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Old   March 9, 2015, 15:15
Default Self-Study Cirriculum
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I want to learn CFD and am currently taking an online OpenFOAM course offered through The course is pretty comprehensive and a second is offered that is programming focused. Id like to at least get a masters in CFD, but education in the US is just not worth the cost (consider, for 40-60 grand I could build my own super computer, work part time, and teach myself during my free time). I have looked through the web and came across some good resources.

Here is a tentative list of courses I think would be useful for self study that are available on the web:

-OpenFOAM I (
-OpenFOAM II (
- Scientific Computing - Finite difference, spectral methods, intro to FVM(University of Washington through Coursera)
-High Performance Scientific Computing - parallel processing, debugging, other advanced concepts
-Discreet Optimization (courser, University of Melbourne)

Here is a list of freely or cheaply available courses I have not found but think are necessary:

-Introduction to CFD - a CFD class covering the programming-CFD-from-scratch aspect (write your own 2D NS solver, for example.)
-Introduction to Turbulence - a class on turbulent flows that discusses the physics, mathematics and numerical implementation
-Meshing...a class on meshing
-Advanced heat transfer - covering topics that are beyond the standard undergrad curriculum.
-A course on the finite element and finite volume methods, beyond an intro to CFD course

Additional course topics that might be helpful but not necessary or are application specific
-Alternative Energy (wind, hydro, hydrogen fuel, etc)
-Statistical Analysis
-Big Data/cloud computing
-two phase flow
-advanced aerodynamics (automotive, ship, aircraft, etc)
- rotating systems (propellers, for example)
-discreet dynamics (rarefied gas dynamics, molecular flows)

Homeworks and Tests

I think self study has a big advantage in that you can learn whatever you are interested in. Essentially, the learner makes the rules. To that affect I have always felt that large projects hammered-in both the concepts and the implementation of a class, so my focus would be on working on big projects at the end of a set of lectures.

So, the question is:
! If you are aware of freely/cheaply available courses that are available on the web, please contribute! If you know of good literature that would supplement the above classes, post them! If you have any curriculum recommendations then feel free to post or critique what I posted. My long term goal is to get a study group together to learn CFD, and if it works out maybe start a website. As it stands now the traditional methods for education are too costly to implement - perhaps the future of higher education is self study and community collaboration?

Please contribute and thank you.
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Old   March 9, 2015, 16:28
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Read Computaitonal Fluid Dyanmics: A Practical Approach by Tu, Yeho and Liu. It is a very good introductory text and covers everything from simple 1-D solutions of N-S to detailed forulations of equations and explanations of the underlying math and assumptions.

Online courses are ok, but you get what you pay for. I would also warn you that taking the classes will not make you an expert (either online or in a classroom). You have to practice, practice, practice.
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Old   March 9, 2015, 16:38
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Thank you for the book. I picked up Versteeg's copy and was disappointed. While it went over the implementation and concepts, it completely glazed over the math and advanced physics.

On the other hand, Dale Anderson's book was very mathematically intense, but didn't go into much about the physics and little about the programing.

Online courses are ok, but you get what you pay for.
Do you really think this is true nowadays? For example, a typical course of three credits at a private university may run you $3000 (this is a low estimate, I've seen some as high as $1500 a credit and as low as $700 a credit). For 3 lectures a week over 10 weeks. Is each 45 minute lecture really worth $100?
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Old   March 9, 2015, 17:27
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Yes and no. It all depeneds on what you want to do with it when you finish. If it's just a hobby, it shoudn't matter. But in industry, especially engineering, accrediation is important. CFD enigneers wihout a university education and advanced degree(s) are a lot less likely to find work, whether they know the material or not.

I can't imagine any free courses being accredited. Cheap ones, possibly. What are the quality of the courses though? It's not just about the bottom line ($$$), it has a lot to do with your intended careerpath, quality of the education, etc.. Not to mention all the practical lab expeirence you get with a graduate engineering degree from a university. I learned as much in the wind tunnel as I did in the computer lab and classroom. I'd like to see you get that kind of experience from an online course. Not to mention the interactive environment of a real classroom has its advantages.

Also, I have personally never heard of a masters degree in CFD. Usually people who do CFD have degrees in one kind of engineering or another, sometimes physics. Usually, people who are true experts in CFD have many, many years of experience and at least a MS or PhD.

Good luck with whatever you do.
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