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Math/FARM at UW: Student Life?

A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL
I got accepted to Math/FARM a few weeks back, which came as a pleasant sort of surprise. My main aspiration is the AFM-CA program, and I'll be writing the AFMAA in, wow, not much more than two weeks for that program. (Oh boy!)

The question I have is, how much work is the Math/FARM program? I know that AFM is significantly less workload when compared to other programs such as Math/CA, Engineering or CS programs, and that Math/FARM is just as much if not more math than Math/CA.

While I'd love to get into AFM and enjoy a much less stressful 5 years of university and a lot more time to have to myself for clubs and just free time, I'd be happy to accept my offer to Math/FARM if that doesn't happen, since it seems to be a fairly decent program. However, if anyone can tell me exactly what student life as a Math/FARM student is like, that's be very appreciated.

Is it work work work work work pretty much day after day? Is there a lot of stress? Do the profs set a lot of challenges that can take a lot of time to work through? Do you have much time outside of maintaining good grades for co-op for play, socializing, clubbing, sleeping, etc.? Would being a Math/FARM student lead to a completely different lifestyle compared to an AFM student? How would you rank the workload of UW's various programs such as pure math, Math/CA, AFM, Engineering, life sciences, etc.? (I didn't apply to all of them but I'm interested in how my workload would compare to others)

Thanks a lot!
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



How exactly is it crap?

Crap as in there's no job prospects after graduation, or crap as in there's not a lot of room to customize what sort of education I get and choose a career path?

Because from what I've read about it so far, it's a *good* program for what it offers; a math degree and a strong start towards the CFA designation, but unforgiving if it turns out you don't like finance and would rather do something else in math.

I didn't apply to Honours Math, but even if I did, and got accepted, I'm not sure it would be my best choice. I like having a clear goal and a path to work towards, and I feel as though if I were to go into math without having a very specific objective to work towards I'd lose focus and get sidetracked during my next few years which would probably end in disaster.

Really I'm looking for a career into business, and I'm going to UW for it, so that leaves me with pretty much the choices of either accounting, finance, or act. sci. I would only have gone into Honours Math for Act. Sci., but in the end I chose to apply to FARM and AFM because, from my current understanding, both programs will push you towards a clear designation (CFA/PRM/CA) whereas in a more open programs like Honours Arts or Honours Science whether you'll be able to specialize in a certain field depends on your consistent academic performance (AKA no room for screwups) which makes me feel nervous about the whole thing.

To summarize, I think I have a good idea of what this program is; a lot of math to help me get a math degree and a math-oriented perspective of finance. I'm aware that I might not like the program, but willing to take on the risk in compensation for the peace of mind that I have in that I just have to do the work in order to get through the program for a good prize at the end; applying to universities and constantly calculating my Gr 12 marks to seeing which programs I'd make the cut for and which programs I should take is lots of stress for me and I really don't want to continue like that throughout university... I just want to map out a path beforehand, and drive. I'd happily risk not liking the road I take for assurance that I won't get lost along the way making changes as I go.

Like I said, my first choice is AFM-CA, but if that doesn't pan out, I feel as though Math/FARM is slightly better than a lifetime career at Tim Horton's, so I'm just wondering exactly what student life for Math/FARM students is like.
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A photo of StochasticSeeker StochasticSeeker

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.



Was in Math/CA, know quite a lot people in FARM, so I'm familiar.

All the upper years have told me they see no difference being in FARM than in just Honours Math. The CFA is self-study anyways, and if you're one of the few people who wanna do PRM out of highschool, by all means ...

If you're ambitious and are interested in FARM, you probably want to do just do Math/BBA DD instead.

Just my opinions.
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.



Thanks so much for the input. I'm starting to get a better idea of the Math/FARM program now.

I have a question about what you're taking though. By taking both FARM and Mathematical Finance, are you going for both a CFA and Act. Sci. designation? So basically taking the Math part of Math/FARM and specializing it into Actuarial Science while proceeding with FARM? That's a lot of work isn't it? Since you're pretty much doing two of what most people around you are only doing one of...

