University of Minnesota
School of Mathematics
School of Mathematics         The diagram illustrates the local accuracy of the tangent line approximation to a smooth curve, or--otherwise stated--the closeness of the differential of a function to the difference of function values due to a small increment of the independent variable. / finmath / online_ed

Four MFM Online Courses


Frequently Asked Questions about Our Four Online Courses                                Poster

Starting in the 2010-2011 academic year, the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program will be offering four of its courses online:
       FM 5001, FM 5002, FM 5091 and FM 5092.
For information about the material covered in these four online courses, point to

These courses may be taken by online either as a non-degree student, or as a student in the new post-baccalaureate certificate Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance. Regular MFM students may also choose to take these courses online, bearing in mind that the other courses required for the MFM degree (FM 5011/5012, FM 5021/5022, FM 5031/5032) will not be made available online. See Q227 in our FAQ file for information about the pros and cons of joining a degree program (as compared with taking coursework as a non-degree student).

For non-degree students, the procedure for enrolling in these courses is very simple: To request permission to take any or all of these four courses, please write to the Director of MFM at, indicating all of the calculus courses you've taken in college, and the grades received in those courses. Our minimum requirement for permission to take our online courses is: Grades of "B" or better in all of your freshman level calculus courses, and completion of at least one full year of calculus. A one semester "short calc" course is insufficient.

For non-degree students, we do not require documentation (by transcripts) of your coursework; we trust you if you simply state by email that you have completed a full year of calculus with grades of "B" or better. In the end, it's not really in your own interest to spend money on courses that are at too high a level for you to succeed. If you have *not* had a full year of calculus (with "B"s or better), we recommend you consider starting in a calc sequence, see Q31 in our FAQ file, by clicking here.

The four courses listed above (FM 5001/5002 and FM 5091/5092) fill all of the requirements for our post-baccalaureate certificate Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance. While these four courses do not fill all the requirements for the MFM degree, they do fill enough of them that, for an MFM student who enters with those courses complete, it is feasible to finish the remainder of the program in one year, taking 12 credits per semester. For MFM students who receive a waiver on FM 5001/5002, it is currently possible to complete the degree in one year, taking 15 credits per semester, but that's a heavier load. Moreover, most of our students do not have a waiver for FM 5001/5002. Thus, these newly offered online courses open the possibility for a much wider range of people to complete the MFM degree without the necessity of spending more than one year living in the Twin Cities area.

For students seeking to enter the MFM program, good performance in FM 5001/5002 generally paves the way for a successful application, see Q145 in our FAQ file by clicking here.

IMPORTANT WARNING: For students who take some courses online, and then enter the MFM program, be aware that YOU WILL BE RETESTED, during Orientation week, on the material in your online courses, unless you already took the final exam for that course in person. (Online students do sometimes take tests in person.) The test for an online course will resemble the final exam for that course. If you do not pass the test during Orientation for a given online course, you will be REQUIRED TO RETAKE THAT COURSE, even if it severely impacts your time to degree. This does not apply if you are able to take the final exam for the course in person when it's offered, so you may wish to consider making a trip to Minneapolis at the end of each semester, just to take your final exam(s) in person.

IMPORTANT WARNING: With permission from the MFM Executive Director, even people living in the Twin Cities area may take an online course. The in-person educational process is, in some ways, better, and is encouraged for all local students, but we do understand that it's sometimes not feasible, and we will make accommodations wherever we can. However, please note that we require anyone living in the Twin Cities area to take all exams (midterms and final exams) in person, even if the rest of the MFM course is handled online.

See Q236 in our FAQ file for information about how to register as an online student.

If you have questions, please visit our FAQ website by clicking here, or write to Scot Adams at


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