Professors: Aharonov, Becker, Blaisten-Barojas, Carr*, Cioffi-Revilla*, Gentle, Lohner, Papaconstantopoulos (chair), Polyak*, Sauer*, Summers*, Wegman
Associate professors: Axtell*, Borne, Cebral, Wallin, C. Yang, R. Yang*, S. Yang*, Zoltek
Assistant professors: Camelli, Griva, Klimov*, Opher*, Sheng, Tollaksen, Weigel, Zhang
Research professors: Dere, Gomez, Poland, Titarchuk
Senior contract professor: Beall
Adjuncts: Guharay, Lanzagorta, Veytsman
*Faculty holding primary appointments in other departments.
The department offers all course work designated CDS, CSI, CSS, and NANO in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog.
The BS degree in computational and data sciences represents a new direction for integrated science at Mason based on the combination of applied mathematics, real-world computer science skills, data acquisition and analysis, and scientific modeling. Graduates of the BS program in computational and data sciences will possess the mathematical, scientific, and computational skills necessary to participate effectively as members of the interdisciplinary scientific simulation and analysis groups that are becoming more and more common in the public and the private sectors, particularly in Northern Virginia. Graduates will also be qualified to pursue graduate education in the sciences. Any student who meets the university’s general eligibility requirements may apply to the BS degree in Computational and Data Sciences Program.
In addition to satisfying the university-wide general education requirements for the BS degree, students must complete a total of 18 credits in computational and data sciences core courses, 15 credits in computer science, 23 credits in mathematics, 6 credits in statistics, 21 to 25 credits in a science concentration, and 3 to 9 credits in computational and data sciences electives with a minimum GPA of 2.00. (Through the course -work below, computational and data sciences majors satisfy the university-wide requirements in natural science and quantitative reasoning.)
In meeting the above requirements, students choose a concentration in physics, chemistry, or biology. The courses required for each concentration are listed below. Students should plan a program of study in consultation with their advisor as appropriate for their selected concentration.
This concentration is appropriate for students who wish to pursue a career or graduate education that applies computational techniques to the simulation of biological processes and systems. To complete this emphasis, students should take the following courses: CHEM 211, 212, 313, 315, and BIOL 213, 305, 306, and 311.
This concentration is intended for students who wish to pursue a career or graduate education that applies computers to the simulation of chemical processes and systems. To complete this concentration, students should take the following courses: PHYS 243, 244, 245, 246, and CHEM 211, 212 plus either CHEM 313/315 or CHEM 331/336.
This concentration is designed for students who wish to pursue a career or graduate education that applies computational techniques to the simulation of physical problems. To complete this concentration, students should take the following courses: PHYS 160, 161, 260, 261, 262, 263, and three of PHYS 303, 305, 306, 307, 308, 328.
The minor in computational and data sciences (CDS) provides an attractive option for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering who wish to augment their major degree program with additional courses in scientific computing. The combination of computer science, numerical methods, science, and synthesis courses in computational and data sciences will significantly enhance the practical knowledge and computational skills of the students when compared with the major field alone. By absorbing the material in this curriculum, students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and techniques commonly used across scientific disciplines, which will allow them to apply their Mason education in a practical way in industrial, government, and academic settings.
At least 8 credits must be applied only to this minor and may not be used to fulfill requirements of the student’s major, concentration, or another minor or undergraduate certificate. Students must complete at least 6 credits in their minor at Mason and achieve a minimum 2.00 GPA in courses applied to the minor. Students interested in a minor should consult the appropriate chapters in this catalog.
The minor in computational and data sciences consists of 18 credits of course work as follows:
Many of the courses listed above have additional prerequisites. Nonetheless, the CDS minor is within efficient reach of most students majoring in science, mathematics, engineering, or computer science, since these students will generally have the prerequisites for the classes listed above.
The interdisciplinary master’s program in computational science addresses the growing national and regional demand for trained computational scientists. It combines a solid foundation in information technology skills with computational courses in a variety of scientific areas. All courses are offered in the late afternoon or early evening to accommodate students with full-time employment outside the university.
