Tips for Optimizing Your Application


The Berkeley MFE Program receives hundreds of applications yearly, and making yours stand out can be challenging. Here are some suggestions for attracting the MFE Admissions Committee attention and increasing your admissions chances. 

10 MFE Application Tips1. Prerequisites

You will find the complete list of required prerequisites here. We do not require all prerequisites to be completed when you apply. If you are still learning, you are welcome to apply and note in the application that you plan to prepare for the MFE by taking coursework. The admissions committee will consider the fact that you are in the process of learning when reviewing your file.


The results of the GRE/GMAT tests, particularly your quantitative score, are essential to our evaluation of your application. Only the highest scores from each section will be considered for these exams. Your exam scores must be within 5 years from the MFE program start date. If you have not taken these exams yet, there is no need to delay your application. The committee will review applications without these exams. However, we advise that you register as soon as possible if you have not done so already. There are some instances where the GRE/GMAT requirement may be waived. See if you qualify here

3. Work Experience

Work experience comes in many forms, including internships, research experience, and full-time and part-time work. We want to hear about all your work experience, so make sure to provide a very detailed and professional resume, as well as completing the employment section of the application. If you have minimal work experience, don’t fret, the committee takes into consideration other aspects of your application such as academic background. 

4. Transcripts

It is essential that you upload a copy of all your official transcripts and degree certificates, if available. To prevent delays, please submit transcripts for all institutions you have attended, and don’t forget to scan both sides of the transcripts - front and back!

English translations are required from all non-English institutions; if your home institution does not issue documents in English, you may submit translations prepared by certified translators from the American Translators Association.  

You do not need to mail your transcripts to us at the time of the application submission. The team will let you know if and when you have to provide official documents via email.

5. Grading Scale or GPA

Different schools use different grading scales. UC Berkeley follows the 4.0 GPA scale system, but if your school uses a different grading scale, do not convert it to a 4.0 GPA scale. Report your cumulative grade scale just as they appear on your transcript, and we’ll do the rest.

6. Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of your application. The letters should come from someone who has overseen your work professionally or in an academic setting. Make sure to ask someone who knows you well to discuss your strengths and the work you have done. Ensure to only use the recommenders professional/work email address.

7. Application Materials

We understand that getting all the application materials to us before the deadline can be hard, especially when many of the components depend on others. GRE/GMAT scores, transcripts, recommendation letters, and other materials can be submitted after the application deadline, but keep in mind that we will not begin the review of your application until those items are received.

8. English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants who received their degrees from countries where the official language is not English must submit official evidence of English Language Proficiency. You can fulfill this requirement by completing at least one year of full-time coursework with grades of B or better at a university located in the U.S. or take and meet the score requirements for TOEFL or IELTS. For TOEFL, you must score at least 90 for the Internet-based test, at least 230 for the computer-based test, or at least 570 for the paper and pencil test. For IELTS, your overall BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale. We accept scores from both but prefer scores from TOEFL.

9. The Video Essay

Make sure your webcam and microphone are in good working condition. When you are ready to record, be sure you are in a quiet and well-lit room. You are allowed 2 attempts to answer a question and have 2 minutes to do so. It is not a pass or fail exercise; just be yourself. This is your opportunity to showcase your communication and presentation skills. Avoid reading from the internet or use someone else’s words. The committee wants to hear from you! If you need more help, then check out How to Prepare for the Video Essay.

10. Check your application

Be sure to check over your application before you hit submit. If you submitted your application and you noticed that there’s an error that you need to correct, please notify us via email right away.

We hope these tips will help you feel more confident and ready to start your application. Once you have submitted the application, we know you will be anxiously awaiting the decision from us. Usually, the process will take up to 9 weeks. Until then, make sure to check your email regularly, as the team may contact you if additional information is needed. 

If you still have questions or need additional guidance, here are ways to connect or learn more: sign-up for an information session or join a weekly Q&A session on Tuesdays from 3-4 PM PT/Wednesday from 9-10 AM PT. You may view one of our past information session recordings.

About The Author

The Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering Program, a STEM designated degree, provides you with the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in the finance/fintech industry.