University of Minnesota
School of Mathematics
School of Mathematics      / finmath / faq

Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: Whom may I contact?
A: See Contact Us.
Q2: When are applications due to MFM/FQF? When will we be notified of decisions?
A: See Admission Requirements/Application Process

Q3: Do you have spring or summer admission?
A: No, we admit students in Fall semester only.
Q4: What financial support is available?
A: The School of Mathematics does not offer Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, Scholarships or Fellowships for MFM or FQF students.

There are other sources of support for education outside of the department. For general information about financing graduate school, here are three sources:

Q5: Which courses are required to complete MFM? Which are required to complete FQF?
A: See Financial Mathematics Courses

Q6: How long will it take to complete MFM or FQF?
A: A full-time MFM student has the possibility of graduating in one-year. However, most MFM students will complete MFM in two years.

An FQF student has the possibility of graduating in one year, but a part-time student may take up to two years.

Q7: Is it possible to audit courses in this program or to take them pass/fail?
A: No, it is not possible to audit MFM/FQF Courses.

Q8: How many students do you admit each year?
A: We usually admit 50 students each year. We do not have targets for a specific number of international students or any specific nationality, race or gender.

Q9: Do you have a PhD program in Financial Mathematics?
A: No we do not.

Q10: I'm not currently a student in the MFM/FQF program. May I take a Master of Financial Mathematics course?
A: No, if you are not a student in the MFM/FQF program you can not take any MFM or FQF courses.

There are two regular Mathematics courses for University of Minnesota students and cover some of the subject matter of the MFM program. They are:

  • MATH 5075 - Mathematics of Options, Futures, and Derivative Securities I
  • MATH 5076 - Mathematics of Options, Futures, and Derivative Securities II.
Q11: Do you offer a distance or an on-line MFM or FQF program?
A: See Online/Distance Options for FQF.

You may also find the following small on-line lecture series helpful, at

Q12: What jobs are available in the local area for graduates of this program?
A: See The MCFAM Advantage, Great Employment Opportunities.

A good source of information is

You can also try typing "quantitative analyst", selecting "100 miles" and typing the zip code "55455" in a search in, but there may be a good deal of local employment (particularly in insurance) for which quantitative tools are important, but which don't formally use "quantitative analyst" in the job title. You can also point to which is our local industry website. In the MCIM (, we have a partner with a great deal of experience in helping our students find internships, and note that three recent students have found internships in the local finance industry. In addition to MCIM, the MFM program will be using the College of Science and Engineering, Career Center for Science and Engineering to seek internships.

There are many possibilities for careers in finance that use mathematical skills. Typically, as in the preceding paragraph, one thinks of "quantitative analyst" or "quant", but there are jobs available that may not have that kind of designation. Careers for our graduates are available in many different industries from insurance to hedge funds to asset management funds to banks to pension funds. Moreover, many large companies that are not specifically oriented toward finance nevertheless need to manage large portfolios of assets, and sometimes (e.g., Cargill) even even run their own trading desks to help hedge their risks. So it's difficult to give a precise answer to which career paths exist, only because the overlapping need for mathematical and finance skills is so ubiquitous.

Q13:As a full-time professional, how much time will I need to put into this program each week?
A: Three credit courses are targeted to require nine hours per week of work (including class time). Four credits are targeted to need 12 hours or more per week.

Q14: Where can I find information about housing near campus? 
          A: See Housing & Residential Life/.  International Students: See Housing Information For International Students

Q: I have questions about student life at Minnesota. Could you please either give me the contact info of a student at the University of Minnesota whom I could ask some questions or would you please ask a student to contact me?
A: We do not ask our students to provide this service, since privacy considerations do not allow us to arrange contacts like this.

You are welcome to contact the current Financial Mathematics students.

Q15: As an international student. Where can I find information to help with my transition?
A: See International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Welcome to the University of Minnesota information.

