Computational Finance Certificate


Offered online to members of the public and to interested UW students.


Learn the key mathematical, statistical and econometric foundations needed for quantitative management of financial investments. Study classical methods of portfolio construction based on volatility as a risk measure. Learn modern theory of portfolio optimization, examine how to minimize risk, discover how to balance alpha generation versus downside risk and study the latest risk budgeting techniques. Complement your foundational knowledge with training in open source R programming language for quantitative finance modeling and analysis.

What the certificate covers:

  • Mathematics of fixed income, interest rates and terms structure
  • Introduction to forwards, futures and options pricing and hedging use
  • Linear regression factor models and their uses in finance
  • Introduction to statistical analysis of financial data with R
  • Advanced R modeling tools for financial time series and portfolios
  • Classic mean-variance risk portfolio optimization and risk management
  • Post-modern tail-risk based portfolio optimization and risk management


A Computational Finance certificate will be awarded to individuals who successfully complete the following four online courses from graduate-level CFRM curriculum for a total of 14 credits:

  • September: CFRM 540, Investment Science I  (2 credits)
  • Autumn: CFRM 541, Investment Science II   (4 credits)
  • Winter: CFRM 542, Financial Data Modeling and Analysis in R    (4 credits)
  • Spring: CFRM 543, Portfolio Optimization and Asset Management     (4 credits)

We strongly recommend that all Computational Finance certificate students take CFRM 463: R Programming for Quantitative Finance unless they have extensive experience with R.

Please note: the certificate program requirements may change in 2017 to begin with CFRM 541. Program revisions will be posted in the coming months.


All applicants must show competency in the following course content areas, either by completing the Quantitative Fundamentals certificate or through other academic or professional preparation:

  • CFRM 460: Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Finance, or equivalent
    • Typically offered annually in January and June
  • CFRM 461: Probability & Statistics for Computational Finance, or equivalent
    • Typically offered annually in March and June
  • CFRM 462:  Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics, or equivalent.
    • Typically offered annually in June
  • CFRM 463: R Programming for Quantitative Finance, or equivalent
    • Upcoming UW for-credit sessions can be found here. All Computational Finance certificate courses make extensive use of the R language, which is not taught to students in the coursework.  Experience with another modern language will be accepted, provided the student is willing to learn R independently.

The CF certificate courses are regular graduate courses from the first year MS-CFRM curriculum and are academically rigorous.  In addition to subject matter proficiency requirements, all applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree.

Program Costs

Coursework in the Computational Finance certificate is a subset of the first-year MS curriculum, and a maximum of 12 out of the 14 credits are optionally transferable into the degree program for students who are later admitted to the MS.  CF certificate courses for online, non-degree students cost $800 per credit.

The complete CF certificate is priced at $11,200.  Course fees do not include UW mandatory fees assessed on a quarterly basis, such as registration and student technology fees.  Course fees also exclude textbooks.  The all-inclusive price is approximately $13,000.

Financial aid is not available through CFRM or UW for non-degree programs, except for MS students required to take courses on a preparatory basis, who may be eligible for federal student aid.  Outside scholarships, employer reimbursement, or private student loans may be used to cover expenses.


Certificate students are not required to attend the live online lectures; recordings will be posted on the course website to review on demand.  Assignments are due weekly.

CourseTermDatesLive Lecture Times
CFRM 540Autumn 2016Sep 6 - Sep 27, 2016Tu/Th 2:30 - 4:20pm
CFRM 541Autumn 2016Sep 28 - Dec 16, 2016M/W 1:30 - 3:20pm
CFRM 542Winter 2017Jan 3 - Mar 17, 2017M/W 9:30 - 11:20am (tentative)
CFRM 543Spring 2017Mar 27 - Jun 9, 2017M/W 4:00 - 5:50pm (tentative)

Applying to the CF Certificate

Begin the application today!

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