Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions regarding the Master of Science Degree in Mathematics, with Option in Mathematical Finance ("MSMF") are not answered below, please feel welcome to contact us. For general questions about mathematical finance (also called computational finance, financial engineering, and quantitative finance), please see our Program Overview page.

What are the deadlines?
Please visit the admissions calendar for current information.
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Can the MSMF be taken part-time?
Yes, we welcome part-time students.
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Can MSMF courses be taken as a non-degree student?
Yes, you can take courses as a non-degree student and up to 12 credit hours can later be transferred to MSMF if you decide to pursue the degree. Please visit Graduate and Professional Admissions and apply to Rutgers as a nondegree student. Application information is available from the Apply — Three Easy Steps page: please read the Nondegree Graduate Study paragraph under the heading Further Information. There may be a $50 fee to be a non-degree student. You will also need a special permission number from the Department of Mathematics, after applying to be a non-degree student, in order to register for the course(s). This process should be completed in advance of the start of the desired semester and early application is advised. Please visit our information page for non-degree students.
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Are classes offered in the evening?
The majority of the required core courses are offered in the evening. Some elective courses are also offered in the evening, though students will have greater choice from electives offered during the day.
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I am currently pursuing a graduate degree at another university. What are the procedures for transferring to your program and can my credits be transferred?
Students may apply to the program who have already completed one or more advanced courses as graduate students at other universities. However, there is no formal transfer procedure. Students intending to transfer should visit the How to Apply page for instructions. Transfer applicants should draw attention to any advanced coursework they have taken, as this may help their application.

Students can apply to transfer up to 12 credits for graduate courses with a grade of B or better, provided they replace appropriate courses offered by our program, and credit for such courses was not used to earn a previous undergraduate degree. Permission to transfer credit is granted on a case-by-case basis and is not granted automatically. Please see the general Graduate School-New Brunswick rules for transfer of credit for full details.

Transfer Credit, Dual Credit, and Course Waivers

Students seeking to transfer a course from another university, have a course credited to more than one Rutgers degree program, or waive a course requirement should read the following information carefully.

Transfer Credit
A Mathematical Finance master's degree student can apply to transfer up to 12 credits for graduate courses completed at another university, with a grade of B or better, provided they replace equivalent courses in the Mathematical Finance program, and credit for such courses was not used to earn a previous undergraduate degree. Acceptance for credit towards the Mathematical Finance degree is subject to approval by the Mathematical Finance Program Director and is not automatic.Please complete the Graduate School-New Brunswick Transfer Credit Form  and consult their general rules for transfer of credit, as well as the rules for transfer of credit for doctoral candidates for full details.

Students may request that courses they wish to transfer be evaluated by the Mathematical Finance Program Director after they have registered for at least one course in our program by submitting the following to the Mathematical Finance Program Administrative Assistant:
  • A completed Transfer Credit Form with
  • A detailed syllabus and primary textbook information for each course to be evaluated.

It is not necessary to wait until 12 credits have been completed in our program before requesting a transfer credit evaluation.

Dual Credit

A student who has completed Mathematical Finance program courses at Rutgers while a candidate for a second Rutgers graduate degree or while a non-degree graduate student, may apply to count up to 12 credits for those graduate courses completed in the second degree program or as a non-degree student, with a grade B or higher, towards the Mathematical Finance degree. Acceptance is subject to approval by the Mathematical Finance Program Director and is not automatic and, in the case of courses completed while a non-degree student, only considered after the student has completed an additional 12 credits as a Mathematical Finance degree candidate.

The 12-Credit Limit

Completion of the Mathematical Finance degree will require at least 18 additional credits beyond an overall limit of 12 credits, applied to courses completed at Rutgers in a second graduate degree program or as a non-degree graduate student or accepted for transfer credit from another university.