Q16: Who will be teaching the courses?
A: See Financial Mathematics Course Schedule

Q17: How much will it cost me to live in Minneapolis and attend the program for one year as an MFM/FQF student?
A: This is very difficult to answer, since living situations vary greatly from person to person. An estimate might be based on the I-20 living expense minimum, that is updated each year.

For assistance in calculating your costs, please review the Finances information on the University of Minneosta, One Stop Student Services website at

If you do not own a laptop, you will need to buy one, and there will likely be some expenses buying software. Perhaps the laptop will be around $2,000-$2,500, and the software around $500. So, adding this expense, we get about $38,000. Please note that this is a rough guess and do calculate your own number, after adjusting them to fit your own situation.

For tuition rate information, please point to

Q18: Does your program have any connection with the business school, the Carlson School of Management (CSOM)?
A: Yes. We have a "Master of Financial Mathematics with Emphasis in Management". The "with Emphasis in Management" is an unofficial title recognized by our department and CSOM, and requires an additional three courses (for 8 credits) on top of the regular Financial Mathematics coursework. These courses are recommended to those students in our program who wish to enhance their knowledge of business applications.

For more information about these three optional business courses, click here.

Q19: Are there any regular MATH courses that might help me prepare for the MFM/FQF program?
A: Yes, if you have not completed a full year of one-variable calculus, with grades of "B" or better in all freshman-level calculus courses then we recommend taking those courses before applying to the program, and before attempting any of the mathematics courses listed below.

The two math courses that are most closely related to MFM/FQF are:

MATH 5075 - Mathematics of Options, Futures, and Derivative Securities I
MATH 5076 - Mathematics of Options, Futures, and Derivative Securities II.
Taking these even may provide some credit toward the MFM program. Other relevant courses are:
MATH 2243 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
MATH 2263 - Multivariable Calculus
MATH 2373 - IT Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
MATH 2374 - IT Multivariable Calculus and Vector Analysis
MATH 4065 - Theory of Interest
MATH 4242 - Applied Linear Algebra
MATH 4457 - Methods of Applied Mathematics I
MATH 4458 - Methods of Applied Mathematics II
MATH 4512 - Differential Equations with Applications
MATH 4653 - Elementary Probability
MATH 5067 - Actuarial Mathematics I
MATH 5068 - Actuarial Mathematics II
MATH 5485 - Introduction to Numerical Methods I
MATH 5486 - Introduction To Numerical Methods II
MATH 5487 - Computational Methods for Differential and Integral Equations in Engineering and Science I
MATH 5488 - Computational Methods for Differential and Integral Equations in Engineering and Science II
MATH 5525 - Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 5587 - Elementary Partial Differential Equations I
MATH 5588 - Elementary Partial Differential Equations II
MATH 5651 - Basic Theory of Probability and Statistics
MATH 5652 - Introduction to Stochastic Processes
MATH 5654 - Prediction and Filtering
MATH 5711 - Linear Programming and Combinatorial Optimization

This list is, of course, quite long, but don't worry: We don't have specific course requirements (except for a full year of calculus, with grades of "B" or better) to apply to our program. The more you know, the better your chances of acceptance into MFM/FQF (and, ultimately, of success in completing MFM/FQF). In terms of setting priorities, the most important courses you could take in preparation for MFM would be courses that cover multilinear algebra, differential equations and basic probability. You might therefore focus on one of these two:

MATH 2263 - Multivariable Calculus
MATH 2374 - IT Multivariable Calculus and Vector Analysis, combined with one of these two
MATH 2243 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
MATH 2373 - IT Linear Algebra and Differential Equations, combined with, say MATH 4653 - Elementary Probability

Keep in mind that this is only a recommendation; many people apply, and they have quite varying backgrounds. Also keep in mind that there is no suite of courses which you can take to guarantee you entry to MFM or FQF. (However FM 5001/5002 can be very useful.)

