Claremont Graduate University Financial Engineering Program

Claremont Graduate University Financial Engineering Program

Application deadline
Spring: Priority: Nov 1, International: Dec 1, Final/Domestic: Jan 4; Fall: Priority: Feb 1, International: July 5, Final/Domestic: Aug. 15
The MS in Financial Engineering (MSFE) at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is offered by the Drucker School of Management and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences. The program offers a rigorous, integrated curriculum in finance and mathematics with a strong focus on industry speakers and personalized career support.

Curriculum Information
Students complete 40 units of courses.
  • 14 units of Finance core: Corporate Finance, Introduction to Risk Management, Financial Derivatives, and our unique Financial Engineering Practicum
  • 14 units of Mathematics core: Statistical Theory, Stochastic Processes, Time Series Analysis, Quantitative Risk Management, and Mathematical Finance
  • 12 units of electives from finance and mathematics with an option to earn a concentration (see below).
Students also complete a mandatory coding bootcamp in Python and/or R and a practical training experience such as an internship or research project.

Concentrations (optional):
  • Data Analytics focuses on the theory and tools needed to understand, extract, and model data. Students will learn concepts for financial markets and economic data, work with real data exercises, and integrate graphical and analytical methods for modeling and diagnosing modeling errors.
  • FinTech is a portmanteau of the words Financial Technology and refers to the application of new technologies and innovative processes to the provision of financial services. It covers areas such as electronic and mobile payments, robo-advising and automated investing, online and mobile banking, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, and more.
Additional opportunities:
  • MSFE Advisory Board Mentorship Program connects students with mentors on our advisory board, giving them the opportunity to receive personal guidance and networking opportunities
  • Mathematics Clinics provide students applied, real-world research experience with an industrial partner to address open-ended research problems. Partners have included AIG, Jane Street Capital, Tradeweb Markets, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Intel, and many more.
  • Walk on Wall Street offers students an opportunity to travel to New York to network with alumni and participate in the annual National Quantitative Finance Career Fair. [This trip may not run based on the status of the pandemic]
Dual Degrees & PhD Options
Students who are interested in advancing their quantitative knowledge and skill set have the option of adding a Math dual degree. Students who add the Math degree complete the program in 4 semesters or 2 years (typically just one semester more).

Students who have work experience and are interested in a management role after graduation may add the MBA degree as a dual degree. Students who add the MBA are able to complete the program in 2.5 to 3 years.

Claremont Graduate University offers a PhD degree in Financial Engineering. Admission to the PhD is highly competitive with only 0 or 1 admitted per year. All PhD applicants are required to complete 40 units in the MSFE program. Students must be enrolled in the MSFE program at CGU in order to be considered.

Drucker Career Strategy Office
MSFE students at CGU enjoy personalized career support from the Drucker School’s Career Strategy Office (CSO). Each year, the career office collaborates with the Financial Engineering faculty to develop a program of workshops on interviewing, networking, industry trends and more for MSFE students. The CSO also manages the mentorship program with Advisory Board members.

Additionally, MSFE students get access to the broad range of services provided by the office to all students at the Drucker School including:
  • Personalized career counseling
  • Review of resumes, cover letters, and online presence
  • Business etiquette training
  • Alumni connections
Financial aid/fellowship
Value of the MSFE @ CGU
The MSFE program at CGU is part of the prestigious Claremont Colleges, a consortium of highly-ranked liberal arts colleges in Southern California. The consortium offers many of the resources of a large university without sacrificing the benefits of a small school.
  • Small classes - no more than 30 students in any class with opportunities to build strong relationships with students and faculty
  • Strong relationships with faculty – our faculty get to know students and are available to talk through ideas and challenges with you
  • Global MSFE alumni – we have a broad alumni network in many countries who can provide connections and support
  • Southern CA sunshine - we don't get snow, so you can enjoy an average of 290 days of sunshine with an average of 78 degrees (F)
Contact us:
CGU Admissions Office
(909) 607-7811
3.50 star(s) 10 ratings
Students Quality
0.00 star(s)
0.00 star(s)
Career Services
0.00 star(s)

Latest reviews

As a recent graduate of the CGU MSFE program, I want to share my experience here to anyone who is interested in this program.

