Masters in Finance

What Could You Learn in a Masters in Finance?

A Master in Finance degree program aims to provide students with additional skills and new insights into the field of finance. There are various potential opportunities for students to consider based on the type of finance degree they wish to pursue, including working in government, nonprofit, and corporate positions. Students typically study a wide range of topics which often include the latest innovations in the industry.

Common areas of focus may include valuation, risk management, corporate finance, and financial modeling. Some educational paths may also include financial econometrics and derivatives as well as numerous other potential courses. As a graduate level of education, students may spend time studying at a higher level which may include research-based approaches.

To pursue a master’s degree in finance, many schools have a set number of prerequisites as well as GRE requirements, though some may be more flexible. They typically require students to have earned a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent, and some may need to have work experience as well. This varies by school and program choice.

Those who wish to work in the management of finances or perhaps even teach may find a Master in Finance a perfect path option for them. Some schools offer flexible learning paths to accommodate the needs of students. So, take a look at some of the potential courses and paths for those completing a master’s degree in finance.

Finance Masters Programs

25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Finance

These are 25 schools based on the number of students graduating with a Master in Finance according to NCES data for the 2019-2020 school year:

College / UniversityGraduatesAcceptance Rate
Johns Hopkins University54711%
Boston University25419%
University of Pennsylvania2538%
Case Western Reserve University19727%
Washington University in St Louis16614%
Harvard University1485%
Colorado State University-Global Campus13299%
Tulane University of Louisiana13013%
Georgetown University10414%
Southern Methodist University8947%
Florida International University8058%
Southern New Hampshire University7688%
Goldey-Beacom College7557%
Northeastern University7018%
University of Maryland-College Park7044%
West Texas A & M University6869%
Webster University6757%
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Cupey Campus66N/A
Pace University6279%
University of Toledo6096%
Hofstra University5568%
University of South Florida5548%
Bentley University4647%
Texas A & M University-College Station4658%
American University45N/A

Finance Courses May Include

1st course Quantitative Methods

Quantitative Methods

In this course, students typically cover a number of topics in relation to finance. Rates of return, Annuities, and time value of money are often included. Students are also likely to be introduced to tree diagrams, conditional expectations, and joint probability.

2nd course Economics for Finance

Economics for Finance

This course typically covers both micro and macroeconomics and how they are applied to finance. Graphs and calculations may be covered as well as supply and demand in various markets. Alternative market structures and the study of the American Economy may also be topics in this course.

3rd Course Fixed Income

Fixed Income

The fundamentals of fixed income investments are the primary topic of this course typically. The course may provide a market overview with such topics as sectors, bonds, and primary issuers. Spot rates, yield curve, and forward rates may also be discussed in this course.

4th Course Derivatives


Many types of derivative markets are typically covered in this course. Call and put options may be explained. Derivative trading strategies and the management of risk in relation to derivative products may also be included as topics.

5th Course Ethics


In this course, the topic of ethics and how it relates to finance throughout history is generally explained. The Code of Ethics of Professional Conduct is usually explained, and all current laws and regulations related to ethics in finance are often discussed. Many standards for this profession are a component of this course.

6th Course Portfolio Management

Portfolio Management

The portfolio approach is the primary topic of this course most often. How to apply it to different products available and how to best measure performance and provide the best portfolio for customers are common topics in this course. Mean variance analysis and multi factor models are often a part of this course.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters in Finance

Students who earn a master of finance degree may study a wide range of topics. The scope of this degree may include topics such as securities, financial services, personal finance management, and investment strategies.

It may be beneficial to some people to pursue a master’s degree in finance. This depends on what a person wishes to do as well as what type of requirements employers may have in that field. Some people may wish to earn a bachelor’s degree and then start working while others may wish to pursue a master’s right away.

A master’s degree in finance is typically 1 to 2 years, and usually around 30 credit hours of study. In some cases, students may be able to complete this faster while other times part time education may take longer. Students may have met some prerequisites depending on their past coursework.

Those earning a master’s degree in finance may wish to pursue a range of career paths. They may meet the qualifications to work as a financial analyst, credit analysis, financial examiner, or risk specialist.

The CFA is a professional organization that individuals may be able to join. It is not an academic degree in itself. Some people may wish to earn a master’s degree as they prepare to pursue a CFA credentialing, though.

Find Funding for Finance Masters Programs

Completing a master’s degree often requires paying tuition and other costs associated with obtaining this education. NCES report that, for school year 2018 to 2019, the average cost of tuition for graduate school was $19,314. It’s possible to pay that out of pocket, but many people elect to use loans and other funding options to help pay for those costs. Several options exist that may help a person get back into school. Here are some examples of funding options.


One of the options for paying for some or all of a graduate school education is with scholarships. These are not loans but rather awards of money from various organizations, both public and private. Often, scholarships require a person to meet specific goals and be selected from a pool of students who apply for them. Scholarships often do not require repayment, which makes them a great option for many people when available. Look for available scholarships for a master’s degree in finance.

Richard D. Wiegers Scholarship for Graduate Students

Who Can Apply: The Illinois Real Estate Foundation offers a $1,000 Dick Wiegers Scholarship Fund to an eligible Illinois resident pursuing a college degree in the field of Business, Law, Finance or a graduate program in Business.

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 1

Willa S. Bellamy Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Willa S. Bellamy Scholarship from the GFOASC provides one scholarship of $1,000 to students seeking to enter the field of government finance.

