  • MATH 625 - Numerical Analysis 4 Credit(s)
  • MATH 626 - Numerical Linear Algebra 4 Credit(s)
  • MATH 647 - Probability Models 4 Credit(s)
  • MATH 648 - Computational Statistics 4 Credit(s)

Track Courses (15 to 18 Credits)

Complete five courses. Three courses from your declared track and one course from each of the other two tracks.

  • Data Analytics Courses:

  • CS 624 - Analysis of Algorithms 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 670 - Artificial Intelligence 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 671 - Machine Learning 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 724 - Topics in Algorithm Theory and Design 3 Credit(s)

  • Computational Physics Courses:

  • PHYSIC 610 - Topics in Medical Imaging 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 611 - Theory of Classical Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 616 - Mathematical Methods for Physicists 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 638 - Quantum Measurement Theory 4 Credit(s)

    Bioinformatics Courses:

  • BIOL 625 - Genomics and Biotechnology 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 664 - Bioinformatics for Molecular Biologists 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 674 - Cell Signaling 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 612 - Algorithms in Bioinformatics 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 370 Molecular Biology (see Undergraduate Catalog)

Electives (9 to 12 Credits)

Complete three courses from below. Additional track courses from above may be applied toward this requirement with permission of the graduate program director.

  • BIOL 615 - Immunology 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 677 - Advanced Eukaryotic Genetics 3 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 681 - Network Biology 3 Credit(s)
  • CHEM 601 - Thermodynamics & Kinetics 4 Credit(s)
  • CHEM 602 - Quantum Mechanics & Spectroscopy 4 Credit(s)
  • CS 630 - Database Management Systems 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 636 - Database Application Development 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 680 - Object-Oriented Design and Programming 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 681 - Object-Oriented Software Development 3 Credit(s)
  • CS 682 - Software Development Laboratory I 3 Credit(s)
  • MATH 648 - Computational Statistics 4 Credit(s)


Graduation Criteria

Program Requirements

Complete 64 to 70 credits from at least 15 courses including 40 credits of course work from four core courses, five track courses, three electives, and four credits of research seminar; and 20 credits of dissertation research.

Track: Students must choose a track in data analytics, bioinformatics, or computational physics.
Doctoral candidacy: Pass a comprehensive examination after completion of 30 credits of course work. This examination consists of two parts; written and oral. Passing the written examination is a prerequisite to enter the oral examination.
Dissertation: Compose and defend a dissertation based on original research.

Minimum grade: No course with a grade below B may be applied toward program requirements.
Statute of limitations: Seven years.


Graduate Program Directo Ricardo Castano-Bernard
R.CastanoBernard [ at ]
(617) 287-6440

Student Success Program Coordinator Velina Batchvarov
velina.batchvarov [at]
(617) 287-3283