What is unique about this program?
This program is relatively small compared with other MSFE programs. Therefore, as a student, I can have discussions with professors and staff frequently. The discussions were not only on the course material but also on the news of the financial industry and how the things we learnt can be applied in real-life. All of my questions and requests were addressed timely. This can be a huge advantage both for academic and career development. Besides, each of the students has a mentor. The mentors are all senior industry leaders in areas such as risk management, asset management, trading and Fintech. Having 1-to-1 conversations with my mentor helped me a lot on the career development planning.

Another unique thing about our program is that students are allowed to have different focuses in study – data science and fintech are two of the popular options. They are the emerging sectors in the financial industry and not a lot of programs have coverage on them.

What are the weakest things about the program?
The tuition is high here, but I got scholarship which helped a lot. This program was not programing intensive but I can see the school has been working on improving from this aspect. Now all the enrolled students have to finish a R/Python coding course with Datacamp. Also, a few of the classes are adding in programing(R/Python) requirements into the syllabus.

Career Services
I gained a lot of help from the career service center, specifically our career counselors – Jeff and Isabelle. As a result, I got a great internship offer and a full time offer before graduation. The career counselors coached me on interview preparations. The preparation was not only just going through the resume and practicing common behavioral questions but also practicing how to follow up with the interviewers which is also very important.

Besides help from the career counselors, I got a lot of advice from our professors and my mentor as well. They helped me on identifying the strength and weakness of my background, choose my area of interest and highlight the technical knowledge/skills that are essential for the career development.
The program is focusing in neither Finance nor Mathematics. I have one semester left and I feel like compared to other MFSE students, I am not well equipped for Quant job.

The staffs for the Career Center are entirely different for my first and second year thus there is no continuity or follow-up of what have been discussed before.

If I could go back in time, I would not enroll as an MSFE student here but maybe as an MBA student.

MSFE program in Southern California with nice campus and great Alumni network.
What is unique about this program?
The MSFE program at CGU is unique in its focus on finance and applied mathematics. Every student can focus on their area of interest. Several courses in finance are offered at the Drucker-Ito Graduate School of Management, while mathematics courses are offered by CGU as well as the undergraduate colleges of the Claremont consortium.
CGU is also an active participant in the IAQF’s National Financial Mathematics Career Fair held in New York. During this time, students also get a chance to connect with alumni and be a part of company visits that include Barclays, RBC, and Bloomberg.

What are the weakest things about the program?
The cost of the program is quite high. However, CGU awards scholarships and fellowships to meritorious students that reduce the overall tuition cost.

Career Services
The career development team is dedicated to helping the students get good internships and full-time offers. Being a small school, CGU may not have the career resources that a big school has. Nevertheless, the career services team has been devoting more time and efforts to the FE program to ensure strong career outcomes.

