University of Minnesota Financial Mathematics program

University of Minnesota Financial Mathematics program

Full-time, part-time
Tuition in 2018-2019: Non-Resident - $40,224 - Resident $32,128: 32 MFM credits to graduate; some students may have to take a finanical mathematics preparatory sequence which increases credits to 38 in order to graduate (see tuition details below)
Application deadline
Feb 1
Minneapolis, MN
The Master of Financial Mathematics ( MFM) program at the University of Minnesota (UMN) is part of MCFAM (Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics) within the School of Mathematics.

February 1 - Applications due;
March 15 - First round offers made;
May 1 - Second & final round of offers made

Minimum Requirements for Admission:
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent.

GPA: We follow the Graduate School's requirements for the minimum GPA, currently set at 3.0.

Mathematical background: All applicants should have completed college level courses in single variable and multivariable calculus and linear algebra. Background in Probability and familiarity with programming languages are highly recommended.

GRE: Either a GRE General or a GRE Math Subject test score is required. We do not set a minimal score for the GRE test but we definitely use it as well as other factors when making an admissions decision.

GRE Exam Codes: University of Minnesota School of Mathematics
  1. Institutional Code: 6874
  2. Department Code: 0703
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 Minnesota School of Mathematics
  1. Institutional Code: 6874
  2. Department Code: 0703
Application fee:
Domestic - $75; International - $95

Application and Acceptance Rate since the start of program.
About 20% of applicants obtain acceptance to the program per year.

Academics in the program and at the University of Minnesota’s School of Mathematics are rigorous. Multiple MFM professors received their PhDs in Mathematics from UMN's top-ranked Mathematics Department. In 2018 the School of Mathematics was ranked 9th in the US for Applied Mathematics. In 2017 the University of Minnesota's Mathematics program was ranked 13th in the world for in US News Best Global Universities Listing.

The Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program consists of four course sequences:
Fall FM 5091, Spring FM 5092
Fall FM 5011, Spring FM 5012
Fall FM 5021, Spring FM 5022
Fall FM 5032, Spring FM 5032
  • These sequences may be taken either in parallel or sequentially, following their numerical order. The only exception is FM 5091/5092 - Computation, Algorithms and Coding in Finance. Full time students complete the program in 2 years. See: MFM Curriculum.
  • The MFM is structured with a balance between theory and real world industry applications. It features rigorous coursework in mathematics and statistics alongside a yearlong practicum course that is comprised of a variety of modules taught by industry professionals. For additional real world experience, students participate in an intensive 10-day modeling winter workshop in which they work in teams on a project mentored by quant finance and data science industry mentors.
  • Students admitted into the MFM program often have a variety of backgrounds. Some need to “brush up” on their mathematical foundation in order to be better prepared for the high level of mathematics throughout the MFM courses. If you need a graduate level refresher course we will require you to take FM 5001/5002 (Preparation for Financial Mathematics I and II) before enrolling in the other more advanced financial mathematics courses.
  • All MFM courses are offered in the evening. This accommodates part time working students and allows full time students to pursue additional coursework or a minor during the day. The mix of working and full time students benefits all students. Some full time students have been hired by their part time, working classmates. For more detail on the course schedule, click here.
  • We offer the Post Baccalaureate Certificate program, "Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance" (FQF). This program gives you the opportunity to strengthen your mathematical background for the MFM program and take the full year course FM5091-92 (Computation, Algorithms and Coding in Finance). Som MFM students take the same course sequence in the first year of the MFM. For FQF students who apply and are accepted into the MFM their FQF credits for FM 5091/92 credits transfer into the MFM. They also finish the MFM with the classmates with whom they started the program.
Course Instructors include academic faculty from excellent Universities world-wide as well as quants, heads of research, risk management and traders from major local and regional banking and insurance firms, hedge funds, asset managers, clearinghouses and commodities/agribusiness firms. See details at MFM Instructors.

Career Services
MFM students receive a full set of career services. The program includes a yearlong career workshop for first year students with many helpful career development and internship/job search strategies. The weekly workshop introduces students to a variety of companies, alumni and practitioners who hire MFM graduates. Students learn about the variety of jobs in the field of quant finance from alumni, colleagues and hiring managers currently working in those roles. We offer customized, one-on-one career coaching for all MFM students. The MFM sponsors a variety of career activitites including: panel discussions with industry leaders, local, quant finance and analytics competitons and receptions and career fairs where students can build their network of contacts and peers in the quantitative financial industry.

