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 is a way to get a better feel for your interest in applying for the full MFM. It also helps you prepare for entrance into 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.
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: 23 (74.2%)
Not in contact with 2 alumni but included in "graduates in market"

Graduating Class (May 2017)
Graduates in market: 33
Placement: 29 (87.9%)
Not in contact with 2 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

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.
The MFM program at UMN has introduced me to various topics in the field of quant finance. Given the length of 2 years, it is hard to cover every comprehensive topic on an in-depth level. Nevertheless, the broad gamut of presented topics (e.g. stochastic calculus, statistical analysis such as VaR, copula, Bayesian, time series, the classical Black-Scholes, interest rate modeling, credit risk, numerical PDEs, etc) has allowed me to have a good feel for each subject. Most importantly, the program has a very strong network of experienced practicioners in the Twin Cities and Chicago areas. That has personally allowed me to tap into the well-connected network to eek my own research advisors who help guide my independent studies on my interested topics. As long as you're driven to learn and explore, there will always be mentors willing to help you. Furthermore, I also have been able to build very strong network with classmates who currently work in the field and get engaged in 'real-world' conversations.

Ultimately, how much I am driven to learn defines how much I got out of the program. My philosophy is that it is the students who guide their own academic and career pursuits. No classroom in the world can babysit and teach me through every single aspect of quant finance. Advisors and instructors are there to make sure I do my best to get what I want, NOT to grant me an automatic job nor baby feed me the highest specialist expertise. I have done so much work on my own, using the available resources and so when I heard classmates complaining about not being able to land a job or to study much as they had hoped for, I pity them for not doing themselves as a good favor with those great resources offered at the U.

Overall, I find the program worth my money. I came in with not so much quant skills (only a Finance/ CS major in Undergrad) but after 2 years of a lot of pain and hard work, I've learned so much. That lands me a great job in risk management in a big bank right when I finish the program.
Very resourceful faculty and advisers.
Pretty good job placement. (Most students who want to find a job find a job. )
Things learnt from class are really practical since faculty are from the industry and working with knowledge they taught us day t o day.
Weather is okay (except this year....) Twin cities are pretty decent metropolis in mid-west. We have many financial entities who hire every year.
Very helpful director: Approachable and gives personalized coaching and advice too.
a big percentage of your classmates are working professionals, who you might work for in the future. ( Faculty too)
Location is a slight disadvantage ( if you want to work for a NYC firm , you will have to fly out there by yourself for interviews etc). But if you plan to work in the twin cities area ( this program makes you top dog here.)
Nice place to live. Hedge funds and actuarial firms. For hardcore quant stuff ( chicago is 7 hours drive).

1 important thing about this program is that its very flexible. You can take any related courses in the other departments(even after finishing FinMath credits) and can also extend your program as long as your i20 allows it ( for international students) . So you can tailor your program according to your needs. You can take Machine learning, DSP , in fact any course related to your field.
The MFM is a great opportunity for students looking to gain a well rounded education in the Mathematical Finance space. The Twin Cities has a well diversified economy which includes a strong financial industry which supports the University of Minnesota and in particular this program.

The course work and faculty have really expanded and matured my talents. I was originally geared towards the actuarial side of things and have now all but abandoned it due to the program enlightening me to other career paths.

I particularly enjoyed the software development skills I have gained as well as the industry perspectives the majority working finance professionals faculty bring.

As a local student it gave me the opportunity to work and learn as the classes are in the evenings, for me this has been great as I have had the chance to see the class room side as well as the office side of things.

All in all it has been a positive experience for my peers (local and international) and I and it is has always been improving and growing during my time in the program.

-John Drinane