MS in Finance Application Requirements & Deadlines

The Master of Science in Finance program begins in the fall each year. To apply, all candidates much have a university degree equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor's degree and completed at least one college-level statistics course.

Application Deadlines

Apply early and give yourself the best chance to join the Carlson School's MS in Finance program.

Application Deadlines

  • November 1
    Decision notification: December 6
  • January 3
    Decision notification: February 12
  • February 1
    Decision notification: March 15
  • March 15
    Decision notification: April 15
  • April 15*
    Decision notification: May 15

IMPORTANT: MS in Finance Program Orientation is required for all incoming students—orientation for Summer 2024 to be determined.

*After the April 15th deadline, domestic and international applicants in the US will be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact if you are interested in applying.


Application Checklist

Applicants must complete and submit an online application for the MS in Finance program. The system allows applicants to save their work and return to it at any time. Supporting materials and the application fee are submitted through the online application system.

  • An account and password are required to start the online application.
  • Select "Summer 2024" for "Entry Term" and "Finance MS" for "Selected Program." 
    • If you are applying specifically to the MSF Research Track, select "Finance MS - Research Track" for "Selected Program."
  • Read the instructions below carefully before completing your application.
  • When you have provided everything required to submit your application, the application will allow you to submit. The application is not complete until the recommendations are submitted and we have received your official test scores (if applicable). Applications must be complete before the deadline for which you would like to be considered.
  • You will receive application update emails from and Please add these emails to your contact list or safe list so that updates are not caught in your spam filter.

Application Requirement Details

For more admissions information, visit our MSF Events Calendar and sign up for an upcoming Information Session or Application Tips Webinar with our admissions team. If any of your questions are not answered below, please email us anytime at

Completion of Statistics Course - Required

Completion of at least one full-semester, university-level statistics course is required at the time of application. Upload a course description or syllabus on the  "Carlson MS Programs requirements" page of the application for the course that satisfies this requirement.  The 3 courses below also satisfy the Statistics course prerequisite.

Basic Statistics (University of Amsterdam)1Coursera 27 hoursBeginnerBest crash course
Introductory Statistics for College Credit1Statistics.com8 weeks10-15 hours/weekBeginner 
Business Statistics and Analysis Specialization (Rice University)5Coursera5 months5 hours/weekBeginnerBest overall option

Applicants who have not yet completed a statistics course should not submit an application to the program until they have completed the course and received a final grade. The course and final grade must appear on a transcript from an accredited institution of higher learning. Besides the three courses listed above, MOOCs or other online courses from third party platforms do not meet this requirement, even with a certificate of completion.

Completion of Calculus Course - Preferred, Not Required

Completion of at least one full-semester, university-level calculus course at the level of Short Calculus or higher is strongly preferred, but not required, for admission. The admissions committee will take into account any calculus (or other mathematical) courses appearing on the academic transcripts uploaded into the application.


To be considered for admission to the program, please submit essay responses to the questions detailed below (approximately 2 pages maximum). You may copy/paste each prompt into your document and answer each separately. The admissions committee will review both the content of your responses and your ability to communicate clearly in writing:

  1. Why are you interested in studying at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota? What draws you to the Carlson School's MSF program specifically? (approximately 200 words)
  2. Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals. How will completing an MS in Finance program at this time help you toward achieving your goals? (approximately 300 words)
    • MSF Research Track applicants only: Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals. If you plan to enter a PhD program in the future, please mention your research interests.  (Approximately 300 words)
  3. What do you feel makes you a strong candidate for the program? How will you contribute to the program overall? (approximately 250 words)

To be considered for admission, the MS in Finance program requires a first university degree that is an equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor's degree

Unofficial transcripts should be submitted through the online application*. You will need to submit a transcript from each college or university where you have completed coursework before your application will be considered
complete and reviewed by the admissions committee. Unofficial transcripts must include your name and the name of the institution. Third Party credential evaluation reports and degree planning documents are not accepted. Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation.

If you have previously enrolled at any University of Minnesota campus, you can obtain electronic copies of your transcripts from OneStop student services. 

If admitted to the program, you will be instructed to submit official transcripts or academic records prior to your enrollment at the University of Minnesota. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions Office from the institution. An official, certified (signature and seal) English translation must accompany non-English transcriptsEnglish language translation services in the Twin Cities.

*The University of Minnesota reserves the right to require the submission of official transcripts or credentials any time during the admission review process.

To be considered for admission, the MS in Finance program requires a first university degree that is an equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor's degree. Students with a 3-year degree from India do not satisfy this minimum requirement and must complete an additional year of post-baccalaureate study before submitting an application to the program.

If a student is unsure whether their degree is an equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree they should email their transcripts and proof of degree to the Office of Graduate Admissions for review. Their email is

GMAT or GRE General Test scores are now optional for admission to the MS in Finance program for domestic or international applicants who meet the following requirement:

  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale (or overall B grade equivalent on another scale)

In the online application, in the "Carlson Masters Programs Requirements" section, you will indicate whether or not you meet this GPA requirement.

If the grades on your undergraduate academic transcripts do not meet our minimum requirement (3.0 or overall B average), you must submit official GMAT or GRE General Test scores with your application in order to be considered for admission.

If you indicate in your application that you meet our GPA requirement, but the cumulative grades on your undergraduate academic transcripts show otherwise, your admissions decision may be severely delayed, and we will still require official GMAT or GRE General Test scores before moving forward with your admissions consideration.


While submission of GMAT or GRE scores is optional for those with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above (or overall B average), strong scores can still boost an application. It is strongly recommended for applicants with academic weaknesses (e.g., lower grades in finance-related or quantitative classes) to submit scores. The admissions committee does not prefer one test over the other, and we do not have minimum required scores; however we recommend a Quantitative section score in the 70th percentile or above on either test.

Note: Applicants interested in pursuing careers in investment banking or consulting should plan to take the GMAT specifically, as many investment banks and consulting firms do consider these scores when assessing candidates.

If you do decide to submit test scores, they must be less than five years old at the time of application. The unofficial test scores should be entered directly into the online application. Official test scores should be received before the deadline for which you would like to be considered.

Take a sample GMAT test

For the GMAT, arrange for the testing service to send an official score report to code D2N-VJ-05, Carlson Master of Science in Finance. Results arrive 2-3 weeks after the test.

For the GRE, arrange for the testing service to send an official score report using institution code 6874, U of MN graduate school. Results may take up to 8 weeks to arrive.

NOTE: Full-time work experience is not required, although at least some internship experience is preferred. Publication is not required for the Research Track, although at least some research experience is preferred.

Prepare a current resume that includes a detailed education and employment history in no more than 3 pages.

Resume Tips

  • List both employer(s) and official position(s) held.
  • Specify both month and year for dates of employment in each role.
  • Detail job responsibilities and accomplishments in approximately 3-5 bullet points for each role.
  • Include names of any tools, software, and quantitative methods used, and the context in which you used them.
  • You may add a separate section for relevant academic/research projects, particularly those with a significant quantitative component.
  • Do not worry about exceeding 1 page.

MSF Research Track applicants only:  Your resume should focus particularly on your academic and research experiences. It is still useful to include use of tools, software, and quantitative methods used, in context.

For additional guidance, view our Carlson Business Career Center's resume advice webpage, and feel free to use their resume template to help simplify the process.

Upload your completed resume in the online application where prompted for Resume or CV.

We require two recommendations for application to the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program. These recommendations can be from any combination of professional and academic recommenders, though we suggest that at least one recommendation come from a supervisor if you have professional experience. 

  • MSF Research Track applicants only: We prefer both recommendations to be academic, from professors.

Please note that you do not need to solicit letters of recommendation from your recommenders. We partner with GMAC for the Common Letter of Recommendation, so you simply need to provide contact information for your recommenders and the form will be automatically routed to them via email for completion. The form does include an optional section to attach a letter of recommendation if your recommender chooses to add that component.

We recommend getting started on your application early so you can enter the recommender contact information right away before continuing to work on your application. Both recommenders must complete the aforementioned GMAC form before your submitted application is considered complete. This means all recommendations must be received before the deadline for which you would like to be considered. 

International and domestic applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. Proof of English language proficiency is measured according to the categories detailed below. You are not exempt if you have lived in an English-speaking country for several years, but have not completed any prior education in English.


