Quant Guide 2020: EPFL

Lausanne, Switzerland

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The Master in Financial Engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL, for short – has one of the highest numbers of teaching staff in the Risk.net quant guide. The master’s degree, which runs for two years and is taught entirely in English, is also one of the least expensive; tuition is $1,448 for the entire programme. Its pool of 43 instructors is drawn from across several EPFL bodies: the Swiss Finance Institute, the College of Management of Technology, and the respective departments of mathematics, statistics, computer science and operations research. The programme’s academic director is professor of finance Julien Hugonnier.

Instruction is split into three sections: preliminary classes, including modules like introduction to finance, econometrics, optimisation methods and stochastic calculus; advanced courses, beginning in the second semester, including classes in derivatives, fixed income analysis and credit risk; and a range of electives, starting in the third semester, from which students make their own selections. Elective classes include financial applications of blockchain and distributed ledgers, financial big data and modern regression methods.

On top of traditional lessons, the degree involves a financial industry internship – which can be completed in Switzerland or abroad – and a thesis, supervised jointly by an internship adviser and a faculty member. The internship period – which spans the programme’s final six months – is a lot longer than many courses. In the past, candidates have written theses on topics including machine learning in foreign exchange, statistical arbitrage and credit rating methodologies.

A number of practitioner seminars take place on each programme. In the past, speakers have included professionals from companies like Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Pictet and EY.

View this institution’s entry in the 2019 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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