Student Body
CGU has a diverse and active student body. There are several student clubs and organizations that cater to the different interests of the student body. The FE class size is small and there is a lot of interaction between students and the faculty.
What is unique about this program?
I believe the MSFE program at CGU is unique in its focus on actual finance. Financial Engineering is a branch of Finance and as such, it deals greatly with concepts in Corporate Finance, Asset Management, Risk Management, Accounting, etc. Once you get training in Finance, you are able to understand the rationale behind the Mathematics and Economics that you get in quant finance programs. Something that is lacking in a lot of Financial Engineering / Math Finance programs.
CGU has a strong curriculum in Finance, without compromising on the Quant side. In fact, if you can’t get enough Mathematics you get plenty PhD level courses in Math (both applied and pure) at CGU. Additionally, you can register for courses in Harvey Mudd College (which I did), the top engineering school in the United States (U.S. News). The level of Mathematics and Computer Science that they have is unbelievable. Finally, it is possible to enroll in a dual degree on MSFE / MS Mathematics at CGU. I am actually doing the Math extension I will graduate with two master’s degrees in two years’ time.
I did my internships in New York in Risk Management for an Investment Bank, and attended IAQF’s National Financial Mathematics Career Fair. During both of these experiences, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of Financial Engineering students from East and West Coast schools. Some, better ranked than CGU here in Quantnet. While talking to my peers, or to actual professionals and potential employers, I realize (time and time again) that the quality of education that we receive at CGU is far better than in other schools. The CGU program brings complete soundness to a student’s knowledge base. There have been times when students from other schools approach me (or my classmates) to ask questions about finance, the industry and even their career paths. It is always a great feeling to be able to help in some way, and this is partly because of the knowledge and understanding that CGU has provided me with.

What are the weakest things about the program?
The cost of the program is quite high. However, it is relatively easy to get scholarships and fellowships at CGU that help a great deal in this issue.

Career Services
Being a smaller school, CGU does not have the resources of a big school. However, there are seven universities that together form the Claremont Consortium. They all share resources (that in the aggregate amount to vast means), including career development services. I actually got my summer internship through one of the shared tools that we enjoy here at CGU. Also, the career development team is devoting more and more time and effort to the Financial Engineering program, as the school is realizing how good the program actually is. I am sure that this service will only get better every year.

Student Body
The student body is relatively small and but diverse. There are people from Asia, Latin America, North America, etc. There is also an exchange program with the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, which every year brings some European students. The benefit of having a small class, in addition to being more united, is that the faculty and resources are always available to you whenever you might have questions or need help.
The program considers what student do need and keeps improving.

What is unique about this program?
The curriculum of our program is very flexible. Beside of the core courses which are required for all FE students, we have a long suggested electives from both The Drucker of Management and The School of Mathematics Science, which offers a lot of advanced math courses, so students can arrange their courses according to their interest.
We have abundant academic resources as CGU is part of a consortium that includes the Claremont Colleges (including Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, Pitzer and Pomona Colleges). Colleges open their resources to all students here. We have a unique opportunity to take courses from other schools in the consortium. I am taking Partial Differential Equation in CMC this semester, and I have classmates who took financial courses from CMC and is taking computer classes from Harvey Mudd. Therefore, although there are not many advanced programming courses offered by FE program, we still can have them.
We have a chance to get a dual degree with Master of Math from the School of Mathematics Science, or dual degree with MBA.

What are the weakest things about the program?
In my case, My tuition fee is sort of higher compare to my many classmates, because I don’t have fellowships.

Career services
I think our Career Services officers are really working hard. They invite speakers from investment banks like J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs etc.. and organize quant firms visits, which is really helpful for me to get an idea about the career plan. The Career center keeps updating internship and full time job information for us. Around 10 students are given an internship opportunity in East Coast (NYC, BOSTON) every summer. Events like the Drucker days on Thursday every two weeks, and Energy Conference are held by the Career Center to help students develop their networking skills.

Students body
We have students from all over the world. Students know each other and are united, which thanks for the small size of the program.
Education in managing risk and how to spot investment opportunities.

What is unique about this program?
The MSFE program is a joint program of the School of Mathematical Sciences and the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management where students have a unique opportunity to take management courses, MBA courses, along with advanced mathematical courses where your seat buddy might be a PhD student in Financial Engineering or Economics.

What are the weakest things about the program?
The main shortcoming of the MSFE program is computer program, especially in C++. There are some courses that require programming in VBA, R and Matlab and most years a group of students come together and form a C++ study group. Having said that, if a student does have a background in programming, then the CGU MSFE program is absolutely excellent.

Career services
The career services has gone through some transformation in the last year or year and a half to the better. I personally received my job offer from an opportunity through the career services. The career fairs have become more relevant to the MSFE students and it seems as if the service is constantly getting better.