The degree is centered on a strong computational component, which comprises 22 credits of course work. The remaining 9 credits represent the scientific component, which centers on specific areas such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and statistics. This provides students with a flexible set of options that can be used to create their own customized curriculum under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to undertake an optional master’s thesis or research project that allows them to gain useful experience in the development of simulations and other aspects of computational science.
Applicants should have academic backgrounds in physical or biological sciences, engineering, mathematics, or computer science. They should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.00 in their last 60 credits of study. In addition, applicants should have taken at least one course in differential equations and have facility in using a high-level computer programming language. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, and an expanded goals statement to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center. Applicants should also include three letters of recommendation and an official report of scores on the GRE-GEN. The GRE-SUB is recommended if it is given in the student’s undergraduate major. The GRE requirement will be waived if the student holds a master’s degree from a U.S. institution. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
Candidates must successfully complete 31 credits as follows:
The Computational Sciences and Informatics (CSI) doctoral program addresses the role of computation in science, mathematics, and engineering, and is designed around a core of advanced computer technology courses. Computational sciences is defined as the systematic development and application of computing systems and computational solution techniques to models of scientific and engineering phenomena. Informatics is defined as the systematic development and application of computing systems and computational solution techniques for analyzing data obtained through experiments, modeling, database searches, and instrumentation. Computing is now part of a triad, along with theory and experimentation, which provides a new integrated means of investigation. The resulting interdisciplinary approach often leads to understanding that, in many cases, traditional theory or experimentation alone cannot provide. The close relationship of the CSI doctoral program to the research and development activities in federal laboratories, scientific institutions, and high-technology firms affords students opportunities for continuing or new employment. Scheduled courses and sequences accommodate part-time students, with most courses meeting once a week in the late afternoon or early evening.
Founded in 1992, the innovative Computational Sciences and Informatics (CSI) doctoral program at George Mason University addresses the role of computation in science, mathematics, and engineering. Computational sciences is defined as the development and application of computational methodologies and techniques to the modeling, simulation, and understanding of phenomena in the natural sciences and engineering. Informatics is defined as the design and implementation of complex software systems for the extraction of knowledge from large databases. The research and teaching activities associated with the CSI program reflect the recognized role of computation as part of a triad with theory and experimentation, leading to a better understanding of nature.
Research opportunities leading to the doctoral degree are available in each of the following areas of emphasis:
Students may also pursue interdisciplinary research that combines the areas of emphasis listed above with each other and also with computational neuroscience, climate dynamics, bioinformatics, and remote sensing, which are now separate PhD programs.
The department’s research activities reflect the recognized role of computation as part of a triad with theory and experiment to generate new knowledge and a better understanding of nature. CDS maintains several weekly colloquia and seminar series to ensure that students are exposed to the latest developments at area research institutions. Doctoral students are encouraged to participate in national and international meetings where they can present their latest findings.
The list of research areas tells only part of the story because the greatest strength of the CSI doctoral program lies in its ability to foster and promote truly interdisciplinary research that crosses traditional domain boundaries. In the CSI doctoral program, each student is presented with an exciting opportunity to create a new area of interdisciplinary inquiry that would not fit into a traditional PhD program. Students in the CSI doctoral program use computationally intensive methods to solve current problems in these scientific areas.
The 72-credit doctoral program combines three intellectual elements:
The doctoral program, designed to be completed in 4 to 5 years, includes
Students interested in applying for admission into the CSI PhD program should have a bachelor’s degree in any natural science, mathematics, engineering, or computer science with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in their last 60 credits of study. All applicants to the PhD program should have a mathematics background up to and including differential equations. All applicants to the PhD program should also have knowledge of a computer programming language such as C, C++, FORTRAN, etc.
The GRE is required, unless the applicant holds a master’s degree from a school in the United States. A TOEFL score of 575 (paper-based exam) or 230 (computer-based exam) is required for international students. The ETS code for GMU is 5827.
