Program Policies

Program Policies

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism Policy
Academic Probation
Academic Progress
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Core Course Requirements
Course Grades
Courses outside of the MSFM Program
E-mail Communication
Deferral of Admission
Graduating Quarter Requirements
Inactive Students
Incomplete Grades
International (F1) students regarding Incomplete Grades
Leave of Absence
Mobile Phones
Mailing List for Enrolled Students
Placement Exams
Dropping a Course Without Switching

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism Policy

The Financial Mathematics Program (MSFM) requires that all coursework submitted for grading be original and that all homework and test solutions be the result of independent labor.  We encourage our students to work together, but at the same time expect them to understand the difference between collegial collaboration and blatant cheating.  As a rule, any collaboration, and any source, including online documents, must be explicitly acknowledged and documented.

The University of Chicago’s Academic Honesty & Plagiarism Policy can be found in the University of Chicago’s Student Manual.

All incoming Financial Mathematics students must sign and hand in an Academic Honesty form before they can register for autumn quarter courses.

Any violation of either of these policies will be reported to Financial Mathematics administration and documented in the student’s file.  In addition, the University’s disciplinary procedures apply to the Financial Mathematics Program.  For more information, please read the University of Chicago’s Student Manual.

Academic Probation

Students who are not making satisfactory progress towards their degree may be placed on Academic Probation.

In particular, any of the following can place the student on Academic Probation:

  1. Earning two grades of below C-minus.
  2. Carrying two or more incompletes for all quarters after receiving the incomplete.

Students on Academic Probation will receive a letter from the Director of the Financial Mathematics Program detailing the specific steps they must take to regain normal status.  Students who fail to improve their academic performance during the probation period may be asked to leave the Program.

Academic Progress

We expect our students to make continuous satisfactory academic progress in the Program.  Students who encounter unexpected problems or difficulties during their studies should contact Financial Mathematics administration IMMEDIATELY, and refer to the Incomplete Grades and Leave of Absence policies.  We encourage students who encounter issues during the school year to contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise on further steps to be taken.  Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress may be placed on Academic Probation.  A student receiving two or more ‘F’ grades will be terminated from the Program for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Auditing Courses

The Financial Mathematics Program DOES NOT allow auditing. All students must be formally registered to attend classes.

Exceptions to this rule are as follows:

  • MSFM students taking a full-time course load (300 units per quarter), or in their final quarter, may audit one additional course per quarter at no additional cost.  Any class taken as an audit will not show up on the student’s transcript and neither a grade nor credit will be earned for the course.  This course will not count towards graduation from the MSFM Program.  Permission from Student Services and the course instructor are required.  Space limitations apply.  Lab courses may have additional fees.  You do NOT need to register online to audit a course in the Program.
  • Unless in their final quarter, MSFM students taking a part-time course load (under 300 units per quarter) may not audit any course in the Program.
  • MSFM alum are allowed to audit one course each academic year. Permission from Student Services and course instructor are required.  Space limitations apply.  Lab courses may have additional fees.

Policies for Students not enrolled in the MSFM Program:

  • Non-MSFM University of Chicago students in graduate degree programs may take up to two classes in the MSFM Program without being admitted into the program. Graduate students must register for each class through their program of study.  Permission from the MSFM Director and course instructor are required.  Space limitations and prerequisites apply.
  • University of Chicago undergraduate students who are in good standing may, upon permission from a student adviser, the course instructor, and the Director of the Financial Mathematics Program, take up to three courses in the MSFM Program. If the student successfully completes the course(s), the credits earned may be applied to the requirements of the Master of Science in Financial Mathematics Program.  Space limitations and prerequisites apply.

For those undergraduates who take courses with the MSFM Program, and apply for admission and are accepted, credit will be granted towards a degree in Financial Mathematics for any course with a grade of a C-minus or higher.

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

The MSFM Program students have the option of taking Analysis of Financial Time Series at Chicago Booth or any other appropriate courses approved by the Director of the Financial Mathematics Program.  Registration for non-Booth students takes place after the University’s Registration Period. Although registration for this course begins late, MSFM students will not be charged a late registration fee.  In the event you are charged a late registration fee for the Time Series course at Chicago Booth, please contact the MSFM Student Services Administrator:
Meredith Muir

Core Course RequirementsFor completion of the MSFM Program, students must take the following core courses.  

FINM 33000 Mathematical Foundations of Option Pricing
FINM 36700 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management I
FINM 36702 Portfolio Theory and Risk Management II
FINM 33410 Probability for Risk Management
FINM 38500 Career Seminar
FINM 34500 Stochastic Calculus
FINM 32000 Numerical Methods
FINM 33150 Regression Analysis and Quantitative Trading Strategies
FINM 33601 Fixed Income Derivatives
FINM 37301 Foreign Exchange: Markets, Products, and Pricing

These courses may change and/or be revised.  Those who matriculated in 2017 or prior and did not pass the Introduction to Finance placement exam are required to pass FINM 37700: Introduction to Finance and Markets.

