Master of Quantitative Finance Overview

Build a strong foundation in finance combined with quantitative modeling and programming skills.

A STEM-eligible program.

Multiple opportunities to apply what you learn through hands-on projects with our business partners.

Study in the D.C. area, ranked a Top 10 place to live in the U.S. in 2017.

Our Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) program addresses a growing need for professionals with sophisticated quantitative, computational, and financial modeling skills.  The MQF prepares you for a wide range of careers in finance: modeling and managing risk; trading; financial engineering; securities pricing; portfolio management; tactical asset allocation; and financial market regulation.

Our MQF degree is STEM-qualified. We offer students cutting-edge quantitative and programming skills plus unique domain expertise in financial institutions, markets and decisions in all major asset classes, including equity, fixed income, derivatives, and FX markets.

The MQF requires 36 credit hours and comprises core courses and 20+ credits of electives. The core courses provide solid fundamentals in economic, statistical and mathematical models relevant to the finance industry. A flexible set of electives let students become specialists within their chosen career paths. Some students undertake ELPs (experiential learning projects) with industry partners.

The MQF degree can be finished in one to two years. Many students prefer the 2-year period to explore internship opportunities or ELPs with high-profile industry partners. 

Modern methods of computational statistics and their application to bot practical problems and research. S-Plus and SAS programming with emphasis on S-Plus. S-Plus objects and functions, and SAS procedures. Topics include data management and graphics, Monte Carlo and simulation, bootstrapping, numerical optimization in statistics, linear and generalized linear models, nonparametric regression, time series analysis.

CORE COURSES

Course descriptions are provided below. All core courses are currently 2 credits.

BUSI 640 Financial Management: Read More

The course outlines the financial concepts and mathematical techniques used to evaluate corporate decisions. The topics include the time value of money, valuation of common securities, discounted cash flow, estimating opportunity costs of capital, and capital structure.  The objectives are to introduce the language and structure of finance and to develop the tools to analyze financial decisions.

BUFN 650 Financial Mathematics: Read More

Introduction to the mathematical models used in finance and economics with emphasis on pricing derivative instruments. Topics include elements from basic probability theory, distributions of stock returns, elementary stochastic calculus, Ito's Lemma, arbitrage pricing theory, and continuous time portfolio theory. Particular focus is on the financial applications of these mathematical concepts.

BUFN 741 Advanced Capital Markets: Read More

Building upon the financial mathematics course, this class provides an introduction to the mathematical and statistical models used to price securities and analyze financial markets. Topics include portfolio theory, asset pricing, market efficiency, fixed income, options and futures.

BUFN 745 Financial Programming: Read More

Building upon the statistical programming foundations in Econometrics, this course introduces students to advanced programming in Matlab, SAS, R, and Python with specific applications to financial modeling. Applications potentially include estimating interest rate models, developing derivatives pricing models, backtesting financial strategies using large datasets, and scraping of financial data off the internet. In addition, students will gain competency in financial platforms such as those provided by Bloomberg.

BUFN 750 Valuation in Corporate Finance: Read More

This is an advanced topics course in quantitative corporate finance focusing on valuation. The main objective is to apply the concepts covered in the introductory finance class through real-life applications (cases). The topics include building Pro Forma statements and forecasting future cash flows, dynamic cash flow models, estimating the cost of capital, implementing the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) and Adjusted Present Value (APV) methods, and using real options techniques (binomial and Black and Scholes models as well as Monte Carlo simulations) to value companies and projects. 

BUFN 758N and 758O Financial Econometrics I/II: Read More

Introduces the skills and computing languages for analyzing financial data and testing financial models. The course includes linear optimization for use in factor models, the statistical properties of asset returns, event studies, time series analysis and models of stochastic volatility. The course will include theory mixed with several finance applications in widely used statistical languages.

BUFN 761 Derivative Securities: Read More

Introduces options and futures contracts, and the mathematical foundations of their valuation. Topics include binomial model, Black-Scholes model, delta hedging, and convexity. Derivative securities on various underlying assets (equities, indices, commodities, foreign exchange, etc.) are analyzed, using different application contexts.

ELECTIVE COURSES

All BUFN courses listed below are 2 credit courses. In addition to these finance electives and upon approval of the academic advisor, students may take up to eight credits in related fields, including those referenced below.  Elective courses within finance are listed by topic:

Asset Management

BUFN 760 Applied Equity Analysis: Read More

Applies financial models and statistical tools to the analysis and valuation of equity securities. In addition to focusing on economic (DCF based) analysis of corporations, the course covers topics such as the EIC (Economy/Industry/Company) framework, financial statement analysis, relative value analysis, and contingent value analysis. Students will apply statistical tools to value stocks and provide stock recommendations.

BUFN 762 Fixed Income Analysis: Read More

Focuses on economic and mathematical models of financial instruments whose market values are tied to interest rate movements. Develops tools such as discount functions, duration, convexity, and immunization to analyze the interest rate sensitivity and value of fixed income securities and portfolios. A variety of fixed income securities are examined, particularly zero coupon and coupon bearing bonds.

BUFN 763 Portfolio Management: Read More

Examines the theory and application of portfolio management techniques in detail, including the use of various asset classes in constructing efficient portfolios. Various risk and performance measurements for portfolios are examined, drawing on classic portfolio theory, as well as more recent index and factor models. The course develops tools for quantitative portfolio management, including computation and simulation methods.

BUFN 764 Quantitative Investment Strategies: Read More

Provides an advanced treatment of asset allocation strategies and performance evaluation. Quantitative techniques are applied to examine equity and fixed-income portfolio management strategies. The course provides a deeper understanding of the measurement of risk and its relationship to return, as well as of multi-factor models. Implementation issues, including statistical estimation, backtesting and portfolio construction, are covered, as are strategic versus tactical asset allocation, and performance evaluation.