Students should submit a completed graduate application along with three letters of recommendation, an expanded goals statement, and a $50 check to cover the application fee (payable to George Mason University) in addition to the items listed above.
Applications should be received by March 1 for fall semester and November 1 for spring semester. Applications requesting financial support must be received by February 1 for the fall semester. Please note that applications from local applicants may be accepted after these general deadlines.
Please send completed applications to the address below:
COS Graduate Applications Processing Center
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS 6A3
Fairfax, VA 22030
For additional information, phone 703-993-1988; fax 703-993-9300, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
General core course requirements—12 credits from the following:
Emphasis core requirements—15 credits in one of the following areas:
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Computational Materials and Chemical Sciences
Quantum Information Science
Space Sciences and Computational Astrophysics
Electives: 18 credits, with at least 9 credits of CSI courses Colloquium/Seminar: 3 credits
Students may also pursue interdisciplinary research that combines the areas of emphasis listed above with each other and also with Earth systems and geoinformation sciences, computational chemistry, climate dynamics, and bioinformatics, several of which are autonomous PhD programs within COS.
Academic Common Market
The CSI PhD degree has been approved for access by residents of Maryland through the Academic Common Market (ACM). The ACM allows full-time students who are certified residents of Maryland to enroll in the CSI PhD program while paying the Virginia in-state tuition rate, which is about one-third of the out-of-state tuition rate that residents of Maryland would otherwise have to pay. Details regarding Maryland’s participation in the ACM may be found at www.mhec.state.md.us/index.asp. The ACM program code for the CSI Doctoral Program is 300801. Interested students should contact the Office of the Registrar, Certifications Services, at 703-993-2448.
The core objective of the computational social science (CSS) PhD program is to train graduate students to be professional computational social scientists in academia, government, or business. The program offers a unique and innovative interdisciplinary academic environment for systematically exploring, discovering, and developing skills to successfully follow careers in one of the areas of computational social science.
Applicants should have as background a bachelor’s degree in one of the social sciences; computer science, engineering, or a relevant discipline; and undergraduate courses in these and related areas. Bachelor’s degrees in the physical or biological sciences are also eligible, but applicants may be advised to take additional courses in social science or computer science as prerequisites to admission. Minimal requirements also include one undergraduate course in calculus and knowledge of a computer programming language, preferably object-based. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.25. To apply, prospective students should send to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, an expanded goals statement not to exceed 2,000 words, and the names of two Mason faculty members who may be suitable advisors. Applicants should also include three letters of recommendation from faculty members or individuals with direct knowledge of the student’s academic or professional capabilities. The letters must arrive directly from the senders. Applicants should also submit an official report of scores obtained on the GRE-GEN. TOEFL scores are required for all international applicants.
The program requires 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, with a minimum of 48 credits in course work, and 24 credits of dissertation research. For those holding a master’s degree, the 72 required credits may be reduced by up to 30 credits, depending on graduate courses. A maximum of 24 credits of prior graduate course work may be transferred, provided such credits have not been used for another degree. The 48 credits of courses have the functional distribution and learning objectives indicated below.
Areas for dissertation research include, but are not limited to, the following:
During the first year, each student will form a graduate studies committee, called the first-year committee, consisting of the student’s advisor plus two or three appropriately qualified individuals. The committee assists the student in designing a specific plan of study and evaluating the student’s progress by the end of the first year. During the second year, the student forms a doctoral committee, with membership approved by the CSS Program director. The committee will advise the student on preparing for the doctoral candidacy exams and preparing, developing, and defending the doctoral dissertation.
The candidacy exam is taken after students have completed all core requirements and a majority of additional course work (18 plus 15 credits), which typically corresponds to the fifth semester in the program. The purpose of the candidacy exam is to assess the student’s substantive and methodological knowledge in CSS as a whole and in the chosen focus area; the ability to integrate materials from different courses; and the potential for a successful dissertation.
