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Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Admissions

When can I apply for admissions?
We begin accepting applications on December 1st.

What is the application deadline?
The application deadline is April 15 11:00 PM CST

What is needed to apply?

  • Bachelor's Degree or Bachelor Equivalent - Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Economics, Finance
  • 1 Year of Calculus
  • 1 Semester of Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • 1 Semester of Probability and Statistics
  • 1 Semester of Programming (preferably in C/C++)
  • GRE or GMAT
  • TOEFL or IELTS for all applicants whose native language is not English (exemptions see here) - 103 (iBT), 257 (CBT), or 613 (PBT))
  • Knowledge of basic Finance
  • GPA of 3.25/4.0 for the last 60 hours of study

If lacking certain prerequisite course(s) - can I be admitted?
If you have not completed a prerequisite course at the time of your application, you should explain in your personal statement that you intend to take the remaining courses(s) during the summer prior to enrollment. If admitted, it will be conditional upon passing the course(s).

Do you require an undergraduate degree in finance or engineering?
No, it is not required, but it is strongly recommended. Our current student's undergraduate backgrounds are in fields such as engineering, mathematics, physics, computer science, economics and finance.

What is the application fee?
The application fee is $75 for citizens and permanent residents of the United States and the fee is $90 for international student.  The application fee can be paid by credit card during the online application process. If you prefer not to pay online, you may send a check payable to the University of Illinois directly to the MSFE office at

MSFE Office - University of Illinois, 3253 Digital Computer Lab, 1304 West Springfield Ave., Urbana, IL 61801

The MSFE Office cannot process your application until the application fee is received

What is the Tuition and Fee schedule for the MSFE program?

The tuition and program fee for the MSFE program for 2016-2017 totals $64,500, which includes all three semesters of instruction: fall, spring, and fall term. This amount does not include University fees which cover such things as health insurance, health services, facilities fees, etc. More information about University fees can be found at the Office of Registrar's website

$57,000 tuition

$7,500 program fees

$64,500 + University Fees

  • You can think of this as $21,500/semester compared to other programs
  • University fees are approximately $1,850/semester

The University provides electronic billing and notified the student of a pending bill by email. Information about student accounts and billing can be found at the Office of Student Accounts and Cashiers.

Can I get Financial Aid?
The MS Financial Engineering Program is a self-supported program; therefore, assistantships, scholarships, tuition waivers and fellowship funding are not available. However, you can apply for Federal Student loans if you are a US citizen or permanent resident through the Financial Aid Office on the UI campus. Office of Student Financial Aid

Are there any interviews for admission?
Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis. Please refrain from calling or emailing the MSFE Office to request an interview. You will be contacted by the MSFE Office if an interview is necessary to make a decision on you application.

When will you start to check my application after I submit my online application?
We will begin looking at applications regardless of what you have submitted. However, if we notice something is missing we will send you an email asking you to upload those documents. All documents must be in before we can make a final decision.

How do I make changes to my application once it has been submitted?
You may amend your application by sending your revised and/or additional documents to

MSFE Office - University of Illinois, 3253 Digital Computer Lab, 1304 West Springfield Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 or by faxing documents to 217-333-1486

How long before I'm notified of my admissions?
Admissions decisions are being granted on a rolling basis. Depending on the number of applicants, some will receive their decision before May, but every completed application will receive a decision by May 16th, 2017.

Where do I mail my admissions material?
Please do not mail any documents to us. You will be allowed to upload scanned copies of your documents on Apply Yourself during the application process.

Can I send unofficial copies of transcripts, etc.?
Yes, you can upload unofficial transcripts on Apply Yourself during the application process.  However, if you are admitted, you will need to provide official documentation. Please note that the documents must be provided in a sealed envelope directly from the issuing institution. Transcripts

What is the difference between the MSF and MSFE programs?
The principal difference between the MSF and MSFE programs is the greater emphasis on quantitative techniques and programming required in the MSFE program.  The MSFE prepares students for quantitatively- oriented finance careers, including careers in derivatives valuation, hedging, risk management, trading and portfolio management. The curriculum includes applied mathematics and statistics, computer programming, and finance. Half of the courses are taught by engineering faculty and the other are taught by finance faculty.

Can I apply to more than one degree program at the University of Illinois?
Yes, you may apply to multiple programs at the University of Illinois (such as MSFE and MSF).  You must provide separate applications and supporting documents to each program including - application fees, letters, etc. for each. You do NOT need to order two sets of official scores (GMAT/GRE, TOEFL/IELTS). However, you may only be formally admitted to one University of Illinois program at a time. Therefore, if you currently hold an admission from one program on campus, you must decline that offer before you may receive admission from another. Please send an email to msfe-apply@illinois.edu if you apply to more than one program at UIUC.

