Scientific Computing and Applied Mathematics M.S.



Course Requirements

Core Courses

All SciCAM M.S. students are required to take the core courses listed below.

AM 212A    Applied Mathematical Methods I
AM 213A    Numerical Linear Algebra
AM 213B    Numerical Methods for the Solution of Differential Equations
AM 214    Applied Dynamical Systems
AM 250    An Introduction to High Performance Computing

Foundational Requirements

Students in the SciCAM program must also demonstrate mastery in the foundations of scientific computing and applied mathematics, either by producing evidence through undergraduate transcripts, or by taking some or all of the following foundational courses upon entry to the M.S. program:

AM 129 or AM 209   Foundations of Scientific Computing
AM 147    Computational Methods and Applications
AM 211    Foundations of Applied Mathematics


Any 5-credit AM graduate course (200 and above) not already listed as a core course may be counted as electives. Elective courses outside of AM must be approved by the SciCAM graduate director. Note that some upper-division electives are allowed, bearing in mind that no more than a total of 15 credits of upper-division courses may be used to satisfy the degree requirements. 

Other Requirements

Students in the SciCAM program may pursue a Plan I (thesis capstone) or a Plan II (comprehensive examination capstone) curriculum.

Candidates for a Plan I capstone must complete one elective and take a minimum of two quarters of independent study to write a thesis.

The thesis requirements are as follows. Students must submit a thesis proposal to the potential faculty sponsor after completion of all core courses. If the proposal is accepted, the faculty member will become the sponsor and will supervise the research and writing of the thesis project. The project will involve the solution of a problem or problems from the selected area of application. The thesis must consist of at least 30 pages and no more than 60 pages of printed written work and accompanying pertinent figures, consisting of a coherent introduction and presentation of the current state of the field, a clear presentation of the questions raised, of the methodology used to solve them, and a discussion of the results obtained. The thesis will be read by at least two faculty from the AM Department, one of whom must be the student’s adviser. The student will then be required to give a short (20-minute) public oral presentation of their thesis, which will be evaluated by the reading committee. The reading committee will assess the quality of both written work and oral presentation in making their recommendation for awarding the M.S. degree to the student.

Candidates for a Plan II capstone must complete three electives and pass the SciCAM comprehensive examination.

The exam takes place in June at the end of the academic year. Students may only take this exam following completion of the last core course. The exam will take the form of a take-home project covering all core and foundational courses. Passing the comprehensive examination fulfills the capstone requirement. A student will have two attempts to pass the exam. 

Accelerated One-Year Program Plan

The expected time to completion of the SciCAM degree program is two years. However, AM also offers a one-year accelerated track for interested students who can demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the foundational subjects. Information on the minimum requirements to join the accelerated track can be found on the program website. Requests to join the accelerated track must be made to the graduate director by email no later than Aug. 31 of each year.

Transfer Credit

Up to three UCSC courses fulfilling the degree requirements of the SciCAM degree may be taken before beginning the graduate program, either as part of their undergraduate education or through concurrent enrollment. However, students will still need to take courses totalling 35 credits as graduate students to satisfy university requirements. Note that this limit does not apply to the foundational requirements, which may all be taken prior to the start of the SciCAM program without penalty.

Up to one course from other institutions may be applied to the M.S. degree course requirements. Petitions should be submitted along with the transcript from the other institution or UCSC Extension. For courses taken at other institutions, copies of the syllabi, exams, and other course work should accompany the petition. Such petitions are not considered until the completion of at least one quarter at UCSC.

Relationship of SciCAM Masters Program and AM Doctoral Program

Students in the SciCAM M.S. program interested in an academic career will be strongly encouraged to apply to the Applied Mathematics Ph.D. program. Applications are reviewed in the standard academic cycle. Students interested in applying to the Applied Mathematics Ph.D. program are encouraged to discuss this option with the graduate director in the fall of each year.

Review of Progress

Each year, the faculty review the progress of every student in all graduate programs. Students not making adequate progress toward completion of degree requirements are subject to dismissal from the program (see the Graduate Handbook for the policy on satisfactory academic progress). Also, please refer to specific guidelines on the annual student reviews.

Foreign Language Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and submit an official score report with the admission application. For admission purposes, the minimum passing score for the TOEFL exam must be 570 on the paper-based, 230 on the computer-based, or 89 on the internet-based test. The minimum passing score for the IELTS exam is 7. If you have received a degree from an English-speaking institution or have lived in the United States for more than four years, you are eligible for a TOEFL exemption.

To be considered for teaching assistant support you must have scored a minimum of 26 on the spoken portion of the internet-based TOEFL or an overall 8 on the IELTS. International students may also participate in the Graduate Preparation Program (GPP) prior to starting the graduate program. Successful completion of the GPP satisfies the English-language requirement for teaching assistants.

Applying for Graduation

All candidates for a degree must submit an Application for Master's Degree to the Graduate Student Affairs Office by the date stated in the Academic and Administrative Calendar for the quarter they wish to receive the degree. The deadline for degree applications is typically in the second week of the quarter. A student is required to be registered or on filing fee during the quarter in which the degree is conferred. For more information about applying for graduation, visit the Baskin School of Engineering Graduate Studies website