 Course Waivers

If a student has taken more than 12 credits worth of courses in the Mathematical Finance degree program prior to beginning the program while registered as a Mathematical Finance (16643) student, then he or she should complete extra electives to bring the total number of additional credits to 18 and request the applicable 12 credits completed with the highest grades be counted towards the Mathematical Finance degree. The requirement to retake Mathematical Finance program mandatory courses in excess of the 12 credit limit is  waived provided the student received a B or higher for those courses.  Example: An applicant will have completed Math 573 & 621, Stat 563, 583 & 565 (a total of 15 credits, all with grade A except for a B in in Stat 583) prior to registering as a Mathematical Finance (16643) degree student. Then he or she will still need to complete 6 mandatory credits, Math 574 & 622, and 12 elective credits (for example, ECE 503, Math 623, and two other 3-credit electives) and request that the 12 completed credits with highest grades be counted towards the Mathematical Finance degree (Math 573 & 621, Stat 563 & 565 in this example). The requirement to retake Stat 583 is waived, as that grade is at least B.

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I have attached my curriculum vitae, GPA, and GRE scores. Could you please give me an informal assessment of my chances for admission?
Unfortunately, we cannot give any opinions about admission until we see your full application, including transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation.
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Where do I mail my application materials?
Please visit the How to Apply page for mailing address information. We strongly encourage online submission of application materials whenever possible.
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What GRE test scores are required?
Please visit our How to Apply page for complete information.
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Can the requirement to submit GRE scores be waived?
As noted in the test scores section of our How to Apply page, all external applicants are required to submit GRE General Test scores, with a few exceptions. Please review the exceptions carefully.

We do not rely on GRE scores in making admission decisions. We give by far the most most weight to grades for courses which fulfill or exceed our prerequisite and recommended courses.

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What are the minimum GPA, GRE, or TOEFL scores required?
We do not have minimum scores. Your application as a whole is more important than individual scores and weaknesses can be balanced by strengths in other parts of the application. Still, we prefer (a) GPA of 3.0 (B average) or above in prerequisite and recommended courses, (b) GRE verbal scores of 154 or above and quantitative scores of 165 or above, (c) TOEFL scores of 213 for the computer version, 550 for the paper version, and 83 for the internet version with 22 for writing, 23 for speaking, 21 for reading and 17 for listening.
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I cannot take a GRE test in time for you to receive my score(s) prior to the admissions deadline. What should I do?
Arrange to take a GRE test so that we receive your test score as soon as possible after the deadline. In your application form and personal statement, indicate the dates you will take the test. If a GRE test will not be administered in your location in time for us to receive test scores prior to April 15, please (i) explain the circumstances in your personal statement and provide documentation (for example, a photocopy of or URL for a local GRE test schedule), (ii) provide additional information in your personal statement or résumé regarding your advanced undergraduate mathematics coursework, and (iii) provide an additional letter of recommendation from a mathematics professor familiar with your work. Please submit all other application materials by the deadline. Applications which are complete by the deadline receive the highest priority in our review.
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Can a GMAT score replace the GRE?
No, unfortunately, it cannot.
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Can I pursue a PhD in Mathematical Finance at Rutgers?
There is no separate PhD in Mathematical Finance at Rutgers. The only possibility would be to apply to the graduate programs in Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, or Finance in Rutgers Business School; for Mathematics, applicants should contact the Graduate Coordinator of their PhD program for information. The PhD admissions processes are completely separate. For the Mathematics PhD program, admissions standards are high, with about 10 students admitted each year from a pool of approximately 300 applicants.
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I am a PhD student at Rutgers. Can I pursue the MSMF at the same time as my current PhD program?
Rutgers allows students to pursue a second master's degree while remaining coded in the original admitted curriculum. For students who have passed their PhD qualifying exams, a new application is not required. 
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I have not taken all the mathematics prerequisite courses. Should I still apply?
Your mathematics background should be solid and, ideally, you should have completed the prerequisites before the start of the program. However, we will consider applications from students who show promise. Students lacking prerequisites may still be admitted to the program, but will need to take some of the prerequisite courses during their first semester or preceding summer.
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What is the difference between the Master of Science in Mathematics with Option in Mathematical Finance (MSMF) and the Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) programs at Rutgers?
There is no formal connection between the two programs, although they cooperate on certain initiatives. MSMF is offered by the Department of Mathematics, in partnership with the Department of Statistics, through the Graduate School-New Brunswick. The MQF program is offered by the Rutgers Business School, at the Newark and New Brunswick/Piscataway campuses. Other differences between the two programs include:

