The University of Illinois Financial Engineering degree is a three-semester program which begins each fall and is offered by the Departments of Finance and Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The curriculum is drawn from topics in stochastic modeling optimization, computing and computational methods, finance, and an applied practicum experience, and is taught by internationally recognized engineering and finance faculty. The program provides an opportunity to study with an international peer group at one of the premier research universities in the world.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus is located in the small cities of Champaign and Urbana 140 miles south of the Chicago loop. Chicago is easily accessible by train (Amtrak), automobile, commuter aircraft, and inter-city bus. Classes are taught on the engineering campus and the new Business Instructional Facility (BIF). The Market Information Lab within the new BIF, sponsored in part by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will provide students with state-of-the-art analytic tools and software products, enhancing their educational experience.

A key part of the MSFE program is the “practicum” course based on real-world projects provided by industry partners. In this course, teams of students will work on projects or problems posed by or developed in cooperation with an industry partner. Through these projects, students will be exposed to “real world” financial engineering and risk management problems. In addition, students will use state-of-the-art analytic tools and software products in the Market Information Lab, and have regular opportunities to listen to and interact with industry speakers brought to campus by the Financial Engineering and Risk Management Clubs and other organizations. Students also have an opportunity to complete an internship during the summer after the first year.

MSFE Career Services provides a suite of products and services for students and recruiting firms, including personalized coaching on job searches and access to recruiters, alumni, and career resources.

Program Objectives

As a field, Financial Engineering has emerged because of the growing complexity required in describing and solving advanced business problems. Financial Engineers use fundamental economic principles and finance theory coupled with state-of-the-art mathematical methods, computational tools, and computer programming expertise.

Combining deep intellectual appeal and practical importance, Financial Engineering has become a flourishing sub-field over the past two decades; indeed, several recent Nobel prizes in economics have been awarded for work that constitutes the foundation of Financial Engineering. Much current research in finance, operations research, and mathematics studies the many emerging issues associated with new financial instruments, risk assessment, risk measurement and optimization.

The growth of Financial Engineering has been fueled by active corporate community asset management companies (including mutual funds and hedge funds), insurance companies, and some advanced corporate treasury departments. Long-term outlooks in the financial services industry suggest a trend toward ever more quantitative analysis and methods.

The Illinois Master of Science in Financial Engineering degree is both technical and pragmatic. Students receive training in the most advanced techniques, providing them the grounding and tools to advance quickly in the field. The program features practice-based learning opportunities which assure the curriculum is always demanding and contemporary. Further, the featured Practicum in the third semester of the program serves as a bridge with industry focusing on real world financial modeling problems.