See originally I wanted to go into AFM-CA because I really wanted to give myself a break from mathematics. The past 4 years I always took math at a higher level (starting with IB then transferring and taking it in AP) and I always found myself unable to answer the question "why am I taking harder math courses so I can work harder and achieve a lower mark than if I had taken regular academic/U-level?" When I looked at AFM-CA, and I saw how it led towards a great CA designation without requiring a lot of mathwork, I decided that it was the perfect program for me. This is also because I'm very vocally outspoken (I enjoy debating, politics, law, philosophy much more than math and science which I find to be too mechanical and tedious) and I feel as though both the program setup and the free time it allotted me would give me ample opportunity to expand on those skills and participate in clubs and competitions. I also liked the concept of having a lot of free time on my hands.

However, I have no way of knowing if I will make AFM-CA or not, and in retrospect I am very glad that I had also applied to Math/FARM and ecstatic that I received an offer because for all I know after the initial math involved in the education, working as a CFA could be a lot more exciting than working as a CA in terms of using leadership/speaking/softcore skills to help further my career.

(I also applied to Math/CA (which I know I won't get in, but doubt would accept even if I did because I see no reason to take on extra math if I could do without for the same designation in AFM) as well as DD from the Laurier side, but I'm not sure I'm a fan of the "enrol today and figure out what you're going to specialize in tomorrow" way it works... like I said before I like to have a crystal clear idea of where I'm headed)

But if there are people in Math/FARM who are also specializing towards Act. Sci. at the same time, then I feel confident that just plain old Math/FARM shouldn't be too difficult. My attitude toward university life is basically work hard, study hard, play hard, to the power of rage. As in bash through assignments late into the night, type frenetically and record every single word my prof says during lectures, and basically hero through my work and maintain a good average as efficiently as possible, then taking the time I have remaining to join clubs, compete, seek leadership spots in clubs which I'm good at, and also go out and have a social life (which I'm told a lot of people at UW lack... perhaps seek company down at Laurier?) as well as maybe having some time left over for relaxing hobbies like seeking out some hardcore asian gamers for a lively night of Starcraft. I mean, I'm paying for this university experience, so I want to squeeze out every drop of this that I can. Right? Haha.

I just reread that paragraph and I realize it sounds slightly insane.

But yeah I felt confident that it would be possible in AFM-CA, I'm just not so sure about the intensity of Math/FARM. Maybe it still is... I'll just have to find out.

And I'm not even going to bother asking about Financial Mathematics because apparently you need to score at least an 80 on the Euclid to gain access to the "Advanced Math" programs at UW and I haven't prepared for the Euclid this past year and a half at all, so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get remotely near an 80 lolll.

Thanks for the input, though, I didn't know that DD was more work than Math/CA. I guess it makes sense since you're doing two degrees... And if you're right, it looks like FARM is fairly docile in company of the rest of the UW programs, so that sort of gives me some relief... though I'm sure it's no AFM :P
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@immaculatedx wrote

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.



Was in Math/CA, know quite a lot people in FARM, so I'm familiar.

All the upper years have told me they see no difference being in FARM than in just Honours Math. The CFA is self-study anyways, and if you're one of the few people who wanna do PRM out of highschool, by all means ...

If you're ambitious and are interested in FARM, you probably want to do just do Math/BBA DD instead.

Just my opinions.



Would you say that to get to a CFA designation that Math/FARM and Honours Math and DD are essentially irrelevant, then? I'm guessing that after you nail down the designation employers won't really care exactly which program you came from...?

In which case I'm basically just opting for whichever program will get me to CFA with the least amount of stress without jeopardizing my success: as in choosing Math/FARM over regular Honours Mathematics won' hurt, but there isn't really a need for me to pursue two degrees if I already set my mind on nailing down my CFA.

And yeah I'd be going for CFA instead of PRM. I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong) that a softskills person would have more to do as a CFA than a PRM with regards to using softskills. Or would it be equal? I kinda just want to avoid excessive math... :bounce:

-

Also, immaculatedx, I found that you sort of criticized Math/CA as you left that program as being not much more than just a CA-oriented program with a needless amount of math courses compared to... I think... was it AFM? Which I sort of have to agree with, but I do seem to feel as though you're just not a fan of the Math/X programs in general...

Do you wish you had applied to AFM in retrospect? Would you recommend AFM for both CA AND CFA?
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A photo of caveman caveman
Have you looked into doing a joint CA/CFA in AFM? It's pretty money.