Graduating Class (May 2018)

Graduates in market: 31
Placement: 29 (93.55%)
Not in contact with 2 alumni but included in "graduates in market"

Graduating Class (May 2017)
Graduates in market: 34
Placement: 31 (93.93 %)
Not in contact with 3 alumni, but included in "graduates in market"

Industry Sector Placement Breakout
Alumni go into a wide range of fields including: banking, risk management, investment banking, commodities trading, market making, quantitative analysis, enterprise risk management, portfolio management, investment hedging, and data analytics. Both US and international alumni have been placed in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Greater NYC area, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta, Toronto, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Hongzhou, Hong Kong, Seoul and many other places throughout out Asia. A list of the companies hiring our alumni can be seen here.

There is an abundance of on and nearby off campus housing. See:
Welcome | Housing & Residential Life

Tuition and Funding Options
Minnesota State Resident Tuition 2018-19 academic year - MFM credits to graduate: 32: $32,128 ($1,004/credit). Some students will have to take the Financial Mathematics (FM) preparatory sequence with a total of 38 credits to graduate.

Non-Resident Tuition for 2017-18 academic year - MFM credits to graduate-32: $40,224 ($1257/credit). Some students will have to take the Financial Mathematics (FM) preparatory sequence with a total of 38 credits to graduate.
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Latest reviews

I graduated last year in May and got an offer in US within 2 months after graduation. I know some of you might have heard people saying "if you want to find a job in US, then choose the schools located in NY or so", which is not so true from my stand of point, you still have many good chances here, and we have quite a lot successful examples as proof.
I have a bachelor degree of applied mathematics. even so, I have largely expanded my mathematical knowledge. Also, the programming class 5091/5092 as well as other practical coding trainings in 5031/5032, will give you a prepared programming skill of being a quant.
I will be graduating this May and I really appreciate all the help I got through this program.

Academically, MFM has a well set system of courses, ranging from deep math to necessary coding and quant finance knowledge. In addition, you always have your choices to choose a minor or just register for some classes of your interest.

Aside from the coursework, we are a top program in Minnesota and we have an excellent alumni network nationwide and especially locally. Teachers and seniors are always willing to share their experience, which helped me a lot to decide where my interest lies in the quant field and also build my personality. My coffee meetings with alumni have taught me to always be grateful and contribute, which I believe will benefit my whole life.
I have learned a lot from the UMN MFM program during the last few years, and I’d like to recommend it to you if you also get a chance to join this program!

Most courses from the MFM program are taught by the experienced industry practitioners, which greatly benefits the students as they can have different views when they look into the quantitative finance world. The courses cover different interesting topics such as Risk and Asset Allocation, Volatility Models and Mortgage Backed Securities, etc. For each topic, the practitioner will give the students certain projects which help them deeply understand the topic. This would be great helpful when you graduate and want to try different things during the job hunting.

Except the practitioner courses, the MFM program also designs several mathematical courses which help their students to get a solid math background. The courses would introduce the main mathematical tools, such as probability and statistics. In addition, the coding classes were what I loved when I was at the U. The coding classes will let you build a portfolio management system in C# step by step.

Another thing I need to mention is the directors and many alumni associated with the MFM program. They are not only helpful in our academic life, but also helpful in our career development. For example, they would instruct you how to draft a resume, how to build a connection and even how to prepare an interview, etc. We can easily connect to the financial industry through them. Thanks to their help, we can have different interesting seminars given by professors or practitioners in math or finance almost every Friday nights. And they are always helpful to offer us a help or suggestion when we have any question in our career.
I got selected by this program a little more than two years ago. What drew most of my attention when I applied was that this program is under the mathematics department of University of Minnesota. UMN math department is continuously ranked top in the U.S. so that I knew this program would be mathematics-intensive.

Later on I found my choice to be absolutely right! Students of this program can choose to study for a minor master's degree in mathematics. And to my favourite part, I can customize my curriculum based on my interest and strength. I registered Fourier Analysis and audited subsequent Numerical Analysis classes, which helped me get better understanding when it comes to topics inside MFM curriculum such as finite element method in Option Pricing. And did i mention that we happen to have some most important scholars in the field of PDE such as Prof. Douglas Arnold who is also on the board of one of the most important Python PDE packages?

In terms of job placement, the past record shows that it is not enough to just sit in a classroom studying to secure a preferred position in the quant world. This program values local and national quant alumni networks as much as academic strength. As a recent graduate of this program and as a new hire into the industry, I appreciate a lot the help I got from my seniors. That is the reason why I feel the need to share some thought and review here about this program. Hope this helps you get to know more about your options when applying. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions!

The MFM Program at the U of M has a deep relationship with the Mathematics Department, Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM), and the quant finance community especially in the twin cities area, which turns out to be the key advantage this program has in terms of education, research, and job placement. While most of the math courses are taught by professors from the top-ranked math department, the finance and practitioner courses are taught by industry professionals usually with 10+ years of experience, most of whom also graduated from this program. This combination, together with the structure of the courses (mostly taught in evenings, some with online options), provides students in the MFM program both breadth and depth of the math, finance, statistics and computer science knowledge highly sought after in today's quantitative job market as well as the opportunity to network and explore possible career paths.

