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Computational Science

Overview of Program

Hood added a 29th major—computational science—to its undergraduate offerings in fall 2011. The major was introduced in response to the growing need for skilled professionals who can apply today’s cutting-edge technology—computer simulation and other forms of computation—to solve complicated problems across various scientific disciplines.

The major in computational science is a multidisciplinary program combining study in applied mathematics and computing, and the use of knowledge and skills in those areas to solve problems in science. In this program, students take courses in mathematics and computer science and learn to create computer models to simulate real-world situations in one of the sciences: biology, chemistry or physics.

In the Classroom

Students take a core of 23 credits in mathematics and 23 credits in computer science, and then choose one of the following areas of concentration:

  • Molecular biology
  • Ecology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Each student will complete an interdisciplinary capstone project under the direction of two faculty advisers—one from mathematics or computer science and the other from the area of concentration.

Internships and Fellowships

Students who major in computational science have opportunities for internships at a wide range of corporations and institutions, as well as for fellowships and graduate programs at an array of prestigious institutions in the Frederick-Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.


Many areas of science now face the need for computing and simulation. Large amounts of data are commonplace. A degree in computational science provides an in-demand set of skills and a level of expertise in this interdisciplinary field that melds mathematics, computer science and one of the sciences.

In biology, the genome sequencing projects have created a vast amount of data to be studied, while pharmaceutical design is now largely carried out using computer simulation. Environmental modeling allows us to extrapolate our environmental policies into the future.

Chemists use computer simulation to design custom molecular structures on the nanoscale, while physicists study large-scale simulations from weather systems to colliding galaxies.

The social sciences have embraced simulation to study financial markets, the migration of early tribes and the spread of disease across social networks.

Computer graphics and animation in video games, animated films and immersive simulations also provide exciting opportunities for computational science graduates.

Program Requirements

Mathematics courses (23 credits)

  • MATH 202 Calculus II (4)
  • MATH 203 Calculus III (4)
  • MATH 207 Discrete Mathematics (3)
And four of the following five courses
  • MATH 304 Differential Equations (3)
  • MATH 320 Modeling & Simulation (3)
  • MATH 339 Linear Algebra (3)
  • MATH 351 Probability & Statistics (3)
  • MATH 456 Numerical Analysis (3)

Computer Science courses (23 credits)

  • CS 284 Computer Science I (4)
  • CS 287 Computer Science II (4)
  • CS 419 Advanced Data Structures (3)
  • CS 420 Algorithm Analysis (3)
  • CSIT 430 Applied Database Concepts (3)
And two of the following courses:
  • CS 466 Parallel Computing (3)
  • CS 498X Special topics: Data Mining (3)
  • CS 498Y Special topics: Design and Analysis of Simulations (3)

Other selected CS special topics courses; substitution must be approved by the computer science department. 

An interdisciplinary senior project (3 credits)

  • CPSC 475 Computational Science Independent Study Senior Project

A concentration in a science

Molecular biology concentration (19 credits)

  • BIOL 201 Evolution and Ecology (4)
  • BIOL 203 Intro to Cell Biology and Genetics (4)
  • CHEM 209 Organic Chemistry I (4)
  • BIOL 316 Genetics (4)
  • BIOL 437 Intro to Bioinformatics (3)

Ecology Concentration (15 credits)

  • BIOL 201 Evolution and Ecology (4)
  • BIOL 203 Intro to Cell Biology and Genetics (4)
  • BIOL 338 Advanced Ecology (4)
  • ENSP 407 Natural Resource Management (3)

Chemistry Concentration (16 credits)

  • CHEM 209 Organic Chemistry I (4)
  • CHEM 210 Organic Chemistry II (4)
  • CHEM 215 Quantitative Analysis (4)
  • CHEM 431/433 Physical Chemistry I (4)

Physics Concentration (17 credits)

  • PHYS 203 Introductory Physics I (4)
  • PHYS 204 Introductory Physics II (4)
  • PHYS 222 Introduction to Modern Physics (3)
  • PHYS 324 Mechanics (3)
  • PHYS 325 Electricity and Magnetism (3)


Courses are taught by faculty in all of the disciplines involved. For more information, contact the department chair: