Quant Guide 2022: University of Washington

Seattle, US

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In the past year, the MS Computational Finance and Risk Management programme at the University of Washington has hired Kevin Lu as a new instructor, while Tim Leung remains the course’s academic director.

The course has reduced in size: from 50 students to 46 in the 2020/21 intake. It has also undergone a shift in the gender balance of its students in that time. The current cohort is 61% male and 39% female, versus 42% and 58% respectively last year. The programme’s post-master’s employment rate has fallen from 92% to 87.5%.

With class content and assignments accessible online, master’s students can choose between in-person or remote learning this year. Online lectures can be watched either live or through recorded video. 20% of teaching will continue to be conducted fully remotely, with the average class comprising 36 students on campus and 10 online.

“Students have proven to be highly adaptable to remote learning,” says programme manager Laurie Feldman. Grading policies were altered between the 2020 autumn term through to the 2021 summer term, allowing students to choose a non-numeric grading or an exact score for any course taken during this time. Feldman notes that some students chose non-numeric grading, but says “the cumulative average and overall academic performance for this cohort has remained high, and has not been impacted”.

She says the machine learning for finance course is popular, adding: “We also get a lot of students asking about our fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrencies course.”

Although no new course content has been added over the past year, aspects of the degree dedicated to programming include modules teaching R, C++, Python, SQL and VBA.

The university requires all students to be vaccinated, unless they have an exemption. The pandemic has resulted in many international students studying fully online from their home countries. As such, Feldman says, a comparatively higher proportion of graduates have found work at home, rather than in the US. Post-master’s salaries have increased from $79,111 to $82,296.

Only 7% of this year’s graduates are now employed in banking, in significant contrast to the 39.1% employed in the sector last year. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in the number of graduates employed in asset management, growing from 30.6% to 43%.

View this institution’s entry in the 2021 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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