If you're not attending classes at Minnesota, but at another school, and you wish to find equivalent classes at your school, it may help you to see descriptions of all of these courses. For the collection of all math courses, with descriptions point to:
select "MATH - Mathematics" and
click on "Show the courses".
Q20: Will the Graduate School accept photocopies I make of my transcript(s), and of my GRE and TOEFL score reports? May I send some of these items to the School of Mathematics and ask you to send them on to the Graduate School?
A: Official GRE and Official TOEFL scores are sent to The Graduate School by ETS and uploaded under the Credentials section of you online application..

Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. Do not mail any paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. Only if you are admitted, the University will request official copies of this material.

Click here for more information about transcripts

Q21: May I send some application material to the School of Mathematics and then ask for that material to be copied and sent to the Graduate School? Could I ask that some materials that have already been sent to the School of Mathematics be copied and sent on to the Graduate School?
A: No, per instructions on the Admission Requirements/Application Process website, all application documents must be uploaded to your online application.

The only exception to this is Letters of Recommendation.

Q22: As a student in the Master of Financial Mathematics program, may I take courses in other programs at the University of Minnesota?
A: Some programs limit registration, but if you aren't prevented from registering for a course by the University's registration system (and if you're willing to pay the tuition), then you're certainly permitted to take that course. However, we do recommend that students in our program take care not to underestimate the challenges of keeping up with their Financial Mathematics coursework. As a general rule, we discourage our Financial Mathematics students from taking courses not listed at

Q23: I'm an international applicant. Do I need to send in financial certification information with my application to prove my ability to pay tuition?
A: No. Your application will be processed and you will be considered for admission without any financial information. However, if you are recommended for admission, the Graduate School will request financial certification and will not process your I-20 (which is needed for a student visa) without it.

We recommend that you think carefully about expenses before applying.

Q24: Is there a final project, a thesis or a final oral requirement for this degree?
A: No. This degree is coursework only, although some of the individual courses may be project oriented, particularly
FM 5031/5032 A Practitioner's Course in Finance
FM 5091/5092 Computation, Algorithms, and Coding in Finance.

Q25: Is it possible to complete the MFM or FQF degree in nine months?
A: For FQF: Yes, by taking FM 5001 and FM 5091 in the fall and FM 5002 and FM 5092 in the spring.

For MFM: Yes, but there are conditions:

First, if you need preparatory course (FM 5001/5002), you will not be able to complete in one year, because FM 5011 cannot be begun until FM 5001/5002 is completed, with grades of "B" or better.

Second, you will need to register for 16 credits per semester, which is quite a heavy load. It is not recommended that students who have employment try to do this.

Third, you must pass all of your courses with a grade of "B" or better.

Fourth, you should only take the required four course sequences:

FM 5011/5012 Mathematical Background for Finance
FM 5021/5022 Mathematical Theory Applied to Finance
FM 5031/5032 A Practitioner's Course in Finance
FM 5091/5092 Programming and Presentation in Finance
and you should avoid any optional courses.

Q26: I am/was not a math major as an undergraduate. May I still apply to your graduate program?
A: Yes, we admit many students who did not major in mathematics into MFM and FQF. However, in evaluating your application and especially in evaluating whether you may need to go through the preparatory course, we will be looking at your background in undergraduate mathematics. A student who has less than a full year of calculus (with grades of "B" or better) in all freshman-level calculus courses should not attempt the program.

Also, applicants should be aware that this is a mathematics program, and that, in this program, one never "finishes up the math" to be able to move on to something, say, more interesting. This program is not advised for those who tend to think this way about mathematics requirements.

Q27: English is not my native language, but I've been living and taking classes in an English-speaking country for quite a while. Do I nevertheless need to submit a TOEFL score?
A: Perhaps not. Our TOEFL requirements are the Grad School requirements, which can be found at:

Q28: What is the minimum number of credits needed to receive the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM)?
A:  38 for students who require the preparatory course sequence (FM 5001/5002).
     32 for students who do not require the preparation course sequence.

Q29: How many credits do I need to register for to be considered to be a full-time student?
A: Six.

