skip to content

Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Scientific Computing is no longer accepting new applications.


The MPhil in Scientific Computing is a 12-month full-time Master’s Degree, which has a taught and a research element and carries equal examination credit. The taught element comprises core lecture modules on topics of scientific computing and elective modules relevant to the science or technology topic of the research project, while the research element is a project on a science or technology topic which is studied by means of scientific computation. 

The taught element of the MPhil comprises core and elective lecture modules. The core lecture modules are on topics of high-performance scientific computing and advanced numerical methods and techniques. These are lectured and examined by means of written examinations and written assignments during the first five months (October-March) of the course. Their purpose is to provide the students with essential background knowledge for completing their research projects and for their general education in scientific computing.

Appropriate elective lecture courses may be selected from Master’s-level courses offered by the Departments of the School of Physical Sciences or Technology. The choice of courses will be such as to provide the students with essential background knowledge for completing their research projects and for their general education in the science/technology application of the project. They are decided in consultation with the project supervisor and the course director.

The research project will be on a science or technology topic which is studied by means of scientific computation. A list of projects will be provided by the beginning of March. Many of these will be supervised by the teaching staff of the course, but members of the Departments of the Schools of Physical Sciences and Technology will also be involved. Project work should begin after the submission of the written assignments. 

One to one supervision

Students are under the general direction of the course director. Each student is assigned a research project supervisor who guides the student's choice of courses and responds to the student's requests for supervisory guidance.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

The course has a seminar programme which invites academic and industrial speakers. 


Students will take lectures, practicals and classes equivalent to around 70 contact hours in (for example) scientific high-performance computing and computational modelling, as well as lectures from other master’s-level courses across the University, on topics related to their research project.


The lectures on topics of computational modelling and HPC are complemented with hands-on practicals on local computers as well as on the University’s high-performance computing service.

Small group teaching

Small-group teaching ("supervisions") is not offered on the lecture courses.

Literature Reviews

Literature reviews form part of the written assignments and the research project reports.

Posters and Presentations

The students have to present a poster at their viva voce examinations.


Feedback on the student’s performance on their examination and on the written assignment results is provided by the course director; feedback on their research project progress is provided by their research project supervisor. Students receive written termly progress reports.

Postgraduate students are represented on the Department's Postgraduate Student Consultative Committee, which normally meets five times a year, and consists of one or more student representatives from each of the research groups. The committee exists to enable discussion of any issue affecting postgraduate studies and students may approach any member of the committee to suggest items for discussion.


Thesis / Dissertation

The research project is assessed by means of two 7500-word (max) reports, each worth 25 per cent of the total assessment portfolio (i.e. 50 per cent in total). The details of the requirements for each report shall be approved by the Degree Committee. The submission dates for the reports will be in June and August. A viva voce examination on the project reports will take place between late August and early September

Written examination

The taught element is partially examined by means of three unseen written examination papers worth 25 per cent of the total assessment portfolio. Students will be expected to take all the written examination papers from the ones offered by the MPhil in Scientific Computing.


The taught element is partially examined by means of two written assignments worth 25 per cent of the total assessment portfolio. The written assignments will be directly relevant to the research project of the student. The objective of the assignments is to provide the student with suitable background training on the underlying numerical methods and techniques which are necessary to complete the research project.



Key Information

12 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Physics This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

Similar Courses