Part-time students should complete the Introductory Mathematical and Financial elements before moving on to the more advanced courses.

Computing Requirement

All students are required to take a minimum of 200 units of Computing coursework. Students that do not pass the Computing for Finance placement exam are required to take an additional 100 units (FINM 32600: Computing for Finance in C++) in the winter quarter for a total of 300 total units.  

To fulfill the 200-unit computing requirement, all students must take two of the following:

FINM 32500: Computing for Finance in Python 
FINM 32700: Advanced Computing for Finance (in C++)

FINM 32850: Case Studies in Computing for Finance
FINM 33161/FINM 33162: Machine Learning in Finance 1 & 2
FINM 33165: Probabilistic Programming and Deep Learning

Note that 100 units of the computing requirement must be fulfilled by either FINM 32500 or FINM 32700. 

Students that do not pass the Computing for Finance placement exam must take the Computing for Finance sequence consisting of Computing for Finance-I, Computing for Finance-II, and Computing for Finance-III (300 units). 

Course Grades

MSFM students must earn a grade of ‘C-minus’ or higher in all Program courses.  All grades are final, and can ONLY be changed by the Registrar if an administrative error has been made.  It is the students’ responsibility to check their records at the end of each quarter and report all grading errors to the MSFM Student Services Administrator:
Meredith Muir     

Courses outside of the MSFM Program

Students are NOT allowed to take any courses outside of the MSFM Program, with the exception of Booth’s Time Series course, and have those courses count towards their degree requirements.  No coursework completed prior to entering the MSFM Program will be considered towards a student’s degree, except as noted above in the discussion of Students not Enrolled in the MSFM Program.

Students do not need approval from the Financial Mathematics Program to take courses outside of the Program if those outside courses are not intended to fulfill MSFM degree requirements.

Financial Mathematics students should be aware that different departments may have additional/different academic policies.

Email Communication

We are committed to timely communication.  Urgent emails will be answered as soon as possible.  
Please contact our MSFM Student Services Administrator:
Meredith Muir 

Students are responsible for exhausting all resources at their disposal for tracking Program information before contacting Financial Mathematics administration.  These resources include, but are not limited to, the University’s main website, the MSFM website and all emails sent to students from the University and the MSFM Program.

Deferral of Admission

If an accepted applicant is unable to start by the quarter specified on his/her application, the applicant may request and complete a deferral form to defer admission for up to one year.  Without this form, and written permission from the Director of the Program, all requests for deferral will be denied.  Space limitations apply.

Graduating Quarter Requirements

Students may not apply for graduation during any given quarter for which they carry incomplete coursework from previous quarters, or if they have a grade of Dplus or lower in any core course.  Students may submit a graduation application only if the incomplete coursework that they have pending for the intended graduation quarter consists of coursework from the current quarter alone.

Inactive Students

If a student has been inactive in the Program for more than one year (4 academic quarters) without requesting and being approved for a leave of absence, we reserve the right to terminate the student from the MSFM Program.  Readmission into the program will be at the discretion of the MSFM Director and may require a new application.  The maximum period between a student’s first enrollment in the MSFM Program and the student’s graduation may not exceed 16 academic quarters.

Incomplete Grades

We recognize that some of our students may have to deal with personal emergencies or situations that interfere with their studies, and may need some extra time beyond the normal length of the quarter to complete the requirements of a course.  In such case, a student is offered two options:

Short Term Incomplete Option

1) This option is available with the instructor’s permission
2) The student will receive a blank grade at the end of the quarter
3) The student will be offered up to eight weeks from the end of the quarter in which the course was offered to complete the missing coursework
4) If the missing work has not been completed after the allotted eight weeks, the student must request a long term incomplete

Long Term Incomplete Option

1) The student will receive a blank grade on his/her transcript for the class
2) The student must retake the course (without registering and at no cost) the next time it is offered.  The grade earned will be substituted for the blank grade on his/her transcript
3) If the student does not complete the class the second time, or does not earn a passing grade, the blank grade on his/her transcript will be replaced by the grade earned in the class.  Exceptions to this rule may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the MSFM Director after following proper long term incomplete procedures

Exercising either incomplete option requires the explicit written approval of the MSFM Director.

Please note that a student with two or more long term incompletes will be placed on academic probation.  Students with three short term incompletes must complete these courses before taking new courses in the Program.

Procedures for Requesting Incomplete Option

Submit a written petition to the MSFM Director as soon as possible but no later than the end of the quarter.  Petitions submitted during the last two weeks of the quarter run a greater risk of being denied.

All petitions should be sent by email to the MSFM Director and should include the following information:

1. Name (LAST, FIRST)
2. Student ID Number
3. Current Email Address
4. Course #
5. Course Name
6. Full Name of the Course Instructor
7. Specify whether request is for short or long term incomplete option
8. Full justification of the need for extra time (petitions are kept confidential)

Failure to provide any of the information above will result in a refusal of the request.  The MSFM Program reserves the right to request documentation or proof for any or all claims that a student makes in petition for either of the incomplete options.