I had only a Finance undergraduate degree with very limited knowledge in other areas coming into this program. However, through the first year, I was able to gain hands-on programming skills through projects in FM5091/2 and a solid math preparation in FM5001/2. I also benefited from the network and reputation established by the MFM program instructors/alumni in that I got my first quantitative internship at Allianz Life, regarding which I would be specially thankful to our career advisor, Laurie Derechin, without whose help this could never have happened. The second year tends to be a lot harder for me since I'm working part-time and taking 3 classes at the same time. But looking forward, I am more confident than ever that I will better achieve my career goals since I am building up my own networks in my career and the courses also become more rewarding than the first year as we have a 6-module sequence in FM5031/2 taught exclusively by practitioners from both the twin cities and Chicago, whose experience cover a huge spectrum of quantitative finance and often touch upon cutting edge ideas/theories in this field.

The MFM program is already one of the top quant finance programs in the US. But every year there have always been a lot of additions to this program, either professors, facilities, or something else. And as the development of the program as well as the expanding network/influence throughout the country, the MFM program is certainly going to be one of the 1st tier Quant Finance programs in the US, even globally.
The MFM program is a great opportunity for those who want to be prepared in Quantitative Finance sector.The program has a really good balance between theory and practice. The instructors are experienced practitioners from the industry. The most precious part is that the instructors are willing to share one of thier investment strategies in their daily work.

The program provides a lot of opportunities for students to participate in workshops, seminars, research projects and international trading competitions. When it comes to gain, you get as much as you give.

The Director is helpful and resourceful for career development. She helped me in job hunting, social networking and career development. A large percent of my classmates are professionals from banks, hedge funds, asset management firms, etc. The program offers a good opportunity for students to get knowledge of different financial institutions' culture and their business. After talking with experienced classmates in the program, I gradually knew what I want to do after the graduation.

The program is growing fast, and changing coursework content with the industry changes and adapts. For example, the 5091/5092 course added SQL study as the database is get more and more important in the finance industry.
Very disappointed when graduated from the program.
Except for the computational course,other modules only touch the concept without digging into the formula.
The instructor for fm5021/fm5022 are extremely irresponsible.
Most of fm5011 lecture notes are directly copied from John Hull's website.Some of the lecture and homework are totally time wasting material ,for example doing Matrix decomposition and basic probability,for the more technical part such as interest rate derivatives, the instructor barely write down one equation on the blackboard,leaving the student studying the lecture notes themselves.He does not have any research or publication in quantitative finance,the only industry experience he had was a Oil trader at a non-financial company.
The Asset and Allocation module is also poorly constructed with outdated material.The final project for the first whole semester is basically fitting a GJM-Garch model.By the way, I should also mention the instructor only came to class twice each semester, most part were distant teaching.
For the placement number, I think they just fake up the data.From my experience, very few international students in this program managed to locate a job ,some of their jobs are even totally irrelavant of finance, like ,coding in a IT ,for example.
There are no full-time professors teaching in this program.All the lectures taught the courses do not have renowned publications in quantitative finance, as a consequence, most of the courses just treat basic ideas and lack of depth some of them are even overlapping! See one of the course website below
No courses specializing in credit risk and financial time series are offered,which seem to such a big issue in current quantitative finance world.
The MFM program promotes the environment for growth. The growth comes not only from classroom experiences and a pure academic perspective. Through the integration of industry practitioners as professors and engaging numerous seminar speakers, the program gains a certain professional and career aspect. In addition to the coursework, the MFM offers modeling workshops. In a relatively short period of time students gain insight and knowledge into numerous financial markets, inter-workings for the construction of models, and the latest applicable techniques. Combining both academic and career oriented goals, the MFM prepares students to learn the new methodologies and practices as the industry changes and adapts.

Coming into the program, I only had substantial experience with MS Excel, MS Access, and minor exposure to various statistical software. The MFM program gave me a great exposure to C# and Matlab, which allowed me to pursue both beyond the classroom. This was a gateway to additional development of my programming toolset and additional languages.

The MFM program starts with building the underlying mathematical knowledge needed for the latest modeling and pricing techniques. Following learning the mathematical theory, the focus is turned to applying the theory to practice. The instructors make a large difference, especially when it comes to a career. Since the majority of professors are practicing in a quantitative finance role, students have a direct resource for learning industry practices and relating any coursework to the real world.
As far as I can see, this program is great for students who has both mathematical and programming background. The courses provide deep insight of the financial world. And the teachers are from the industry who can offer us the first-hand information. Besides, the seminars are held weekly to help us keep in touch with the industry.