M.S. Quantitative Financial Economics

The M.S. in Quantitative Financial Economics (MQFE) is designed for students who are seeking the greater depth and rigor that are increasingly required by advanced academic programs, as well as in the private sector. If your goal is to prepare yourself and improve your candidacy for a Ph.D. program in finance at a top business school, then this is the program for you. Equally, if you would like to improve your skills in quantitative financial analysis to enter, or move to the next level, in your career in finance, our program can help you to achieve this goal. This program is unique in offering advanced courses in volatility modeling, analysis of high-frequency data, and continuous time finance, as these are areas of expertise within the financial economics group at Duke.

Students' course selections are based on their specific interests and on recommendations made by their academic advisors in order to meet their longer-run goals. In addition to taking a variety of master's-level courses, students with sufficient preparation will be encouraged to enroll in a combination of doctoral-level courses in financial economics and financial econometrics. The curriculum can be completed in either three or four semesters. Throughout their participation in the program, students compile a portfolio that tracks their academic growth and showcases their accomplishments. The portfolio is composed of research papers, presentations, and other professional documents. It serves as a valuable tool for applying both to jobs and doctoral programs.

Degree Requirements

MQFE courses will be taught predominantly by the faculty of the Duke Financial Economics Center.  

  • 30 credits in quantitative financial economics and related fields, not including preparatory courses.
    • 15 credits, comprised of the following required core courses, which will typically be taken during the semester indicated:
      • ECON 571 Financial Markets & Investments (3 credits, first semester)
      • ECON 623 Forecasting Financial Markets (3 credits, second semester)
      • ECON 672 Financial Econometrics (3 credits, first semester)
      • ECON 676 Empirical Asset Pricing (3 credits, second semester)
      • ECON 882 Finance in Macroeconomics (1.5-credit module, third semester)
      • ECON 885 Continuous Time Finance (1.5-credit module, third semester)
      • A compulsory, zero-credit seminar series on Ethical Considerations in Finance
    • 15 credits, comprised of a combination of FIVE courses from the following electives:
  • Completion exercise: Each student has a completion meeting with his/her committee, involving presentation and discussion of either a portfolio of completed work from course projects and papers, and/or a summary of applied work from an internship, and/or and independent study project mentored by a faculty member. The completion exercise will be reviewed and approved for master's credit by the student's faculty advisor in conjunction with the MQFE director. Each student will be expected to submit a hard copy of the portfolio to the committee two weeks prior to the completion date.
  • Responsible Code of Conduct (RCR) training
  • (For International Students) English Language Proficiency

Course Details

Certain courses in the Departments of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science may be counted as electives towards the 30-credit requirement with advance approval; however, students must complete a minimum of 24 credits in Department of Economics courses. A maximum of 6 credits (two courses) may be undergraduate courses at the 200-level or above (200-499), subject to academic advisor approval. Students must receive a grade of B- or better to have such courses counted as part of their earned graduate credit.

STEM Designation

This degree program classifies as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics), and students in this program can apply for a 24-month STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).