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


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

  • CFRM 405: Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Finance, or equivalent
  • CFRM 410: Probability & Statistics for Computational Finance, or equivalent
  • CFRM 420:  Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics, or equivalent
  • CFRM 425: R Programming for Quantitative Finance, or equivalent
    • 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 curriculum and are academically rigorous.  In addition to subject matter proficiency requirements, all applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree.


A Computational Finance certificate will be awarded to individuals who successfully complete the following three online courses from graduate-level CFRM curriculum for a total of 12 credits:

  • Autumn: CFRM 501, Investment Science   (4 credits)
  • Winter: CFRM 502, Financial Data Science    (4 credits)
  • Spring: CFRM 503, Asset Allocation and Portfolio Management     (4 credits)

We strongly recommend that all Computational Finance certificate students take CFRM 425: R Programming for Quantitative Finance unless they have extensive experience with R.

Please note: the certificate program previously required four courses and 14 credits under previous course numbers CFRM 540, 541, 542, and 543. Program content and coverage remains broadly the same.

Program Costs

Coursework in the Computational Finance certificate is a subset of the first-year MS curriculum, and all 12 credits are optionally transferable into the degree program for students who are later admitted to the MS if students elect that option at the time of initial certificate enrollment.  For 2018-2019, CF certificate courses for online, non-degree students cost $900 per credit.

The complete CF certificate is priced at $10,800.  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 $12,500.

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
CFRM 543Spring 2017Mar 27 - Jun 9, 2017M/W 4:00 - 5:50pm
CFRM 501Autumn 2017Sep - Dec, 2017TBA
CFRM 502Winter 2017Jan - Mar, 2018TBA
CFRM 503Spring 2017Mar - Jun, 2018TBA

Applying to the CF Certificate

Begin the application today!