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Common Questions

Master in Finance

Common Questions

Below prospective students will find answers to several commonly-asked questions.

What are you looking for in a Master in Finance student?

The strongest candidates for admission to the Master in Finance program have a breadth of strengths. At the minimum, their test scores and grades are exceptional, their personal statements and recommendations are excellent, and their language skills are top notch. 

But what sets apart the strongest candidates from the rest is a passion for finance, strong communication skills, and in many cases work experience in the finance industry. Other helpful experiences might include internships in finance and/or previous work experience in areas such as engineering and technology. We have also found that candidates with a Ph.D. in the areas of engineering, mathematics and the sciences have been well-prepared for our program.

I hope to apply to the program in the future. What courses should I take?

While we are often asked to recommend specific courses for a potential applicant to take in order to fortify an admission application, we cannot make specific course recommendations as the curriculum varies widely from one undergraduate institution to the next. Typical undergraduate degrees include applied mathematics, economics, finance, engineering, physics, and computer science, but in the past we have admitted strong candidates with any undergraduate major. A graduate degree in any of these areas can be a plus, but is not necessary. 

At a minimum, we expect applicants to be familiar in mathematics with linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations, and probability and statistics at the level of an intermediate undergraduate course. In addition, we offer incoming MFin students a two-week refresher course in mathematics and probability prior to the beginning of classes in the Fall semester. This course is required.

Are applicants required to have prior work experience in finance?

The program does not require formal work experience as a requirement for admission. Some students begin our program directly from undergrad with no work experience. At a minimum, we expect applicants to have completed one or more internships (for instance, over the summer while in college).

Does it help my admissions chances to contact faculty or staff to make my case?

Contacting individual faculty or staff members in an attempt to bring attention to one’s application never helps. No one on the admissions committee will be able to meet with an applicant before he or she is offered admission. To maintain the integrity of the process, the work of the Admissions Committee is confidential and its members remain anonymous. You can rest assured that the committee carefully reviews each application individually. 

We contact applicants individually if and when we schedule an interview. Please refrain from contacting the office to request an interview. Such requests are never granted. We interview a subset of applicants based on their test scores, grades, work experience and/or relevant degrees, coursework taken, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

Due to the high volume of applications, we cannot pre-evaluate an applicant’s chances of admission, or pre-interview them before the applications are received. Until you apply and we have your complete file, we are unable to informally assess how competitive your application will be.

Is the Master in Finance degree STEM-eligible for visa purposes?

Yes, the MFin is classified as a STEM degree program.

What are your acceptance rates?

We intentionally keep the program small and selective to ensure that we can devote individual attention to each one of our students, both academically and for job placement. Our average yearly acceptance rate over the last five years was about 5%.

Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS language tests?

All applicants must demonstrate a level of oral proficiency in the English language sufficient to participate successfully in the various activities that comprise a graduate education, including classwork, research, research presentations, group meetings, project teamwork, and teaching undergraduates. See the Graduate Admission Website for more detailed information

Can I apply with GMAT scores, or are GRE scores required?

You can submit GMAT scores instead of GRE scores, however while MBA programs tend to favor the GMAT, the GRE is less expensive, more frequently offered, and is our preferred test. For more information, visit the Master in Finance admissions page.

Are there minimum tests scores for admission?

No, with the exception of the English language tests. Admitted students who score below a 27 on the speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT will be required to take an English placement test at Princeton. Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.

In addition, our entering classes have had a median GRE score of 167 on the quantitative part (you may take the exam more than once, in which case we consider your highest score). The average quantitative GMAT scores are 49.5 or 95%. More generally, we pay particular attention to your mathematics background (courses taken in college, grades, scores on the quantitative parts of the tests, etc.). One common reason applicants are not admitted is that their mathematical background is not strong enough to allow them to benefit from our program.

If I do the program in two years can I graduate in one year if I get a job offer?

No, if you are enrolled to complete the program in 2 years (including summer internship) you will not be able graduate after one year even with an offer of employment.

How can I ensure supporting materials for my application are received on time?

Due to turnaround time, scores from tests taken after December 1 are not guaranteed to arrive in time to be considered with your application. We suggest you take your tests no later than November 15 to ensure the scores are received in time to be considered with your application. Please remind your recommendation letter-writers that the deadline is January 3 and letters should be submitted electronically by then to help your application be reviewed as a complete one.

Can I defer if offered admission to your program?

Our department does not have a deferral program. We understand that if you apply for a specific year, then you are prepared to enroll in the program beginning in the fall when you are offered admission.

Can I take a Leave of Absence during the program?

No, due to the short length of our program, a Leave of Absence is not permitted.

Can I take Leave during the program?

Our MFin exam policy is that all students are to be on campus throughout the exam period including each prior reading period and should not arrange travel for this time. Graduate study is a full-time commitment on the students part. The specific periods taken as vacation must not conflict with the student’s academic responsibilities, coursework, research, or teaching, and should be discussed in advance with one’s director of graduate studies, adviser. Student Vacation Policy

I think my application is missing supporting items like test scores. Who can I contact?

Please keep checking the status of your application on the website. If you suspect a problem with receipt of your test scores, please contact Educational Testing Services directly. Additionally, you can contact the Graduate Admission Office if you think it may be an issue with the spelling of your name or birth date.

Do admitted students receive career and internship placements?

Yes, students receive a wealth of career and internship placements. Visit the career development page to learn more.

Can I complete the program part-time?

No. The program is designed to be completed on a full time basis. Our classes are taught during the day and full-time students take four or five courses per semester. Full or Part-time employment off-campus is not allowed while you are an enrolled student of the Graduate School.

I heard some students are able to complete the Master of Finance program in one year. Do I qualify for the accelerated program?

Each year, a very small number of students with strong prior knowledge of the field, mathematical aptitude, and work experience are admitted to the two-year program but given permission to complete it in one year. A student’s ability to complete the program in one year is only determined after admission. Princeton BCF staff will not answer questions about whether or not a prospective student will be eligible to complete the program in one year until their application has been reviewed and they have been admitted.

What is the cost of tuition?

As tuition increases a little each year, please visit the tuition section of the Graduate School website. The full semester amount due is divided over each semester in five equal installments due August 1 through December 31 for the fall semester and January 1 through May 31 for the spring semester.

I was not offered admission. Why?

If an application is denied, it is not possible for us to go back and review applications to justify the denial or offer advice on improving a future application. All materials are returned to the Graduate School by the department once the admission decisions are made, and are not available for further review. In many cases, the only answer is that we are unable to offer admission to many qualified applicants given the desired size of our program. We encourage you to apply again if you were not successful the first time; however please understand this does not mean you will automatically be offered admission during your subsequent application rounds