I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree - can I apply to the MSFE Program?
Yes, be sure to note all work experience, internships, and other certificates and activities in your application. In addition, you must have completed all requirements of your degree by the start of classes in August so that you can arrive on the University of Illinois campus in time to join Orientation, which is held in August.

I am currently a graduate student at the U of I - How can I transfer to your program?
Since you are a current UIUC graduate student, you do not need to fill out the standard application on ApplyYourself. Instead, you will need to fill out a petition form. It waives the application fee and allows the documents you already submitted for admission to your current program to be forwarded to the Financial Engineering Program. 

You will need to write a new personal statement that is no more than 300 words, describing your area of interest and what your goals are upon completion of the MSFE program. We also require one additional letter of recommendation from a recent professor or employer, along with the letters of recommendation that you submitted to your previous/current program. You may send your new personal statement and letter of recommendation to us at msfe@illinois.edu as a PDF attachment.

Once your advisor has signed the petition form, he/she can send all the documents from your file, (transcript, previous letters of recommendation, GRE/GMAT scores (as long as they are less than 5 years old)) along with the completed petition to our office. We will then have the Director of the MSFE program sign the form and the Admissions Committee will begin to review your file. This process does not guarantee admission to the program; it just allows you to apply as a current UIUC graduate student.

I am a previous graduate student from the U of I - How can I apply to your program? (Completed a Masters and has since left)
Since you were a graduate student in the past you will not have to re-apply. However, you will need to fill out two forms.

You will also be required to provide us with your transcripts, a new personal statement (no more than 300 words), and one additional letter of recommendation from a recent professor or employer.  These should accompany any previous letter of recommendation that you submitted to your last program of study at the U of I.

Who should write recommendation letters?
Your recommendation letters should come from academic and business sources. These recommendations should emphasize your strengths in the following areas: quantitative and analytical analysis, written and oral communication, spreadsheet analysis, and relevant work experience.

Is work experience required?
The Illinois' MSFE program does NOT require applicants/students to have prior work experience; however, it is looked upon favorably by the Admissions Committee.

I am concerned about my GPA
As far as the GPA requirement goes, keep in mind that we only count the last 60 hours of study. Most undergraduate degrees require you to have 120 credit hours to graduate. As such, the Graduate College here at UIUC will only look at the last 60 hours - meaning your Junior and Senior years. This is because most of your core courses are taken during these hours. Thus, it is a better assessment of your abilities. If your GPA is still less than 3.25, you can still be considered for admission as long as you meet the other requirements. If there were any specific circumstances that affect your academic record, you may want to include an explanation in your personal statement.

Can I write more than 300 words in my personal statement?
We encourage you to keep your personal statement under 300 words. You may write more but any more than 600 may indicate an unclear understanding of directions. Also, due to the high volume of applications the admissions committee may not be able to read an extensive essay as thoroughly as a shorter one.

Is a thesis required?
No. The program is solely based on coursework. Students interested in working on research projects can make arrangements with individual faculty.

The online application form is asking for specializations. What are the available specializations for MSFE?
In that section of your application, please list any specializations you have had previously, such as a minor or concentration. The MSFE Program at the University of Illinois does not have any specializations.

How many students will be admitted this year?
Last year we received over 500 applications, as a result, admission to the MSFE program is highly competitive. Therefore, we plan to keep the class size consistent.

Can the program be extended from 3 semesters?
The MSFE program is intended to be 18 months/3 semesters. Exceptions to this rule are made for qualified students who have successfully completed their first semester. Approval must be granted by the Director immediately following the first semester and prior to starting in the spring (2nd) semester.

May I transfer credits to fulfill MSFE requirements?
No, we do not allow the transfer of other credits in to replace core MSFE courses. We realize that some of our students have taken similar courses but not as in-depth or in line with the MSFE curriculum here at UIUC.

Can I apply for spring admission?
No, due to the sequential design of the curriculum, we do not offer admission into the spring semester. All students must start the program in the fall.

Will I receive Health Care Services?
Yes. As a student at the University of Illinois, you pay two fees at registration which cover services that should meet most of your health care needs. Please visit McKinley Health Center for details on these fees and what they cover.

 

Test Scores

Is the GRE/GMAT required?
Either one will be sufficient. The GRE or GMAT scores will be used by the Admissions Committee as additional evaluative measures.

What is the minimum GRE/GMAT requirements?
The MSFE program seeks students with strong quantitative skills. While we don't set a minimum standard for admissions, the average quantitative score of our students is in the 90th percentile.