I'm not a huge fan of the FARM program either. If you like it that's cool, but I'd agree with immaculatedx that the Math single degree or WLU/UW DD would be better. Or just AFM.
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@caveman wrote
Have you looked into doing a joint CA/CFA in AFM? It's pretty money.

I'm not a huge fan of the FARM program either. If you like it that's cool, but I'd agree with immaculatedx that the Math single degree or WLU/UW DD would be better. Or just AFM.



Yeah, I'm *HOPING* to get into AFM, but my fingers are crossed and we'll have to see how well I do on the AFMAA. And if my marks improve lolol.

I don't quite see how Math/FARM < Honours Math, though. Surely the courses taken in finance and accounting right off the bat are more useful than just taking math math math and then specializing into something else much later?

Also I feel as though Laurier is for people who are undecided, and I feel like indecisiveness overall costs time and effort compared to people who already know what they want to do and set off to do it.

Would AFM's finance co-op and specialization be better than Math/FARM? According to current AFM students the CFA you end up with will be entirely the same (BAFM vs BMath is irrelevant to employers once you get the CFA) so it's all a matter of whether you want to do the math or not (and which program you get accepted into).
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A photo of StochasticSeeker StochasticSeeker

@immaculatedx wrote


Was in Math/CA, know quite a lot people in FARM, so I'm familiar.

All the upper years have told me they see no difference being in FARM than in just Honours Math. The CFA is self-study anyways, and if you're one of the few people who wanna do PRM out of highschool, by all means ...

If you're ambitious and are interested in FARM, you probably want to do just do Math/BBA DD instead.

Just my opinions.



Well, that is unfortunate. I would have hoped that the upper years would have enjoyed courses such as "Models in Finance", "Investments" and "Computational Statistics and Data Analysis", which you wouldn't find usually in the DD program. There are bunch of interesting courses on the PRM side that I really find interesting as well and not easily accessible without a solid foundation in statistics and mathematics. I was hoping to see some positive feedback on how that specialization pans out in terms of interesting content in the upper year courses.

With Honours Mathematics, though, there really isn't much direction in what you take. In fact, after this term, I could get my BMATH if I really wanted to, though I would miss out on all the upper year interesting finance courses.

Moving on, based on what SkylarNoeL is telling me (more softskill focus less maths), Math DD is a good option, as is CFA FARM or CFA AFM. The only difference is that AFM focuses more on accounting topics (obviously) and FARM is spread out over multiple topics (econ, stats, afm, combinatorics, optimization, IT, ActSc, etc.).

Also based on what you said, I would not recommend math finance to you unless you were prepared for a lot of very difficult mathematics thrown at you... and the requirement about 80 on the Euclid? I got a 70 on the Euclid and managed to get through. How well you do on those courses is based on the amount of commitment you put into them, not just some contest score.

@immaculatedx: Just out of curiosity, what is the main difference between AFM/CA and MATH/CA? I can't really see mathematics as being a major part of a CA designation, really.
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote


Was in Math/CA, know quite a lot people in FARM, so I'm familiar.

All the upper years have told me they see no difference being in FARM than in just Honours Math. The CFA is self-study anyways, and if you're one of the few people who wanna do PRM out of highschool, by all means ...

If you're ambitious and are interested in FARM, you probably want to do just do Math/BBA DD instead.

Just my opinions.



Well, that is unfortunate. I would have hoped that the upper years would have enjoyed courses such as "Models in Finance", "Investments" and "Computational Statistics and Data Analysis", which you wouldn't find usually in the DD program. There are bunch of interesting courses on the PRM side that I really find interesting as well and not easily accessible without a solid foundation in statistics and mathematics. I was hoping to see some positive feedback on how that specialization pans out in terms of interesting content in the upper year courses.

With Honours Mathematics, though, there really isn't much direction in what you take. In fact, after this term, I could get my BMATH if I really wanted to, though I would miss out on all the upper year interesting finance courses.

Moving on, based on what SkylarNoeL is telling me (more softskill focus less maths), Math DD is a good option, as is CFA FARM or CFA AFM. The only difference is that AFM focuses more on accounting topics (obviously) and FARM is spread out over multiple topics (econ, stats, afm, combinatorics, optimization, IT, ActSc, etc.).