BUFN 773 Institutional Asset Management: Read More

Examines how money is managed by organizations such as university endowments, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity funds. Emphasizes the incentives professional money managers face within the context of the organizational structure in which they operate. Particular attention will be paid to compensation structures and monitoring mechanisms. 

BUFN 774 Market Microstructure: Read More

The course examines---from theoretical, institutional, and empirical perspectives---how prices in speculative markets are determined by the interaction of traders. Topics covered include market making, informed trading strategies, liquidity, bid-ask spreads, transactions costs, market impact, price manipulation, and high-frequency trading. The course examines markets for equities, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange. There are several empirical exercises using transactions data.

Corporate Finance

BUFN 751 Financial Strategy for Corporations: Read More

An advanced course in corporate finance, focusing on the issues that firms face when they plan to raise external capital from financial markets. The focus is on the financing problems faced by mid-market to large firms and on capital raised from public markets. The forms of external finance vary from simple debt or equity to more complex securities that bundle with an element of risk management.

BUFN 752 Financial Restructuring: Read More

Examines alternative ways to increase firm value through corporate restructuring, including domestic and international acquisitions, spin-offs, carve-outs, and leveraged buy-outs. Focus is on theory, practice, and empirical evidence related to each of these forms of restructuring, and emphasis is placed on mathematical models use to conduct valuation analysis and evaluate strategic considerations. 

BUFN 753 Corporate Governance: Read More

Examines corporate governance and its impact on shareholder value. Topics include conceptual foundation for corporate governance, the role and duties of the board of directors, indicators of board effectiveness and best practices, design features of executive compensation contracts, the significance and prevalence of stock options, the perverse incentives of stock options and controversy over compensation practices, corporate governance failures and anatomy of corporate scandals, the essentials of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank, and other regulatory reforms.

BUFN 755 Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity: Read More

Explores advanced topics in corporate finance, with major emphasis on how financiers help firms plan for growth and develop finance strategies firms use for different types of securities at different points in the industry's and firm's life. Securities will include private financing and placements, Venture Capital (VC), Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), Private Equity and Leveraged Buyouts.

Advanced Mathematical Finance

BUFN 765 Fixed Income Derivatives: Read More

Introduces the use and valuation of fixed income assets such as exchange-traded bond futures and options, forward contracts on interest rates, fixed and floating rate bonds with embedded options, floating rate notes, caps, collars, floors, interest rate swaps, and mortgage backed securities. Tools include the application of binomial option pricing trees, and the analysis of stochastic yield curves.

BUFN 766 Financial Engineering: Read More

Introduces and applies various computational techniques useful in the management of equity and fixed income portfolios and the valuation of financial derivatives and fixed income securities. Techniques include Monte Carlo Simulation and binomial/lattice pricing models. Emphasis is on bridging theory with the design of algorithms and models that can be directly applied in practice.

BUFN 767 Applied Conic Finance: Read More

This advanced course applies conic theory to the field of finance including applications such as portfolio theory, dynamic hedging, structured products, derivatives and construction of dynamic trading strategies.

Risk Management

BUFN 754 Corporate Risk Management: Read More

Explores the theory and practice of financial risk identification, modeling, statistical measurement, and mitigation of risk at financial and non-financial firms. Topics include hedging with options and futures, interest rate risk management, Value-at-Risk (VaR), Cashflow-at-Risk (CaR), Earnings-at-risk (EaR), credit risk, equity risk, commodities risk, exchange rate risk, and lessons from risk management disasters.

BUFN 772 Bank Management: Read More

Examines the economic role and regulation of banks and other financial institutions, and the structure of assets, liabilities and capital in these institutions. Tools are presented to analyze the various risks faced by banks, including interest rate risk, market risk, operational risk and off-balance sheet risk. Topics also include liquidity risk, liability risk, reserve management, deposit insurance, and capital requirements.

BUFN 758R Special Topics in Finance: Read More

Financial Risk Management: This course surveys the theory and practice of financial risk management focusing on identification, measurement, and mitigation of risks associated with financial institutions. It focuses on the risk of a stylized large systemically important financial institution (Sifi Bank) using synthetic transactions and portfolios allowing the student to directly apply various concepts using a variety of models and Excel/VBA tools to test their sensitivity to important changes in assumptions.

Other Finance Courses

BUFN 770 International Investment: Read More

Addresses exchange rates, international interest rates, exchange rate derivatives (such as forwards, futures, swaps, and options), and international stock markets.  Applications may include dynamic exchange rate hedging, and portfolio optimization under country constraints.

BUFN 771 International Corporate and Project Finance: Read More

Focuses on the role of financial management in the multinational firm, and the financing and management of international projects. Topics include international capital budgeting, global cost of capital, project financing, and the measurement and management of exchange rate exposure by corporations.

BUFN 758 Special Topics in Finance: Read More

Modern methods of computational statistics and their application to bot practical problems and research. S-Plus and SAS programming with emphasis on S-Plus. S-Plus objects and functions, and SAS procedures. Topics include data management and graphics, Monte Carlo and simulation, bootstrapping, numerical optimization in statistics, linear and generalized linear models, nonparametric regression, time series analysis.

Electives outside of Finance

BUDT 758B Special Topics in Decision, Operations and Information Technologies; Big Data

BUDT 758T Special Topics in Decision, Operations and Information Technologies; Data Mining and Predictive Analytics

BUDT 758P Special Topics in Decision, Operations and Information Technologies; Decision Analytics