The Master of Science in Financial Economics is a STEM eligible degree that requires four semesters (fall and spring) of full-time study at Columbia Business School.


The program begins in early September. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 16 full-term, graduate-level courses (48 credits), including a thesis seminar, in which they conduct a project on an industry-focused research question. Students also typically complete a summer internship for at least six weeks which involves working as an intern in a company or doing research assistance work for a faculty member. The internship will ideally be tied closely to a student's thesis.

Expected Coursework

Each semester, students take a rigorous set of PhD-level courses, supplemented with MBA- and other graduate-level courses. In students’ second, third, and fourth terms, they enroll in at least one and possibly two PhD or MBA electives. MSFE students must take 10 full term PhD or PhD-equivalent courses and may take no more than six MBA level courses.

Students must elect to be in one of two tracks: the Academia Track or the Industry Track.

Fall of First Year

  • Introduction to Econometrics and Statistical Inference (B9324)
  • Finance Theory I (B9302)
  • Computing for Business Research (B9122; strongly recommended)

Academia Track:  Microeconomic Analysis I (B9206; half-term) and Microeconomic Analysis II (B9208; half-term)

Industry Track: Introduction to Continuous Time Finance (B9336; half-term) and Advanced Derivatives (B9337; half-term)

Spring of First Year

  • Financial Econometrics: Time Series (B9325; half-term)
  • Financial Econometrics: Panel Data (B9326; half-term)
  • B9330 Microstructure Theory (B9330; half-term)
  • B9334 Big Data in Finance (B9334)

Academia Track: Microeconomic Analysis III (B9209; half-term), Microeconomic Analysis IV (B9211; half-term), and an elective (0.5 course).

Typical Electives: Real Estate Finance (B8331), Debt Markets (B8308), Asset Management (B8323), Valuation and Financial Statement Analysis (B9010), Research on Investing with Fundamental Analysis (B9029).

Second Year

There are typically no required courses in the second year of enrollment in the MSFE program, although students will need to take some PhD-level courses to fulfill the 10 PhD-level degree requirement. Note that these courses do not have to be  Finance Division courses, and it is common for students to take PhD-level courses in other divisions of the Business School (e.g., Operations Research, Accounting), or in other departments/schools at the University (e.g., Computer Science, Statistics, the Law School, etc.). Most students also take advanced-level MBA courses.

Typical PhD Electives: Asset Pricing I (B9319), Empirical Asset Pricing II (B9320), Behavioral Finance (B9310), Corporate Finance Theory (B9317), Financial Intermediation (B9333; half-term); Information in Financial Markets (B9335; half-term)

Typical MS Electives:  Real Estate Analytics (B8474), Quantitative Hedge Fund Strategies (B9339)

Thesis Seminar (B9312) and MS Thesis

All MSFE students must complete a substantial research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The thesis will be guided by a faculty member who will assign a grade to the work. Students meet at regular intervals with their thesis advisor to discuss their progress. The expectation is that students will submit their thesis and complete the program by the end of the term.


The MSFE program offers an opportunity to learn alongside faculty who are at the forefront of their disciplines. They are international influencers on business practices and strategies, continuing Columbia Business School’s legacy of developing the world’s top business leaders and strategists.  Our faculty are exceptionally invested in student success and help create a collaborative culture that challenges students to push the boundaries of their expertise so they can contribute to today’s most innovative organizations.

The Masters of Science in Financial Economics program is led by Professor Harry Mamaysky, Faculty Director. Faculty members throughout the division participate in the program through application review, teaching, and thesis supervision.

Harry Mamaysky speaking at a conference

Harry Mamaysky

Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Business, Finance Division

Faculty Director, Program for Financial Studies