Criteria & Requirements

Admissions Criteria


The UCLA Anderson MFE admissions committee considers several factors in selecting candidates.

  • Ability to do graduate-level business and finance coursework
  • Evidence of computational programming skills (for example, C++) and familiarity with computers as computational and management tools
  • Strong quantitative background, including coursework in: linear algebra, multivariate calculus, differential equations, numerical methods, advanced statistics and probability, which includes the following topics: discrete distributions, continuous distributions, density functions, sampling theory, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, ordinary least squares, t-statistics, sampling vs. population moments, chi-square goodness of fit tests, etc.
  • Excellent writing, speaking, and presentation ability in English
  • Evidence of experience with mathematical tools (for example, MATLAB)
  • Work or research experience in a quantitative discipline (recommended, but not required)
  • Progress towards obtaining CFA certification
  • Experience with statistical and econometric applications (recommended)

Application Requirements


Online Application

All applicants must apply to the MFE program online. We are now accepting applications for the class that begins September 2018. The final deadline to apply is May 31, 2018.

Important Application Tips:

  • Please use your full legal name rather than initials, abbreviations, or nicknames. The name listed on the application should be used consistently in all of your official interactions with the university.
  • All application materials must be electronically received by the application completion deadline to be placed in that round. Please DO NOT mail in your documents unless you are offered admission to the MFE Program.
  • The application is intended to give you the opportunity to present a clear picture of yourself and of the qualities you feel the Admissions Committee should be aware of when considering your application. If you do not feel the application adequately conveys such information, please supplement the form in whatever way you feel is appropriate.
  • When filling in the application do NOT submit a writing sample, a statement of purpose, a diversity statement, a fellowship application, or use the "supplemental documents" section (unless you run out of upload space in the transcript section). Those items are part of the generic Graduate Division application, and are NOT required for the MFE program. Make sure you fill out the MFE Supplemental section which will appear in the application after you have selected your graduate plan of study as "MFE MANAGEMENT - MASTER OF FINANCIAL ENGINEERING."
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Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $200 is required. This fee is paid by credit card when submitting the online application. The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances, regardless of the admission outcome.


Academic Records

Scanned copies of transcripts from all educational institutions attended must be uploaded in the online application. Original transcripts or documents are only required AFTER you have been admitted.  Candidates must hold at least a 4-year bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from a college or university of fully recognized standing. Bachelor degree must be conferred prior to the September program start date.


  • The UCLA Anderson MFE Admissions Committee uses the transcript copies you upload with your application to do a preliminary evaluation of your academic qualifications.
  • Transcripts from all educational institutions attended must be uploaded in the online application. Only admitted candidates should send us official hard-copy documents upon request.
  • List on your application all of the educational institutions you have attended since graduating from high school, regardless of the period of attendance, whether or not the work was completed, and whether or not the work was related to your proposed field of study.
  • International Applicants: Records needed from schools outside the United States include multiple documents as described here.

Required Educational Background:

  • A candidate for admission to the MFE program must hold at least a 4-year bachelor's degree from a college or university of fully recognized standing. 
  • While no specific undergraduate major is required, most students will have a degree in quantitative subject matters such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, physics, etc. 
  • Applicants who have attended institutions outside the United States should have completed 16 years of study, 12 of these at the elementary and secondary school levels and four at the college level.
  • Evidence of strong quantitative skills is required of all candidates, regardless of undergraduate major. 
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Applicants must take either the GMAT or GRE exam.  The GMAT or GRE score is valid for 5 years and the admissions committee looks at the highest scores if the test was taken more than once.   

Relevant test scores should be sent to the following institution codes:

GMAT: 2NZ-2F-21                                              

GRE: 5988

You are required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to the MFE program. 


  • Applications cannot be reviewed without complete test scores (reported officially by the GMAT or GRE office), and applications are only reviewed in the round when scores are received.
  • The GMAT or GRE test is valid for five years. 
  • Official GMAT score reports are sent electronically upon your request from Pearson VUE to UCLA Anderson MFE Admissions (School Code 2NZ-2F-21).
  • Official GRE score reports are sent electronically upon your request from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UCLA Anderson MFE Admissions (Institution Code  5988).
  • We primarily evaluate your top score, but all scores reported to UCLA Anderson are visible to the Admissions Committee.
  • No minimum GRE/GMAT is required, and the Admissions Committee has the flexibility to consider all scores in the context of your overall academic preparation and management potential.
  • For further information and testing arrangements, please visit the GMAT or GRE website.
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Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation (submitted online) are required from individuals who are well acquainted with your performance in a work setting, preferably a direct professional or academic supervisor.


