Application Deadlines

MS-CFRM Degree Program

Deadlines for Autumn 2016 Campus:

Round 1: January 15, 2016

Round 2: March 15, 2016

All application materials must be submitted by 11:59pm in order to be fully considered for autumn 2016. No extensions to the final deadline will be given.

Deadline for Autumn 2016 Online: May 15, 2016

Certificate Programs

Deadline for Autumn 2015: August 21, 2015

Other Admission Information

The MS-CFRM degree program is ideally suited for:

  • Finance professionals with several years of experience
  • MBA graduates with exceptionally strong quantitative and computational skills and an exceptionally strong academic record
  • Individuals who have completed an undergraduate or Master's degree, with a strong academic record in a science or engineering field. This includes (but is not limited to) applied mathematics, economics, mathematics, physics, statistics, computer science or electrical engineering.

The Certificate programs are best suited for:

  • Professionals that are interested in computational finance but cannot fully invest in the time or effort required in the MS-CFRM degree program. For some individuals the certificates can serve as a stepping stone to the Masters degree with successful completion of the respective certificate and admission to MS-CFRM.

Proficiency Requirements

Competitive applicants to the MS-CFRM degree program will show proficiency in:

  • Calculus through partial differentiation, matrix algebra, and one-dimensional optimization
  • Probability and statistics at the level of an upper level undergraduate course or entry level graduate course
  • A programming language such as Java or C++, or in a math or a statistics programming language such as Matlab, R/S-PLUS

Students lacking proficiency in 1 or 2 of the items above should:

  • Self-study week 2 through 5 of Professor Zivot's CFRM 462 / ECON 424 material.
  • Take CFRM 461, Probability and Statistics for Quantitative Finance

Students lacking proficiency in all 3 items above should take CFRM 463 R-Programming for Quantitative Finance (offered over 3 weeks, starting in early September 2014). Proficiency requirements for the Certificate programs are similar to, but less stringent than those of the MS-CFRM graduate degree program.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants with little or no professional experience are required to take the GRE exam. It is strongly recommended that interested applicants take the GRE Exam at least 30 days prior to the application deadline to assure their score is reported on a timely basis. More information on the GRE can be found here. When taking the test, use 4854 (University of Washington) under Score Report Recipients. The Department code is not necessary.

While the GRE is preferred, applicants who wish to substitute a (GMAT) may do so. Use GMAT code 459-75-53.

Individuals who have roughly 5 years of work experience in the finance industry or who have already obtained an advanced degree in a STEM related discipline may petition for a waiver of the GRE requirement by indicating so in the admissions application where prompted. Waiver requests will not be reviewed unless a full application is on file. If you have questions, please contact us. Applicants who have been granted a waiver of the GRE should consider taking one or more refresher courses that are offered prior to the start of autumn quarter.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Applicants with English as a Second Language (ESL) should refer to the UW Graduate School Memorandum #8 for requirements.

MS-CFRM Degree Program

Deadlines for Autumn 2016 Campus:

Round 1: January 15, 2016

Round 2: March 15, 2016

All application materials must be submitted by 11:59pm in order to be fully considered for autumn 2016. No extensions to the final deadline will be given.

Deadline for Autumn 2016 Online: May 15, 2016

Certificate Programs

Deadline for Autumn 2015: August 21, 2015


Fee rates of $900 per credit are in effect through spring quarter 2016 and are subject to change in summer 2016. The current course fee charges results in costs as follows: 

$37,800* for the 42 credit MS-CFRM degree
$12,600 for the 14 credit Computational Finance Certificate

Other University of Washington service and activity fees are additional and are dependent on the program and courses taken.

*Does not include registration, technology, U-PASS and other University fees assessed each quarter.


Enrollment Confirmation Deposit

For applicants that have been made an admissions offer to the MS-CFRM program, there is an Enrollment Confirmation Deposit (ECD) that is required to confirm your place in the program. The deposit will be applied to the first quarter of tuition upon registering for courses (autumn 2015). The deposit is non-refundable if the applicant elects to not enter the program after remitting payment, and extensions to the deadline (refer to form) will not be granted. 

