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Three types of courses

Computational Science is an area of science which spans many disciplines, but at its core it involves the development of models and simulations to understand natural systems. Our Master's programme is designed with this in mind. We define three course types: compulsory core courses, restricted-choice courses and free-choice elective courses. A complete programme consists fo 13 courses (78 EC - 6 EC per course) and a graduation project (42 EC, 7-9 months). 

  1. The core compulsory courses reflect the central body of knowledge in Computational.
  2. The restricted-choice courses offer breadth and depth, allowing students to either deepen their knowledge on core topics or broaden their scope.
  3. Finally, free-choice elective courses offer students the option to take courses in application domains. These are especially intended for students who would like to do a research graduation project in one of the application domains as described below.

Please note that the number of courses in a student's curriculum may deviate depending on the chosen elective courses. For detailed information regarding the curriculum and courses, please see the UvA Course Catalogue.

Course information

  • The first year

    The first year is dedicated to core Computational Science courses covering computing & algorithms, modelling & simulation, massive-data processing and multidisciplinary collaboration.

    During the first year, the restricted-choice courses and free-choice elective courses are in addition to your core  compulsory courses and can be chosen freely from an extensive list.

    The restricted-choice courses also include central concepts in Computational Science, but here we offer some choice. These courses allow students to broaden their knowledge in either computing or modelling & simulation.

  • The second year

    The second year is dedicated to elective courses and the Master Thesis Computational Science. The free-choice elective course provide opportunity to deepen your knowledge of core concepts in Computational Science. These courses are selected to obtain a specialty in Computational Science or the different application domains, such as Finance & Economics, Biology, Biomedicine Numerical Mathematics and Social science. 

    The free-choice elective courses help you prepare for the Master Thesis Computational Science. The Master Thesis Computational Science will be conducted in a scientific group at in one of the universities in Amsterdam, but could also take place at institutes at the Science Park, such as CWI, NIKHEF, AMOLF, AMC and the NKI, outside Amsterdam or abroad. Often students who choose Finance & Economics will do their Master's thesis at a financial institute such as 'de Nederlandse Bank'. The Master Thesis Computational Science must be a scientific project with potential to complement the existing body of knowledge in Computational Science.

    Our students often have a publication in a scientific paper as a result of their Master thesis. Here you can download a list of publications of our Master's students:

    Master Thesis Computational Science

    Here are some abstracts of recent examples of Master's theses of our graduates:

In the Master's you will learn:

  • to build computational models from real-life observations;
  • to develop skills in turning these models into computational structures and perform large-scale simulations;
  • theory that gives you a firm basis for the analysis of complex simulations;
  • to analyse the results of your simulations in a virtual laboratory using advanced numerical algorithms;
  • to control the power of the largest supercomputers.

To achieve these goals, you will have access to some of the most advanced computing, networking, storage and visualization facilities in the world. When completing the programme, you graduate in one of the many domains Computational Science has to offer, such as Computational Finance, Computational Biology, Numerical Mathematics or Complex Networks.

Graduation in different domains

Not only do you graduate with knowledge of the core concepts of Computational Science like complex network simulation, but you can also specialise in one of the application domains, such as Computational Biology or Computational Finance. You can use the elective courses to take specific courses in application domains and perform your research in helping solving domain-specific problems in collaboration with domain experts.

Pre-Master's programme

If the Admissions Board has decided that you don't meet the admissions requirements for the Master's programme, students can enrol in the Minor Computational Science (30 EC) at the UvA. This minor programme is the pre-Master's programme and will train you in mathematics and programming in preparation for the Master's programme. The minor programme runs from September to January. If you successfully complete the minor, you will receive confirmation of admission to the Master's programme in the subsequent academic year.

Accreditation and academic title

Degree requirements 

A Master of Science in Computational Science is awarded upon successful completion of all the core courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis based on an independent research project. This translates into a total of 120 EC credits.


The Master's programme in Computational Science has been legally accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme, students will receive a legally accredited Master's degree in Computational Science and the title of Master of Science (MSc).

Bring your own device

All students enrolled in Computational Science are requested to bring their own laptop, due to the nature of the programme. More information on specific system requirements can be found here.