MQF Admission Requirements

MQF Homepage | Admission requirements

Academic background requirements

Students from various disciplines are invited to apply for admission. Successful applicants have had backgrounds in quantitative fields such as actuarial science, computer science, economics, engineering, mathematics, physics, and statistics.

Submission of GMAT and/or GRE scores is optional and not required.

If you are applying to the Master of Quantitative Finance, then your background should closely match the following:

General requirements

  • A four-year honours degree (or equivalent) in a quantitative discipline with at least an 80% average

  • Strong analytical skills and ability to handle rigorous mathematical analysis

  • Programming skills: Python, Matlab, R, or C++

  • Superior verbal and written communication skills

  • General knowledge of financial markets and economics

  • Demonstrated interest in current developments in finance

  • Work or co-op experience is an asset 

Specific requirements

Our program involves a very high level of mathematical rigour and we expect our students to have a solid background in mathematics. Specifically, applicants should be familiar and comfortable with formal, proof-oriented mathematical reasoning and they should be proficient in all of the following subjects:

  • Single and multivariable calculus
  • Real analysis
  • Linear algebra
  • Advanced undergraduate probability
  • Advanced undergraduate statistics

Proficiency in these subjects is typically documented through strong grades in corresponding courses. At the University of Waterloo, these would typically include the courses PMATH 351 (Real Analysis) or PMATH 331 (Applied Real Analysis) as well as STAT 333 (Stochastic Processes 1) and STAT 330 (Mathematical Statistics). 

We recommend a working knowledge of at least one programming language such as Python. Other useful languages are VBA, SQL, or C++.

English language proficiency

For students required to meet University English language proficiency certification, the minimum scores required for the Internet-based TOEFL Test (iBT) is a score of 100 with a minimum of 26 in Speaking and Writing. Alternative English test scores are: IELTS (7.5), CAEL (70), PTE (68), Cambridge English (191) and EFAS (80% in 400 level). For additional information, see the English Language Proficiency guideline.

Upload copies of your ELP at the time of application. The Education Testing Service (ETS) uses 0996 as the Institution Code for the University of Waterloo and 01 as Department Codes for Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs when reporting TOEFL.

How to apply

Application process

You must apply for admission online. There are no Winter or Spring admissions, the program starts in Fall. 

Priority application deadline: December 15th.
Final application deadline: January 15th.

It is recommended that you apply by early December to allow time for referees to respond. The review of completed applications starts in mid December.

After your online application has been submitted, complete instructions as to how to upload your documents will be emailed to you from the University of Waterloo.

It may take four or five business days before you receive these instructions.


As part of your application, you will be required to provide names and contact information of three referees (two must be academic).

Your referees will be contacted directly by the University after you submit your application.

Documents you will be required to upload:

  • Copies of all your university transcripts (including those where you did not complete a degree)
  • Completed Supplementary Information Form (you will have access to this from UWaterloo)
  • Your résumé

When you access the Supplementary Information Form you will be able to input information, save and return to the form later. After you submit the form, you cannot make changes to your application.

The following are the questions on the Supplementary Information Form:

  • List courses relevant to quantitative finance. Include course title, main topics and marks achieved. Typical subject areas: finance, mathematics, statistics, probability, economics, and computing. Since the system does not keep your formatting, you will need to place three or four spaces between each course so it is easier to read (about one or two pages total).
  • If you have work experience in the financial area, then provide a brief description including company name, your position, time period, responsibility and duties.
  • Describe any activities in which you have been involved that demonstrate your leadership skills.
  • List the programming languages (such as Python, R, C++, etc.) that you know and the level of skill, for example basic knowledge, intermediate or expert.
  • Provide a short statement (about half a page) outlining your interest in the Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) program. How does the program relate to your past education and experience and your future career goals?

If you experience problems providing document uploads to the University of Waterloo, then the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs can help.

Student selection after application

Selection process

The Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) admits 20 to 25 students each year. Since we typically receive many applications for the program from qualified individuals, the competition is quite rigorous and standards of admission are high.

Applications reviewed

  • Review of applications will begin in mid December. All applications completed by the January 15 deadline will be given full consideration. The applications are reviewed by the admissions committee who look closely at transcripts, supplemental information forms, references, and résumés.
  • From this review, a short list of applicants are selected for an interview.


The admissions interview is a comprehensive assessment designed to evaluate the qualifications and suitability of the shortlisted applicants. During the interview, applicants can expect questions related to their academic background, mathematical problem-solving abilities, and their motivation for pursuing this program. Communication skills will also be assessed.

Reading list

A list of topics and resources may be found at recommended reading.

Admission offers

Admission offers are sent to the successful applicants by mid-March.

Fees and financing


For a complete breakdown of fees for full-time graduate study refer to the graduate fee schedule.

The Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) program research paper option has three academic terms (full time) and one term for an internship. Students begin the program in September and complete the program in December of the following year. The regular schedule is 16 months long.

The thesis option normally requires three to five academic terms to complete. The time required depends upon the research progress of the individual student. 

Financial support

The program does not provide financial support to students.

Other potential sources of financial support available to graduate students are:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postgraduate scholarships
  • Limited research assistantships on an ad hoc basis.
  • Domestic, thesis students may be eligible for the Math Domestic Graduate Student Award (Math DGSA)
  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)