Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Department of Economics and Finance
The Master of Science in Financial Economics (MSFE) is designed as a terminal, professional degree in financial economics. The curriculum includes courses in the key areas of finance and the supporting areas of economics and quantitative methods. It is intended to prepare students for a wide range of careers both within and outside the financial industry, including risk management, asset management, macroeconomic and financial forecasting, trading, and financial and economic research.
Why an MSFE at Utah State University?
The MSFE if offered by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business through the Department of Economics and Finance. Based on the maxim, if you do not have a focus you do not have a strategy, the department has focused its faculty and related resources on financial economics and the supporting areas of quantitative analysis. The MSFE, therefore, is both unique and distinguished as a result of its disciplined focus on these areas of analysis.
Faculty: Since the fall of 2009 the department has hired ten new faculty members. Six of these individuals have extensive training in finance or financial-macroeconomics and are producing cutting-age research in these areas. The faculty includes three members with a CFA. It is unique to have so many members of a finance and economics faculty with professional credentials in addition to the more academic and research focused doctorate degree.
See http://www.huntsman.usu.edu/economicsandfinance/htm/faculty-and-staff for additional information about individual members of our faculty.
CFA: The MSFE curriculum is designed to help students pass the first CFA exam (i.e., Level I exam) at the end of their second semester in the program. The CFA is the most internationally recognized and credible credential for financial professionals and is earned by passing a series of analytically rigorous exams. The department has been providing competitive scholarships to undergraduate students to offset part of the cost of taking the exam. This scholarship program will be extended to MSFE students. Further, the department will make available study-guide material to help students prepare for the exam.
Bloomberg Terminals and Training: Bloomberg is synonymous with real-time financial information. Every major financial institution hosts Bloomberg terminals. Due to the expense, however, very few universities provide access to Bloomberg. The Department of Economics and Finance at the Huntsman School of Business is one of these select few. These terminals not only support class-room instruction and faculty research, but provide a means for students to become certified in the use of Bloomberg – a skill that provides value to future employers on day one of your professional career.
A Research Portfolio: The MSFE program includes the requirement that each student complete a Plan B paper. It is a little unusual for a professional master's degree to require a Plan B paper. But we think it is important for students to demonstrate that they have the creativity, discipline, and analytical ability necessary to complete such a project. Students will receive guidance as they write their papers through a faculty committee formed specifically for this purpose. The ideal student will have passed the Level 1 CFA exam, be Bloomberg certified, and completed a Plan B paper by the time they enter the job market with their freshly minted master's in financial economics from the Huntsman School of Business.
Opportunity to help manage real money: Thanks to Zions Bank, MSFE students are provided the opportunity to manage an actual $5.0 million fixed income portfolio. Students will make asset allocation, trading, risk management, and credit decisions over the two semesters of the program under the direction of a faculty member who is an experienced financial professional. This valuable experiential learning will help you apply what you learn and allow you to stand out in the marketplace.
Admission to the MSFE program in the Department of Economics and Finance requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0 = A) for the last 60 semester credits earned prior to applying for the program. Educational requirements include bachelor's degree, courses in intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics, econometrics or statistics, mathematical economics/calculus, and corporate finance. Students whose prior academic performance warrants admission but who have not taken some of these courses may be admitted provisionally. Such a student will be required to make up deficiencies by enrolling in appropriate courses prior to beginning the program. These preparatory courses are offered in the summer semester.
Either the GRE or the GMAT is required. GRE scores should be included with the application. Scores must be at or above the 50th percentile for the verbal portion of the examinations and above the 60th percentile for the quantitative portion. A TOEFL score is also required of all students whose native language is not English. Application forms and more information about application requirements can be found online at http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/ or by phoning 435-797-1189.
As noted above, the program is structured as a Plan B master's degree. Therefore, a student must earn a minimum of 30 credits above a bachelor's degree. These credit requirements include 27 credit hours of course work (i.e., nine, three credit courses) and three thesis credits. It is anticipated that most students will complete the thesis credits (i.e., the Plan B paper) over the course of the summer semester following their fall entrance into the program.
The Typical Plan of Study (POS) is as follows:
APEC 7350 - Mathematical Economics I (taught two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester)
ECN 6600 - Advanced Financial Economics
ECN 7310 - Econometrics I
FIN 5300 - Fixed Income
FIN 6410 - Corporate Finance
FIN 6320 - Computational Methods in Finance
FIN 6460 - Investment Analysis
FIN 6470 - Derivative Markets
ECN 6970 - Thesis Research
Based on a student's prior preparation, these courses may be waived by the Graduate Director. If one or more of these courses are waived, a student may fulfill the 30 credit hour requirement by taking one or more of the following courses:
FIN 5470 - Investing Practicum I
FIN 5475 - Investing Practicum II
FIN 5800 - Financial Analysis
Your completed application automatically places you in the pool for both assistantships and scholarships.
The Department of Economics and Finance offers a number of competitive graduate assistantships ranging from $3,200 to $9,000. Non-resident students are eligible to compete for a tuition waiver for the out-of-state portion of tuition. In addition, students have the opportunity to enroll in the university's health care program with Blue Cross/Blue Shield at a subsidized rate. A GRE score above the 80th percentile is generally required in order to be competitive for a departmental assistantship.
The Huntsman School of Business also offers several graduate scholarships. A GRE score above the 80th percentile on both the verbal and quantitative parts of the exam is generally required in order to be considered for these scholarships. You should apply by March 1 to be considered for a scholarship.
To apply, go to http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/ and clicking on Apply in the left column. From there you'll be able to navigate through the application process and find more information about the requirements for successfully completing the application. The general application deadline is June 30th. However, early application will increase your chance of receiving a departmental assistantship.
For More Information
Tyler Bowles, Professor of Economics
Department of Economics and Finance
3565 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah 84322-3565
Phone: 435-797-1310, email: firstname.lastname@example.org