  • Applicants providing an exam score must have an exam date within two years of the graduate program start date. Exams exceeding two years will not be accepted.
  • We do not offer an option for the English language ability to be assessed upon arrival on campus.

For additional details regarding this requirement, please visit the Office of Graduate Admission's website or contact them at   

Test scores are not required for applicants that have completed post-secondary coursework in:  

  • United States
  • Canada (except Quebec)
  • United Kingdom/Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria

To qualify for exemption, the coursework: 

  • Consists of least 16 semester credits or 24 quarter credits,
  • Does not include ESL coursework, and
  • Was completed within the past 2 years, and
  • You were living in one of the countries listed above while completing all of the credits.

Please note that the exam date should be within two years of the graduate program start date. 

Graduate School Minimum Requirements

  • Total Score: 79
  • Writing Subscore: 21
  • Reading Subscore: 19

Please note that these scores are the minimum University requirements. No exceptions can be made.

Typically competitive candidates have average scores of 90-105 on the internet-based TOEFL.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities does not consider MyBest Scores: Sum of Highest Section Scores of the TOEFL iBT Score Report to meet the minimum total score requirement for admission. Applicants should self-report their highest Total Score from the one test date in the Application for Admission. Applicants should also submit the official TOEFL iBT scores via ETS.


TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

Please note that the exam date should be within two years of the graduate program start date. 

Minimum Scores for Admission

  • Total Score: 6.5
  • Writing Subscore: 6.5
  • Reading Subscore: 6.5

Please note that these scores are the minimum University requirements. No exceptions can be made.

Please note that the exam date should be within two years of the graduate program start date. 

Minimum Scores for Admission

  • Total Score: 59
  • Writing Subscore: 59
  • Reading Subscore: 59

Please note that these scores are the minimum University requirements. No exceptions can be made.

Typically competitive candidates have a total score of 65 or higher.

The Duolingo English Test will be accepted with the score and test date requirements listed below. Please visit the Duolingo preparing for the examscheduling the exam, and FAQs sites for more information. 

Minimum Scores for Admission

  • Overall Score: 115 or above
  • Subscore for Literacy section: 115 or above

Your exam date should be within two years of the program's start date.

NOTE: We do not offer an option for the English language ability to be assessed upon arrival on campus.

We're now accepting the Cambridge C1 Advanced and we're following grad admissions standards for scores:

Minimum Scores for Admission

  • Total Score: 180
  • Writing Subscore: 180
  • Reading Subscore: 180

For additional information, please review the Graduate School's breakdown on English Proficiency Exams.

The application fee is $75 (non-refundable) for U.S. citizens; and $95 for international applications and U.S. residents with foreign credentials. Your application fee will be automatically waived if you have served in the US Armed Forces for any length of time prior to submitting an application. Application fee waivers are not otherwise available.

  • The video essay is a required component of the application that provides candidates with an opportunity to show the admissions committee the authentic you.  Think of this video essay as if you were answering an interview question with a member of our admissions committee. 
  • You will need to use a computer with camera and microphone capabilities. You will have the ability to test your technology before starting the video essay and submit a practice video essay. 
  • You can test your technology and run the practice simulation as many times as you wish to be comfortable with the format and technology.  You will be able to review your practice video essay(s) and your recording(s) will not be saved beyond the testing phase and will never be reviewed.
  • You can also practice responding to impromptu questions offline with a friend or colleague before completing the video essay portion of your application.
  • You will be prompted to click "Ready" once you are prepared to submit an official video essay.  You will be asked one impromptu question from a bank of imaginative or behavioral questions selected by our admissions team. 
  • Two minutes (120 seconds) will be provided to prepare an answer and two minutes (120 seconds) to record an answer.   Recording will automatically stop after two minutes.  You are not required to use the full two minutes.  If you have time remaining once complete with your response, click the "Stop Recording" button to end the recording. 
  • You will only be provided one attempt to record your official video essay.

Admission interviews are by invitation only, and may be conducted on campus or via Zoom. The interview is approximately 30 minutes in length and aimed at better understanding a candidate’s academic and professional background. You should treat the interview as you would a job interview. Appropriate attire is business professional.

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