University of Illinois Financial Engineering program

University of Illinois Financial Engineering program

Application deadline
April 15
In the of Fall 2010, the College of Business and the College of Engineering at The University of Illinois introduced a new Master program Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MSFE). The program was initiated by Dr. Charles Kahn, Professor of Finance and Fred S. Bailey Memorial Chair of Finance and Dr. Jong-Shi Pang, Professor and Head of the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering. The Program is directed by Dr. Morton Lane.

October 1 – Applications open
April 15 – Deadline to apply
May 15 – All decisions are made

* Admission decisions are being granted on a rolling basis. Depending on the number of applicants, some will receive their decision before May, but every applicant will receive a decision by May 15.

Minimum Requirements for Admission:
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or bachelor equivalent, typically in an engineering field, mathematics, physics, computer science, or economics

GPA: Minimum requirements of a 3.25 (A=4.00) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate study

Mathematical background: All applicants should have completed
1 year of Calculus
1 semester of Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
1 semester of Probability and Statistics
1 semester of Programming
Knowledge of finance is helpful by not required

GRE or GMAT: Either a GRE or a GMAT test score is required. We do not set a minimal score for the GRE or GMAT test but we definitely use it as well as other factors when making an admissions decision. The average quantitative score of our students is in the 90th percentile.

GRE Exam Codes: University of Illinois Master of Science in Financial Engineering

1. Institutional Code: 1836
2. Department Code: 99 (or leave blank)

Department codes are not necessary for our school; you can fill in any number or leave it blank (if that is an option). As long as the institution code is correct, all scores received from ETS go into a database where each department can access the scores.

GMAT Exam Codes: University of Illinois

1. Reporting Code: VKRTK14

Again as long as the institution code is correct all scores will be received.

English Proficiency-TOEFL: We follow the Graduate School's requirements for English language proficiency standards for international students. See the Graduate School's TOEFL page for exact details and latest updates.

TOEFL Exam Codes: University of Illinois Master of Science in Financial Engineering
Institutional Code: 1836
Department Code: 99
Reference Letters: 3 letters of reference must be provided. They must be sent electronically from a university or company email addresses, or is signed and appear on official letterhead.

Resume: A resume with exact dates of employment is also required (note: work experience is NOT required for MSFE)

Personal Statement: In 300 words or less, describe your area of interest and what your goals are upon completion of the MSFE program (note: you do NOT need to provide 1500 words as requested in the on-line application)

Application fee:
Domestic - $70; International - $90
Link to application

Academics at the University of Illinois are renowned. ILLINOIS was ranked #4 in terms of return on investment; ahead of all Ivy League, private, and other Big Ten universities. Our College of Engineering is No. 4 worldwide in the "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences" and is consistently among the top-ranked schools nationally in U.S. News and World Report.

The Illinois Master of Science in Financial Engineering degree is both technical and pragmatic. Students receive training in the most advanced techniques, providing them the grounding and tools to advance quickly in the field. The program features practice-based learning opportunities which assure the curriculum is always demanding and contemporary. Further, the featured Practicum in the third semester of the program serves as a bridge with industry focusing on real world financial modeling problems.

We teach the skills needed for quantitative analysis of financial instruments and markets. Our graduates are able to take these tools to corporations, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies, to use these markets to manage risk effectively today—and to develop the techniques and institutions to manage the new risk challenges of tomorrow.

The University of Illinois MSFE degree is a three-semester program (fall, spring, summer internship, fall) offered by the Departments of Finance and Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The curriculum is drawn from topics in stochastic modeling optimization, computing and computational methods, finance, and an applied practicum experience, and is taught by internationally recognized engineering and finance faculty. The program provides an opportunity to study with an international peer group at one of the premier research universities in the world.