The Enrollment Confirmation Deposit rates are:

  • Campus program: $1,800.00 USD
  • Online program: $250.00 USD

Apply by filling out the online application with the Graduate School.

  • For "Application Type," MS-CFRM applicants should select "Graduate"
  • For "Graduate Program," select "Computational Finance and Risk Management"

As with all University of Washington Graduate Degree programs each applicant must pay a nonrefundable fee of $85 when applying to the MS-CFRM degree program. The application will list all materials required by the department and the Graduate School, and applications can be saved before final submission. After you submit your application and are reviewed by the department, please log back into your application and click on the "status" button to see if any further documents are required to complete the UW admission process. **Please do not send application materials to the Department as we do not accept mailed materials (official transcripts, test scores, etc.) from applicants.**

International students should read 'Information for International Students' for further final admissions requirements.

The application for the online Computational Finance Certificate program, along with additional information from UW PCE, can be found here. Single course enrollment is also available.

Applications for the Certificate program will be accepted through August 21st, 2015. For more information about the Certificate program, please send an email to Assistant Director of Academic Programs, Matt Austin, at: 'maustin[at]'.

There is a $50 nonrefundable Certificate program application fee.

Applying Certificate Courses Toward The MS-CFRM Degree

Students will often take the Computational Finance certificate program with the thought that they may subsequently want to enter the MS-CFRM degree program. Upon successful completion of the certificate with a strong grade point average (GPA) and acceptance into the MS-CFRM program, such students will be able to apply up to 12 of their course credits toward the MS-CFRM degree.

Considering the MS-CFRM degree after a certificate? Then submit an application through the Graduate School for UW Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) status when applying for one of the certificate programs.

For more information about GNM status, visit the Graduate School.

For admission, please apply by filling out the online application with the Graduate School here.

  • For "Application Type," GNM applicants should select "Graduate Non-Matriculated"
  • For "Graduate Program," please select "Computational Finance and Risk Management"

Courses in the MS-CFRM degree curriculum may be taken on a single course enrollment (SCE) basis, provided the student has adequate course prerequisite experience. Applicants interested in enrolling in individual courses should submit a Graduate School Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) application.



Non-US citizens are not required to have an F-1 visa to enroll in the online degree if they reside outside of the United States. F-1 visas are not granted to non-U.S. citizens enrolled in online educational programs.

English Proficiency and International Student Final Admission Requirements

Every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the ways listed in Graduate School Memorandum #8.

International Students may be required to provide additional application materials to the Graduate School for final admission. This may include official transcripts, degree statements, proof of English proficiency, and a Statement of Financial Ability. After you submit your application and are approved by the department, please log back into your application and click on the "status" button. This will tell you what specific documents you need to submit to the Graduate School AND provide you access to the Financial Statement of Ability form. Please read the graduate school website regarding financial ability.

The Department of International Student Services (ISS) is a useful resource for international applicants once accepted to the MS-CFRM program.

International Student I-20 and Visa Application

After all requested materials are filed with the Graduate School, international students will be formally accepted and issued an I-20 and subsequent visa application at the U.S. consulate in your home country from the Graduate School. Further details about obtaining an I-20 and F-1 visa will be provided on your application webpage.

The Program

What does your program have to offer me?

The Computational Finance and Risk Management program of the Department of Applied Mathematics provides students with a rigorous mathematical and statistical foundation as well as extensive instruction in the use of open source R-programming. Grounded in both theory and practice, the program adapts to equip students with the skills and knowledge that will enable them for future success.

What programs are available?

The CFRM program offers a standard 42-credit degree, a 54-credit degree with a computing concentration, and a 54-credit degree with a risk management concentration. In addition, we offer certificates and single course enrollment. All of our classes are available both in the classroom and online format.

What will I be able to do with my MS degree in CFRM?

Many of our students go on to careers in the finance industry at such places as Russell Investments, Milliman, UW Medicine, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, TIAA CREF, and Franklin Templeton. Job titles vary depending on the degree path and interest of the student.

Are prerequisite courses required?