Q30: I have been accepted by the Graduate School and would like to view my admission letter on-line. How can I do this?
A: Go to the Graduate School Admissions website at Select Start or Resume Your Application Online!.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact the Graduate School Admissions.

Q31: I'm an international student who has accepted your offer. When will I receive my I-20 form?
A: The Graduate School will process your I-20, notify you when it is available, and will give you the option to pay for express mailing.

Q32: When will I receive my Internet ("x.500") account?
A: If you have accepted an offer to our graduate program and have not activated your Internate account, go to Student Internet Account Initation to initate (or activate) your Internet account.

Q33: I previously applied to your department and have decided to reapply this year. Do I need to resubmit a new application?
A: Yes, if you were not previously accepted to any Graduate program at the University of Minnesota, you are required to submit a new application.

If you were previously registered in the Graduate School and want to be readmitted to your previous or new program, you need to apply using the Readmission process.

Q34: How can I participate in Financial Mathematics before being admitted to the MFM/FQF program?
A: There are many good books to read. See our reading list at

Some on-line lectures you can watch can be found at and listen to the audio.

If you're a student at the University of Minnesota, you can attend our Financial Mathematics Seminars, Distinguished Lecturer, and Symposiums, which are open to the public.

You might also consider taking:

MATH 5075 - Mathematics of Options, Futures,and Derivative Securities I
MATH 5076 - Mathematics of Options, Futures,and Derivative Securities II.

If you are a Mathematics graduate student at the Universityof Minnesota, you might want to seek an internship, with a focus in Financial Mathematics, through the Minnesota Center for Industrial Mathematics (MCIM).

You may also consider applying to and attending the Financial Mathematics Modeling for Graduate Students Workshop.

Q35: I will be working at the University of Minnesota while a student in the MFM/FQF program. Can I be exempted from tuition?
A: The University of Minnesota offers eligible faculty and staff the opporutnity to continue their education through the Regents Scholarship Program.

Q36: How does your program differ from an MBA program, from CFA certification and from an FSA?:
A: This program focuses on the mathematics of finance. It involves significantly more graduate-level mathematics than any of the options mentioned in the question.

Q37: I've been (or currently am) a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. Do I need to reapply to the Graduate School to join the MFM/FQF program?
A: If you have been registered in the Graduate School, and now wish to register to the MFM/FQF program, you need to submit the Graduate School Change of Status.

We prefer and strongly recommend that you do not pursue the MFM degree or FQF certificate while you are in another program at the University.

Q38: I've been accepted to MFM/FQF but would like to defer the admission to sometime in the future. Can you do that?
A: Yes, you may request to defer. After receiving your notice of admission, you should inform the program of your intention to defer and wait for their approval. Please be aware that, if approved, you may only defer to the next Fall term, no Spring deferrals are accepted. Also, a new/updated personal statement will be required.

It is important that you review the Graduate Schools Deferral website at:

Q39: I applied to MFM/FQF, and have been placed on the waiting list. Could you tell me my position on that list? Am I near the top? When can I expect to know if I'm accepted or not?
A: We do not order the waiting list. The decisions about additional admissions depend on how many acceptances our offer are received.

Review the Important MFM and FQF Deadlines information at

We understand if you cannot wait that long, but do review the "April 15 Resolution".

Q40: What Career Services does the MFM program offer? Is there support for resume writing, interviewing and job/internship search?
A: Because the MFM program is housed within the Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM), MFM students receive a full set of career services focused on the quantitative finance sector. This includes workshops covering many helpful job and internship search strategies and tactics. In addition, we offer customized, on-going one-on-one career coaching for all MFM students. We sponsor a variety of career fairs, panel discussions with industry leaders, and Networking Receptions where you can begin building your network of contacts and peers in the quantitative financial industry. We get to know you over the course of your studies. We stay with you until you find the internships and jobs you are looking for. After you graduate we include you in our growing network of alumni who stay engaged in our events and coursework.

For more details on the full suite of career development and advancement services, as well as placement statistics, see MCFAM's Career and Placement Menu.