Our curriculum can be found at

Our curriculum offers student the ability to customize their program toward their desired areas of interest by offering flexibility in electives for the second and third semesters of the program and also with the options of concentrations within the program. More information about the concentrations can be found at Concentrations : Illinois MSFE (STEM): University of Illinois

Our students also receive real world experience through experiential learning in the required program practicum. The students have access to real companies and real projects during the practicum while also connnecting our students to the financial markets in Chicago, New York and beyond.

*Curriculum subject to change without prior notice.
**Additionally the MSFE Program will be allowing for a "Two Year Option". This will allow for students to conduct their study over two years - four full semesters. This will allow for more flexibility in electives. This option can only be exercised after the completion and evaluation of the first semester and with department approval. Fees are scaled accordingly.

Practitioner Speaker Series
Several times throughout the year, the MSFE Program will host guest speakers from the industry. A list of those practitioners and their presentation topics can be found here.

Notable Faculty
College of Business Finance Faculty
Louis Chan
Adam Clark-Joseph
Tatyana Deryugina
Timothy Johnson
Charles Kahn
Neil Pearson
Martin Widdicks

College of Engineering ISE Faculty
Alexandra Chronopoulou
Liming Feng
Rakesh Nagi
Richard Sowers
R.S. Sreenivas

MSFE Administration
Morton Lane – Director
Marsha Hatchel - Program Coordinator
Matthew Murphy - Fin Tech
Amy Lamb – Office Manager

Career services
Since the MSFE Program is a joint venture between the College of Business and the College of Engineering, our students get access to both Business Career Services and Engineering Career Services. Students in the program benefit from a wide range of services to guide them through their job search and assist them in meeting their career goals. Recruiters seeking to hire financial engineering talent can post positions, request resume books and participate in on-campus recruiting fairs or specialized on-campus interviewing.
Students in the MSFE program receive the following valuable services to assist them in reaching their career goals:
Career Counseling
Workshops and Seminars
Resume and Cover Letter Reviews
Mock Interviews
Career Fairs
Company Recruiting Events
On-campus Interviews
Co-ops and Semester Internships
Additionally, our students get access to Symplicity (in both Colleges). Symplicity is a web-based system for applying for on-campus interviews and accessing job descriptions and postings

Please visit our website for updated statistics

AIR Worldwide
Bank of Thailand
Busey Wealth Management (2)
CAN Insurance
Chicago Trading Company
China International Capital Corporation New York
China International Capital Corporation
China Merchants Futures
Chinese Investment Bank (CCB)
Chopper Trading
Cozad Asset Management
Everbright Securities
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Flyberry Capital
Gelber Group
Goldman Sachs
Guangfa Securities
Guitaijunan Securities
Guosen Security Investment Bank
High Radius
Integral Derivatives
Investment Technology Group
John Deere
Jump Operation
Marcus & Millichap
Morgan Stanley
NISA Investment Advisors LLC Fixed Income
Orient Securities Co.
Philadelphia Computer Institute
Securities and Exchange Commission
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
SPD Bank
State Farm Insurance
Stonebridge Advisors LLC
Wolverine Trading

Aon Benefit
Bank of America
Busey Wealth Management
CBR - TIM Tiger Investment Management
China Capital Investment Corporation
China Development Bank, International Planning Department
China Securities Capital Markets Statistics & Monitoring Center
Chopper Trading
CITIC Securities
Ernst & Young
Federal Reserve
Flyberry Capital, LLC
Goldman Sachs
Infinium Capital Management
Investment Technology Group
Kasikorn Securities
Loyalhanna Capital Management, LLC
Morgan Stanley
Parametrica Asset Management
Peak 6 Investment
PNC Bank
Securities and Exchange Commission
Shanghai Clearing House
Siam Commercial Bank
Societe Generale
SVK Systems
Systems Logic
Trading Block
Westchester Group, TIAA-CREF Investment Company
Zhejiang Rural Credit

You will find that housing in the Urbana-Champaign community is inexpensive compared to larger metropolitan areas. In fact, the cost of living in Urbana-Champaign is anywhere from ¼ to ½ the cost of living in places such as Boston, London, New York or Southern California. Compare costs of living for yourself.