  • Each MFE Program applicant must register two* recommenders' professional email addresses (e.g. so that they will receive instructions on how to submit their letter of recommendation through the online application system, on your behalf. These registered email addresses should not be personal email accounts (e.g.
  • Evaluations should be requested from individuals who have worked closely with you and who are able to give specific information about your abilities, accomplishments, and quantitative capacity.
  • If you have been working less than two years, you may include academic recommendations in place of work related recommendations.
  • Letters from family, friends and co-workers are inadmissible.

*Please note: The Graduate Division requires three letters of recommendation to complete the application and submit. To work around this, we suggest that you enter an alternate email address (please use in the third space which goes to the Graduate Division. They know they don't have to submit a letter on your behalf. In the first and last name spaces you may type: "3rd Letter". This will "trick" the system into thinking that you are complete and will allow you to submit if all other requirements have been met.

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Applicants are required to submit two essays as part of the online application to the MFE program.  One optional essay may also be submitted to supply additional information you think would help us evaluate your potential to succeed in the MFE program.  The application essays help the Admissions Committee become acquainted with applicants as individuals, and demonstrate an applicant's ability to write concisely and economically.

The essay questions can be found within the MFE Supplemental section of the Graduate Division online application and are as follows:


  • Financial engineering requires a combination of mathematical/quantitative abilities and creative thinking. Describe a project you worked on, either as a student or professional, that demonstrates your analytical and creative problem-solving skills. Tell us why this project was interesting to you. (maximum 750 words)
  • Why does a career in quantitative finance appeal to you? Based on your abilities and what you know about careers in financial engineering, why do you think this is the right career path for you? (maximum 750 words)


  • Feel free to provide any other information you think would help us evaluate your potential to succeed in the program. (maximum 375 words)

Reapplicants to the MFE Program do not need to resubmit the two above essays. They are, however, required to complete and submit an essay for the following prompt:

  • Please describe your academic or career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals. (750 words)

Please upload essays in .pdf format.

It is important that applicants respond to essay questions candidly and completely. Essays that fall significantly below the required word count will hurt your overall application.

Essays must be written by the applicant. If it is determined that an essay submitted has been written by anyone other than the applicant, the applicant will be denied admission.

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Work History / Resume

Work or research experience in a quantitative discipline is recommended, but not required for admission to the MFE program. Exceptional undergraduates with strong quantitative backgrounds are encouraged to apply. On average, admitted students have 2 years of full-time experience before entering the MFE program.

Please complete the Professional Experience portion of the application and upload a resume in the space indicated for "Supporting Documents" as a pdf. Include all full-time and intern positions you have held, and account for any employment gaps since college.


TOEFL / IELTS (International Applicants)

TOEFL or IELTS scores are required of all applicants whose native language is not English. The TOEFL/IELTS is also required for students who attended a university where the medium of instruction was English, but the official language of the country was not English (includes India and Singapore).

International students who hold a bachelor's degree or higher from a university located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia or who have completed at least 2 years of full-time study at such an institution are exempt from these requirements. Learn More.


  • Official TOEFL score reports are sent electronically upon your request from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to UCLA Anderson MFE Admissions by selecting institution code 4837 - UCLA ANDERSON SCHL OF MGMT and then choose "2 - Graduate  Management" as the department code.
  • Applicants who are submitting IELTS scores must request that a hard copy of their scores be sent to the following address:
    UCLA Anderson School of Management
    Master of Financial Engineering Program
    110 Westwood Plaza, Suite C-401
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
  • TOEFL test scores are valid for two (2) years. Admitted applicants are required, upon arrival at UCLA, to take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE), an English diagnostic test, before being permitted to register. Depending on the results of the ESLPE, you may be required to complete English as a Second Language courses beginning in your first term at UCLA. If English courses are required, you should anticipate spending a longer period of time at the University. Admission is canceled for those who do not pass the ESLPE. Please note that you must sit for the ESLPE regardless of your score obtained on the TOEFL,IELTS or any other English proficiency test.
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CFA, FRM, and other Professional Designations:

Include these in the "Professional Designations" section under the Master of Financial Engineering tab, and and upload a copy of your results in the tab indicated for "Supporting Documents."  


Interview (by Invitation only)

Interviews are conducted on an invitation basis. Once an application is completed the Admissions Committee may request an interview with a prospective student.


Begin Your Application

All applicants submit the MFE program application online through UCLA’s graduate admissions portal. The application gives you the opportunity to present a clear picture of yourself and of the qualities you feel the admissions committee should be aware of when considering your application. Please supplement the form in whatever way you feel is appropriate to convey that information.