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Master of Finance

Requirements

The Master program is designed both for students with mathematical (or physics and engineering) training, who want to make finance their main field of application, and for students with an economics or business background who want to acquire the quantitative skills essential for well rounded training in finance. In either case students must have an interest in, and be able to handle the combination of economic analysis, mathematics, econometrics, and computer science that are pervasive in modern finance. The FAQ for Applicants contains more details on the expected background of applicants.

An intensive two-week refresher course covering the relevant probability, statistics and mathematics topics, as required for the core courses, is offered prior to the beginning of classes in the Fall. In addition, we organize in September for every incoming class a three-day "boot camp" with industry professionals where various career issues are reviewed and help is provided (including resume-writing, one-on-one videotaped interview sessions, interviewing techniques, etc.).

If your native language is not English and you have not completed your undergraduate studies in an English-speaking country, you are also required to take either the TOEFL or IELTS exam.

Program Requirements

The program requirements consist of 5 core courses and 11 elective courses, with the following provisions:

  • At least 5 of the elective courses must be at the level 500 or higher.
  • At least 5 of the elective courses must be taken from List 1.
  • The program can be completed in either two or four semesters. Admission letters will specify the expected length of study.
  • At most 5 course credits per semester can be earned towards fulfilling the requirements of the program.
  • Students completing the program in one year (two semesters) must complete a total of 10 courses. Individual meetings between the student and the Director of Graduate Studies will determine on the basis of courses previously completed by the student at Princeton or another institution which of the 16 core and elective courses need to be taken and which will be waived.
  • Students must maintain an overall grade average of B (GPA = 3.0) or better as well as earn a passing grade in all core and elective courses.
  • In case a student completes additional courses beyond the required total number, the GPA is calculated using the grades earned in the most favorable combination of courses that still fulfills the program's core and elective requirements.
  • Audited or P/D/F courses cannot be used to fulfill the program's requirements.
  • While no Master’s thesis is required, students interested in independent research may work with a BCF-affiliated faculty member on a topic relevant to finance, and by enrolling in the appropriate courses (FIN 560/561), they can receive academic credit equivalent to one or two elective courses (thereby reducing the number of required electives).

In addition, an internship is required for two-year students who are not returning to a previous employer. Extensive placement assistance is provided to help students obtain suitable internships.

Students unable to meet the graduation requirements of the program at the end of their original program length of one or two years, either because their GPA is below the required 3.0 minimum or because they have not completed the required core and elective courses, may apply for an extension by submitting a proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies who will review it and seek the approval of the Dean of Academic Affairs of the Graduate School. The conditions governing such proposals are the following:

  • At most two additional semesters will be granted to complete the requirements
  • The student will need to re-enroll formally for each additional semester, and full tuition will be charged for each additional semester.
  • A maximum of two courses can be re-taken for the purpose of improving the student's GPA. Students are free to select the two courses they wish to re-take.
  • A course re-taken will appear twice on the student transcript, but only the higher grade earned will be used for the purpose of computing the student's final GPA.
  • Courses may not be re-taken until the completion of the student's original program length.
  • A course re-taken counts only once for the purpose of satisfying the required number of core and elective courses.
  • The new plan of study needs to be approved before the official beginning of the semester to be added.

"Princeton is my island in Lost. Just like the hit TV show, before I can move on to the next stage of my life, I have to work out some things together with my classmates from all over the world. It's where I learned how to put all the pieces together; I had studied math, computer science and economics before, but I put them together to get the bigger picture at the end of the journey here. It's fantastic!"

-- Yibiao Chai, MFin '10; HSBC London