Tuition and Funding Options
MSFE tuition and program fees for the program can be found at More information about University fees can be found at the Office of the Registrar's website.

Scholarships are available to Illinois Residents at up to 50% off tuition. Residency is determined by the Graduate College of the University. Additional program scholarships may be available for students with exemplary academic or professional records.

Federal student loans are available for US citizens and permanent residents through the Financial Aid office on the UI campus. Office of Student Financial Aid

Contact Information
General Inquiries

Application/Admissions Inquiries

Mailing Information
University of Illinois
3251 Digital Computer Lab, MC 273
1304 W Springfield Ave
Urbana, IL 61801
4.50 star(s) 38 ratings
Students Quality
0.00 star(s)
0.00 star(s)
Career Services
0.00 star(s)

Latest reviews

MSFE in UIUC has great course arrangement and the course has great improvement of my skills in quant, data analyst, risk modeling those field. Besides, the program has practicum which means intern opportunity provided by the program to work in practice situation and that opportunity may give return offer when you act perfectly impressed the company staff.
I’m a current student in MSFE, and I will graduate in December 2020. From my experience in UIUC, I believe the program provides a great opportunity for students who are seeking to make contributions in financial engineering industry but don’t have comprehensive knowledge on finance or computer science background. The curriculum setting is very helpful that includes various topics that follow the popular trend in financial industry. Such as risk management, derivative pricing, machine learning, and more relevant topics that many companies in financial industry focus on. MSFE provides essential knowledge in financial engineering, and the flexibility for students to explore their interests of specific area in financial engineering. Except the require classes are set in first two classes, you can also choose the class you like in third semester. After enrolled in this program, I certainly have improvement on my academic path!
Because of this program I am the oldest unemployed person of all time. I had doubts about the program since the beginning when they took us to woods for team building. One of the task includes balancing yourself, I offered my hand to one my female peers (duh, asian) and she refused. I have been traumatized since then and have not spoken to any female.
Once, I asked a professor my question and he replied me with "you tell me". One of my peers have lot of guns so now I am afraid to go to class.
Our program director is wise and old and was the angel investor in apple, "the fruit."
The only good thing about the program is the girls become hotter after 2 semesters.
P.S.: Zenith is a a**hol*
I am an alumni graduated at December 2018, and after 2 months then I landed a job in Chicago. The general employment rate is good for our class. Most of our classmates received offers from January to March. Quite a lot concentrated in quantitative finance related positions, others include like sales and trade, data science and analytic roles etc. U of I is quite competitive in great chicago area, where many big-name finance companies located at. In recent years, we witnessed some continuous progress and changes in this MSFE program, e.g. some courses are more focusing on industry related topics, other than just theory and formula based courses. Honestly, there are still long way to go for this program to be a top level one. But my recommendation is, if you can get admission or offer from a MFE program in CMU, MIT and Princeton or other programs at this level, definitely go to these programs. If you choose U of I, don't get frustrated, you still have a great chance to land a good job!
I looked at other FE program's reviews too but didn't find a program that has reviews like here. The reviews are attacking each other and some are highly subjective. A bit of everything makes the curriculum sound very balanced but it basically means nothing for a second thought. We all know that we need some concentration instead of brief knowledge of everything. Yes please give HONEST and FAIR feedback. And don't get it too emotional. A bad review doesn't mean a lack of honesty and fairness. Instead bad reviews let people think, adjust and make the program better. When I was comparing different Quantitative finance programs, I also looked at the data that got published. At lease the employment rates of recent graduates revealed that this program has a long way to go.
I graduated in 2015 and currently work in Chicago. Here's my two cents on the program:
- Well rounded curriculum
Having graduated and met with other people of similar programs, I feel our program offers a very well-balanced academic curriculum: a bit of statistics, a bit of programming, and a bit of finance, all in the first semester. I've read reviews where people think the finance courses are useless, but in my experience, those courses gave me good small talk material during interviews to show my interest in the field.
- U of I has strong pull on employers
This is different from our program's career services, more on that later. Most people come to a Masters program with one thing in mind: a better job. In this sense, U of I has plenty of resources available for that: in my day, there were 3 career fairs a semester, with more than 200 companies coming to each of them. Having been on the hiring side going to other schools in my recent years, I can tell you UofI's pull is as strong as any of them.
-Career Services
So it was surprising to me when the students are not exactly taking advantage of the career opportunities provided. I think it could have been a combination of the student demographic and negligence of the program on career counselling; but when school started I was one of the few people that went to career fairs in September. Given that most companies finish intern hiring in the fall nowadays, when spring comes many of my peers were scrambling to find an internship.
Situated in Champagne makes it difficult network with alum and professionals. The programs does try to remedy this with a colloquium set in Chicago, but I don't think it's enough. With that being said, the curriculum did give you enough time to network on your own though: I flew myself to New York to meet with people, and met up with alum in Chicago for coffee chats when I could. Like all things in life, you just have to make the right trade offs: getting important industry knowledge outweighed missing one assignment mark.

