Courses 2017-11-15T20:22:49+00:00

For Princeton undergraduate students, who plan to pursue the Undergraduate Certificate in Finance (UCF), it is wise to plan your course selection in advance, even from the Freshman year onwards. This will give you more flexibility in the later semesters. Certain curses are prerequisites and should be taken early on.

Elective courses can be selected either according to individual needs and preferences, or to confirm to one of the seven suggested tracks, listed below.  The tracks are intended to be illustrative of coherence courses of study that students might choose.  It is not necessary for a student to designate or complete a particular track to satisfy the certificate requirements. Here is a suggested course sequence: 

Freshman Year

Fall Term:  ECO101, NAT103, (or the two semester version if your SAT test scores indicate insufficient preparation for MAT103)
Spring Term: ECO100, MAT104

Sophomore Year

Fall Term: ECO202 (or equivalent such as ORF245), MAT175 (or the more advanced yearlong sequences during sophomore year MAT201/202 or MAT203/204)
Spring Term: ECO310 (can be taken in Fall along with ECO362)

Junior Year

Fall Term: ECO362, 1 elective
Spring Term: ECO363, 1 elective

Senior Year

Fall Term: 1-2 electives, senior thesis/independent project
Spring Term: 1-2 electives, senior thesis/independent project

The certificate program in finance has four major requirements:

  • First, there are prerequisites in mathematics, economics, and probability and statistics, as necessary for the study of finance at a sophisticated level. Advance planning is essential as these courses should be completed prior to the junior year.
  • Second, two required core courses provide an integrated overview and background in modern finance.  The two core courses are ECO 362 and ECO 363.  ECO and ORF students must have an average of C+ across the core courses.
  • Third, students are required to take three elective courses. The three elective courses must be selected as follows:
    • ECO and ORF students must take at least 2 of the 3 elective courses from List 1 and must have an average of C+ or better calculated across the elective courses.
    • Other concentrators must take at least 1 of the 3 elective courses from List1.
  • Fourth, a significant piece of independent work must relate to issues or methods of finance. This takes the form of a senior thesis, or for non-ECO or ORF majors only, if there is no possibility of finance content in their senior thesis or junior paper, a separate, shorter piece of independent work is required instead.


  • All courses require a letter grade (pass/fail not allowed).
  • In addition to completing the core and elective course requirements, all finance certificate students must write an independent work in finance.
  • You should also take note that ECO300 and ECO301 are not permissible as replacements for ECO310 and ECO311.
  • A minimum C+ average computed over ECO362/363, the 3 elective courses, and the independent work will be required to earn the certificate. These requirements apply to all students admitted to the program, regardless of major.

Mathematical Finance Track

Students in this track study the mathematics of financial price theory, including stochastic calculus and its applications to arbitrage and equilibrium in dynamic economies.  Relevant courses in this area include

ECO317, ECO414, ECO465, ECO466, MAT305, MAT391, MAT392, ORF309, ORF311, ORF515

Corporate Finance Track

Students in this track study issues such as the choice and financing of investment projects, firms’ determination of divided policy, optimal capital structure, financial reorganization, mergers and acquisitions, and the management and regulation of bank and other financial institutions.  Relevant courses include:

ECO317, ECO322, ECO342, ECO361, ECO464, ECO490, ELE491

Derivatives Pricing and Risk Management Track

Students in this track focus on the determination of the prices of options, futures and other derivative securities, and on the management of their risks. Relevant courses include:

APC350, CEE460, COS323, ECO302, ECO312, ECO463, ECO465, ECO466, ECO491, MAT304, MAT331, MAT392, ORF309, ORF335, ORF374, ORF405, ORF435, ORF474, ORF515

Investment Management Track

Students in this track study the design and functioning of asset markets around the world, the theory of optimal portfolios, the behavior and determinants of asset returns, and techniques of portfolio management. Relevant courses include:

COS323, ECO311, ECO342, ECO353, ECO461, ECO462, ECO463, ECO464, ECO465, ECO466, ECO492, ECO493, HIS364, MAT305, ORF307, ORF311, ORF405, ORF435, WWS340

Information Technologies for Finance Track

Students in this track study the computer-based technologies that are becoming increasingly important in finance, such as the design of efficient trading systems, algorithms, interfaces and large databases and the security of computer networks. Relevant courses include:

COS318, COS323, COS333, COS423, COS425, COS432, COS436, COS461, COS496, ECO461, MAT305

Behavioral Finance

Students in this track study how human psychology, including many documented behavioral biases, influence financial decision-making and ultimately asset prices. Relevant courses include:

ECO462, ECO467, ECO468, WWS340, PSY321, NEU/PSY425

Finance and Public Policy

Students in this track study the interaction between finance and policy, including public finance, response to financial crisis, Central banking, and securities law. Relevant courses include:

ECO361, ECO491, ECO492, ECO493, WWS340/PSY321, WWS466, WWS594N, WWS582f

The two core courses are ECO 362 and ECO 363. Certificate students are not permitted to substitute another course for the Core Courses from Princeton or any other institution

Fall Course

ECO 362 – Financial Investments

This course surveys the field of investments with special emphasis on the valuation of financial assets. Issues studied include how portfolios of assets should be formed, how to measure and control risk, how to evaluate investment performance and how to test alternative investment strategies and asset pricing models.