Also base on what you said, I would not recommend math finance to you unless you were prepared for a lot of very difficult mathematics thrown at you... and the requirement about 80 on the Euclid? I got a 70 on the Euclid and managed to get through. How well you do on those courses is based on the amount of commitment you put into them, not just some contest score.

@immaculatedx: Just out of curiosity, what is the main difference between AFM/CA and MATH/CA? I can't really see mathematics as being a major part of a CA designation, really.



AFM students say that they both take the same accounting courses, but AFM students then supplement it with finance (since they don't even specialize into either CA or finance till later) while Math/CA students supplement their accounting with math. So they both get the same designation in the end and end up working in the same workplaces but one with a finance background and the other one with math. They also get either a BMath or BAFM for Math/CA and AFM respectively, but the degree is irrelevant once the designation is earned, so as long as you get there, the path you take doesn't matter for your career.

A friend of mine in Math/CA told me the math is pretty excessive and not very applicable to CA, and if I recall, that was the reason immaculatedx left the program. So it does seem to be somewhat of a concern for prospective and current Math/CA students, as the math doesn't really do much other than add to the workload.
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A photo of caveman caveman
[QUOTE=StochasticSeeker]Just out of curiosity, what is the main difference between AFM/CA and MATH/CA? I can't really see mathematics as being a major part of a CA designation, really.[/QUOTE]
They take a couple less finance and other AFM courses, they have less room to take more finance/AFM courses, they take corporate finance instead of managerial finance (we have the option to do either), and then they take a whole bunch of math/stats courses and a couple CS courses instead of the AFM/other they don't take.

Math doesn't relate that well to accounting. I guess if you like math and are good at it it may make sense, but I just don't see the point of doing Math/CA vs AFM. AFM allows you to take more of the AFM courses, and you have more flexibility overall. You do less work which gives you more time for extracurriculars.


@SkylarNoeL wrote

Yeah, I'm *HOPING* to get into AFM, but my fingers are crossed and we'll have to see how well I do on the AFMAA. And if my marks improve lolol.

I don't quite see how Math/FARM < Honours Math, though. Surely the courses taken in finance and accounting right off the bat are more useful than just taking math math math and then specializing into something else much later?

Also I feel as though Laurier is for people who are undecided, and I feel like indecisiveness overall costs time and effort compared to people who already know what they want to do and set off to do it.

Would AFM's finance co-op and specialization be better than Math/FARM? According to current AFM students the CFA you end up with will be entirely the same (BAFM vs BMath is irrelevant to employers once you get the CFA) so it's all a matter of whether you want to do the math or not (and which program you get accepted into).


Well all you're getting (for the most part) is a few introductory accounting/business/econ courses. You do get into some of the corporate finance courses (they're ACTSCI listed), but I believe you can do those in just Math. Those intro courses are review of high school accounting/econ/business courses for the most part, and are things you can pick up pretty easily. You could always use a couple electives to take them in math. Or just study them on your own time- buy a used textbook cheap/borrow from a friend, do some research on business/finance and stay on top of the market and stuff, take the CSC while on co-op, etc. A math degree will also let you take more math courses, which means you're stronger at math.

You don't have to be indecisive. You can enter that program saying "I'm going to take these courses and that will lead me to this finance specialization and then I will start writing my CFA exams during this semester, etc." You don't really lose much time. Having options can be a good thing- right now you want a program that's main focus is accounting, but you're also willing to go to a program that's main focus is finance (and math-y finance at that).

Well you can choose to do the joint CA/CFA. You would specialize in public accounting (or you could do management accounting) like most other regular AFM students, but then with your electives you take finance courses, specializing in it too. You can begin writing your CFA level exams while in school, and then once you graduate you can choose to pursue one or both of the CA and CFA designations (since you need some work experience requirements and a couple more exams). You will have knowledge in both areas and be able to work in either. You could use your co-op terms to take just accounting, just finance, or you could try to get a mix of both to see which you prefer.

Or, you could just do the finance specialization.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.

I personally think that getting a degree in finance for the most part is a waste of time, but if you insist, at least do mathematical finance ;) It's a pure math degree with some finance courses, good prep for a quant job I suppose.

