Preferred Pathway Application

Undergraduate students in their final year of study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign may use the Preferred Pathway Application to apply to the Financial Engineering program. Students are not required to take the GRE to apply. However, the following conditions must be satisfied.


  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 at UIUC
  • Minimum course requirements with a grade of "B" or higher:
    • 2 semesters of calculus
    • 1 semester of linear algebra
    • 1 semester of probability and statistics
    • 1 semester of computer programming (Java, Python, C or C++)
  • Students must enter the MSFE program in the Fall semester following graduation in their undergraduate program. If one year or more has passed since the student has graduated, the student will have to apply using the standard application process.
  • You can confirm eligibility if needed by emailing

Application Process

The following application materials must be submitted:

  • Online application (fee will be paid by MSFE; contact after submission).
  • Most recent uAchieve Report (name must be on report).
  • Academic Statement of Purpose to describe (within 300 words): (1) your academic interests, (2) your academic background, preparation, and training, including any relevant professional experiences, (3) your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in the MSFE program, and (4) your professional goals.
  • Provide a short video, no more than 2 minutes in length, describing the following prompts:
    • "Why do you feel you are best suited for the MS Financial Engineering Program?"
    • "What are your career goals after completing our program?"
  • Answer all writing prompts included on the application.
  • Resume.
  • One letter of recommendation from a UIUC faculty member.
  • Passport (international students only).
  • Evidence of financial resources (international students only) will be required upon admission.

Preferred Pathway applicants are not automatically admitted into the MSFE program. Applications will be reviewed by the MSFE admission committee. A decision of admission or rejection will be made within one month after the submission of a complete application. An applicant that’s not admitted through the Preferred Pathway Program might still be considered in the standard application process.  See MSFE Admission for the requirements in a standard application process.

How to Apply

  1. Login or create an account for the Graduate College application portal and begin your application as usual.
  2. In the application, there is a section regarding Application Fee Waivers – indicate you are eligible for an application fee waiver and check the box for “MSFE Preferred Pathway Program Student”.
  3. Leave the GRE section blank.
  4. In the reference area section, enter the information for the UIUC faculty member you have requested to write your letter of recommendation.
  5. Upload a copy of your most recent uAchieve Report.
  6. A personal statement, resume, passport (if international), and funding documentation (if international) are required.
  7. Email the MSFE Office ( to let us know your application has been submitted. We will then begin your application review.

Final admission decisions rest with the Graduate College Admissions Office and require the completion of any academic degrees that were incomplete at the time of your application and maintaining a satisfactory GPA.

Any questions may be directed to

*All international applicants requesting visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) are required to demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of their education while in the United States. Financial documentation is required as part of the application process in order for visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) to the U.S. to be issued. International applicants should upload the documentation directly to the online application using the Declaration and Certification of Finances form. This form includes the amount of funding required and the type of documentation required.