MSFE Coursework

Rigorous coursework to prepare students for careers in industry and academia.

Faculty have created cutting edge courses that provide students with in-demand analytical skills unique to the world of finance-including training in Python, R and Stata. Classes feature rigorous theoretical training paired with hands-on learning from senior industry professionals as guest lecturers. Speakers include Federal Reserve Bank leaders and Wall-Street executives.

Classes are more analytical and quantitatively focused than traditional MS programs in either Economics or Finance. MSFE students are highly sought after for their specialized training in econometrics and financial applications.

“The typical MBA degree in finance should be repurposed and replaced with a more challenging curriculum that blends engineering, computer science, finance and economics into a tool kit for practitioners that seek to work on the edge of the frontier of knowledge. The MSFE does exactly this and thereby provides a pool of talent that is extremely valuable in the areas of multi-asset risk management, capital structure arbitrage, portfolio optimization, and valuation.”

David Villa, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer, State of Wisconsin Investment Board

MSFE Curriculum

The core of the MSFE Program is eight courses in economics and finance. In addition to the core courses, MSFE students will also take a minimum of two electives of their choosing.

The required core courses and electives are listed below.

Students will take the following eight core courses.

Core Required Courses

FIN 720 Investment Theory and Practice 3 credits
FIN 725 Corporation Finance – Theory and Practice 3 credits
FIN 730 Derivative Securities – Theory and Practice 3 credits
FIN 830 Advanced Derivative and Fixed-Income Securities 3 credits
ECON 702 Macroeconomics I 3 credits
ECON 704 Econometrics I 3 credits
ECON 721 Financial Microeconomics 3 credits
ECON 724 Financial Econometrics 3 credits

Students will select 6 credits of electives from the below approved list.  Three elective credits must be from Economics and three elective credits must be from Finance. For additional information on elective courses, please see the UW Guide:


ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I 3 credits
ECON 711 Economics Theory - Microeconomics Sequence 3 credits
ECON 712 Economic Theory – Macroeconomics Sequence 3 credits
ECON 725 Machine Learning for Economists 3 credits
ECON 730 International Financial Economics 3 credits
ECON 770 Data Analytics for Economists 3 credits
FIN 410 Bank Management 3 credits
FIN 635 Business Valuation 3 credits
FIN 650 Mergers and Acquisitions 3 credits
FIN 740 Fixed Income Securities 3 credits
FIN 745 International Finance 3 credits
FIN 757 Entrepreneurial Finance 3 credits
FIN 765 Contemporary Topics 3 credits
FIN 365/765 Asset Financing 3 credits
FIN 920 PhD Investment Theory 3 credits
FIN 971 PhD Corporate Finance 3 credits

Total Credits:  30 credits

More information on Required Core Courses

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FIN 720: Investment Theory and Practice

Topics include:

  • Structure and securities market functioning
  • Principles of portfolio construction
  • Models of the trade off between risk and expected return

FIN 725: Corporation Finance – Theory and Practice

Topics include:

  • Techniques of capital budgeting under certainty and uncertainty
  • Valuation of projects and firms
  • Theory of capital structure
  • Dividend policy and cost of capital

FIN 730: Derivative Securities – Theory and Practice

Topics include:

  • Pricing and uses of the most common derivative contracts
  • Trading and management of portfolios
  • Advanced mathematical and statistical financial analyses

FIN 830: Advanced Derivative and Fixed-Income Securities

Topics include:

  • Introduction to continuous time finance models
  • Black-Scholes and stochastic volatility models
  • Term structure modeling of interest rate derivatives
  • Price derivatives using numerical methods
  • Applications and hands on programming

ECON 702: Macroeconomics I

For additional information, please see the UW Guide:

ECON 704: Econometrics I

Topics include:

  • Econometric methods, theory, and applications
  • Linear regression, least-squares estimation, inference, and hypothesis testing

ECON 721: Financial Microeconomics

Topics include:

  • Programming Pricing Algorithms
  • Hands-on Training in Python
  • Pricing Fixed-Income Assets (bonds, mortgages) from YTM
  • Stochastic Discount Factor Methods
  • Modeling Default Risks and Systemic Risks

ECON 724: Financial Econometrics

Topics include:

  • Empirical asset returns, capital asset pricing, portfolio allocation
  • Linear ARMA & vector autoregressive modeling for estimation and forecasting
  • ARCH & stochastic volatility modeling
  • Machine learning and big data

Useful Links

Please visit UW’s Course Search and Enroll for an online listing of courses offered in recent terms.

For a full list of courses offered at UW-Madison, please see the course listing in the Guide: