The interdisciplinary Bendheim Center for Finance offers a Master in Finance (M.Fin.) degree. The distinctive feature of Princeton’s M.Fin. program is its strong emphasis on financial economics in addition to financial engineering, data science, and computational methods, as well as emerging tools of Fin Tech. Graduates of this program will have a solid understanding of the fundamental quantitative tools from computer science, economic theory, optimization, probability, and statistics and machine learning, all of which are increasingly vital in the financial industry. To a greater degree than at any time in the past, there now exists a body of knowledge that is essential for the proper analysis and management of financial securities, portfolios, and the financial decisions of the firms. A driving force behind these developments is a lively exchange of ideas between academia and the financial industry, a collaboration that is the closest parallel in the social sciences to the academic-private sector interactions routinely seen in engineering and the applied sciences.
The M.Fin. program is intended to prepare students for a wide range of careers both inside and outside the financial industry, including applied research, financial engineering and technology, risk management, macroeconomic and financial forecasting, quantitative asset management and trading, financial consulting, and investment banking and corporate finance. The program does not require prior work experience, although it can be a plus. The Bendheim Center provides extensive career assistance to students, including help with internships and job placement. The program has a small number of merit-based fellowships (in the form of a fraction of the full-year’s tuition cost) that may be granted to top applicants.
The curriculum is designed to be completed in four semesters. Admission letters will specify the expected program length. The program is designed to be taken on a full-time basis. Classes are taught during the day, and full-time students take four or five courses per semester. All students are subject to an annual review of academic progress.
Princeton’s M.Fin. program draws upon the combined strength of a variety of departments, including the Departments of Computer Science, Economics, Operations Research and Financial Engineering, and others. The program has two major course components and a required summer internship between years one and two. First, required core courses will provide (1) the prerequisite skills in economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, and probability and statistics necessary for the study of finance at a sophisticated level; and (2) an integrated introduction to modern financial analysis. Second, a wide range of elective courses, drawn from many departments, will allow students to tailor the program to fit their own needs and interests. These courses will permit a range of opportunities for specialization and in-depth study along a number of coherent tracks of topics of interest to the student. Finally, the required summer internship is meant to provide additional practical experience in addressing real-world finance issues.
Students completing the program in two years will have the opportunity to obtain the Graduate Certificate from the Center for Statistical and Machine Learning (CSML). Students who earn this certificate will have it appear on the transcript at the time of graduation.
Three letters of recommendation are required, however, one may be from a current or former employer.
The program requirements consist of five core and 11 elective courses. At least five of the elective courses must be at the 500 level or above, and five must be from list 1 (a list maintained by the director of graduate studies and available on the Bendheim Center's website).
Students must maintain an overall grade average of B or better, as well as earn a passing grade in all core and elective courses. Note: Neither audited nor P/D/F courses will fulfill the program’s requirements.
While no master’s thesis is required, students interested in independent research may work with a Bendheim Center-affiliated faculty member on a topic relevant to finance, and by enrolling in the appropriate courses (FIN 560 in the fall or FIN 561 in the spring), they can receive academic credit equivalent to one elective course (thereby reducing the number of required electives).
Second-year students may serve as Assistants in Instruction (A.I.s) in courses or work as tutors, if they have completed the 5 core courses. Each year the Undergraduate Certificate Program is in need of senior thesis tutoring for any majors outside of the Departments of Economics and Operations Research and Financial Engineering.Occasionally there is also a need for tutors for incoming first-year M.Fin. students. Tutors are required to spend a minimum of one hour per week with each tutee. Undergraduate Certificate tutoring is done on a group basis, with approximately five students per group.
The director of graduate studies must approve individual second-year M.Fin. students to serve as tutors or as A.I.s.
Internship or Research Project
All M.Fin. candidates are required to complete a summer internship between their first and second years by working at a financial institution. It is mandatory for incoming students to attend the Math Refresher course which is offered two weeks before classes start in the fall.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier
- Mark A. Aguiar, Economics
- Sanjeev Arora, Computer Science
- Yacine Aït-Sahalia, Economics
- Alan S. Blinder, Economics
- Markus K. Brunnermeier, Economics
- René A. Carmona, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Natalie Cox, Economics
- Jianqing Fan, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Harold James, History
- Jakub Kastl, Economics
- Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Economics
- Moritz F. Lenel, Economics
- Ernest Liu, Economics
- Atif R. Mian, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
- Ulrich K. Mueller, Economics
- John M. Mulvey, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Arvind Narayanan, Computer Science
- Jonathan E. Payne, Economics
- Mykhaylo Shkolnikov, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Christopher A. Sims, Economics
- Ronnie Sircar, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Mete Soner, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Robert J. Vanderbei, Oper Res and Financial Eng
- Mark W. Watson, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
- Matt Weinberg, Computer Science
- Wei Xiong, Economics
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.