A master's degree in quantitative finance can prepare students for careers in finance, banking, and investing industries. These programs expose students to advanced theories and concepts in finance, mathematics, statistics, and investing. We will learn about a few key features of these master's degrees below.
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General Information About Quantitative Finance Master's Degree Programs
At the master's level, programs in quantitative finance can generally be completed in 18-months to 2 years, though program length may vary depending on whether a student is full or part-time and how many courses they enroll in concurrently. While there are slight differences in the core curriculum and elective options offered in each program, there are some courses that are quite common to all programs, a few of which we will look at below.
In a financial modeling course, students will learn different methods of financial modeling and how they can use these methods in fields like corporate finance and investing. Students practice applying financial theories to financial decision making. The course will focus on topics like modern portfolio theory, risk analysis, pricing theory, and using data from financial markets. Students may also be required to learn how to use different types of financial software.
Calculus for Finance
This course provides an overview of different concepts from calculus that apply specifically to the field of finance. Students conduct research in order to solve calculus problems relating to finance. Students will likely cover topics like multivariable differential calculus, probability and statistics, and stochastic differential equations and models.
This course focuses on the role that derivatives play in the financial market. Courses may introduce or expand on topics such as credit derivative modeling, equity-style derivatives, interest rate derivatives, commodity derivatives, and the top down vs. bottom up models. Students gain understanding of the vital role derivatives play in financial markets and managing portfolios.
Quantitative finance programs usually include a course in econometrics that provides students with a high-level understanding of how to use econometric estimations in order to study different financial data. Students will develop statistical models to understand how to analyze these data. Students will gain a strong theoretical foundation of econometrics and learn how to test hypotheses using strategies like regression models, dummy variables, and multicollinearity.
Many programs also offer portfolio management courses, which provide students with insight into financial decision making from the perspective of an investor or client. Students will analyze or create stock reports to meet their client's demands. This course covers topics like diversification of investments, risk and return, strategies used by hedge and mutual funds, and portfolio evaluation strategies.
Quantitative Finance Master's Degree Program Admission Requirements
Students who are interested in applying for a master's degree in quantitative finance usually have a bachelor's degree in a field like engineering, economics, mathematics, or a related field. Programs also often expect or require applicants to have already completed coursework in subjects like advanced calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and differential equations. While there is no set minimum GPA requirement, students with higher GPA's are likely to be viewed more favorably in the admissions process.
Other admission requirements include letters of recommendation, GRE or GMAT scores, a personal statement or essay, transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, and a resume.
A master's degree program in quantitative finance provides students with both fundamental and advanced concepts in the field of finance. Program courses and admission requirements may vary so prospective students should further research programs of interest.