The College of Science and Engineering Career Center is another great resource that MFM students can take advantage of.

Q41: Is it possible to take MFM/FQF classes and to pursue another UMN degree at the same time?
A: If you seek to be in both the Financial Mathematics (MFM and FQF) and another program at the same time, it is possible, but strongly discouraged. You must get permission from the directors of both programs before doing this.

In the rare instance where it may be allowed, the MFM or FQF program must be listed as your primary plan, and the director of the other program must be notified that MFM or FQF will be primary. This has significant effect on the amount you pay in tuition and on the allocation of those dollars within the university. This is very important. If you have a tuition benefit through your program then your tuition payments will not go in full to the right college.

Q42: Is there a University Student Conduct Code or University Student Honor Code at the University of Minnesota?
A: Yes, see University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code.

Q43: If I complete the requirements for a "with emphasis" option, does the area concentration appear on my diploma? How were the courses in the "with emphasis" options selected?
A: The "with emphasis" designation is informal and does not appear in the diploma. On the other hand, many "with emphasis" options fulfill the requirements for a minor in another department. For any minor, advance consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in the minor department is advisable. The signature of the minor DGS is required before the minor is granted.

Q44: I have been offered admission. When is my decision required? What if I need more time to decide, beyond the deadline?
A: The date by which we request a decision will appear in the MFM/FQF offer letter, recommending admission. This is different from the offer of admission you will receive from the Graduate School, not from MFM or FQF. For offers made on or before April we set and follow the "April 15 resolution".

Review the Important MFM and FQF Deadlines information.

We do not count your acceptance until your signed offer letter, with "accept" checked, has been received.

If you respond by accepting after the date in your letter, we still hope to accommodate you, but there is no guarantee.

Q45: As a student in the MFM/FQF program, am I restricted to MFM/FQF courses, together with the courses in the "with emphasis options" listed at
A: No, if you are an MFM/FQF student, most courses at the University of Minnesota are available for you to take. However, it is important that you know the tuition charge will be the same that you pay for MFM/FQF per credit tuition, for all courses.

A few programs do place restrictions that limit availability of their courses. For example, non-Carlson School students can only take three Carlson courses during their entire time at the University. (The Carlson School of Management is UMN's business school.)

Q46: I have questions about student life at Minnesota. Could you please either give me the contact info of a student at the University of Minnesota whom I could ask some questions or would you please ask a student to contact me?
A: We do not ask our students to provide this service, since privacy considerations do not allow us to arrange contacts like this.

You are welcome to contact the current Financial Mathematics students.

Q47: I'm preparing an application to MFM or FQF. Do I need to tell you which "with emphasis option" courses I plan to study if I'm accepted?
A: No. If you accept an offer of admission to MFM, we will meet with you during Orientation week and produce a "completion plan" where you will have a chance to discuss "with emphasis" options.

FQF students to not usually take "with emphasis" courses, though it's not prohibited.

Q48: If I apply to and am accepted to the FQF program this year, do well in my courses and proceed into MFM, will I be able to finish MFM with those who are accepted to MFM this year?
A: Not all students who enter together finish together. A few who are admitted to MFM are given a waiver for FM 5001/5002. For them, it's possible to complete the MFM program in one year, while those going through FQF followed by MFM will take a minimum of two years to complete both degrees (one for MFM and one for FQF).

Q49: I have been put on the waiting list for the MFM program and am considering applying to FQF. Should I wait until I get a definite answer from MFM, or should I apply right away to FQF?
A: See the FQF - Possible Entry Channel into MFM information on the Admission Requirements/Application Process website.

Q50: When I register, do I need to indicate whether I'll be taking a given course in person or online?
A: Yes. The 4 FQF courses are offered online (FM 5001, FM 5002, FM 5091 and FM 5092). However, there are two sections: Section 001 is for in-person students, Section 002 is for online students. You must be sure to register for the correct section.


Address: 127 Vincent Hall, 206 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455     Phone: 612-625-2004     Contact the School of Math