The exam will consist of written and oral parts. Upon passing the candidacy exam and submitting an acceptable dissertation proposal, students are advanced to doctoral candidacy. The degree is awarded on the successful defense of a PhD dissertation that represents a detailed written report of an original and significant research contribution to the CSS field.
The department participates in the PhD in physical sciences administered by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Please see those departmental listings for program requirements.
This 15-credit program is designed for students who seek training in computer simulation and related computational methods for analyzing social systems and processes. The program is open to all students with graduate standing at Mason and all students who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The CSS certificate allows students with social science or computational backgrounds to acquire new knowledge and modeling skills to improve their qualifications and attractiveness to employers in government, academia, or industry. The core courses provide a common foundation; additional elective courses allow for a variety of student interests across diverse social domains.
Applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.00. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, and a current résumé to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
Students in the CSS certificate program must take both CSS 600 Introduction to Computational Social Science and CSS 610 Computational Analysis of Social Complexity. Students are also required to take a minimum of 9 credits in elective courses (for example, CSS 605, 620, 692). Students may include a maximum of 3 credits of programming courses to meet requirements. Programming courses such as procedural, object-oriented languages, or other approved programming approaches, such as CSI 603 or 604 Introduction to Scientific Programming I and II, may be used with the director’s approval. Some courses on computational techniques, modeling, statistics, visualization, graphics, and database packages (such as CSI 606 and 607) may also be used to meet the requirements with prior approval of the director. Students intending to obtain the certificate in CSS must contact the director no later than two semesters prior to completing the required credits.
This certificate program focuses on mastering a variety of basic computational skills. The certificate is independent of the doctoral and master’s programs and is designed primarily for professionals in technical fields who seek to upgrade their computer expertise. This program is also available as an option for prospective or currently enrolled doctoral or master’s degree students.
Applicants should have an academic background in physical or biological sciences, engineering, mathematics, or computer science. They should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.00 in their last 60 credits of study. In addition, applicants should have taken at least one course in differential equations and have facility in using a high-level computer programming language. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, and a current résumé to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center. TOEFL scores are required of all international applicants.
The program comprises 15 credits of course work designed to provide an accelerated introduction to concepts in modern computation. Topics include operating systems, environments, languages, graphics, databases, and applications. The required courses may be selected as follows: 6 credits from CSI 601–607, 6 credits from CSI 600, 610, 700, and one CSI elective. Special course schedules may be designed depending upon the background and qualifications of the student. Waived credits are to be replaced with applications courses approved by the director of the certificate program.
This graduate certificate program focuses on mastering a variety of technical skills in the rapidly developing area of nanotechnology. The field highlights the effect of size on the physical and engineering properties of materials and the design of various devices and systems. The certificate enables students to acquire knowledge covering a broad range of instrumentation, modeling, analysis, and production methods that facilitate the solution of practical nanotechnology-related problems in the workplace.
Applicants should hold a BS degree in any branch of engineering, physics, chemistry, or materials science, with a minimum GPA of 3.00. Exceptions are reviewed on an individual basis. To apply, prospective students should forward a completed Mason graduate application, two copies of official transcripts from each college and graduate institution attended, and a current résumé to the COS Fairfax Campus Graduate Admissions Processing Center. TOEFL scores are required for all international applicants.
The certificate program comprises 15 credits of course work designed to provide an accelerated introduction to concepts in nanotechnology and nanoscience. Topics include nanomaterials, nanocharacterization, nanostructures, nanofabrication, nanoelectronics, and modeling for nanoscience. The prefix of the associated courses is NANO. Requirements are 9 credits of core courses (NANO 500, 510, 520) and 6 credits of electives (NANO 530, 610,620).
The certificate program is a professional certification program that charges students at a differential (premium) tuition rate, with an additional $100 per credit added to the standard Mason graduate tuition rate for students who enroll in this certificate program, regardless of in-state or out-of-state status. The differential tuition is used to fund continuing improvements in the COS educational facilities used to support the certificate program.