It is the student's responsibility to check their records and to report all grade anomalies to the MSFM Director.

Students cannot carry incompletes into their graduating quarter.

International (F-1) Students and Incomplete Grades

Receiving approval for the long or short term incomplete option does not necessarily entitle international students to a visa extension.  Our policies regarding incomplete grades and long or short term options are purely academic and neither reflect nor imply any endorsement for an F-1 visa extension.  It is each student’s responsibility as an F-1 holder to clear all incompletes while his/her F-1 visa is valid and without violating the terms and conditions for the visa.  Those with questions or concerns should consult with the University’s Office of International Affairs or an immigration lawyer.

Leave of Absence

Students who need to take a leave of absence from the Program are required to notify the Director as soon as possible.  A student may take a leave of absence for up to one year (4 academic quarters). Requests for longer leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  The maximum period between a student’s first enrollment in the MSFM Program and the student’s graduation should not exceed 16 academic quarters.

Mobile Phones

Cell phones, pagers, and other similar devices must be turned off or switched to silent during classes and Program events.

Mailing List for Enrolled Students

This mailing list is used to distribute important MSFM announcements.  Each student is required to monitor the emails sent via this list.

Returning, part-time students should subscribe to this list before the beginning of each autumn quarter.  The subscription email should be sent to the Student Services Administrator:
Meredith Muir

Include the following information in your email:
1) Student ID#
2) Last Name, First Name
3) Campus location
4) Subject line: Subscribe to Enrolled Mailing List

Newly admitted incoming students are automatically added to this list before the beginning of each autumn quarter.


Pass/Fail Policy for 2018/2019

MSFM students are allowed to take a total of 300 units as pass/fail. Any course that defaults to pass/fail will be counted towards the 300 units.

Pass/fail requests must be submitted to Student Services via Canvas. Pass/Fail deadlines will be announced mid-quarter.

Pass/Fail Policy for 2017/2018

MSFM students are allowed to take a total of 200 units as pass/fail.  100 unit courses count as one pass/fail and 50 unit courses each count as 1/2 of a pass/fail. Any course that defaults to pass/fail will be counted towards the 200 units.

Students may additionally take one Computing course as pass/fail apart from the 200 unit pass/fail allotment. Students can choose to take any course(s) up to 200 units for a pass or fail, including multiple Computing courses. Only one (100 unit) Computing course is considered a “free” pass or fail.  After that, any Computing course taken as pass/fail counts against the 200 unit pass/fail limit.

Pass/fail forms will be emailed to all enrolled students mid-quarter.  All forms must be filled out and turned in to the Student Services Administrator:
Meredith Muir 

Placement Exams

The Computing for Finance placement exam is administered annually during the September Review period. The placement exam is optional but a passing grade will exempt students from FINM 32600: Computing for Finance in C++ (100 units). Students who choose not to take the placement exam are required to take the course. Full-time students must take placement exams prior to their first quarter of study. Part-time students may take the exams in year 1 or year 2, with only one try given per exam. Makeup exams are not permitted. 

Any student who does not pass the Computing for Finance placement exam must take the winter quarter's course FINM 32600: Computing for Finance in C++. The student must also take two additional computing courses as outlined in the Core Course Requirements section.  

Students must complete course registration online during the Registration Period for the Physical Science Division.  The registration period for autumn, winter, spring, and summer is usually during the seventh or eighth week of the previous quarter.  Emails are sent via the Enrolled Mailing List with the dates of the Registration Period.

Students are responsible for registering for courses at the Registrar’s registration website.  This website is open to students during the Registration Period, and closes at 5:00pm on the last day of the registration period.  MSFM students will receive a quarterly email with the website link through the Enrolled Mailing List on the first day of the registration period.

Category II restrictions (unpaid tuition, library fines, housing fees) will prevent students from registering.  It is the responsibility of each student to make sure his/her account is cleared of any restrictions before the registration period begins.

Students who miss the Registration Period can register at the beginning of the quarter and will be charged a late registration fee of $100.  Not being informed about the Registration Period is not an acceptable reason to request a late registration fee waiver.  Students are instructed to have an active email address subscribed to the Enrolled Mailing List.

Once the quarter begins, students are allowed to add and drop courses.  The registration website will re-open to students on the first day of the quarter until the end of the first week of the quarter.  Changes made after the first week should be directed to the Student Services Representative by e-mail.

Students are allowed to “swap” course registration until the end of the third week of the quarter. Example of a swap:

  • A student is registered for course A during the Registration Period.  After sitting in on course B during the first week, the student decides to drop course A and add course B.

Dropping a Course Without Swapping

Fees for course drops:

Any course dropped by the end of the third week will incur no tuition charges. Any course dropped after the end of the third week will incur a 100% tuition charge. A grade of W will be recorded on the student’s transcript for any course dropped after the third week of the quarter.


Students may purchase textbooks directly from any online bookseller. 
Please note: Instructors will assume that all students will have the required textbooks by the second lecture.