Master of Financial Engineering Program

Admissions Criteria

The Berkeley MFE Program is 12 months of full-time coursework that begins and ends only in the spring (March), and is not available part-time. The goal of the application review process is to identify those candidates who are the strongest fit with our program. Applicants should possess:

  • Experience with mathematical tools (Example: Matlab)
  • Experience in computer programming (C++, Python) and familiarity with computers as a computational and management tool
  • Experience with statistical and econometric applications (Example: R)
  • Experience with machine learning concepts
  • Excellent writing, speaking, and presentation skills (in English)
  • Recommended post-university work experience. Preferred but not required. The MFE also admits undergraduate students with strong academic background with little to no experience

MFE Admissions will confirm with each applicant when his / her application is complete and ready for review. Any recommendations for admission by the MFE Admissions Committee is subject to approval by the Graduate Division.

Candidates that are offered admission will be given a deadline to submit their first installment payment. If the fee is not received by the deadline given, we reserve the right to rescind our offer of admission.

Application Requirements

Application Fee

A non-refundable $275 application fee is required in order to consider your application complete. You may submit payment using one of the following options:

  • Credit Card: Preferred method of payment. Available through the online application.
  • Check or Money Order: Mail a check or money order made payable to "UC Regents". Please make sure your name appears on the check.

English Language Proficiency

The UC Berkeley Graduate Division requires that all applicants who received their degrees from countries in which the official language is not English submit official evidence of English Language Proficiency regardless of the school's language of instruction.

To satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement applicants must fulfill one of the following:

  • Received a degree from a accredited institution in a country where the official language is English.
    • Regardless of the language of instruction, degrees from the following countries or regions do not meet this requirement: Bangladesh, Burma, Europe (non-U.K.), India, Japan, Korea, Latin America, Middle East, Nepal,  North Africa, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan.
    • US citizens who received their undergraduate degrees in these countries or regions also do not meet this requirement.
  • Completed at least one year of full-time coursework with grades of B or better at a university located in the U.S.
    • The following courses do not fulfill this requirement:
      • Courses in English as a Second Language.
      • Courses conducted in a language other than English.
      • Courses that will be completed after you apply.
      • Courses of a nonacademic nature.
  • Have taken and met the score requirements for one of the following standardized tests (for Spring 2019 entry, exams must be taken on or after November 1, 2016):
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): You must score at least 90 for the Internet-based test (iBT), at least 230 for the computer-based test (CBT), or at least 570 for the paper and pencil test (PBT). To have your exam results sent to the Berkeley MFE Program, list institution code 4833 and department code 82. For detailed information, please see:
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): While TOEFL is preferred, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Your overall BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale. For detailed information, please see:

Degree & Transcripts

Minimum degree comparable to the four-year Bachelor's Degree from UC Berkeley. You must provide proof of a valid degree from an accredited institution. Applicants should have sufficient training to undertake graduate study in the chosen field and a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum of 3.0 in upper division work.

Candidates who already hold an advanced degree, please note that the university policy prohibits awarding duplicate degrees. If you have questions, contact the MFE Office.


Applicants need to demonstrate a strong quantitative background including linear algebra, multivariate calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis, and advanced statistics and probability. Check the Prerequisite Course List for details. You should also have prior exposure in computer programming (C, C++) and familiarity with computers as a computational and management tool.

In some cases, applicants may be admitted conditional on the successful completion of one or more recommended courses before enrollment in the program. For more information please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.


Please answer the following essay questions carefully and honestly. All responses should be prepared by the applicant without help from third parties. Application essays will be screened through anti-plagiarism software; please note that plagiarism may result in the denial of admission.

The Supplemental Information questions are intended for you to give us further information on areas that might not be covered elsewhere in the application. Please be sure to answer all of the questions. If a particular situation does not apply to you, you can enter "N/A" or "Not applicable" for your response.

Reapplicants must carefully review the instructions under "Reapplication".

Video Essays

A webcam and microphone are required for this section. Please be sure you are in a quiet and well-lit environment before you begin. You are allowed 2 attempts to record your Video Essay, and your response can be no longer than 2 minutes.

GMAT or GRE Score Reports

We require either the GMAT or GRE. All GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years and should not be older than April 1, 2014 for Spring 2019 entry. When ordering GRE scores, use institution code 4833 and department code 4399. For GMAT scores, use program code N2V-PT-87. Applicants who will hold a PhD degree before December 31, 2018 can waive the GRE requirement. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

When selecting score recipients on the day of the test, or sending additional score reports through the GRE website, test takers should type the name or partial name of the department, e.g. "Business%", and the computer will list all department codes that match alphabetically. Test takers should NOT enter a department code number because the computer does not conduct a numeric match. To illustrate, please see this screen shot with U CA Berkeley selected as the score recipient.

Test takers are asked to enter the four digit department code only if they are sending scores through the automated phone service. When sending scores online or on the day of the test, they should type in the name of the department, not the numeric code.

Letters of Recommendation

We require two letters of recommendation. Letters should come from individuals who are familiar with your training in quantitative methods and their remarks should address your ability to apply your quantitative skills. Recommendation letters should be written by an individual in a position to evaluate you either professionally or academically (e.g., a supervisor, project leader, or instructor). Recommendations from co-workers, friends or family members are inadmissible.


Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis. Please refrain from contacting the office to request an interview. You will be contacted by the MFE Program office if an interview is necessary to make a decision on your application.

  • Who is interviewed: As we state in the application, the interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis. As such, we ask that you please do not contact us to schedule an interview unless we have already reached out to you to do so. Not all candidates are invited to interview.
  • Interview purpose: The purpose of the interview is for the admissions committee to gain a better understanding of your skillset and to understand what you may need to do in order to better prepare for the program should you be offered the hold or admit status.
  • Role of the Interviewer: The interviewers are not members of the admissions committee, nor do the interviews determine the admissions decisions. What is covered in the interview?: Interviews can cover a range of topics, but please note that if a subject is part of the prerequisite skillset for the MFE program, or if it is noted on your resume, then it may be covered during the interview.
  • Multiple interviews: Sometimes we interview a candidate more than once. This is because at times, the admissions committee has further questions and wishes to know more about a candidate than was covered in the interview.
  • Post-Interview: We ask that you do not contact the interviewers with questions about your admissions status, or about "how the interview went", as the interviewer will not be able to answer these questions. If you do have questions, you are encouraged to send them to the admissions committee,