Student body
The students are close knit and are very supportive of each other. They come from all over the world and some of them are incredibly smart. The student body creates a great sense of community, probably in part due to its small size.
Very weak. Number of students applying is on the decline.

What is unique about this program?
There isn't much to be said. It's a weak program.

What are the weakest things about the program?
So expensive for the quality eduction you get. Profsesors are leaving and going to other colleges.

Career services

Student body
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I graduated in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and went to work for a year in a small business software company as a consultant. I studied full-time in the program from 9/2009-5/2010

Did you get admitted to other programs?

Tell us about the application process at this program
I secured admission before leaving my undergraduate program. It was very easy to apply because Harvey Mudd and Claremont Graduate University are just across the street from each other. Thus, most of the admission process was carried out in person. During the rest of the admission process e-mail and phone communication was prompt and helpful. There were no problems with the admission process as the online application was straightforward and well thought out. I did enroll as part of a 4+1 year masters program available to undergraduates of the Claremont Colleges.

Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? How useful was it?
While the program itself does not have refresher courses, taking courses at the undergraduate institutions of the Claremont Colleges is both possible and encouraged.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
There is a set curriculum of core courses taught in a specific order. Of the 12 required courses, 8 are mandated parts of the curriculum and 4 of the courses are electives. Selection of elective courses is highly teacher specific. If a good teacher is teaching a class it will be gold. The courses I especially like were Financial Accounting (a required part of the curriculum) and Fixed Income (an elective) and I liked those courses because the teachers in the courses were excellent.

Tell us about the quality of teaching
The teaching quality is quite variable. One of my favorite teachers has won 14 teaching awards during his time at several of the Claremont Colleges. The other favorite teacher is a retired accountant and has put in the effort to write his own book that we use in the classroom. Due to both natural ability and conscious effort, he is an excellent teacher. Other teachers I have encountered have been 'good,' although one teacher was terrible. These solidly good teachers give instructive classes but would could to put more effort into coordinating their classes, better tailoring their homework problems, and sharing more 'pearls of wisdom' from outside the textbook.

My teacher rating of 4/5 indicates that there are at least two excellent teachers, and the majority are good teachers.

Materials used in the program
Shreve: Stochastic Calculus for Finance I and II
Hull: Options, Futures and Other Derivatives
Ferris and Wallace: Financial Accounting for Executives
Ross, Westerfield and Jordan: Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
McDonald: Derivative Markets

Programming component of the program
This is the biggest weakness of the CGU MFE program. Little to no programming is done in the core curriculum and the possible programming electives are not well taught nor tailored to finance. The good news is that this weakness has been recognized and is starting to change this year. An independent weekly workshop in C++ is being tested this semester and the Financial Derivatives class from this semester onwards will include a weekly VBA lab.

Languages: C++, VBA, MATLAB

Two projects are offered. In the asset management class, the endowment for the Peter Drucker School and Masatoshi Ito school is partially managed by teams of MFE's mixed with MBA's. There is also a research project in Financial Derivatives.

Career service
The career services coordinator is incredible. He and his staff work very hard and he has significant connections with companies ranging from Disney and Barclays. The Claremont Colleges all share the same career services jobs and internships network, thus graduate students can also pursue opportunities from Claremont McKenna College and Pomona.

There is a small but growing web of alumni contacts, and Professors do pass along job prospects from time to time.

It is easy to find an internship or full-time position if you take charge. There is not as much active assistance as in other programs I have heard about but the resources are here if you put in the effort to make use of them.

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
The CGU MFE program is predominantly foreign of which the majority are Chinese. The program itself is nearly majority Chinese. There are several MFE program-wide events during which interaction occurs between all groups. On a day-to-day basis none of the groups all sit together in cliques.

What do you like about the program?
CGU's best attribute: There are at least two excellent teachers, the majority are solidly good, and a terrible teacher can be easily avoided because they are only teaching elective classes. The teachers are accessible.

