General FAQ

What is the focus of CGU’s Financial Engineering program?
The Financial Engineering program at Claremont Graduate University is offered as a collaborative, joint effort between Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and the School of Mathematical Sciences. Students take approximately half of their coursework in applied mathematics with an emphasis on financial applications. For the first half of their education, students are in classes with mathematics PhD students.

Most of our math faculty hold PhDs in industrial engineering or operations research, and are interested in applications to financial engineering. For the financial management half of their coursework, students are in classes with MBA students. The management-side coursework is taught by professors who are interested in the managerial applications of financial engineering and who emphasize discussion-format and case-method classes, with high levels of student participation, teamwork, and presentation.

With this unique structure, the Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MSFE) degree delivers a focused, yet practical multi-disciplinary education in financial engineering that is both critically important to management and quantitatively extensive. The close integration of management and mathematics is the hallmark of this degree program. Unlike programs offered by mathematics of statistics departments, our graduates have the demonstrated ability to rise rapidly in their organizations and to be effective as leaders. Unlike programs offered by management schools, our graduates have achieved the level of technical expertise that is comparable to a student with a PhD in mathematics and a field in financial mathematics.

I don’t have any work experience, can I apply?
While an internship or post graduate work experience is highly preferred, students without work experience, but strong academic records or demonstrated leadership potential are strongly encouraged to apply.

Do you offer financial aid?
Yes, the Financial Engineering program offers limited aid in the form of fellowships, which are competitive and merit based.

What are the prerequisites to apply for the program?
Prospective applicants must have completed multivariable calculus and linear algebra at the college level with a B grade or better, and be proficient in one of the following programming languages: C, C++, Visual Basic, Java or Matlab. Students who do not meet the prerequisites are encouraged to complete all appropriate prerequisite coursework before applying to the Financial Engineering program.

Are students allowed to transfer in units?
Students may be able to transfer up to 8 semester units towards the 48 unit degree. Transfer credit is subject to the approval of the Academic Directors of the program.

How long does it take to complete the MSFE degree?
A: Students who attend full-time (16 units per semester) can complete the degree in as little as 3 semesters, but some students choose to complete the program in 4 semesters.

Is there a part-time option?
Yes. Students who are pursuing the MSFE degree on a part-time basis generally take 1 or 2 courses per semester, and typically complete the degree in about 6-8 semesters. Most core classes are offered from 4-7 or 7-10 at least once per year.

When is the deadline to apply?

While applications are accepted on rolling basis throughout the year, applicants are encouraged to apply by the following deadlines: 
November 1 - Early Action         
December 1 - Round 1
February 1 - Round 2   
April 1 - Round 3

Is there a joint MBA/FE or joint MATH/FE option?
Yes, at Claremont Graduate University, you have the option to complete two master’s degrees for fewer units than it would take to complete them individually. For example, the MBA is 60 units and the MSFE is 48 units, but if you chose to complete a joint degree, you will only need to complete 80 units total.


How does the M.S. in Financial Engineering compare to an MBA?
Most MBA programs, including the program at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, are two-year programs designed to meet the educational needs of a broad range of students. MBA students may choose to concentrate in finance; however, finance courses in traditional MBA programs usually do not assume in-depth mathematical training, and often focus on elementary concepts and spreadsheet analysis. The FE program at CGU consists of fewer units, resulting in a lower cost and time commitment. It is more quantitatively rigorous and draws on tools from applied math, statistics and financial and economic theory—all while integrating managerial concepts and applications.

How does the CGU MSFE degree compare to the degrees offered by other institutions and universities, such as the Masters in Financial Mathematics or Masters in Finance?
Some financial programs focus more on finance, but do not give students strong quantitative skills to enable them to do more with their knowledge. Most programs offering the Masters in Finance are comprised of MBA finance courses and often focus on elementary concepts and spreadsheet analysis. At CGU, the FE program believes that the integration of a rigorous mathematic curriculum enables students to develop skills such as analytical and simulation techniques that students need to analyze and evaluate financial products and other risk exposures. Programs offering the Masters in Financial Mathematics, on the contrary, fail to stress leadership development and management training. The management component, including case studies and field based internships, develops the methods and insights students must have to interpret organizational needs and goals in the design of appropriate exposure to financial, organizational, and product-market risks. It is the unique blend of the two that give our students an advantage over computational mathematics programs or financial engineering programs that focus primarily on finance. To date, employers and internship sponsors have been extremely satisfied with our graduates of CGU’s FE program. 

Is there an internship requirement?
No, an internship is not required, but strongly recommended during the summer after your second semester, especially for students with limited work experience. The Office of Career Management works closely with students to help prepare them for their internship searches. Internships can be non-credit or taken as a field study which can apply towards the management electives requirement. In most cases, international students are required by the U.S. government to take internships for credit as part of their practical training.

Do you accept the GMAT or GRE?
We accept either test as long as you have taken the exam within the past 5 years from the time you apply to the Financial Engineering program.

What is the average GPA of admitted students?
Most of our students have undergraduate degrees in engineering, mathematics, economics, or finance. Some have already completed PhDs or other graduate degrees in these fields. The average undergraduate GPA for our admitted students is approximately 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Rather than overall GPA, we look mainly at performance levels in courses that are most relevant in the FE program.

What is the minimum TOEFL score?
In most management classes offered by the Drucker School, students are expected to participate actively in class discussions and case presentations. As such, effective written and oral ability to communicate in English is essential. To learn more about Claremont Graduate University's TOEFL and IELTS requirements, click here.

Are there any opportunities to be a research assistant?
There are very limited positions to work with professors as research or teaching assistants. Students must be admitted and meet with faculty members once they arrive in Claremont to interview for any open positions.


What can one do with a degree in Financial Engineering? While this is not a comprehensive list, some examples include: modeling and forecasting financial markets, quantitative training and arbitrage, hedging and financial risk management, corporate financial policy, quantitative research, investment management, asset allocation, derivative instruments and securities.

What types of companies hire Financial Engineers?
  • Airlines
  • Brokerage Firms
  • Commercial Banks
  • Corporate Finance Departments
  • Energy Companies
  • Insurance Companies
  • Investment Banks
  • Investment Portfolio Managers
  • Mortgage Companies
  • Risk Management Consulting Firms
  • Venture Capital Firms



What are the names of some of the firms that hired FE students from CGU?

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Western Asset Management
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Primus Financial
  • Axioma, Inc.
  • Private Hedgefunds
  • Wilshire Associates
  • The J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Trust Company of the West (TCW)
  • People's Choice
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Moore Capital Management, LLC

How do you evaluate my application?
We receive a large number of applications to the Financial Engineering Program each year, and most applicants are very well qualified in terms of their academic backgrounds and test scores. As a result, admission to the FE program is highly competitive. The admissions committee (comprised of faculty, staff and students) makes their decision based on the overall qualifications of an applicant, with particular attention to an applicant’s demonstrated ability to perform well in demanding mathematical and finance classes, and demonstration of leadership potential. If you have high test scores, and can use your experience, personal essay, recommendation letters, and interview to demonstrate quantitative strength and leadership capabilities, it might increase your chance of getting admitted.

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