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.
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 seven new faculty members (and is searching for an eighth). Six of these individuals have extensive training in finance or financial-macroeconomics and are producing cutting-age research in these areas. The other is a micro-economist with experience working in the financial industry. The faculty includes one member with a CFA, two other members who are nearing completion of the CFA credential, and a member who is a CPA. 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.
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.
Admission to the MSFE 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. Scores must be at or above the 40th 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 Plan of Study (POS) is as follows:
Fall Semester (12 credits) Spring Semester (15 credits)
Macroeconomic Theory I Computational Methods
Microeconomic Theory I Investments
Mathematical Economics I Derivatives
Econometrics I Fixed Income Securities
Summer Semester (3 credits)
Thesis Credits (Plan B paper)
The Department of Economics and Finance offers several $9,000 graduate assistantships. An assistantship also comes with a waiver of 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. Note that the assistantship is competitive. A GRE score of 700 or above on the quantitative portion of the exam is generally required in order to be competitive for a departmental assistantship. The Huntsman School of Business also offers several graduate scholarships. GRE or GMAT scores at the 70th percentile on both the verbal and quantitative parts of the exam are required in order to be considered for these scholarships. Your completed application automatically places you in the pool for both assistantships and scholarships. You should apply by March 15th to be considered for a scholarship.
A student may apply by going to http://www.usu.edu/graduateschool/ and clicking on the Future Students link near the middle of the screen. 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.