Second best: The high proportion of Chinese students allows for an intimate exposure to China. I sure will use my contacts in China in the future and I have been able to ask colleagues for their opinions on all news I get from China.

Others: The integration of the CGU job posting network with those of the excellent undergraduate universities nearby allow for a much broader range of opportunities. There is a lot of freedom to take advantage of the resources offered by the school, but the onus is on you.

What DON’T you like about the program?
The fact that programming is not well integrated into the courses and homework is a severe shortcoming. Also, the program is quite theoretical and should be more applied. It many respects the program is a series of classes connected only if the courses are taught by the same teacher. Better integration of the classes into a coherent program would be desirable. There was an attempt to have the Mathematical Finance class integrate with the Numerical Methods for Finance class, but due to a lack of communication between the different professors the classes complemented each other very little.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
The suggestion that more programming be introduced into the curriculum has already been somewhat addressed with an independent C++ workshop and weekly VBA lab period. The integration of classes into a coherent program with a single well designed syllabus is a must.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
The connections the CGU MFE program has in East Asia have been invaluable. I have an internship lined up in Tokyo with Barclays Capital for the Summer of '10. The internship is in Fixed Income IT support.

Since I trained as a physicist and worked in business software for a year, I am not sure where I want to head. I will be better informed after my internship.

Other comments
This program is very close to making it big. The alumni network is growing under the expert management of the current career services office, and programming classes are being incorporated into the curriculum. I expect my degree to be worth much more than I paid for it in 3 to 4 years as those graduates in my class and the year before begin reaching high-level positions. I plan to be actively involved with the school in the years ahead and am working to improve the program myself.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
BS Physics & Mathematics, Loyola University Chicago
BA Economics, Loyola University Chicago
I studied full-time in the program from 9/2008-5/2010

Did you get admitted to other programs?

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Flexibility. I am graduating in two years with both an MBA and MSFE because CGU has been very flexible in scheduling and allowed me to "overload" a couple semesters in addition to completing intensive courses.

Additionally I liked CGU's access to studying abroad. FE or MBA students can spend a semester in Switzerland. Additionally there are travel courses at Oxford and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I attended the Hong Kong course and it was a blast.

Finally, CGU offered me a fellowship including 50% off of tuition for the first 16 units each semester.

Tell us about the application process at this program
Very timely. Pretty typical stuff, essay, recs, transcript, phone interview.

Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? How useful was it?
This course does not. The pre-reqs for CGU's MSFE program are not as high as other programs. For example you need not have taken probability before. CGU starts with very basic courses so there is no need for an additional refresher.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
I will only discuss the FE courses, not the courses I took additionally for my MBA.

MATH CORE (16 units)
Probability (4)
Statistics (4)
Stochastics (4)
Math Finance (4)

FINANCE CORE (16 units)
Corporate Finance (4)
Financial Accounting (4)
Financial Derivatives (4)
Asset Management Practicum (4)

Additionally students take 16 units of electives
I took Credit Risk (2), Quantitative Risk Management (2), Doing Business in Asia (this is the Hong Kong course) (4), Real Options Analysis (4), Energy Derivatives (2), Business Law (2)

Tell us about the quality of teaching
A couple of the professors have a few years experience in the "real world," but for the most part courses are not taught by practitioners. The exceptions to this are Real Options Analysis and the Asset Management Practicum which have practitioners as guest lecturers. Asset Management especially makes use of this as about 1/3 to 1/2 of the lectures are by practitioners. I saw professors and TAs multiple times for help with homework and studying. They are extremely accessible. I am now a TA myself and feel a great deal of responsibility to my fellow students. The comradery of the program is pretty strong.

Materials used in the program
Obviously Hull and Shreve.