  • MSMF requires 30 credits and be completed in one year; MQF requires 48 credits and can be completed in two years.
  • Rates for MSMF tuition and MQF tuition.
  • MSMF admissions emphasizes mathematics prerequisites, as well as overall student record.
  • MSMF curriculum emphasizes mathematical finance and stochastic analysis, numerical analysis, computational finance with Matlab & C++, statistics, and allows 2 Business electives.
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Are there any professional societies which can provide more information about education, careers, and new developments in mathematical finance?
Yes. The leading professional organization for industry practitioners is the International Society of Financial Engineers while the Global Association for Risk Professionals will also be of interest to students pursuing careers in this field. The Bachelier Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (Acivity Group in Financial Mathematics and Engineering) are prominent societies for academic researchers.
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I am interested in pursuing a career in actuarial science. Does the MSMF degree provide suitable preparation for actuarial exams?"
That is not the purpose of the degree. Please visit Professional Science Master's Program in Actuarial and Statistical Science for more information on courses offered which are appropriate for actuarial students.
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What counts as relevant work experience?
You should mention work experience (including internship) in the financial industry in your application, as well as experience which involves relevant skills (for example, software development, economics, statistics, mathematics, management consulting, etc.). Work in areas closer to those in which you expect to find a job upon graduating is most valuable, typically in the form of an internship or employment in an investment bank or a hedge fund. This also helps in the future when seeking a full time position with a similar employer.
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Where can the prerequisite courses be taken?
That is up to the individual. Courses may be taken at any institution of higher education. In some cases, it may be possible to take some prerequisite courses at Rutgers during the summer semester prior to entering the program proper in the fall.
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Do you have rolling admission? When can I begin the program?
External applicants should follow the regular admissions calendar.

Internal Rutgers applicants, including Rutgers five-year BS/MS undergraduates or PhD students who have passed their qualifying exams, may apply by November 1 for admission by the Spring semester or August 15 for the Fall semester.
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I am an international student: what is the minimum number of courses I can take in a semester?
International students can take as few as one (1) credit hour for three (3) different semesters as long as they submit an approved Reduction in Credit Load form. Reasons for allowing a reduction for a given semester include (a) final semester in the program, (b) completion of master's thesis or essay. The rules regarding the minimum number of courses can change from year to year and depend on visa requirements. Students who need to take fewer than the usual minimum course load to be considered full-time (three 3-credit courses) are urged to check with the International Student Office.
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Does Rutgers offer summer internships in quantitative finance or related fields?
Rutgers does not offer summer internships and we do not respond to such email inquiries.
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Is an MSMF a suitable qualification if I would like to work as a trader?
There is no degree or professional qualification which is directly applicable for someone who wishes to become a trader. Traders of exotic derivatives and complex structured products have qualifications ranging from a bachelor's degree to a PhD, usually in engineering, mathematics, or science. A suitable talent and temperament is as important as a particular qualification. However, a master's degree in mathematical finance (equivalently, computational finance, financial engineering, or quantitative finance) is a helpful qualification for a trader, noting that good traders need to be able to communicate effectively with the quants who support the models they use for pricing and risk-managing derivatives. An MSMF is also a good qualification for someone who would plans to work initially as a quant but eventually move to the trading desk after gaining experience as a quant supporting an exotic derivative trading desk. The CFA (chartered financial analyst) qualification is occasionally cited as a useful qualification for prospective traders, though it is generally viewed by traders as not necessary.
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