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Undergraduate Certificate in Finance Admission

Interested students must complete an application form by May 31 of their sophomore year. Admission decisions are made by July 31.

The application form requires the following four elements:

1. Prerequisite Courses

As economic theory, mathematics, and probability and statistics are pervasive in modern financial analysis, completion of the certificate in finance requires mathematical ability and preparation. The following foundations courses, or their equivalent, are required for admission into the program and (except as noted) must be completed by the end of the sophomore year. All courses require a letter grade (pass/fail not allowed). A typical course of study for incoming freshmen that will allow for a smooth completion of the certificate requirements is described in the FAQ.
i. Mathematics
MAT 201-202 strongly advised; only the highest of the two grades is recorded for the purpose of fulfilling the entry requirements
- Students who choose to fulfill this requirement by taking the one-semester MAT 175 will be responsible for mastering the linear algebra part of the curriculum on their own.
ii. Microeconomics
ECO 310: Microeconomic Theory: A Mathematical Approach
Note: With permission of the Program Representative, ECO 310 may be taken during the junior year (concurrently with the core course ECO 362) by concentrators in departments other than ECO and ORF.
iii. Probability and Statistics
An introductory course in probability and statistics, such as
ECO 202: Statistics and Data Analysis for Economists, or
MAT 222: Introduction to Statistics, or
ORF 245: Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics, or
PSY 251: Quantitative Methods, or
SOC 301: Sociological Research Methods, or
POL 345: Quantitative Analysis and Politics, or
WWS 200: Statistics for Social Science
WWS 332: Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy, or
PHY 301: Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics and PHY 312: Advanced Laboratory
or a score of 5 in AP Statistics

The applicant's latest transcript will be obtained directly from the Registrar's office. There is no need to include a copy of your transcript.

2. Plans for courses to be taken in the junior and senior year

i. The two core courses, ECO 362 and ECO 363.
ii. Three elective courses. The three elective courses must be selected as follows:
ECO and ORF students must take at least 2 of their 3 elective courses from List 1.
Other concentrators must take at least 1 of their 3 elective courses from List 1.
All courses require a letter grade (pass/fail not allowed).

3. Independent work plans

Certificate students must complete independent work with significant finance content.

Independent work will typically take the form of their senior thesis in the student's home department (or other form of independent work required by their concentration), with a topic including significant finance content.

Or, in exceptional cases, when a student is concentrating in a department where the thesis cannot reasonably include significant finance content, a separate, shorter piece of independent work in conjunction with ECO 362 or 363. The latter option is available only to students in departments other than ECO and ORF.

The application should include a brief description (a paragraph or two will suffice) of the student's plans to fulfill this requirement.

4. Essay

A short essay (about one page) explaining your interest in the finance certificate, what particular areas of finance you plan to focus on and any finance issues that are of particular interest to you.


Criteria used to make admission decisions

We look at all the information above, including the overall academic record of the student in the freshman and sophomore years at Princeton, the plans to complete the independent work and the essay.

  • For ECO and ORF students, a minimum B- average in the three prerequisite courses (mathematics, statistics and microeconomics) is required.
  • For students who wish to fulfill any of the requirements by taking a more advanced course or set of courses, the minimum grade requirements will be adjusted accordingly to reflect the higher difficulty of the courses. For example, for students who fulfill the mathematics requirement by taking two mathematics courses (either MAT 201-202 or MAT 203-204) instead of one (MAT 175), the highest grade obtained in either one of the two mathematics courses will be recorded for the purpose of satisfying the minimum grade requirements.
  • For non-ECO/ORF students, there is not strict minimum grade requirement on prerequisite courses for admission into the program, although these courses must still be completed at the time of the application, with the exception of ECO 310, which non-ECO/ORF students may take in the Fall of their junior year with the permission of the Program Representative. In this case, the admission decision for the student will be postponed until completion of all the prerequisites.


Requirements to earn the certificate once admitted

A minimum C+ average computed over ECO 362-363, the 3 elective courses, and the independent work will be required to earn the certificate.

These requirements apply to all students admitted to the program, regardless of major.