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April 7

NAFA Corporate Aviation Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The NAFA Corporate Aviation Business Scholarship range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are for qualified applicants attending Colleges and Universities offering course work in Accounting, Business Marketing, Economics, and/or Finance, with a focus on Aviation Business/Management.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: October 31

Mid-Atlantic STA Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply:  The Mid-Atlantic STA Foundation offers scholarships worth $14,000. Two $2,000 scholarships for high school seniors and two $5,000 college/university scholarships. The Mid-Atlantic STA Foundation is dedicated to the needs of students of business, finance, and economics and offers Annual Scholarship Awards.

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: June 15

Federal Loans

A federal loan is one way to cover the cost of a graduate education. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. These are loans backed by the federal government. They are somewhat like student loans used for undergraduate degrees. However, there are fewer options and different terms associated with graduate school federal loans. They may still be worth considering for those looking for a potentially lower interest rate. Here are a few types of federal loans that may be available to students at the grad school level:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are typically available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans usually do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are loans typically made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need, though. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans may enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Loan terms differ from one school to the next. Students may wish to carefully consider all options before making an investment.

Private Student Loans

A private student loan may be available to cover the cost of a graduate degree. These loans are often provided by financial institutions, such as banks and other lenders and not backed by the federal government. As a result, these loans typically have variable interest rates, terms, and conditions. Those who plan to invest in their education may wish to use private student loans to help cover the costs not met by other funding solutions. However, to do so, consider the following about each other (and know that each offer may be different from various lenders):

• Interest rates, including whether they are fixed or variable
• Loan terms including length and when repayment begins
• Credit score qualifications
• Income requirements
• Other qualifications such as GPA or credit hours enrolled
• Whether consolidation of loans is an option later

Is investment fund manager a great career?

An investment fund manager is an individual that plans, directs, and coordinates investment operations and strategies for liquid assets. This may include a larger pool of assets managed for individual investors or for institutional investors. The job often entails management investment funds with the goal of growing their value over time to match the client’s needs. Those working as an investment fund manager may also monitor financial and operational performance of individual investments to minimize or meet risk goals. They may also help with selecting and directing execution of trades for those funds. They may also develop and put in place investment policies and strategies for short and long-term objectives.

To do this type of work, an investment fund manager may need to have core skills. Some tech skills may include working with various types of software including analytical or scientific, enterprise resource planning ERP, financial analysis, and database user interface and query software. These individuals typically also need great listening skills, judgment and decision making skills, and great speaking qualities.

Finance masters programs , important skills for investment fund managers
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Work activities may include gathering information through observing and receiving information allowing them to make or direct financial operations. They may also develop organizational policies and programs as they relate to investments. Many approve expenditures, analyze forecasting tables, and work to improve business decisions across the investment landscape.

Those working in this field typically need to have a master’s degree. There are some employers that may require a doctoral degree in finance. Many times, individuals are hired with experience in the field to work in top positions. They may also need to have 5 or more years of experience. Some on-the-job training experience may be available, but this is typically light support like education.

2020 Median Salary for an Investment Fund Manager

The median salary for 2020 for those working as an investment fund manager is the following in each state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

New Jersey$167,590Missouri$127,030
New York$201,920Nebraska$110,540
North Dakota$$127,320New Hampshire$121,770
Oklahoma$107,160New Mexico$97,170
Pennsylvania$137,570North Carolina$140,000
South Carolina$113,010Ohio$123,790
Utah$102,580Rhode Island$151,210
Virginia$153,730South Dakota$133,920
West Virginia$91,760Wyoming$103,000

Is financial quantitative analyst a great career?

Completing a master’s degree in finance may help some people qualify for a career as a financial quantitative analyst. Those who work in this position typically develop quantitative techniques to inform on a range of topics. This may include pricing, equities investing, securities investing, or valuation of financial interments. Often, to do this, these analysts develop risk management models, along with models for pricing and asset optimization.

The work done in this field may also include developing core analytical capabilities often using econometric, quantitative, and statistical techniques. In addition to this, these individuals may provide application support to others, including traders and researchers on topics such as data and valuations. They may also use strategies to address practical issues related to derivative valuation, risk management, or financial market regulation.

To achieve this, there are numerous types of software analysts may use. This includes scientific or analytical software, presentation software, object or component oriented development software, and ERP software. Additionally, they need to have great mathematics, active listening, and critical thinking skills. Many times, they also have to be able to handle complex problems.

Task during a day’s work may include assessing the cost effectiveness of projects, products, or services, applying mathematical models of financial or business conditions, and advising others on the techniques they create. They may also work with other professionals in the industry along with personnel to coordinate the operations of the business or organization on a larger scale.

To do this type of work, many employers require a person to have a master’s degree. They may benefit from a higher degree as well, such as a doctorate. Experience is often beneficial, especially for more exclusive positions. Some employers require as much as 5 years of experience for positions. There may be some on-the-job training experience provided, but this is not likely to be more than providing support services. Many employers expect individuals to have skills ready to go.

Finance Masters Programs , Important skills for Financial Quantitative Analysts
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

2020 Median Salary for financial quantitative analyst

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median salary for a financial quantitative analyst in 2020 was the follow, per state:

New Jersey$91,280Missouri$60,130
New York$105,690Nebraska$71,730
North Dakota$77,640New Hampshire$83,400
Oklahoma$74,050New Mexico$68,700
Pennsylvania$80,230North Carolina$85,050
South Carolina$71,680Ohio$75,140
Utah$66,980Rhode Island$83,950
Virginia$92,610South Dakota$74,640
West Virginia$70,360Wyoming$65,580

Sandy Baker


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.