FARM's workload really isn't that high among the math programs. I'd say Actsci's is higher, and CS's higher than that. You can also pace your program however you like, so there's a ton of flexibility.
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@greygoose wrote
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.


Well, compared to AFM it's a ton of math/stats courses. They take 15+ math/stats courses (plus some CS and ACTSCI/corp. finance courses, and the option of more), we take 2.

But yes, compared to any of the other math programs, I'm sure it's totally lax on the math content.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@caveman wrote

@greygoose wrote
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.


Well, compared to AFM it's a ton of math/stats courses. They take 15+ math/stats courses (plus some CS and ACTSCI/corp. finance courses, and the option of more), we take 2.

But yes, compared to any of the other math programs, I'm sure it's totally lax on the math content.



We take 6 Math courses in first year, and take 2 in second year.

After that, we can take any 6 math courses we want. So you can cheat yourself to a Bmath by doing only 8 core Math courses that everyone else has to do.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@SkylarNoeL wrote


Also, immaculatedx, I found that you sort of criticized Math/CA as you left that program as being not much more than just a CA-oriented program with a needless amount of math courses compared to... I think... was it AFM? Which I sort of have to agree with, but I do seem to feel as though you're just not a fan of the Math/X programs in general...

Do you wish you had applied to AFM in retrospect? Would you recommend AFM for both CA AND CFA?



I left Math/CA because I no longer wanted to become a CA.

Math/CA is good for pursuing your CA, but you might as well go to AFM if you're deadset on it.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx
I know you kind of have your path set out.

But seriously, doing any Math program is going to be INCREDIBLY different than being in AFM. If you really know what you want to do ... in this case if you want to pursue a CFA (I don't know why a high school kid would know he wanted to pursue a CFA already but to each their own), it should be already clear if you want to follow the AFM/businessundergrad path or the math path because again, they will be in my opinion, totally different experiences.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote


Was in Math/CA, know quite a lot people in FARM, so I'm familiar.

All the upper years have told me they see no difference being in FARM than in just Honours Math. The CFA is self-study anyways, and if you're one of the few people who wanna do PRM out of highschool, by all means ...

If you're ambitious and are interested in FARM, you probably want to do just do Math/BBA DD instead.

Just my opinions.



Well, that is unfortunate. I would have hoped that the upper years would have enjoyed courses such as "Models in Finance", "Investments" and "Computational Statistics and Data Analysis", which you wouldn't find usually in the DD program. There are bunch of interesting courses on the PRM side that I really find interesting as well and not easily accessible without a solid foundation in statistics and mathematics. I was hoping to see some positive feedback on how that specialization pans out in terms of interesting content in the upper year courses.

With Honours Mathematics, though, there really isn't much direction in what you take. In fact, after this term, I could get my BMATH if I really wanted to, though I would miss out on all the upper year interesting finance courses.

Moving on, based on what SkylarNoeL is telling me (more softskill focus less maths), Math DD is a good option, as is CFA FARM or CFA AFM. The only difference is that AFM focuses more on accounting topics (obviously) and FARM is spread out over multiple topics (econ, stats, afm, combinatorics, optimization, IT, ActSc, etc.).

Also based on what you said, I would not recommend math finance to you unless you were prepared for a lot of very difficult mathematics thrown at you... and the requirement about 80 on the Euclid? I got a 70 on the Euclid and managed to get through. How well you do on those courses is based on the amount of commitment you put into them, not just some contest score.

@immaculatedx: Just out of curiosity, what is the main difference between AFM/CA and MATH/CA? I can't really see mathematics as being a major part of a CA designation, really.



If you really wanted to take those courses so bad, it's not hard to switch into FARM all the way up to 2A. Those courses are good, I just don't feel they are necessary to take courses on those subjects when in my opinion, I could get all the important stuff from reading Wikipedia/M&I/etc.

RE: Math/CA vs. AFM. It's like the same idea, just extra useless math courses
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@SkylarNoeL wrote


Would you say that to get to a CFA designation that Math/FARM and Honours Math and DD are essentially irrelevant, then?




Yes, my opinion.



@SkylarNoeL wrote


Do you wish you had applied to AFM in retrospect? Would you recommend AFM for both CA AND CFA?



No, I'm in CS - why would I regret not going to AFM?
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@immaculatedx wrote

@caveman wrote

@greygoose wrote
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.


