Quant Guide 2020: University of Waterloo

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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The University of Waterloo’s Master of Quantitative Finance programme is the second of two Canadian universities ranked in the top 25 programmes of this year’s quant guide. The academic programme director is David Saunders, an associate professor in the department of statistics and actuarial science.

With 15 degree candidates and 12 teaching staff, the 16-month programme boasts a strong teacher-to-student ratio. Waterloo’s programme is also one of the few that require applicants to sit a bespoke admissions test, comprising questions on statistics, mathematics and financial concepts, rather than using a GPA-based form of assessment. High marks on the test do not guarantee entry, however. Those who score well are invited to interview. According to the programme, this features a mixture of questions on topics both quantitative and career-oriented. Remote applicants are permitted to conduct their interviews by telephone.

Students can choose between two forms of the programme: a research paper or a thesis option. While the majority choose the research paper, the thesis option is aimed at students who plan subsequently to pursue PhD study and involves producing a longer project. Students who elect to undertake the research paper must complete an internship and a larger number of modules. In the latter option, eight classes are compulsory. They include: the foundations of finance, a basic class that involves instruction in no-arbitrage theory, risk management and portfolio selection; financial econometrics; and computer-intensive methods for stochastic models.

The master’s receives guidance from its advisory board of practitioners – some of whom are alumni of the programme – and Waterloo faculty. The current board includes a number of alumni employed by Royal Bank of Canada. They are: Ritchie He, director of group risk management; Denise Yu, a senior manager of enterprise model risk management; and Joe DiCesare, a managing director of quantitative analytics in the bank’s capital markets division.

View this institution’s entry in the 2019 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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