Yes. The prerequisites are:

  • Calculus through partial differentation, matrix algebra, and one-dimensional optimization
  • Probability and statistics at the level of an upper-level undergraduate course or entry-level graduate course
  • A programming language such as Java or C++, or in a math or statistics programming language such as MATLAB or R/S-Plus.

Can I still apply even if I have not fulfilled all of the prerequisites?

Yes, although it is not recommended. A strong business background cannot substitute quantitative knowledge.  The most competitive applicants will have earned strong grades in calculus, probability/statistics, and programming coursework.

For our campus and online applicants, the Admissions Review Committee will evaluate each applicant and may recommend one or more of several options to students who lack the required prerequisites. The options include:

  • Taking preparatory CFRM courses (CFRM 460, 461, 462)
  • Taking undergraduate level courses in these areas (either at UW or at a regionally accredited university or community college)


The Application

How do I apply to the MS program?

Fill out the online application on the UW Graduate School website. The application lists what documents need to be submitted, and you can save your progress prior to submitting your final application to the Department.

What things do I need to apply to the MS on-campus program?

This information can be found on the admissions page. Items to submit include: all post-secondary unofficial transcripts, self-reported GRE general test scores, two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, current resume or vitae, supplemental form, proof of English proficiency (if applicable).

What are the application deadlines?

These dates are for autumn 2016 enrollment. We offer autumn admission only for our MS degree (both campus and online) and Computational Finance Certificate.

  • Classroom Program:
    • Round 1: January 15, 2016
    • Round 2: March 15, 2016
  • Online Program: May 15, 2016
  • Computational Finance Certificate: August 12, 2016

Can you update the [test scores, statement of purpose, resume, supplemental form, transcript, etc.] in my application?

If the application deadline for which you have applied has not yet passed, you can send us an email with the document(s) you want to update. Please note that there are some updates that you can make yourself on your application status page. If the application deadline has already passed, we will not be able to make any changes to your application. Our review process begins immediately after the deadline using the materials on file at the time of the deadline.

Where do I send my application materials [official transcripts, test scores, etc.]?

Please DO NOT MAIL application materials to the Department. This is also mentioned in the online application. We only require such steps if an offer of admission is made and accepted, and at that time directions are given. Utilize self-reporting of scores and submit unofficial transcripts in the application. Materials sent to the Department are not opened.

Can I obtain an informal assessment of my chances for admission based on my resume and transcript?

As a matter of policy, we do not comment on eligibility nor admissions chances until the application is completed and submitted to the Admissions Review Committee. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Can I submit more letters of recommendation, samples of my work, or papers I've written?

No. In the interest of keeping applications consistent and fair for all applicants, we cannot accept additional materials for review. There are no exceptions to this rule.

What is the status of my application?

You can check on the status of your application by logging back in to your online application. Decisions will be made after each admissions deadline. Due to the large number of applicants, we ask that candidates NOT contact us about their application status.

What GPA do you look for in potential MS students?

Like the GRE/GMAT, we also do not have a minimum or cut-off GPA. However, the UW Graduate School requires at least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits. The average prior GPA for the autumn 2015 cohort was 3.73.

How much can I expect to pay?

The current tuition rate is $900 per credit. Each quarter there are also registration fees, technology fees and other mandatory student service fees.

How many students do you accept in the MS program?

We do not have a minimum or maximum number of students we accept to our program. In fact, the number of students in each cohort has been varied.

  • 2015: 39
  • 2014: 27
  • 2013: 35
  • 2012: 24
  • 2011: 18

I just found out about this program and I really want to join, but it is after the admissions deadline. Can I still apply?

No. In the interest of keeping the admissions process fair for applicants who were able to complete the application on time, we are unable to accept applications after the admissions deadline. You are welcome to apply to the program for the next intake [autumn of the following year].



Do you accept the GRE or GMAT?

We will accept either the GRE or GMAT, although we prefer the GRE. If you have yet to take either exam, we recommend taking the GRE.

How do I submit my official GRE/GMAT scores?

Please follow the directions within the application regarding score reporting. As previously mentioned, official scores are only required if an official offer of admission is made. In addition, only the Institution Code is necessary to order scores from ETS.

What is the minimum score you consider for the GRE?