Final thoughts:
For the initiated student, UofI has a lot of opportunities to offer; but none of them will be spoon-fed to you. I think the program can strengthen itself in terms of alumni connections, and educating students on the job market during orientation. I don't think having a lot of international students is a problem (I was one), but their expectations needs to be adjusted.
I can't believe there's a review calling this program a fraud. Hey, I don't know what universe you are from, but in this one, it's a fabulous Master's program, where you can learn much more than what's enough to get you a decent job in quantitative finance. And Dr. Lane is always doing his best to make great use of our tuition, providing networking opportunities, elective classes and even hotel accommodations in Chicago.

Sorry if I got a bit too emotional here, but my point is, MSFE at UIUC is a great program where you have a well selected list of courses covering a wide range of knowledge in quantitative finance, such as statistics, derivatives, risk management, etc. The academic training is also paired with professional projects from industry partners. Most professors are extremely good at teaching and even world-famous. To be honest, I did encounter one professor not so dedicated in the course, but the problem got well-addressed by the program. In that case, giving HONEST and FAIR feedback is important, and naturally it takes time for the program to address the problem, and that doesn't mean the director does't take it seriously.

Also it's not true that we only have 1 elective. in the third semester you choose all your 4 courses from a list of finance and engineering courses...including courses from UIUC's well-respected CS department.
A bit more flexibility in the first 2 semesters sounds good, but honestly in the first 2 semesters, the required courses are all fundamental ones in quantitative finance, and you really need to take them if you want to understand what your colleagues are talking about later in the work place.

Overall, great program with dedicated crew, decent professors, and a lot to offer for the tuition. It's also a great place to make some lifelong friends.
  • Anonymous
  • 4.00 star(s)
Many courses are designed only for MSFE students, and cover wide range of topics, such as risk, derivatives, programming. Practicum can also help gain much precious experience from industry.
  • Anonymous
  • 4.00 star(s)
The overall program is fine. However, I would have to agree with the review below about elective courses. According to my best knowledge, a lot of MFE programs nowadays offer different tracks for students with different interest in the industry. UIUC is a decent school (especially when we are talking about computer science) with many great courses offered, making it quite a shame that MSFE students could not customize their own tracks and take courses in their own interest in the first two semesters. I believe it would be really beneficial if future batches of students can get more electives.
If I could, I will give a zero to this program. The director of the program is a fraud. The whole program is a way he cheats money. The whole project is of no help to professionalism. What you do every day is just taking class. Besides, the quality of the teacher is bad, and even widely criticized on the Internet, but he still insists that every student must take this class. For non financial majors, though you can apply, he will also admit you for money. But you don't get the promotion you want because they think you're an expert in finance and unfairness to different majors is a performance of a "professional program". After this program, you are still a novice in finance, and you will continue unable to code well.