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Home of Modeling and Simulation Research

Recognized as the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world, Orlando serves as a hub where government, academic institutions and industry employers come together to support national security measures and improve healthcare, among many other initiatives. Home to the National Center for Simulation and Training and host to the world’s largest industry conference — the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference — the region has experienced significant growth, making it the fastest-growing metro for STEM jobs in the U.S. Annually, Central Florida secures about $7 billion in modeling, training and simulation contracts involving top industry leaders including Lockheed, SAIC, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

An industry that started by taking man to the moon, space now uses simulation-based technology across a variety of fields, from aviation to aerospace and defense to healthcare to gaming. Simulators recreate experiences through computer-driven software and are often used for training. Learning through experience often results in better retention compared to reading or lectures, making simulation a valuable training tool for a wide range of fields, such as engineering, psychology, history, philosophy, healthcare and public service, to name a few.

Cutting-Edge, Human-Centered Simulation Research

The School of Modeling, Simulation and Training (SMST) is a global leader in graduate education and is recognized for establishing modeling, simulation, and training as a recognized field of study. The school was established in 2018 and is an innovative, collaborative and immersive learning environment. SMST houses the Institute for Simulation & Training (IST), which conducts modeling, simulations and training research and development, as well as educating future industry leaders. Laboratory space within the institute, such as the prototype development and 3D print laboratory, transforms a number of ideas into products. IST is the largest institution of its kind.

Many projects developed through UCF’s modeling and simulation programs are used in the real world and impact the future of simulation, including a virtual co-pilot avatar for Boeing, smart-house technology in Lake Nona and a smart handle for medical assessments. The various tools used in the classroom replicate high-stress, high-consequence situations where quick decision-making is crucial. This first-hand experience builds a foundation for a high-performing workforce that will help define the future of simulation and training.

Alongside faculty, students and researchers, UCF’s alumni are a vital force in expanding research and deploying effective training solutions in simulation. Several have been recognized by the National Center for Simulation’s Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame for pioneering breakthroughs in live training and virtual-training systems to training hundreds of Navy pilots.

$11.6 Billion

Statewide economic impact from modeling, simulation and training sales activity

$6 Billion

Amount of Research Park’s organizations and businesses generate for the state’s GDP


People employed in the park affiliated with the military


Companies housed in the park, ranging from heavy hitters such as Boeing, Leidos, Lockheed and Raytheon to start-ups


Graduate degrees awarded by the School of Modeling, Simulation and Training


Years the Institute for Simulation and Training has served as a research arm for the university

We are second in the nation for simulation. Lockheed Martin Corp. and others see Central Florida as fertile ground for that partnership. UCF was the first to offer graduate degrees — master’s and doctorates — in modeling and simulation.”

— Tom Baptiste, former president and CEO for the National Center for Simulation
photo of Jason Eichenholz

Alumni Spotlight: Jason Eichenholz ’95MS ’98PhD

Self-driving cars have become the next major frontier in transportation. At the forefront of this movement is Luminar, a 7-year-old company co-founded by Jason Eichenholz ’95MS ’98PhD. The company, which is based in Silicon Valley and Central Florida Research Park, has developed more efficient and affordable methods for creating the technology behind these vehicles — earning partnerships with Audi, Toyota, Volvo and more than a dozen other autonomous vehicle programs. Among its crowning achievement is its development of a new lidar sensor that can see almost 10 times farther than other sensors and sells for as little as $500, compared with $75,000 for the current industry leader.

Find out how he’s driving the future.

Do Something Big: UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science

UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science students share their experiences in the program — from the high-end facilities to the latest technologies and tools used both inside and outside of the classroom.

Modeling and Simulation News

UCF Alum, Postdoctoral Scholar Receives Better Scientific Software Fellowship
Olivia Newton ’13 ’17MS ’22PhD is one of six people to receive the honor, which is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department…
Colleges & Campus
UCF to Grow Next Generation of Digital Twin Researchers with New Graduate Program
The U.S. Department of Education awarded the School of Modeling, Simulation and Training a $1.155 million grant to start the new certificate program.
Colleges & Campus
UCF Part of Team Selected for NSF Regional Innovation Engines Competition
The NeoCity-based partnership is the only project in Florida selected as a finalist for the collaborative technology-driven competition.

Modeling and Simulation Degrees

Getting a degree in modeling and simulation sets students on the path to success — whether their goal is to work for a leading industry employer or start their own business. Our nationally recognized programs, including computer science and engineering, provide the foundation to accomplish big things.


Best bachelor’s degrees for modeling and simulation


Top programs in other areas for modeling and simulation

UCF Online

Modeling and simulation online degree programs

Rankings and Accreditations

top 20 most innovative university in the nation - U.S. News & World Report 2024

Top 20 Most Innovative University in the Nation
U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF as one of the most innovative in its annual list of best colleges.

Best Online Veterans Bachelors Degree - U.S. News & World Report 2023

Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans
U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF as one of the best online bachelor’s degree programs that help veterans reduce the cost of school.


Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
University of Central Florida is ranked No. 75 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Best Computer Science Undergraduate Program
Ranked No. 86, UCF’s undergraduate computer science program received recognition from the U.S. News & World Report.

View all of UCF’s Best Colleges rankings.

Growing Smarter. Faster. Together.

Located adjacent to UCF, Central Florida Research Park is recognized as one of the top 10 research parks in the world. This 1,027-acre corporate community provides an environment for industry and the university to share training facilities, pursue cooperative research, transfer existing technology to the marketplace, and provide internship and career opportunities for UCF students. As the world’s largest cluster of modeling, simulation and training companies, Research Park is home to the National Center for Simulation and Training as well as the nation’s Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines simulation operations.

The park also offers startup resources such as I-Corps and the UCF Business Incubation Program to help entrepreneurs get their feet off the ground and on the path to success. By providing the knowledge, industry mentors, and other tools needed to launch a new business or product, our area is committed to fostering innovation that will change the future of our state, region and nation.

Modeling and Simulation Companies Employing UCF Graduates

  • NASA
  • Boeing
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Siemens
  • L3Harris Technologies
  • Raytheon Technical Services Company
  • Leidos
  • Luminar Technologies

Institutes, Associations & Affiliations

  • Florida Space Institute
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Research
  • Florida High Tech Corridor
  • Institute for Simulation and Training
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy)
  • Townes Laser Institute
  • Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC)

Areas of Excellence

Innovation. Access. Impact. Our integrated approach to teaching and learning prepares students for the future of work and lifelong careers, making a difference in their communities and around the world.

Aerospace and Defense
Digital Arts and Entertainment
Hospitality and Tourism
Modeling and Simulation
Transportation Science