We do not have a minimum or cut-off score for the GRE/GMAT. To give you an idea of the types of scores we see, for students accepted as part of the autumn 2014 cohort the average GRE score was 159 (V) and 166 (Q).

What is the minimum score on the [TOEFL, IELTS, or other English proficiency exam] needed for admissions? Do I need to take an English proficiency test?

Please refer to Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.

I have a degree from the US. Should I submit a TOEFL score?

If you fall within the Memo 8 guidelines to meet the English proficiency requirements, no. In your application, you can leave the English proficiency section blank. The admissions committee will see that you have a degree from a US institution. If accepted to the program, the Graduate School will verify your official transcript and confirm that it meets the English proficiency requirement.

I'm scheduled to take the [TOEFL / GRE / GMAT] after the application deadline. What should I do?

Since we only require self-reporting initially, it is acceptable to take the exam right before the deadline and utilize self-reporting of your scores (as long as you still submit your application prior to the deadline). After the deadline we cannot accept new or updated materials, so please ensure that all exams are completed prior to the admissions deadline.

The [TOEFL / GRE / GMAT] section of my application says 'not received.' What should I do?

If you have scores to report in your application, you should upload them. If you do not have test scores to provide [asking for a GRE waiver, don't have a GMAT or TOEFL score, etc.] then you can leave those sections of the application blank. As a result of leaving those sections blank, the application status page will show that those materials were 'not received.' This is acceptable unless you need to include scores in your application. Your application will still be reviewed and there is no need to contact us to ask us if there are problems with your application.


Becoming a Student

What is the Enrollment Confirmation Deposit (ECD)?

The Enrollment Confirmation Deposit is a payment a newly accepted student makes to confirm his or her intention to enroll in the CFRM program. For campus-based students, the deposit due is $1,800.00 USD. For online-based students, the deposit due is $250.00 USD. The deposit funds are applied toward tuition and fees assessed for the quarter in which the student is admitted. A student who pays the fee for the quarter but does not register in that quarter is not entitled to a refund.

When is the Enrollment Confirmation Deposit (ECD) due?

The due date for the deposit will depend on when you receive an offer of admission. The date will be made clear in your offer letter. Please note that requests to extend the ECD payment deadline will not be granted.

I received an offer of admission, which I accepted and paid the ECD. But now another opportunity has opened up for me. May I have a refund of my deposit?

All deposits are non-refundable. We congratulate you on your new opportunity.

If admitted, can I defer enrollment?

If you are not able to attend starting the year in which you received an offer of admission, we ask that you submit a new application if you choose to reapply in subsequent years. It is possible that documents such as letters of recommendation can be attached to your new application by emailing compfin [at] uw [.] edu. Your candidacy will be evaluated on the basis of the applicant pool at that time.

I'm an international student. Is this a STEM program that is eligible for the 17 month OPT extension?

Yes. The CFRM program is a STEM program, so eligible international students can be on OPT for up to 29 months (please check status of any pending cases in the US Court system for updates). All of the CPT and OPT guidelines can be found on the UW International Student Services website.

Why was I not admitted to the CFRM program?

If you are not granted admission to the program, unfortunately your candidacy was not as strong as other applicants for a very limited number of openings. We ask that applicants NOT send us inquiries about denial decisions, or attempt to submit additional materials to be reconsidered.

Do I have to come to campus if I'm an online student?

No. The beauty of the online program is that everything is done virtually. Online students use proctors for exams, and attend class and office hours via online classrooms. Of course, you are more than welcome to visit campus and the Department. We also encourage participation in commencement once you are degree complete!

Once In the program, what GPA am I expected to maintain?

The Applied Mathematics Department minimum cumulative GPA requirement is 3.2.

How many courses should I take each quarter?

Full-time students must enroll in a minimum of 10 credits. Since each CFRM course is 4 credits, full-time students usually take 12 credits each quarter. Part-time students take less than 10 credits, on average - usually one 4 credit course.

What constitutes the Final Examination?

Beginning autumn 2013, the final examination is a written exam. This exam is given in autumn quarter, and students who do not successfully pass their first attempt will have the opportunity to retake the exam later in autumn quarter.