Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides the most commonly asked questions regarding the admissions process.

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

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 purpose 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 accept certificates from online learning platforms?

Yes.  We will accept transcripts and certificates from accredited online learning platforms.  Please upload your documentation with your transcripts.

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 applicants.  The application fee can be paid by credit card during the online application process.  We do not provide application fee waivers.

Can I get Financial Aid?
The MS Financial Engineering Program is a self-supported program; therefore, assistantships, 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

When will you start to check my application after I submit my online application?
Our Admissions Committee begins application review in January and continue reviews until May 15.  All candidates will be notified of a decision no later than May 15 and only fully completed applications will be reviewed.

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.  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 to have prior work experience; however, it is looked upon favorably by the Admissions Committee.

Can I write more than 300 words in my personal statement?
We encourage you to keep your personal statement under 300 words. 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.

How many students will be admitted this year?
Admission to the MSFE Program is very competitive and we receive hundreds of applications each year.  Our class size will be no more than 70 members.

Can the program be extended from 3 semesters?
The MSFE program is intended to be 18 months/3 semesters.  We do have the option to extend to 4 semesters.  However, approval is needed for this request.

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?
Yes.  The GRE/GMAT is required and your 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. While the committee considers the composite applications of each applicant, an official GRE or GMAT score must be included.

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 (iBT).
  • 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.

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

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.  

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

Career Services

What Career Service options do I have?
You have twice as many options! Because MSFE is a joint program of the College of Engineering and the College of Business, MSFE students have the opportunity to participate in both Colleges' Career Service programs! Primary career services will be provided by the College of Engineering Career Services (ECS), however you will be eligible to register with the College of Business Career Services (BCS) and participate in College of Business Career fairs.   

Does MSFE help students find internships?
Securing an internship is the student’s responsibility. Although, with our guest speaker series and field trips to the Chicago and/or New York financial districts, a student has the opportunity to gain important business contacts for future employment and/or internships. Being a part of the MSFE Program allows our students to have access to both the College of Engineering’s Career Services Department and the College of Business’ Career Service Department. This provides them with double the resources to execute a strategy for finalizing internships and job placements.