Frequently Asked Questions

When can I submit my application?
We begin accepting applications on December 1st.

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

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

What is the application fee?
The application fee is $70 for citizens and permanent residents of the United States and the fee is $90 for international students. We are unable to provide application waivers to International applicants.

Are there any interviews for admission?
Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis. 

How long before I'm notified of my admissions?
Admissions decisions are 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 15th.

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.

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, computer programming, 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.

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.

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 92nd 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.  GRE/GMAT waivers will not be provided.

Is the TOEFL/IELTS required?
Yes, for applicants whose degree is not from an institution or country where English is the official language.  You must provide the following:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 103.
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) overall score of at least 7.5.
  • Duolingo (ACCEPTING TESTS TAKEN BETWEEN FEB. 1, 2020 AND AUG. 1, 2022 ONLY) score of 125 for full-status admission.

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.  More information is available here.

Do I need to take the EPT?
EPT will be required for those who are admitted with TOFEL scores lower than 103 or IELTS lower than 7.5.  You must enroll in any required English as a Second Language courses during your first semester.

How do I get a student visa?
We will provide you with an I-20 form so that you can request a student visa from a US embassy or consulate in your country. The documents will be sent via email.