The following additional rules are in effect for applications to the Mathematics of Finance MA Program (MAFN Program).
Program Starting Date and Application Deadline
The MAFN program takes in new students only at the beginning of the Fall semester. There is no admission for the Spring semester.
The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission is May 9, 2024. This is also the deadline for supporting materials. This may differ from the general GSAS policy: Supporting Materials.
The MAFN Program no longer allows the students to defer their admission. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Students who wish to delay their studies by a year would have to reapply to the program in the following year.
Applicants should have a very good working knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, elementary differential equations, probability and statistics, and a programming language.
Exposure to advanced calculus and mathematical analysis, including measure theory, is desirable but not required.
Texts recommended for self-study:
Calculus: James Stewart, Calculus: Early Transcendentals.
Analysis: Walter Rudin: Principles of Mathematical Analysis.
Probability & Statistics: Sheldon M. Ross: Introduction to Probability Models.
Programming: Zed Shaw: Learn Python 3 the Hard Way.
Quant Interviews: Xinfeng Zhou: A Practical Guide to Quantitative Finance Interviews.
Statement of Academic Purpose
Please use your statement of academic purpose to address the following:
Why do you want to study the mathematics of finance, and why do you want to do it in Columbia University’s Mathematics of Finance program?
How have your activities since finishing high school prepared you to study the mathematics of finance?
How have you satisfied the mathematics, statistics, and programming prerequisites listed above? We often spend an inordinate amount of time sifting through the application to figure this out. List mathematics, statistics, computer science, and programming courses you have taken, and list projects and activities where you have used these skills. If you have acquired some of this knowledge by self-study, then you may ask one or more of the people who write reference letters for you to comment on it.
Letters of Recommendation
You need at least two academic letters of recommendation. Beyond that, depending on your work or internship experience or and the length of time since graduation, letters of recommendation from employers or colleagues may also be helpful.
If you have previous work experience related to finance, then please make sure to mention it on your resume. It is a valuable part of your background for the purpose of admission to the MAFN program.
For information about the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for international students, see Information for International Students.
MAFN applicants for September 2024 admissions are strongly encouraged but not required to submit GRE (general) scores or GMAT scores. GRE scores are preferred.