COMSOL Multiphysics is a simulation tool for electrical, mechanical, fluid flow, and chemical applications. The College of Engineering has a classkit license for COMSOL Multiphysics available to be used only for non-research purposes.
COMSOL can be used for research only by purchasing a license. Contact support for information and pricing. Please include your sponsoring professors information.


Windows Desktop computers, Linux, and Citrix Xen Desktop.


The classkit license for COMSOL is available to all Engineering students. 

COMSOL can be installed on graduate desktop computers using Software Center. COMSOL on graduate desktop computers is not allowed to be used for research unless a research license is purchased. 


COMSOL licenses currently in use:


Comsol Classkit version is available in computer labs, and remotely through Citrix Xen DesktopThis is not allowed to be used for research

On graduate desktop computers with Windows, COMSOL can be installed from Software Center.

In the Linux environment, users can access COMSOL using the comsol command. There are several versions installed in "/usr/local/apps".

  • Typing "comsol" into the command line will open the current default version of COMSOL
  • To access a certain version of COMSOL use the comsolxx command - replace the x's with the version number.
    • e.g. comsol51
  • Type ‘comsol’ command and then press the 'esc' key, you will see the  other versions installed
  • If you get this error, pictured below, this means you are trying to use the research licensed COMSOL without a license.
  • Use the class kit license version instead by adding "-ckl" to the end of the command: comsol51 -ckl


COMSOL has a support forum available on their website:

  • An account is required to be created, and can be created for free, to access the support forums


COMSOL Multiphyics by default creates a directory in the Z: drive to store temproary files. These files can take up a lot of disk space and fill your quota.

There are two ways to change the directory that these files are saved in, through the COMSOL client or using Command Line.


  1. Open COMSOL Multiphysics
  2. Go to the File drop down menu and then Preferences>Files
  3. Change the folders for recovery and temporary files
    • Folders need to have plenty of disk space available and write permissions.

Using Command Line:

  1. Navigate to the COMSOL directory
  2. Add the following switch commands to the COMSOl command
    • -prefsdir D:\work\comsol52adata -tmpdir D:\work\comsol52adata -configuartion D:\work\comsol52adata\configuration\comsol -data D:\work\comsol52adata\workspace\comsol
    • D:\work is an area where you have plenty of disk space and write permissions.

In Windows, the simplest way to do this to right-click the COMSOL shortcut and select Properties. In the Target edit field, add the switches above after comsol.exe, separated by spaces. The Target can for example look like:

"C:\Program files\COMSOL\COMSOL52a\Multiphysics\bin\win64\comsol.exe" -prefsdir D:\work\comsol52adata -tmpdir D:\work\comsol52adata -configuartion D:\work\comsol52adata\configuration\comsol -data D:\work\comsol52adata\workspace\comsol

In Linux, just add the switches to the comsol command. For example, if you have plenty of disk space available in /scratch, the command would look like this:

/usr/local/comsol52a/multiphysics/bin/comsol -prefsdir/scratch/comsol52adata -tmpdir /scratch/comsol52adata -configuration/scratch/comsol52adata/configuration/comsol -data/scratch/comsol52data/workspace/comsol

You can write a small script or define an alias that does this automatically.

Helpful Command Line Switches for COMSOL

Usage: <command> [options] [target] [target arguments]
<command> [target]:
comsol Run COMSOL Multiphysics Desktop
comsolmphclient Run COMSOL Multiphysics Desktop client
comsolmphserver Run COMSOL Multiphysics Server 
comsolbatch Run a COMSOL job
comsolcompile Compile a COMSOL Model java file
comsolmphserver matlab Run MATLAB with COMSOL Multiphysics Server
comsol convertpre35a Run COMSOL pre 3.5a model converter
comsolclusterbatch RUn a COMSOL job on a cluster
comsolclustermphserver Run COMSOL Multipysics Server on a cluster
comsolcluster Run COMSOL on a cluster
COMSOL options:
-h, -help Show help message
-v, -version Show version information
-np <number of processors|{auto}> Set number of processors
-numasets <number of sets> Set number of NUMA nodes to optimize processor usage
-numafirst <numa number> Set first NUMA node to bind process to
-mpmode <throughput|turnaround|owner> Set multiprocessor mode
-blas <{auto}|mkl|acml|path> BLAS library to use
-blaspath <path> Set path to BLAS library
-ipv6 Activate IPv6 support
-ckl Use class-kit license
-c <path> Path to license file
-prefsdir <path> Path to prefrence directory
-tmpdir <path> Path to temporary directory
-autosave <{on}|off> Control saving of recovery files
-recoverydir <path> Path to recovery directories
-3drend <{ogl}|dx9|sw> 3D renderer: OpenGL, DirectX or software rendering

A list of more commands and explanations are available, starting on page 33, from this pdf: Comsol Commands pdf

To use COMSOL for research, work with your Major Professor about getting a license. You can request a price list from Support.