Spring Course

ECO 363 – Corporate Finance and Financial Institutions

This course investigates the financing decisions of companies and financial institutions in the wider context of the workings of financial markets. Topics include capital budgeting, capital structure choice, risk management, liquidity, corporate governance, and the interactions between corporate finance and the workings of financial institutions and markets.

In addition to the two core courses of the certificate, students must complete three courses (all requiring a letter grade, pass/fail not allowed) chosen from the two lists below. Courses not listed in the pre-approved lists here but which form part of a coherent program of study in finance, and which are approved in advance by the Program Representative may be used to fulfill the electives requirement. Courses must be at the level 300 or higher. Requests must be made by email to the Program Representative.

Please check this page for updates regarding new courses eligible as elective courses for the certificate or removals of previously-listed courses from the eligibility list. Not all courses may be offered every year. Please check with the relevant departments to confirm their offerings in any given year.

When you select your elective courses, keep in mind that:

  • ECO and ORF students must take at least 2 of their 3 elective courses from List 1.
  • Other concentrators must take at least 1 of their 3 elective courses from List 1.

List 1: Financial Applications

COS 445: Networks, Economics and Computing
EAP 402: The Japanese Financial System
ECO 326: Economics of the Internet: The Digital Revolution
ECO 332: Economics of Health and Health Care
ECO 341: Public Finance
ECO 342: Money and Banking
ECO 344: Macroeconomic Policy
ECO 348: The Great Recession: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies
ECO 353: International Monetary Economics
ECO 361: Financial Accounting
ECO 365: Empirical Methodology in Finance
ECO 414: Introduction to Economic Dynamics
ECO 462: Portfolio Theory and Asset Management
ECO 463: International Financial Markets
ECO 464: Corporate Restructuring
ECO 465: Options, Futures and Financial Derivatives
ECO 466: Fixed Income: Models and Applications
ECO 467: Institutional Finance: Trading and Markets
ECO 468: Behavioral Finance
ECO 469: Valuation and Security Analysis
ECO 491: Cases in Financial Risk Management
ECO 492: Asian Capital Markets
ECO 493: Financial Crises
ECO 494: Chinese Financial and Monetary Systems
EGR 395: Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation
EGR 475: Building and Operating Complex and Regulated Ventures
ORF 335: Introduction to Financial Mathematics
ORF 350: Analysis of Big Data
ORF 435: Financial Risk Management
ORF 455: Energy and Commodities Markets
POL 345: Quantitative Analysis and Politics
POL 348: Politics and Finance
WWS 332: Quantitative Analysis for Public Policy
WWS 408: Finance and Public Policy
WWS 466: Financial History
WWS 524: Advanced Macroeconomics

List 2: General Methodology for Finance

APC 350: Introduction to Differential Equations
CEE 460: Risk Assessment and Management
COS 318: Operating Systems
COS 323: Computing for the Physical and Social Sciences
COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques
COS 423: Theory of Algorithms
COS 424: Interacting with Data
COS 425: Database and Information Management Systems
COS 432: Information Security
COS 436: Human-Computer Interface Technology
COS 444: Electronic Auctions: Theory and Practice
COS 461: Computer Networks
ECO 311: Macroeconomics: A Mathematical Approach
ECO 312: Econometrics: A Mathematical Approach
ECO 313: Econometric Applications
ECO 315: Topics in Macroeconomics
ECO 317: The Economics of Uncertainty
ECO 321: Industrial Organization
ECO 322: Theory of Contracts and the Firm
ECO 370: American Economic History
ECO 385: Ethics and Economics
ECO 418: Strategy and Information
ECO 461: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Venture Capital
ELE 491/EGR 491: High-Tech Entrepreneurship
HIS 364: International Economic History in the 20th Century
MAE 305/MAT 391: Mathematics in Engineering I (ODE, PDE)
MAE 306/MAT 392: Mathematics in Engineering II (PDE, complex variables)
MAT 325: Analysis I: Fourier Series and Partial Differential Equations
MAT 330: Complex Analysis with Applications
MAT 335: Analysis II: Complex Analysis
MAT 385: Probability Theory
MAT 486: Random Processes
NEU 425/PSY 425: Neuroeconomics
ORF 307: Optimization
ORF 309: Probability and Stochastic Systems
ORF 311: Optimization under Uncertainty
ORF 374: Special Topics in Operations Research and Financial Engineering
ORF 401: Electronic Commerce
ORF 405: Regression and Applied Time Series
ORF 409: Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation
ORF 474: Special Topics in Operations Research and Financial Engineering
WWS 307/ECO 349: Public Economics
WWS 340/PSY 321: Psychology of Decision Making/Judgement
WWS 594N: Topics in Policy Analysis – Negotiation and Conflict
WWS 582f:  Topics in Econ – House of Debt: Understanding Macro & Financial Policy

Independent Project Requirements

  • ECO majors must write a senior thesis with significant finance content.
  • ORF majors must write either a senior thesis (ORF 478) or an independent project (ORF 479) deemed equivalent by the ORF department. In either case, the independent work must contain significant finance content.
  • Certificate students concentrating in other departments have the option of incorporating finance into at least one chapter of their senior thesis, focusing their junior paper written under the direct supervision of a faculty member assigned to them by their department, or submitting a separate independent paper.

