Quant Guide 2020: Columbia University

New York City, US

Photo of Columbia University
Photo: Eileen Barroso/Columbia University

Columbia University attracted more than a thousand applicants for its Mathematics of Finance MA programme last year. Few other programmes in the quant guide received applications on this scale – this year, only those of New York University Tandon, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Boston University did.

The university accepted 98 new full-time students on the programme. Lars Tyge Nielsen is the course director and Laurent Breach is the programme’s co-ordinator.

Nielsen says machine learning has become a central part of the programme. Electives on it are popular and some courses have been updated with more such components.

To keep up with the evolving demands and standards of the quant industry, Nielsen says the programme takes its cues from its industry-affiliated faculty, speakers from practitioner-led seminars and businesses themselves. A steering committee decides the programme’s overall direction; it comprises Nielsen himself, the chairs of the statistics and mathematics departments, plus several of their professors.

The course can be done on a part- or full-time basis, though international students with the most common types of US visa – F1 and J1 – must study full-time. Full-time students can complete the course in as few as two semesters, though most take three; part-timers can take two to three years.

A new addition for 2020 is a mentorship programme with the Society of Quantitative Analysts in New York. Electives for the spring include classes in non-linear option pricing, multi-asset portfolio management, statistical computation and introductory data science. Columbia’s mathematics of finance students are also able to take part in off-campus internships.

View this institution’s entry in the 2019 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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