Can I waive the GRE/GMAT?
No. The GRE/GMAT test scores are a strong indication of the quantitative and verbal skills of an applicant. While the committee considers the composite applications of each applicant, an official GRE or GMAT score must be included.

You can sign up to take the GRE or the GMAT

Please request the test score to be sent to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Is the TOEFL/IELTS required?
Yes, for applicants whose native language is not English (exemptions see here). You must provide the following...

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 103 (iBT), 257 (CBT), or 613 (PBT)
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) overall score of at least 7.0 with at least a 6.0 in all subsections.

What is the minimum requirements for TOEFL/IELTS?
Strong English skills are essential for success in the MSFE program. The minimum score for TOEFL is 103 and IELTS is 7.0.

Can I waive the TOEFL/IELTS?
Applicants may qualify for a TOEFL waiver if they have completed at least two years of post-secondary full-time study, as defined by the home institution, in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or if they have completed a graduate degree in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment

Can I still apply with a TOEFL score below 103?
Yes, The MS Financial Engineering program has been designed to be exceptionally challenging and mastery of the English language is extremely important. If your TOEFL score is more than 5 points below the minimum of 103 iBT, you are encouraged to re-take the TOEFL. If you are within 5 points of the minimum, your other scores are excellent and you meet all prerequisites, you should apply if re-taking the TOEFL is not an option.  You may of course apply with a score more than 5 points below the minimum, but unless your qualifications are quite stellar, there may be little the Admissions Committee can do.

If I score higher than 103 on my TOEFL, do I need to take the EPT?
The MSFE Director would like all international students who have not completed a degree in the United States to take the English Placement Test (EPT). If you scored higher than a 103 on the TOEFL, you most likely will pass the test, but you will benefit from English as a Second Language (ESL) courses if you do not pass.

My TOEFL score is about to expire, can I still apply?
Yes. However, it is required by the Graduate College here at Illinois, that test dates be within 2 years of the date you plan to start your studies. Our program starts in August; therefore, we would need your TOEFL score to be dated no earlier than August 2015. However, if accepted into the program, this will delay the Graduate College making a final decision until they receive the updated score. This in turn will delay the mailing of your I-20.

Can I send unofficial copies of test scores?
No. Official test score reports are required for the Admissions Committee to review your application.

Is it possible to submit my test scores at a later day?
You may start applying for our program without submitting your official test scores; however, all official scores must be submitted to be officially reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

What is the institution codes?
You can request your official test scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Applicants to MSFE program should request their scores be sent to Institution Code #1836.  Department codes are not necessary for our school; you can fill in any number or leave it blank (if that is an option). As long as the institution code is correct, all scores received from ETS go into a database where each department can access the scores.

Where can I send my GMAT scores?
Reporting option: University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign/College of Business - Masters in Finance Urbana IL, USA

 

International Student Concerns

What is the minimum requirements for TOEFL/IELTS?
Strong English skills are essential for success in the MSFE program. The minimum score for TOEFL is 103 and IELTS is 7.0.

Can I waive the TOEFL/IELTS?
Applicants may qualify for a TOEFL waiver if they have completed at least two years of post-secondary full-time study, as defined by the home institution, in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or if they have completed a graduate degree in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment

Can I still apply with a TOEFL score below 103?
Yes, The MS Financial Engineering program has been designed to be exceptionally challenging and mastery of the English language is extremely important. If your TOEFL score is more than 5 points below the minimum of 103 iBT, you are encouraged to re-take the TOEFL. If you are within 5 points of the minimum, your other scores are excellent and you meet all prerequisites, you should apply if re-taking the TOEFL is not an option.  You may of course apply with a score more than 5 points below the minimum, but unless your qualifications are quite stellar, there may be little the Admissions Committee can do.

If I score higher than 103 on my TOEFL, do I need to take the EPT?
The MSFE Director would like all international students who have not completed a degree in the United States to take the English Placement Test (EPT). If you scored higher than a 103 on the TOEFL, you most likely will pass the test, but you will benefit from English as a Second Language (ESL) courses if you do not pass.

My TOEFL score is about to expire, can I still apply?
Yes. However, it is required by the Graduate College here at Illinois, that test dates be within 2 years of the date you plan to start your studies. Our program starts in August; therefore, we would need your TOEFL score to be dated no earlier than August 2015. However, if accepted into the program, this will delay the Graduate College making a final decision until they receive the updated score. This in turn will delay the mailing of your I-20.

Am I eligible to apply with a bachelor's degree from a non US institution?
Any international student may visit the University of Illinois Graduate College Admission Requirements by Country to view country specific requirements.

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