Lando's Credit Risk Modeling
Mun's Real Options Analysis
Copeland & Antikarov's Real Options
McDonald's Derivatives Markets

Programming component of the program
There are quite a few options for programming courses but the core classes for the most part do not have any programming. Every year a student-led group does an into to C++. In the math courses there is generally one or two programming assignments in either VBA, R, or Matlab. This semester there is VBA lab to accompany the financial derivatives course. Aside from these courses, Harvey Mudd (a top math and science school) offers a number of programming/programming-based math courses that CGU students, as members of the Claremont Consortium, are more than welcome to take. I've had many friends take these courses and love them. The Mudd campus is next door to CGU so it's rather easy.

The asset management practicum involves students running a portion of the university's endowment. It requires everything from researching and backtesting strategies to a small group making a presentation to the board of trustees. Real Options required a small individual project applying real options analysis.

Career service
Very little currently. I would not go by past reviews for career services as this is a big priority among the current administration and should be changing. Call the program and ask them. They're very honest about current offerings.

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
To some degree student's self-segregate, but when Thursday and Friday come around it doesn't matter what your background is, everyone's drinking and having fun together.

What do you like about the program?
The flexibility. If you don't want to be a standard cookie cutter quant then come to CGU.

What DON’T you like about the program?
The other side of the flexibility is that you are really responsible for your own future at this program. You can't sit back and do interviews on campus. You have to hustle and get things working.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
More programing in the courses and more career resources.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
I have a job offer for structuring and analytics in electricity markets with a large investment bank.

Other comments
It is difficult to recommend the CGU MFE program without knowing someone. If you are a real "mover" and get things done, then I really suggest CGU. You'll have a lot of personal opportunities. But if you don't feel like being creative and hustling the I don't recommend this program for you.
  • Anonymous
  • 3.00 star(s)
Reviewed by Verified Member
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
PhD student in Economics, SUNY-Albany 09/2005-05/2007
M.A. in Economics, Wuhan University, China 09/2002-05/2005
Equity Analyst, CITICS in Wuhan, China 08/2001-08/2002

Did you get admitted to other programs?

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
. It has a flexible course arrangement and a better balance between Mathematics and Management.
. A 40% tuition cut is affordable
. Southern Calif. is a better place to live.

Tell us about the application process at this program
1) Deadline is Feb 1.
2) Applied
3) Receive ad and fellowship 6 weeks later.
4) about 400 deposit.

Programs like Baruch MFE, UCB MFE have refresher courses for incoming students. Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? How useful was it?
Yes if the probability and statistics is. I think it's useful for those person who stayed out of campus for several years.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Management Part:
Financial Accounting
Corporate Finance
Asset Management Practium (An excellent project with a real money Fund)
Financial derivatives (a professor with experience in practical market)

Math Part:
Stochastic Process
Math Finance
Numerical Method for Finance
Credit risk
Financial Time Series
Asymptotic Method
Math Clinic (A applied math project with industry)

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Several Lab classes were arranged in each course, including math course. And homework is plentiful but acceptable.

Materials used in the program
. Hull
. Derivative Markets by Mcdonald
. Stochastic Calculus (I&II) by Steven E. Shreve
. Portfolio Construction, Management, &Protection by Strong
. An introduction to credit risk modeling by Christian Bluhm

Programming component of the program

Group projects were there in every course. And there is a special project in Asset Management that a real &300,000 fund was conducted by the this course students. You can test your strategies in the real market. Awesome.

Career service
Career center really work hard to help you, but seems it doesn't work well in the bad market. Before 2008, many students had chance to do Intern or full time job in TCW and Countrywide. But it was difficult now.

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
Most India students got their jobs with the help of their social network.

What do you like about the program?
flexible courses and high quality professors.

What DON’T you like about the program?
. no special course or seminar for programming. And there was just a discussion group by students.
. placement is not good.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
. more programming seminar because most students were not come from computer science major.
. construct a better alumni network.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
I graduated on Aug. 2009 and am looking for a job in New York City now.
I really hope that I can work in the quantitative field. Not easy. I am trying.