Apr 20, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Engineering and Risk Management, M.S.

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(30 UNITS)

The master’s degree in Financial Engineering and Risk Management provides preparation for professional careers in the financial services industry and government, and provides a foundation for further graduate research work at the doctoral level. The curriculum is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in business, economics, engineering, computer science, mathematics and actuarial science.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive and is based on the holistic assessment of each candidate’s academic and personal/professional background. Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information.

To be successfully admitted into the M.S. Financial Engineering and risk Management program, a “B” average (3.0) minimum GPA is required across courses in the final year of study. Students with degrees in business, economics, mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering or actuarial science are preferred, but other undergraduate degrees will be considered if there is evidence that the candidate has strong quantitative skills. Students must submit a Graduate Management Admission Test/Graduate Record Exam (GMAT/GRE) score* with their application.


Applicants must satisfy one of the following three options to be considered for admission to the M.S. Financial Engineering and Risk Management program.

Option 1

Complete the following courses:

● Foundations of finance (FIN 320  equivalent)
● Investments and financial derivatives (FIN 340  equivalent)
● Business calculus (MATH 135  or MATH 150A  equivalents)
● Business statistics (ISDS 361A  or MATH 438  equivalents)

Option 2 (if Option 1 is not satisfied)

Demonstrate proficiency through professional experience or examinations. Applicants may still qualify for admission without the prerequisites if they have fulfilled any of the following: 
● Successfully completed any level of the CFA exam within the last five years
● Successfully completed either Part I or Part II of the FRM exam within the last five years 
● Successfully completed any of the actuarial exams within the last five years
● Two years of experience in the finance, risk management or financial engineering industries

Option 3 (if Options 1 and 3 are not satisfied)

Pass a qualifying exam or achieve a competitive quantitative GRE/GMAT score and have passed a course in calculus. Applicants are still encouraged to apply if they do not have the required prerequisites. In such cases, students can qualify by either of the following:

  • Earn a quantitative score in the 80th percentile on the GRE/GMAT exams and have passed a course in calculus
  • Pass a qualifying exam prior to admission. The exam is closed-book and multiple choice. It can be taken in-person at CSUF or through ProctorU any time prior to the end of the application period. Prior to taking the exam, applicanta will receive a detailed syllabus of the required subject areas, along with sample questions. The exam will cover three business topics and three mathematics topics.


  1. Time Value of Money
  2. Investments and Basics of Derivatives
  3. Accounting and Corporate Finance


  1. College Algebra
  2. Calculus
  3. Probability and Statistics

Additional Requirements

  • For international students, a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper exam, or a score of 80 on the internet based (iBT)
  • Letters of recommendation (optional)
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose (500 words maximum)


* Students who do not achieve a minimum score of 4 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Writing Assessment Test, a minimum score of 4 on the Graduate Management Admissions test (GMAT) Analytical Writing Assessment, or have not completed the upper-division writing requirement at any CSU campus, will be required to take BUAD 501 . The writing requirement should be met within two semesters of admission.

Study Plan


* The capstone (FIN 597) is a project that will be assigned early in the Fall semester and worked on throughout the one-year program, with a final presentation during the summer FIN 597 course. Sources of the projects include:

  • Projects given by industry partners, which may involve data gathering and analysis, statistical analyses, experience studies, etc.
  • Research topics provided by and supervised by a Finance Department faculty member
  • Independent study project chosen by the student on a topic relevant to the curriculum of the program.

The capstone project must be approved by the MSFERM program coordinator.

Total (30 units)

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