Well, compared to AFM it's a ton of math/stats courses. They take 15+ math/stats courses (plus some CS and ACTSCI/corp. finance courses, and the option of more), we take 2.

But yes, compared to any of the other math programs, I'm sure it's totally lax on the math content.



We take 6 Math courses in first year, and take 2 in second year.

After that, we can take any 6 math courses we want. So you can cheat yourself to a Bmath by doing only 8 core Math courses that everyone else has to do.


Ya, so that's 14 math/stats courses (it's been awhile since I checked the undergrad calendar, but I believe that many of the "math" courses are actually stats (and maybe some you have the option between a Math-listed and Stat-listed course?)), which is one less than I said.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@caveman wrote

@immaculatedx wrote

@caveman wrote

@greygoose wrote
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.


Well, compared to AFM it's a ton of math/stats courses. They take 15+ math/stats courses (plus some CS and ACTSCI/corp. finance courses, and the option of more), we take 2.

But yes, compared to any of the other math programs, I'm sure it's totally lax on the math content.



We take 6 Math courses in first year, and take 2 in second year.

After that, we can take any 6 math courses we want. So you can cheat yourself to a Bmath by doing only 8 core Math courses that everyone else has to do.


Ya, so that's 14 math/stats courses (it's been awhile since I checked the undergrad calendar, but I believe that many of the "math" courses are actually stats (and maybe some you have the option between a Math-listed and Stat-listed course?)), which is one less than I said.



How is that 14? That's 8. We technically do more, but the only REAL math courses we have to take are those 8.
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@immaculatedx wrote

@caveman wrote

@immaculatedx wrote

@caveman wrote

@greygoose wrote
Math/CA is a misnomer. There are very few math courses required for the program--it's almost all accounting crap.


Well, compared to AFM it's a ton of math/stats courses. They take 15+ math/stats courses (plus some CS and ACTSCI/corp. finance courses, and the option of more), we take 2.

But yes, compared to any of the other math programs, I'm sure it's totally lax on the math content.



We take 6 Math courses in first year, and take 2 in second year.

After that, we can take any 6 math courses we want. So you can cheat yourself to a Bmath by doing only 8 core Math courses that everyone else has to do.


Ya, so that's 14 math/stats courses (it's been awhile since I checked the undergrad calendar, but I believe that many of the "math" courses are actually stats (and maybe some you have the option between a Math-listed and Stat-listed course?)), which is one less than I said.



How is that 14? That's 8. We technically do more, but the only REAL math courses we have to take are those 8.


Well 6+2+6=14. You can debate on what's "REAL" and what it should "technically" be, but it really doesn't matter. My point was that Math/CA students take A LOT more math than AFM students (and much harder math), although it's still less than other math programs.

I really don't care, I was just pointing out that from a student going into accounting's perspective, Math/CA <-> AFM is defined by the math courses, which to them seem to be plentiful.
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL
Alright thank you guys so much for your input. I didn't apply to UW Honours Mathematics and I'm 100% sure I won't make the cutoff for Math/CA either, but just learning about them helps me understand exactly where FARM stands.

So basically what I'm getting is Math/FARM is basically Honours Math with several finance courses which makes it more CFA oriented than just Honours Mathematics, especially in the later years. Math/FARM, like Math/CA, has a lot less math courses than Honours Math since many of the courses will deal with finance and accounting respectively, but significantly more than for AFM students who take almost no math at all.

In terms of math workload:

AFM < Math/CA + Math/FARM < Honours Mathematics (thus including DD)

AFM is my first choice, so regardless of whether I eventually go into finance or accounting, I would pick AFM over Math/FARM or DD simply to avoid the math that is required in either of those courses, if I got an offer to it. I don't have a personal interest in mathematics and would go into Math/FARM simply because it's my only option to move on into business (short of maybe DD but that's even more work).

But it seems like while Math/FARM's workload will be a step up from AFM, it should be easily manageable compared to what Pure Math/DD/Engineering students have to deal with, so a couple months down the road I will still happily accept my offer to Math/FARM. While it might not be perfect or turn out to be the best choice of my available options, when I look around and see people going into obscure programs like psychology or liberal arts in much smaller-name schools, or those who are going into very intensive programs like UW Mecha, Math/FARM really still a pretty damn good door that I have open to me in the grand scheme of things, and I wouldn't accept the offer wistfully or with regret at all. It's neither a suicide program nor a dead-end program, so I'm happy that I have it as an option.