Non-ECO/ORF students who would like to submit an independent paper can choose to:

  • Submit a paper done in conjunction with one of the two core courses (ECO 362 or ECO 363)
  • Write a separate independent paper.  All independent papers should be at least 12-15 pages long and contain significant finance content. If an advisor is needed to help with the independent paper, the PR will assign a master in finance student for one semester during their senior year.
There is a wide range of possibilities for topics that could satisfy both the program and a department. Some examples: in Art and Archaeology, art prices as reflections of changing cultural and aesthetic tastes; in Civil and Environmental Engineering, the financial feasibility of wind farms; in English, literary portrayals of the social effects of economic depression; in History, the history of the Japanese stock exchange; in Music, the funding of 18th century composers; in Politics, the changing character of securities regulation; in Psychology, any topic in behavioral finance.

The Program Representative can provide advice about the suitability of a proposed topic.

In all cases, the primary thrust of the independent work is issues or methods drawn from finance.

Deadline for the independent work:

  • Senior Thesis deadline is the same deadline as for your department major
  • Independent Paper deadline is Dean’s Date for spring term.

All papers will require a one paragraph summary or abstract of the paper’s finance content and the name of the advisor who assisted with the thesis or paper. The PR will review all papers and confirm that the work did indeed include significant finance. Faculty advisors who are uncertain about whether the finance requirement has been satisfied are encouraged to ask the PR for his opinion.

Class of 2016 UCF Thesis Topics
Princeton Undergraduate Thesis Catalog

Do I have to take ECO310 for a letter grade? I took it last year as a P/D/F course, before I enrolled in the UCF program. 2017-05-09T13:28:48+00:00

You must take all courses (prerequisites, core and electives) that you intend to use to satisfy the certificate requirements for a letter grade. If you already took a course with the pass/fail option, you will have to retake the final exam in a current or future term (with the instructor’s permission) and obtain a letter grade.

Can I take ECO310 at the same time as ECO362? 2017-05-09T13:28:54+00:00

Yes, you may take them at the same time in the fall of your junior year. However, admission is Provisional until completion of all requirements including ECO310.

Can I take a course over the summer at another institution? 2017-05-09T13:28:59+00:00

In general, yes. But, you must get approval from the Dean of the College, from your department representative and from the UCF program representative.

I would like to study abroad during my junior year. Can I fulfill the core course requirement (ECO362/363) by taking equivalent courses at a foreign institution? 2017-05-09T13:29:05+00:00

In the past, several students have studied abroad for a semester or a year while successfully completing the UCF. This requires planning ahead, including taking additional courses in your sophomore year. You should consult with the UCF program representative about courses you wish to take for UCF credit. We approve courses taken elsewhere only if they are of comparable standards and taken at institutions of comparable quality. Note that most departments allow students to count up to four courses for departmental credit for the year. Also, grades received in courses taken abroad are not counted in calculating averages for departmental honors.

I have taken MAT201 but not MAT202. Do I still need to take MAT202 to fulfill the UCF prerequisites? 2017-05-09T13:29:11+00:00

Yes, you have to take one of MAT175 OR {MAT201 AND MAT202} OR {MAT203 AND MAT204}

Can UCF students take 500 level FIN, ORF or ECO courses? 2017-05-09T13:29:17+00:00

In general, students with an exceptional academic record will be allowed, with the permission of the UCF program representative, to take a 500 level course to satisfy part of their elective requirements.

Can I PDF a course? 2017-05-09T13:29:23+00:00

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. However, if you take MAT201/2 or higher, one can be taken for PDF but ONLY with permission from the Program faculty representative.

Do you accept Junior Papers to cover the written requirement? 2017-05-09T13:29:30+00:00

Yes. You should submit a brief outline of the subject matter to the program faculty representative for approval.

Is there a final GPA that I must meet to earn the certificate? 2017-05-09T13:29:35+00:00

Yes there is. All students must have earned a minimum of C+ [2.30]averaged out over the 2 Core courses and the 3 Elective courses.

How many certificates have you handed out? 2017-05-09T13:29:44+00:00

You can see the certificate remains the most popular on campus. The number of certificates awarded is very similar and with a slight increase each year since its inception on 2000. Here are the past 5 year’s numbers
2012 – 70
2013 – 72
2014 – 84
2015 – 82
2016 – 94

Do you have a presentation for the certificates in Finance? 2017-05-09T13:29:49+00:00

We have a small celebration for students who have earned the Finance Certificate. Actual certificates are issued directly to you from the University Registrar