Thanks to everyone who posted and gave different sides of the picture, it made a lot of difference in my understanding of the programs at UW.

:)
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A photo of AncyRing AncyRing

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.




I'm transferring into Mathematical Finance from FARM and the faculty adviser really looked surprised when I told her I wanna get out of FARM. Is Mathematical Finance really better then FARM(which I believe it is) or not?

I know it's super hard, but I just don't want to waste my time for first year. I took all advanced level core courses, except CS, but they have no use at all if I stay in FARM.

And it's even harder than CA/DD/CFM, which I heard are the three hardest program in Math Faculty?
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A photo of SkylarNoeL SkylarNoeL

@AncyRing wrote

@StochasticSeeker wrote

@immaculatedx wrote
FARM's crap. Better off starting in Honours Math and see what you like and where that takes you.



Immaculatedx, I assume that you are either in FARM or know people from the program, otherwise, those words would hold no ground here without reasonable justification.

To answer SkylarNoeL's questions, as a FARM student myself, here is what I personally believe:

Let's start off with the difference that I found when comparing ActSc, finance, business and accounting:

ActSc: Can be very math intensive. The field is highly specialized, although you can branch out to different specialties (life contingencies, equities, etc.).

Accounting: Very little mathematics beyond arithmetic, and if you're lucky, basic single variable calculus.

Business: Again, not a lot of mathematics but you will have to acquire knowledge from a variety of disciplines, so it is quite work intensive (just not too difficult).

Finance: Finance is to the above three, as science is to biology and chemistry. There are a lot of different areas of finance and the above as just three aspects of it.

Now, let's get down to the knitty-gritty of FARM. I assume that you read the general description on the course website:

http://mathbus.uwaterloo.ca/programs/financial

Essentially, FARM is a mix-up of general finance (accounting, business, economics) coupled with some ActSc, computer science, and more mathematics intensive courses. There are two specializations PRM and CFA and you can only choose one or the other, but not both. From the list of courses that I'm taking, I see that

PRM : More computer science, ActSc, statistics and mathematics
CFA: More business, some psychology and broader financial topics

Now how stressful is FARM? Well it really depends on how you structure your 4-5 years. While in the first two terms, the university will guide your course schedule, the rest is really up to you. You want to take six courses per term and only have 2-3 courses for the last couple terms? Go ahead. Or you can take 4/term and extend your stay an extra term. So how much time you want to commit to the program is really up to you.

I can tell you, for sure, that it isn't work work work, all day, every day as, in my opinion, the courses are not too difficult when compared to other programs (although yes, they are a bit harder than purely AFM courses) and I, myself, have been in the Tae-Kwon-Do club every term since enrollment. Since this is just my opinion, you'll have to go through the program yourself if you want to know. A good time to consider switching would be when AFM just seems boring to you (I know it was for me when I took my AFM 101/102 courses) and you want to try something more exciting.

Regarding the profs, it can really depend on who you get. Some profs are just there to conduct research and you won't get a lot out of their lectures, while others are really into teaching. If you have a difficult prof, just find a TA. They can be really helpful sometimes.

Finally, here is a ranking of stress/workload/difficult of the programs at UW, based on my experiences:

Pure Math > Engineering > (*)Mathematical Finance > Mathematics Double Degree > Math/CA > ActSc > FARM > AFM > ... >> Honours Mathematics

* Mathematical Finance is another program that I am enrolled in and is what I consider, the most difficult finance program at UW. Ask me if you're interested about it.

Feel free to ask about anything that you don't understand or something that you are not sure of.




I'm transferring into Mathematical Finance from FARM and the faculty adviser really looked surprised when I told her I wanna get out of FARM. Is Mathematical Finance really better then FARM(which I believe it is) or not?

I know it's super hard, but I just don't want to waste my time for first year. I took all advanced level core courses, except CS, but they have no use at all if I stay in FARM.

And it's even harder than CA/DD/CFM, which I heard are the three hardest program in Math Faculty?



May I ask why you wish to transfer out?
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